Currently, video is the preferred way to show content on many social media platforms. Meaning, other sources of media or text are less visible to friends and customers due to the platform’s algorithm rules and how social sharing and interactions dictate what gets seen.
Video can be difficult for some businesses though. For small businesses who don’t have the capability to shoot and edit video or don’t understand social media, this can feel very foreign. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this article, we go over how you can use video for social media and how easy it can be.
How to start: Create goals
Start simple! The first step is to plan. What type of video do you want to produce? What is the goal of the video? Who is the audience? What do you want people to do after they see the video?
Then think about how you are going to make the video. Are you going to shoot it on your mobile phone? Or are you going to invest in a professionally produced video? You’ll be surprised but most of the viral videos you see online are not planned out. Sure you want something to go viral, but viral videos are less coordinated attempts at marketing and more often something that just happens as a result of the charm of the video. They are spontaneous and hard to duplicate.
We spoke with Video Director Ousa Khun of Bermuda Triangle Entertainment. He's created video content that has reached up to 117 million views. When it comes to making viral content, this is what he had to say:
"I’m sure there’s a special formula that makes a video go viral. In my first viral attempt, the original idea I had didn’t work because a cast member didn’t show up so I basically had to improv on the spot. Honestly, I wasn’t happy with the skit but I knew I had to finish it for my cast. They put the time and effort by helping me so the least I could do was finish the video.
In four days, that video hit 200k views and within a week it hit a million. On the fourth day, “Attack of Show” on the G4 Network aired the video and featured it in one of their segments. By the end of the month, the video hit 3 million views and it was featured on all the major sites, Reddit, 9gag, WorldStarHopHop, etc.
No one knows if their video will go viral or not. I hear people pitch me ideas all the time and tell me it will go viral. You won't know till you try. People now try to feed off the trend or what's hot. Some succeed some don't and sometimes it also has to do with timing. Timing is important.
You might do a video where you upload just in time when Snoop Dogg on youtube and sees your video. I believe that's what happened to Gangnam style. I think a popular hip-hop artist shared the video and the rest was history."
Viral video aside, if the goal is to create a video to encourage people to make a purchase from you, then your video should show how the product or service solves a problem or adds value to your customers’ lives. What do I mean to add value? Well, some products like a new iPad or phone might not be something that solves a problem. It’s something they don’t need necessarily, especially if they have one already. You can instead create a desire for someone to want to have something and show how it makes their life better. You can apply this to any type of product/service:
“I need to clean my house, but I’d rather pay someone to do it for me.” “I need to eat and can cook, but I want a burger from a restaurant.” “I might not need photos of my family, but I want them done professionally.”
Discover your audience
As you plan your video, make sure to keep in mind who the video is targeting.
Wait, I don’t make the video for everyone? You could. But the results are better when you target your best customers.
In order to market to your audience, you have to understand your audience. Who are they? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they like to do? This is your demographics. Then consider how to make a video that will appeal to them. By understanding your audience you can create better videos for them.
For example, if you sell jewelry or clothing for women you may make a series of videos that talk about both types of products, as well as some videos that only talk about jewelry and some that only talk about clothing. The key is to focus on what your core audience needs and wants. Think about what they would like to see in the video and stay focused on that. If you happen to be a part of your target audience, great, you can think about how to sell something to yourself.
Plan out your video
Now you can start the creative process. I suggest starting by creating an outline, you don’t have to do anything complex but having an outline can help you create the story for the video. The story you say? Yes, I did! Every video has a narrative structure.
You may not notice it but even silent videos tell you about the product or service, and then end with either the cost or a button to learn more. The structure is key to any video.
As you plan out the narrative structure, think about how long you want the video to be and what will happen in the beginning, middle, and end of your story. In screenwriting, we say each page accounts for one minute of screen time. Now if you are writing something with a voiceover or more descriptive that can change, it’s just a rule of thumb.
Write a skeleton of what you want to happen. Like if I were planning a video to pitch a photography session my outline might look like this:
Visual: Wide sweeping shots, fade in and out of a recent shoot with a family Text: Looking to capture your family’s best moment?
Visual: Show a loving family. Text: Silly moments.
Visual: Family embracing each other Text: Precious moments?
Visual: Show behind the scenes of other sessions and photos, etc. Text: Let Jane Doe Studios capture your moments today
Visual: Show different type of photography, newborn, family, portraits Text: Perfect for -- Newborn, Families, & Portraits
Visual: Show logo and contact information telling them to learn more Text: Visit Janedoephotography.com to learn more and book today!
I recommend using writing software (e.g., Google or Word doc) to document your plan and use it as a reference. If you need your clients or actors even to be in your video, you would next script out exactly what you want them to do and say, then plan how to shoot the video.
But if you are creating something simple with existing content, you can skip straight to editing.
Shooting: How should I shoot my video?
This is where you can get really creative. Depending on your familiarity with cameras, beyond shooting still photography, most if not all DSLRs have a video setting you can use. Therefore, you could use your own camera to shoot the video. Alternatively, you could shoot the video with your smartphone, or get a video camera. What you choose to shoot with depends on how you want the video to look. Before social media, the more polished the work the more effective the video. But social media has changed the video world.
Now we’re used to insta-videos, live streaming content, and TikTok videos. These are mostly shot on phones and we are also viewing most video content on our phones. Though the quality may be lower production-wise, there is a new, authentic, ‘influencer’ quality to it, meaning it feels real because the real people I follow also shoot like this. This style of video dominates social media because it is organic to the platforms.
Telling a story that connects to your audience is more important than a super polished video.
When it comes time to actually shoot the video, here are a few tips:
Take your time, don’t rush
If you plan to shoot on your phone, make sure it still looks good and not sloppy
Light your video properly
Hold the camera steady
Make sure the audio is good (no audible hiss or reverb), have a good sound recorder
Sound Tip: If creating videos becomes a big part of your marketing, you may want to make an investment in sound equipment.
Video editing software: What should I use?
Once you shoot or collect the footage for the story you want to create, next is the video editing portion. I have been a video editor since 2002, the software I used professionally for the last 18 years has changed only a few times. Final Cut Pro, Avid, and finally Adobe Premiere Pro. Each software has its own quirks and learning curves, but I have spoken with a few other designers and video editors about what they would recommend for someone as they get started editing videos.
iMovie is Apple’s free video editor. It can be used on a desktop or smartphone. You have options from color correction, nonlinear editing, audio, and text effects. You can even do greenscreen stuff with it. It is a very powerful free tool, it just takes a bit to get used to it. There are tons of how-to videos online to help you out.
Animoto is a growing online video editing tool. Their presets make crafting a video fairly fast. What’s nice is there are video templates for social media that can help you build your video. It’s quick and easy to build with and has tons of options, as well as a royalty-free music library. It is a pay to play tool, with monthly or annual subscriptions.
Filmora is an easy to use video editor and comes with filters, effects, and even royalty-free music you can pull from their built-in library. It even has an ‘Easy Mode’ for beginners. It also edits 4K resolution, which not many simple video editors do. You can buy it for a one-time fee too.
Premiere Pro/Adobe Creative Suite and Final Cut Pro X
If you want to become a professional video editor, these are the tools you will want to use. It not, you don’t need to tackle these. They have robust tools but have a significantly larger learning curve. They are great for high-end video editing projects. If you want a quick and simple video for social media, I recommend using of the other tools listed above.
After you pick video editing software, you will learn as you go. Watch online tutorials for the tool you select, and explore videos from competitors in your industry, and videos from brands you admire to get ideas. The best way I describe video editing is it’s like a dance. You have to feel the movement of the video and music and set a tempo. Luckily a lot of the templated video software is built to make you look professional if you need some hand-holding.
Strategy: Sharing your video
Once you’ve edited your video, the next thing to do is share it with your audience. You can do this immediately, or you could build up anticipation for it, especially if the video is highlighting something new. You can use the video to make your customers eager to learn about something – teasers go a long way. That's why even movie trailers have trailers now.
Once you have shared your video on your social media channels, you have more options to explore. For example, you could pay to run the video as an ad on Facebook or Instagram, targeting your location and audience demographics to really make sure the right potential customers are seeing your video.
You can also put the video on your website and feature it in email marketing campaigns.
Wherever you choose to put the video, use it to drive traffic to a specific page on your website to encourage people to engage with your business.
Results: Collect your data
Once your promotion has run its course, you can collect data from it. How many clicks or interactions did it get? How much engagement did it earn? How much of that turned into actual sales? Learn from this data as you prepare your future video content.
Video is a very powerful tool for marketing. It may take time to create something effective, but it’s a great way to show people what they can experience as a customer. You can do this with before/after videos, behind the scenes videos, or even testimonials. Video does a lot of extra lifting to tell your story, so don’t be afraid to try it, you might get great results.
If you’re interested in learning more about video and other marketing tips, let us know! We’re always excited to share our knowledge and experiences to help you get more customers.