For a couple of years now, Facebook has been loudly shouting about how video is the future of social media, of the internet… OF EVERYTHING. While that remains to be seen (to be frank, we’re a little concerned by Facebook’s underlying motive because they supposedly inflated all their figures in order to make their prediction seem more legitimate), there is no denying the benefits of producing some video for your business.
If you have the time to chill out and read our blog, you’re in for some helpful guidelines on basic production, roll-out, and content ideas, as well as suggestions on different tools/platforms to use and what format works best on the different channels out there. If however, you are a busy gal or guy, and just want a quick overview, skip straight to our video for the key points. Thus proving my point before I even make it, thank you very much.
That’s the first point I’m going to make; people require different approaches from your brand. Having well-written, thoughtful copy on every page of your website is your first and most essential step, but some people do not have the time or inclination to read 2,000 words on why you are the best choice in your market. They will bounce from your website like Mario bounces for coins – enthusiastically and without much thought.
Some people are on their lunch break eating a sandwich with one hand and scrolling on their phone with the other. They may want a 30-second video explaining your service or highlighting the product that brought them to your page in the first place. Alternatively, if you work in a customer-facing role, they may want to get a feel for who you are. Either way, information is easier to absorb when you engage people on multiple levels and allow for a passive intake.
Video is great for SEO
On top of giving the customers what they want, you’ll also be feeding the search engine monsters one of their favourite foods. Optimising your website for search is a timely process, and combines many facets to help your company show up first when people are looking for the goods or services you provide. Including videos on your website is part of this process, because it will increase your legitimacy as a market contender in the eyes of our search overlords. Use WordPress? There are plugins you can add to your website that index all the videos on your website and feed that information back to Google. This will dramatically increase your ranking and the overall value of your website to the business.
Tell your story your way
With video, you have an opportunity to provide a variety of messages in one fell swoop. Through a combination of text, imagery and audio you can convey things immediately that otherwise might take up your customer’s time, as well as entice them. Take this Dublin-based bakery, Valentino, as an example.
They have used footage of their locale and their bakers hard at work, and show the end result of that work (i.e. delicious cakes that make me want to leave work this instant and just hang out there all day, eating and loving life). They tell a story as well as highlighting their exceptional capabilities. Now, I know what you’re thinking: that is easier done with pastry than with plumbing utensils or financial plans. Not to worry, there are a lot of alternative approaches you can take to tell your story. Check out this scaffolding company based in Leeds, UK!
LA Scaffolding went viral on LinkedIn recently with their promotional video, which is no easy task because LinkedIn is an odd duck. They brought a sense of humour to a subject most people would find incredibly difficult to make funny and made a very watchable video. Even in struggling to be in front of the camera, they still manage to get their best selling points across and leave the impression that what they do, they do well.
Another approach is an explainer video, introducing a customer to a concept or service they may be somewhat unfamiliar with. These are best accompanied with a longer piece of text or a blog, to build on the ideas that the video has put forth. Here is an example of one we did here at Engage for a client:
We would designate this as a service video, which we create a variety of and place on website pages. This will increase SEO, especially when done across multiple pages. It can also be shared on social media to build brand awareness and to generate organic leads.
Video on social media
Each social media platform has a preferred video format, and this can be fairly frustrating for anyone new to the game. Sticking with the traditional horizontal (16:9 frame size) is a great place to start because it can be easily uploaded to all platforms. Additionally, it looks the best on YouTube, which is the easiest way to share and embed your videos.
For a more advanced tactic, you can create specifically for different channels once you know their preferences. Here is a quick, but by no means comprehensive, breakdown by channel.
Video on Facebook
Facebook will accept all formats, but we’ve noticed that a square (1:1) video will perform better in terms of reach and engagement. It fits neatly into a timeline, whereas with a wider video the edges may be missing. Facebook is really pushing for video engagement at the moment as explained in this blog from OneZero.
Facebook has also come out and stated a preference for longer format video, as they are looking to reposition themselves as an entertainment platform as well as a social one. If you are working on a series of videos, perhaps with a common thread connecting them, Facebook will be very happy with you and will in essence help push your content. We recommend videos that are 1-10 minutes long and end on a cliffhanger.
Top tip: include your logo within the first 3 seconds, this is how Facebook measures views and at least guarantees that all counted views are people who have seen your company’s name on their screens.
Video on Twitter
Twitter is nearly the opposite of Facebook, in that it much prefers shorter videos. You should aim to keep them below 45 seconds for the best results, but it will allow up to 140 seconds. In our experience, maybe also heavily feature adorable animals, because Twitter is a platform of words and people only have the patience for interruptions that break the monotony of constant political commentary. The account @mostwatchedvids tracks and retweets the most watched videos on the site on any given day, and features many wonderful #doggos.
We recommend a square format for Twitter too, because it looks best in their timeline and wider video will be cut off.
Video on LinkedIn
LinkedIn, like Facebook, has been making much of the time people spend watching video on their platform. Stick to square here if possible, for the same reasons as on other platforms. In terms of video content, LinkedIn is a fiend for the inspiring or revelatory. This feel-good approach actually makes a nice change from a lot of what happens on the rest of the internet. If your company has any environmental or community-minded plans in place, LinkedIn is the ideal home for this information. It also works well as a showcase, so if there is any work you are particularly proud of, pop it up there and wow the masses.
Video on Instagram
Instagram is a world unto itself in terms of video. If you are posting a video as a block in your grid, square works best. However, with the launch of IGTV, Instagram has become the first platform to promote the use of vertical video. I’ve already written a blog about marketing your business using IGTV if you’d like some specific tips.
Insta has recently added an option to post a preview of your IGTV to your feed. This helps to drive traffic to the oft-overlooked IGTV corner, but be warned that the preview shows up as square in the feed. If your video contains text, it may be cut off. Ensure that your title is centred for the beginning, and hopefully it will make your audience click through to the video proper. Your IGTV video length should be 1-10 minutes, and grid posts can be 3-60 seconds. Story posts are another story for another blog, so stay tuned for that one.
Tools for Video Production
There is a vast array of tools you can use to make videos, and almost all of them allow for differing levels of experience. We’ve tried several from this list, and can recommend PowToon and Animoto. PowToon comes with the option of creating multiple formats of the same video (e.g. square/horizontal/vertical), and ultimately provides you with more freedom of creativity whilst still giving you a myriad of templates to choose from. So it is our best pick from the online options.
If you are worried about getting footage, don’t be. There are plenty of subscription-based stock video services out there. Check out this list of free resources you can use.
For a more professional approach, or if this is something you’re planning on really getting into, use Adobe’s Premiere Pro. It essentially gives you the freedom to do whatever you want, but can be tricky to use as its interface is far from intuitive. Udemy has some excellent courses to help speed up the learning processes, and they are all very affordable.