Why video is king, and how to make successful videos for social
As soon as humans figured out how to take still images in 1839, they moved on and tried to capture movement, which they managed 40 years later. Sound only arrived in cinemas 50 years after that. We are visual beings, and movement has a magnetic effect on our eyes.
It’s no surprise then that video content is enjoying unprecedented popularity on social media. Everyone’s smartphone has a powerful camera, and several free apps exist to edit, caption and modify your videos. As storage prices plummet, platforms can afford to host user-generated videos on a massive scale. Everyone is a producer now. Every minute, 500 hours of videos are uploaded on YouTube. How can you as a marketer rise above the noise and add value with videos?
Why video is so amazing
Remember that time before the pandemic, when you used to go to your office, and in-person meetings were the norm? When everyone said remote work is never going to become mainstream? Those were good times, of course. But in 2020 we discovered that it is possible to communicate and work efficiently on video chat. The annualized run rate of Zoom minutes was 2 trillion in April 2020.
The reason behind this is that video is the closest to a real-life encounter. More of your senses are engaged than on a phone call. Even with the constant technical glitches that have become a standard part of life, video beats audio. And when a global virus is rampant outside, keeping yourself and your business partner safe is more important than getting the full multi-sensory experience.
Video gives us a window into a place in space or time where we cannot physically be present. YouTube is full of GoPro footage from the point of view of an extreme athlete, a scuba diver, or a roaming pet. These give us the illusion of participation. Now that we are all locked up at home, a conference hall or the offices of a company might look just as exciting as an exotic destination.
But the most successful videos feature humans. The same information is more engaging and is better retained if the presenter is seen as well as heard. Even better, if he or she is able to evoke emotions with the delivery of the message. The content that wins today is the one created by people, for people.
And this means that less-than-perfect quality is often forgiven if the content is exciting. You don’t need to invest in a home studio for every webinar you want to host (although if you want to, there are companies specialized in delivering rental video equipment to your home). With a tripod, a cheap ring light, and a microphone, you can create videos you will be proud to display on your company website.
Let’s see the most common types of brand videos:
behind the scenes
There is a lot of room for creativity and not a lot of rules. Yet, there are a few things worth keeping in mind.
How to make successful videos for your business
Videos are such a popular format that you are almost guaranteed to get higher reach and engagement if you convert the same content into a video. Yet, this is not a free-for-all: there are evergreen truths you have to keep in mind when you are creating content.
Respect the rules of each platform
Get to know each platform before you make a video for it. Watch what others in your space are posting. You are free to deviate from the standard messages and tone, but make sure you know why you are doing it. For example, on IGTV, only the first 60 seconds of your video will show in the feed, the user has to click to see the rest, so you need to hook them with the very beginning of your video.
Know the right size and length
Make sure you format your video according to the platform it is intended for. Be aware that vertical video is no longer taboo. As more and more users are watching on mobile, a vertical format actually gives you more uncontested territory. Take advantage of that!
Keep a decent quality
You don’t need to be a film professional to shoot a short interview with the CEO, but make it look better than the home videos your dad took when you were a child. Use a tripod or put the camera/phone against something to prevent shaking. Pay attention to the light and take a test shot before you get started. Look at what’s in the background and remove any clutter. And if the video looks or sounds terrible, do not post it. If possible, retake it, or try to improve it with some editing. But you’re better off not having a video at all than having one where all the comments will be complaints about quality.
Post your videos natively
Platforms don’t want users to click away and watch content on a different site, so they penalize posts including links. You’re better off posting your videos natively on the platform in question.
Remember YouTube is part of Google
What that means is that it is an extremely searchable platform. If you upload your longer videos there, make sure to give it an SEO-optimized title, and use at least 3 relevant hashtags in the description. The first 3 ones show up above the title, don’t skip them! Thumbnails play an important role in catching the users’ attention among thousands of similar videos. Use bold colors and faces with highly emotional expressions!
Most platforms give you analytics about how users consumed your content. If you are consistently creating similar videos, you need to pay special attention to the average length of a session (how long a user watches your videos), and whether there is a specific point in each video they drop off. You may need to reconsider the length or the structure of your content.
The audience watches your video because they hope it will be more interesting than a white paper on the same topic, or because they are scrolling on social media and they stumbled across it. Keep them engaged by showing up as a human. Whoever is in the video, tell them to be themselves, show their personality, and talk to only one person instead of a whole imaginary audience.
From 15-second stories to 2-hour webinars, the spectrum of videos on the internet is wide. But there has never been a better time in history to experiment with a camera. Happy filming! And if you are making awesome videos and you’re ready to get your content to a wider audience, contact us.