While scrolling through your social media feed, which is more likely to catch your eye: a paragraph of text or a video? Content marketing, especially video content, is quickly becoming the most engaging form of content on social media. There is so much that can be shared in a short video that Facebook or Twitter users may have just scrolled past if it had been presented in a block of text. Studies also show that visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared than content only containing text.
There are an increasingly growing number of social media channels out there, and each one has its own requirements and user trends regarding content. What type of videos should be posted on Facebook? How long should LinkedIn videos be to get the most views? How can your company take advantage of video content to take its social media presence to the next level? In this guide to using videos in social media marketing, let us answer all your questions regarding using video to achieve maximum engagement for your business.
- 1 Tips for all Channels
- 2 Tips for Facebook
- 3 Tips For LinkedIn
- 4 Tips For Twitter
- 5 Tips For Instagram
Tips for all Channels
Before getting into the nitty-gritty demands and expectations of individual platforms, there are a few rules of thumb that apply pretty universally across social media video marketing. And they essentially boil down to this: keep it engaging, keep it brief, and keep it accessible.
Create Valuable Content
Even if the goal of your video content is to drive sales and profit, you have to figure out a way to make your videos engaging and entertaining rather than salesy and preachy. What value is the content adding to the consumer? Why should they take the time to watch? 80 percent of people say they prefer when brands lean into storytelling as part of their marketing strategy, so creating a compelling narrative is the best place to start.
Viewers are being constantly bombarded with promotional material and ads, so don’t be the brand that people see as a nuisance or interruption. Focus on video content tells a story or offers something to the viewer rather than just shoving a product down their throats. For example, you can show concrete examples of how your product or service bettered someone’s life or helped solve a problem. See our list below for some ideas for video content that showcase something useful, valuable, or entertaining for the audience, while still working well across a range of social platforms:
- Customer Testimonials
- Product demos
- Expert interviews
- Behind the scenes
- Explainer animations
- Live webinars
Keep It Short
If you want people to engage with your video content, it’s best to keep it short and sweet whenever possible. It’s no secret that viewers’ attention spans are decreasing (the average internet user now has an attention span equal to or less than a goldfish) and you have to be able to keep their interest long enough to get your message across. Keeping your videos under 2 minutes is ideal, and studies show that engagement tends to decrease after just 1 minute, so if you can’t say what you need to say in that time frame, you may need to rethink your content strategy.
Additionally, the opener, or first 10 seconds of the video, are going to be the most crucial in determining whether viewers will stick around. Around 20% of viewers scroll on after ten seconds, so make it worth them sticking around. You can do this by making the video’s purpose clear from the start and answering the audience’s questions of “What’s in it for me?” This will look like a compelling hook that may rely on a startling fact, an enticing but difficult question, a sentence that begins with “what if…” or “imagine,” or the promise of a solution to an important problem.
When posting video, subtitles and closed captions are your friend! Not only does it make
your content more accessible for those with hearing impairments or disabilities, but it’s also in your best interest while reaching all viewers. The mobile social media experience is largely designed for no sound, and 85% on FB users watch video content with the sound off. Adding captions not only explains the context of the video when sound is inaccessible, but it helps viewers retain the information and increases views, engagement, and ROI.
Closed captioning ensures that no one has reason to scroll past your video content, whether it’s someone with hearing loss, a non-English speaker looking to translate captions to their own language, or merely someone without headphones in a public space. You cannot afford to lose any potential viewers for something as small as forgetting to select closed captioning. Additionally, closed captioning also enhances SEO on Google and Youtube, helping you achieve higher rankings and appearing in more searches.
Optimize for SEO
In addition to using closed captioning on your videos, there are plenty of other ways you can optimize your video for SEO on both Google and Youtube, which are the two largest available search engines. This is really all about incorporating text in as many ways as possible–this is because Google can’t watch or understand video content, but it can process text in order to sort and locate your video. Below are some strategies to keep in mind:
- Write a comprehensive and in-depth description of your video. When writing this, it’s also helpful to compare your description to the top-performing videos in your category.
- Make sure to add all relevant tags.
Choose a relevant title which incorporates important keywords. But don’t just rely on clickbait! Titles should be concise–about 60 characters.
- Add a transcript rich in keywords. This will allow Google to find and extract snippets and pull them for searches.
- Select a compelling thumbnail image–this is people’s first impression of your video, so you want it to be clear, enticing, and all-around beautiful.
We’ve gone over some general advice for using video, but arguably the most important factor in the success of your video content is where you put it and how it interacts with that specific platform. Read on for what you need to know about using video on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Tips for Facebook
Provide Entertainment and Inspiration
Facebook users resonate well with entertainment, rather than technical videos meant to solve problems or provide in-depth information about a business or their products. Instead, studies show that broad emotional appeal does better on Facebook, so utilize content that highlights narratives and relationships. For example, videos of customers telling stories about their relationship to the brand, employees sharing surprising facts, or colorful and eye-catching imagery of products, facilities, and behind-the-scenes footage.
Upload Content Directly to Facebook
The next thing to keep in mind for Facebook is to make sure you’re uploading videos directly to Facebook. Viewers don’t want to be interrupted from what they’re doing to be taken to another site. Keeping the content on their Facebook feeds means it’s more convenient for scrolling, and people are more likely to stay and view the entire video. Another advantage is that you can track video views this way (instead of just link clicks). This will lead to more accurate metrics analysis and allow you to have a better idea of what content is performing well.
Use a Profile or Cover Video
Another way to incorporate video into your business’s Facebook page is to create a Profile or Cover video. This means instead of including a static profile or cover page picture, you can instead display a fun collage or montage of images or short clips. This can do an even better job of grabbing attention and showcasing what your business is all about.
If you decide to go this route, use something more fun like a slideshow of photos or brief video clips that users can scroll away from at any point to access the technical information on the page. Profile videos can be up to 7 seconds long and are meant to grab attention and very quickly define the brand and brand personality, without going too deeply into detail. Cover Videos, on the other hand, can be 20-90 seconds long. Since the cover image is not the main content of your FB page, it shouldn’t be too long or informational since you shouldn’t expect people to stay at the top of the page for very long. Think of it like a first impression–you want to grab their attention, give a glimpse into your brand’s personality, and ultimately leave them wanting more.
Target Case Study
A fantastic example of a brand using video on Facebook well is Target. This video follows all the guidelines outlined above, from being eye-catching and colorful to appealing to viewers’ emotional appeal. It’s reflective of Target’s brand while still being entertaining over informative, it stays under a minute, and the text makes it easy to follow along.
We especially like this video because it doesn’t feel overly professional or stiff. The images and clips edited in feel authentic and more candid than scripted. It feels like the stuff of real relationships and teamwork, which was what the video was seeking to emphasize. This example shows the value and effectiveness of keeping it real.
Tips For LinkedIn
LinkedIn users mostly use the platform for professional purposes–to look up information about business or products or services offered, and tend to engage with this type of content more. Flashy, entertaining, inspirational content–such as what you would find on Facebook–doesn’t do as well on LinkedIn. Instead, think about posting the following:
- Videos teaching about your brand’s products or services
- Content highlighting your business information, including hours, location, and updates
- Demonstrations showcasing how to use your brand’s products or services
- Interviews with consumers, employees, or team members
- Q&A videos
Invest in the Right Tools
On LinkedIn, especially when representing a company or brand, people expect a higher level of professionally than they might on other platforms, and this translates into using the right tools. If you’re recording an interview or demonstration and your lighting or sound is falling short, your video will come off as amateurish. If the audio is poor or the camera is shaky, people aren’t going to stick around to watch the whole video. You want to come across like you know what you’re doing.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional director to get a good quality video. Investing in tools like a tripod to steady your camera or phone, a glow light, or a good microphone can all be game changers, and they don’t have to break the bank to make a big difference. When you invest in your video quality, your viewers will be more willing to invest their time.
Salesforce Case Study
For a study of what works well on LinkedIn, look at this Salesforce video. This particular clip follows the above guidelines of keeping it brief (it clocks in at around 30 seconds) while also being informational. It’s visually interesting while still highlighting Salesforce’s services, and plays with color, graphics, faces, light music, and even humor to pull viewers in. It’s a terrific balance of holding viewers’ attention while still getting the intended professional message across.
Tips For Twitter
For Twitter, production value matters less than appearing “real.” Viewers want to see authenticity, which could look like a business owner talking directly to viewers, or a more candid behind the scenes of a business’s process or work environment. Try featuring content of people talking directly to camera or phone, and stay away from too many graphics or loud music. However, the content should still be eye catching with a good hook to get you to stop scrolling.
For video content ideas, try:
- Interview clips
- Calls to Action–what do you want your viewers to do after watching?
- New product or service introductions
Keep it Even Shorter
Twitter is a fast-paced social media platform, meaning its users are posting multiple times per day. Since accounts tend to tweet more often than they would typically post on other platforms, there is a lot of content on the site that people are scanning through. Users may be following hundreds of accounts, and since there is so much content each day, users won’t commit minutes of their time to one video when there’s so much more to see. It’s best to keep content around 30 seconds or less to get the best engagement and most views.
Glossier Case Study
This video from make-up brand Glossier’s account is a great example of content that’s perfect for Twitter. It’s not overly produced, but still visually pleasing. It features someone speaking directly to the camera, and therefore the viewer, and it doesn’t feel scripted or forced. Instead it’s highlighting the product in a way that feels authentic and natural. Most importantly, it’s brief, only taking up about 15 seconds.
Tips For Instagram
Use Visual Appeal
Instagram is all about aesthetics. The content on Instagram tends to be more eye-catching and visually appealing, with extra attention to color, balance, texture, etc. Posts will appear alongside highly curated photography, design, and art, so if your video is not as visually appealing as the ones next to it in the feed, it will easily get glossed over and be left unnoticed.
For Instagram, there’s an expectation for higher production value compared to Twitter. Ideally, your video content will also feel cohesive and reflective of your other visual content on Instagram. Don’t use electric colors if your brand’s presence typically reflects pastels or neutral tones. For Instagram video content, consider the following:
- Showcasing product designs
- Displaying products and products in action
- Staff introductions
- A day in the life
Video Options for Instagram
Regular Video Uploads
You can post videos between 3 seconds and 10 minutes in length to your Instagram profile, and this video will appear on your followers’ regular feeds. If the video is over 1 minute, then a 60 second preview will appear on feeds, and viewers can click on the video to watch the entire video on your profile. You can also share videos in a carousel feed with other photos or videos. This is a great way to record videos in a more permanent way to your profile.
Reels are videos that can be set to a huge library of audio sounds. There’s also a larger selection of editing tools available, and they can be up to 1 minute long. Like regular Instagram video uploads, they will appear on users’ feeds and your profile page, but they are also heavily featured on the “explore” tab. This is where a greater audience of people can also find your reels. Reels is a great place to get creative and experiment with backgrounds, filters, transitions, audio, and more.
Stories are videos or photos that you share to your Instagram profile that disappear after 24 hours. However, you can add stories to your “highlights” where followers can watch them after that 24 hour period. You can edit your stories with background, text, filters, gifs, and more. They appear as 15 second clips, but you can post up to 100 clips in a day. You can also share your videos or reels to your story, but they will appear as previews if they are longer than 15 seconds. From there, followers can click on the video link in your story to watch the full thing. Stories are great for sharing content in a creative but also less permanent way.
Ben & Jerry’s Case Study
For inspiration for producing Instagram video content, look no further than this example from Ben & Jerry’s account. It’s fairly simple, but visually attractive with good lighting, and it’s very reflective of Ben & Jerry’s account as a whole. It also included subtitles and subheading text that appears to have higher production value than it would without. Overall, the bright, light colors, the light, even child-like music, and the playful nature of the cuts and editing all make this a video that makes you stop and crave a Ben & Jerry’s shake right then and there.
In the fight for space and attention across social media channels, harnessing the power of video content is essential. It’s time to get creative and represent your brand, products, and services in a whole new dynamic way. By keeping it visually attractive, making your message accessible, and utilizing text, music, and narrative to tell your brand’s story, we know you’re gonna see results in engagement.
SN Digital Agency is an experienced, results driven full service social media agency! We understand that many businesses need extra help during this time, and we would love to hear from you about partnering with your business to leverage your social media presence for success now and in the future! Contact us today!