Social media plays an essential part in connecting your content to the world. Words, images, audio, and video can communicate effectively to audiences across social media platforms. Of all these options, video content is the one being heard the loudest and the clearest. Video is dynamic and eye-catching. It is shared about 1200% more than words and images combined. The most successful videos, though, aren’t just any videos. They are videos that follow social media video best practices.
To learn exactly what these best practices are, we sat down with Shaina Weisinger, Founder and CEO of Repurpose House, to learn more. Whether you are a video newbie or not, this list of tactical tips will help you distinguish your video content and make meaningful connections with new audiences.
Top 10 Social Media Video Best Practices
Video plays an integral role in your social media presence. Or at least it should. A few years ago, one Facebook executive made waves with a prediction that the site would be entirely video by 2021, and YouTube users view more than 1 billion hours of video per day. Audiences are expecting video and platforms are starting to demand it. In short, all content creators need to be video creators.
Whether you are already using video or you are new to this type of content, you should be aware of these social media video best practices. Learn more about what Shaina recommends, then consider how you can improve your content strategy.
Let’s get started!
Timing Is Everything
When it comes to creating video content, timing matters. Some creators post full-length videos on social media channels. Not so fast, says Shaina. Instead, she suggests repurposing content. If you have longer form pieces created, chop them up into smaller snippets. The ideal length for a video shared on social is approximately two minutes. After the two-minute mark, engagement drops off. Double check that your video content is short and sweet.
Get Your Content Into Shape
Another important aspect of video content is to consider how your videos are sized. By sizing your videoes properly, you will find more engagement and more success on each social platform. To better understand how to size your videos, put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Image that you are scrolling a feed. If you see a landscape video, you can also probably notice part of the post underneath it. By incorrectly sizing your videos, your audience could be distracted before they even really attempt to engage with your content.
Vertical video performs best on social media feeds. Think of it as carving out space for you and your ideas. By creating a vertical video, your content fits perfectly onto your audience’s phone screens as they scroll.
While vertical video does best on social, video sizing is not one-size-fits-all. In fact, landscape video is ideal in some places, such as YouTube. When you are choosing your video size, be mindful of where your content will appear and size accordingly.
Discover more tips on video and growing a YouTube channel here.
Caption Your Video
Captions are a key part of social media video best practices. Overlooking this step can cost you big time in terms of engagement. Shaina shares that 85% of people watch video without sound. That means that if your video is caption-less, only 15% of your audience is hearing you. In fact, more and more social media users indicate that they simply skip over video content without captions.
If you think putting a caption under the video or in the comments is enough, think again. Shaina says that having comments burned onto the video is key. Otherwise, you lose so much potential engagement. She also points out that not all captions are created equal. For instance, Facebook has an auto generator for captions. Of course, these AI-created captions won’t be as accurate as captions you write yourself. That is why it is essential for content creators to weigh the balance between speed and accuracy when using captions.
Use Psychology to Draw in Viewers
Understanding a little bit of human psychology can go a long way when it comes to video content. Shaina says that our brains are hardwired to close loops. When someone reads a headline that says “Check Out The First of Seven Tips”, we naturally want to see that tip and the six others that go with it. That means that viewers are more likely to watch the short video and then follow the link to your site to learn more.
A carefully worded headline or a crafty title can help drive more views to full-length content on your site.
Know Where Your Audience Lives
A common concern shared by content creators involves worrying about not being on enough platforms. In fact, many people mistakenly feel that it is important to have a presence on every social media site. That’s unnecessary according to Shaina.
Instead, she says that content creators need to determine where their audience lives. You might start out on every platform, but consider where your audience is most responsive to content. Then, focus your energy on sharing content and creating video for those platforms.
Learn more here about mastering social media for audience growth.
Pick Platforms You Love
Another component of social media video best practices is to make sure that the platform you focus on is one where you feel fluent and comfortable. The purpose of social media is to make connections to an audience and nurture them. The most effective relationships are ones that you can build confidently. Focusing on social media platforms where you feel that you can be yourself can help you succeed. Your content will feel more authentic and genuine, and your audience will become a loyal fan base.
Play By the Rules of the Platform
Once you identify the platforms that you want to push video onto, make sure you understand the rules of those platforms. Shaina says that content creators need to understand that social media sites want their users to stay on their site. That means that Facebook wants people to stay on Facebook. Twitter wants people to keep scrolling rather than clicking away. As a result, many social media platforms will actually diminish certain content. For example, if you simply drop a URL in a post on social media, the algorithm is likely to bury that piece of content. However, if you embed a short link in the corner of your video, that is a great way to get your video seen and direct viewers to more of your content.
Shaina also advises that you do more than just post your content. In fact, she says that many platforms look favorably on people who frequently interact with others. LinkedIn, for example, heavily rewards people who engage with other people’s content. By knowing how your platforms operate, you can use those platforms more effectively.
Take Content for a Test Run
As you start to navigate these social media video best practices, don’t be afraid to do a trial run. When you post content, take note of the traffic differences. If you want to see the power of video, compare a post with video to a post without to see how they both perform.
Another aspect of social media video content that requires a bit of trial and error involves how you lead audiences back to your site. Some content creators deliver too much on social media. Instead of sharing full videos, offer a small snippet. This snippet will pull viewers to your site where you can cultivate a relationship with them.
Check out this advice on how to build a world-class social media following with insight from Michael Kitces.
Plan Out Your Social Time
It is easy to feel like social media is all-consuming. A key part of finding success on social media involves managing your day purposefully. Instead of simply scrolling on platform after platform, dedicate time in your schedule to be intentional with your social media use. Post your content and interact with others. Using less time that is very pointed will yield better results than spending countless hours scrolling.
To help with this, Shaina suggests that content creators invest their time and perhaps a bit of money. Create a social media content calendar, and then produce your content. For instance, take Mondays to schedule out an entire week’s worth of content. Investing in a scheduling platform can help. By using a schedule intentionally, you can keep social media from taking over your life.
Space It Out
As you schedule your social media content, avoid a key mistake. Shaina says she often sees creators posting all of their assets at the same time on the same day across all platforms. To help you understand why this is an issue, Shaina says you should ask yourself what happens if your audience isn’t on social media at 8 PM on a Tuesday.
Understanding the lifespan of content on social media can help you space out your content more strategically. According to Shaina, the lifespan of a post on Facebook is 5 hours. Twitter is even more fleeting with the lifespan of a post lasting for only 18 minutes. That is why it is vital that you don’t bank on everyone being active on social media at the same time.
Instead you want to stagger your posts. This helps with impressions and engagement. By spreading out when you release content, it is more likely that your audience will engage with your content in various places.
Don’t worry if that seems repetitive. It might be, but that’s actually a good thing. Your audience’s frame of mind might change depending on the platform they are using. That means that they might be more receptive to your content as the week goes on. By sharing your content in different places over the course of a week, you can account for the different headspace your audience is in on different platforms.
Repurposing Content for Different Kinds of Creators
These social media video best practices apply to all types of video content. But the type of video content might also be determined by the kind of content creator you are. Shaina shares tips on ways that bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters can repurpose their content to win with video.
If you are a blogger, perhaps you think that videos don’t apply. That’s not true, says Shaina. Videos can still be instrumental in bringing your site new traffic. She suggests taking about 100 of the most compelling words from a blog post and turning them into an animated video. Those words are the equivalent of about a 90-second snippet. Add in your branding elements, and you’ve got the perfect bite-size video to drive more traffic to your site.
Click here to learn more about how five different bloggers found breakout success.
As a vlogger, you might think you have video content down to an art. Shaina says that while that may be true, it is important for vloggers to ask themselves what the end goal of their video content is. Rather than allowing your audience to get stuck on YouTube, she says it is important to send them somewhere focused and clean. Then, when they get to your site, determine what your call to action is. Whether you are looking to direct your audience to more videos, webinars, or products, make it easy for them to determine the next step and take action.
Learn more about creating content for YouTube and other vlogging tips with this insight from Chelesa Fagan.
Podcasters should also take the plunge into video. One simple way to do this is to create audiograms. Spotlight a thought-provoking part of your episode by pulling that piece of audio and turning it into a moving graphic. Of course, you also want to follow the social media video best practices. That means making sure that your video is the right shape and has captions. You should also include a call to action that reveals where audiences can listen to the full episode.
Check out these other tips for podcast growth strategies from Rich Jones and Marcus Garrett.
Final Thoughts on Social Media Video Best Practice
Video isn’t just the future of social media. It is also the present. Audiences crave video content, and learning how to deliver it can have a huge impact on your product and your brand. If you feel overwhelmed by these social media video best practices, know that you don’t have to implement them all at once. Instead, work on adopting one or two of them and go from there. Before you know it, you will start to develop a video strategy that stops viewers in mid-scroll and brings new eyes to your site.
Are you already using video or looking to start?
Share a social media video best practice strategy you might try in the comments below.