Best Practices for Creating Social Videos
Learn to create effective social video content, like the one you're about to watch
Videos are a great way to engage your audience on social channels. Not only is more than one third of all online activity spent watching video, many platforms also prioritize videos in their listing algorithms, resulting in better organic reach than other types of content.
Every social network has a unique audience, so you should optimize the videos you share to reflect that. When deciding what sort of videos to create, always ask yourself, “Who am I making this video for, and why will people want to share it?” If you can’t think a compelling answer to this question, try brainstorming ideas for videos that are more valuable and entertaining. You’ll also want to keep the message of your video simple and appeal to positive emotions like inspiration and illumination.
When filming video, it’s ideal to record in HD, with a tripod to ensure your footage is stable, crisp, and professional. If you choose to record using a smartphone, there are also tripods and accessories available specifically for mobile devices.
Poor sound quality can be a dealbreaker for video. If you’re recording sound, invest in an external microphone that can be clipped directly to your subject’s clothing, or a larger shotgun microphone than can be held out of frame, above your subjects.
Sound or no sound, one thing that you can’t escape is the importance of great lighting. Video requires more light than still images, and dimly lit videos will look grainy and low quality. Natural lighting can be used, provided you have access to a location with a lot of natural light, but remember that using natural light is always a risk, as weather can cause the lighting to change quickly. If social video is something your organization will pursue long term, invest in a few pieces of lighting equipment to keep your videos bright and evenly lit. When lighting your subjects, even lighting is key – a simple best practice is to place two lights in front and on either side of your subject.
When shooting video, keep the end platform in mind. Every platform has an optimal dimension and maximum file size they allow, so be sure to familiarize yourself with these requirements in advance. Generally you’ll want to film in landscape mode; however, if you’re creating content for platforms such as Instagram Stories or Snapchat, film in portrait mode so everything in the frame is visible when posted.
It’s also a best practice to shoot your video from different angles, and to film some additional footage such as close ups or product shots. During the editing phase, this extra footage provides more options for creating an engaging piece.
There are lots of great free editing programs such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker that will enable you to easily splice together clips, add interesting transitions, background music, and engaging titles. Or, take your editing game to the next level by investing in professional tools such as Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere to create content that is even more dynamic.
Keep in mind that viewers may watch your video without sound, especially on Facebook, where the popularity of silent video is on the rise. When editing, consider adding subtitles or descriptive text to your videos.
With social video, it’s often best to keep things short and sweet. While longer videos can work well on platforms such as YouTube, or when filming Live content, most networks prefer shorter videos. Twitter caps videos at 140 seconds, Instagram at 60 seconds, and Snapchat as a mere 10 seconds. Think of creative ways to work within these constraints. Sometimes the most powerful brand videos can be just a few seconds in length.