In this article, Aspect Film & Video’s Evelyn Timson discusses optimising video for different social platforms.
Social media and video are a match made in heaven. As the almost ubiquitous uptake of smart phones and increased cable and mobile internet speeds allow us to view video at home and on the move, social media has become the dominant medium on which digital video is discovered, viewed and shared. As a marketer, getting on this bandwagon can bring rich rewards, but getting it right isn’t easy. There is after all, a lot of content out there you’re going to be competing with.
Some Social Media Video Rules of Thumb
When implemented correctly, a well-planned video content strategy is a powerful tool in driving brand awareness, brand loyalty and ultimately new customers and clients to your business. Although a large part of every video strategy will focus on what kind of content you are going to create, a crucial element is ensuring that your message is being received by the right people at the right time and for this it is imperative to have a smart distribution and activation strategy and content that is properly optimised for the audience it is intended for.
Before we look at some specific examples, here are some general rules of thumb when it comes to creating video for social media.
Drop the sales pitch and provide value
Connecting with your audience means knowing who they are and the types of content they will be most receptive to. Everything you publish should provide something of value for that audience. People don’t like being sold things on their social media feeds, so if you’re not informing, entertaining or inspiring then your videos aren’t going to travel far.
Create a content calendar
A content calendar will help you plan your content distribution across various social platforms throughout the year. Understanding what you want your content to do is imperative. A content calendar is a visual aid that will help you think about strategic distribution, whilst considering precisely how every content decision you make will play with your historical or future video output. It is also a powerful logistical aid, so you know when resources will be needed for video productions and when to start planning for your next big campaign.
Create unique content for each social platform
Time and resources are always going to be limited, but striving to present a single idea in different ways that best suit each platform will serve you well in the long term. Not only will this boost engagement with your followers on each social platform, but this personalised and tailored approach really does drive brand loyalty and is the most effective way to ensure your social feeds look and feel consistently fresh.
Get your timing and frequency right
If you’re posting videos to social media when your audience isn’t engaged, your hard work will go unnoticed. Facebook users might be most engaged at 8pm in the evening but that doesn’t mean your LinkedIn connections will be. The best way to determine your ideal posting times will depend on a comprehensive evaluation of your analytics data and a touch of experimentation. By initially varying posting times and analysing data gathered during this process, a sweet spot will be revealed. Look for an ideal balance of both clicks and engagement, which will ensure your content is delivered to the widest and most engaged slices of your audience.
I now want to look more closely at each social media platform in turn, to get an understanding of the nature of your potential audience and what kind of content will naturally appeal. Whilst many don’t define it as strictly a social media platform, we’ll start with YouTube as it is simply too important to ignore.
Optimising Video for YouTube
As YouTube operates very much like a search engine, content optimisation is an essential step for every video you upload and will be more than worth the time investment. Choosing traffic generating keywords, considered titles, captivating thumbnails and attention given to the creation of contextualising keyword rich descriptions are all important aspects of video SEO. However, even before you reach this stage, researching the types of content that are more likely to go viral within your industry or niche is crucial. This can be done by buzz monitoring and researching what kind of content plays well to your existing and subscriber and customer base.
Creating a YouTube channel is essential if you are to build a YouTube following and this acts much in the same way your website or Facebook page would, with all your content displayed in once place. Although it can be tempting to order previously uploaded content by popularity, you should instead place the most focus on the pieces of content that most closely align with your current messaging. Once you have attracted your audience, it is likely that they will search your channel for similar content. Don’t make it difficult for them to find what they’re looking for.
Optimising Video for Twitter
Although Twitter has increased its tweet limit from 140 to 280 characters, brevity is still the key to successful Twitter content. Ensuring you use Twitter to not only effectively communicate your expertise to your audience but demonstrate a willingness to engage with that audience is the key to success on this fast moving platform. Sharing and commenting on other’s content and posts should be considered just as important to your strategy as sharing your own unique content.
The most successful tweets often include embedded content, and whether that is an image, a gif, or an engaging video will depend on the specific message you want to convey. Remember that Twitter audiences are looking for bite-sized pieces of news, tips, and links to articles covering key trending topics.
Things move quickly on Twitter, and hashtags are an important tool for both categorising content and ensuring you are reaching your intended audience. The demographics of Twitter are quite broad, which means effective targeting and thorough testing is imperative to ensure your posts don’t get lost in a large and often noisy pond.
Optimising Video for Facebook
Often considered better for B2C than B2B, Facebook has not only got the potential to reach a large audience but through paid advertising will allow you to target very specific demographics. Facebook is a very personal medium that connects friends and family more than it does businesses, celebrities and institutions. As such, it is the ideal platform on which to place personalised content featuring your team and inspirations. With Facebook users looking to engage in a community atmosphere, using conversational language will encourage engagement and ensure your posts never look too overtly promotional.
Facebook is actively favouring video content in its user’s feeds, so creating content that works well with Facebook video can pay dividends. When you consider that creating native Facebook video fares even better than linked to content (e.g. YouTube hosted video), then the potential for creating customised videos for Facebook is clear.
Facebook video plays on mute by default and is often viewed on mobile by people in public spaces, so adding subtitles so people can still get your message is important. Facebook’s paid advertising and PPC is incredibly customisable and very targeted, so investing in this may be worth your while. Running A/B testing is also recommended to ensure your video is hitting the mark.
Optimising Video for Instagram
Instagram’s demographics are notably younger than the majority of social media platforms. In a similar way to Twitter, mastering the use of hashtags is hugely important. However, developing a strong and immediately recognisable visual image for your brand will be the key to engagement and growth.
Accurately identifying the most aesthetically pleasing portion of your content is vital and if any given piece of content doesn’t contain any visually exquisite imagery, it would be a good idea to create something. This process also provides you with the opportunity to create an image or video for Instagram’s unique dimensions which can ultimately provide an enhanced user experience and boost key metrics.
Optimising Video for LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an astoundingly effective social media platform for three very specific things – business to business (B2B), sales, and hiring/reference checking. For B2B content, sharing information specifically about your business and your industry will perform well. LinkedIn also has the added benefit of allowing you to post content in several different places, with B2B content having the potential to perform equally as well on your company page, in relevant groups, and on your personal profile page.
When creating content specifically for individuals, focusing on how you can add value to their lives in a professional capacity is key. As a platform LinkedIn combines the influence of its well-connected users with powerful social and search capabilities. Your video content should be focused on instigating professional conversations and using the responses you receive to create future informative and valuable content.
Evelyn Timson is the Managing Director of UK video production agency, Aspect Film & Video. She has years of experience working with some of the world’s most recognisable brands like UNICEF, Nationwide, North Face, TaylorMade adidas, Slimming World and Farrow & Ball. You can connect with Aspect on Facebook or Twitter or see a selection of their award winning work on their YouTube Channel.