Video is quickly becoming the go-to content type for generating engagement on social media:

  • Facebook videos have a 10x higher reach than YouTube links. (source: Socialbakers)
  • Engagement growth for video is outpacing photos on Instagram. (source: NewsWhip)
  • Tweets with video are 6x more likely to be Retweeted than Tweets with photos. (source: Twitter)

Sooner or later your clients are going to want a piece of the action, too.

The question is: Are you all set to create engaging social media videos and keep them happy?

In this guide, you'll discover what type of videos work best on social media and what tools you need to create them. (Hint: it's not expensive.) Plus there's a quick tutorial on how to create your first social media video from text.

What type of video works best on social media?

social-media-videos-01-what-works

Each social network has its quirks, and you need to tailor content to each platform to maximize social engagement. Video content is no different. Although there are some overlaps, you'll need to tweak your video content accordingly. Let's take a quick look at some of the platform-specific guidance.

Facebook video

Example from AO (Let’s Go!):


  1. Capture attention early: Short-form videos - under 15 seconds - are an excellent way to engage consumers as they scroll. Start with the most captivating elements, incorporate your client's brand message and identity early, and write engaging copy.
  2. Keep your message simple: People scroll quickly through their feed so make sure your message is clear and direct. Ask yourself: "What is the most important message I need to deliver in this video?"
  3. Design for sound off: Videos on Facebook play without sound by default. Create your video with sound but also include text, subtitles or captions to convey your message if the video is muted.
  4. Experiment with size: Mobile devices give you the option to watch videos in landscape, vertical or square mode. Run some tests to see which format works best for you.

Instagram video

Example from 1minute.diy:


  1. Embrace vertical format: With more users watching video on smartphones it makes sense to use the vertical video format pioneered on Snapchat. You can also experiment with splitting the screen.
  2. Animate your ideas:Use 2D, 3D, stop-motion or motion graphics to bring your ideas to life and capture the attention of viewers.
  3. Try a slideshow: Not all video has to be cutting edge. You can use Facebook Slideshow to create a professional video from multiple photos.
  4. Add captions: Create a video that makes sense without sound by adding captions, subtitles or text.

Twitter video

Example from Animoto on how to shoot a video interview:

  1. Hook your audience: Try using quick movement or a standout graphic to make an impact in the crucial first few seconds.
  2. Flash your logo: Create an immediate association with your brand or product before people scroll on.
  3. Feature people: Research shows that engagement increases when you feature human faces in your video content. Create a natural sequence of events to tell your story.
  4. Use captions: Most people watch videos on Twitter with their mobile device in silent mode, so include captions to keep your audience engaged.

LinkedIn video

Example from Vodafone Ready Business:

Good LinkedIn video example from Vodafone

  1. Get your message across: Viewer attention drops after the first 10 seconds, so make sure you show the most important part of your message in the opening of your video.
  2. Use visual storytelling: Once you've grabbed your audience's attention keep them engrossed with graphics, people, and text to deliver your message.
  3. Silent movies rule: The majority of LinkedIn users will watch your video with the sound off so consider adding subtitles and captions.
  4. Optimize video length: LinkedIn found that videos under 30 seconds - ideal for improving brand awareness - had a 200% increase in view completion rates.

5 tools for creating social media video content

socia-media-videos-03-tools

Creating a video for social media doesn't have to involve loads of expensive equipment and hours of professional filming. That's not to say you should aim for low quality.

Let's take a look at a few of the tools available that let you create videos from existing blog posts, quotes, and photos, as well as original short video clips and animations.

Instagram apps

Instagram has a couple of native apps that are ideal for creating short videos.

Use Boomerang to create videos that loop back and forth. Ideal for adding motion to your product or people to capture attention.

You can also try Hyperlapse when you need to speed up your footage to create an easy time-lapse or keep it at normal speed with added stability. This type of video works brilliantly for showcasing the long hours that go into creating a product or service. 


Biteable

Biteable - The World's Simplest Video Maker - is already used by over 3 million video marketers to create video ads,explainer videos,infographics,animations and more. The free version limits your storage and projects, and only lets you publish to Facebook and YouTube. The premium version has more features and allows you to download and publish your video on any platform.

You can start creating your video using a pre-made template or by choosing from hundreds of animated, live action or photo scenes in many different styles. Then customize it by adding your own text, photos, colors, and sound, before selecting a soundtrack from the library.

Animoto

Animoto lets you create professional slideshow videos using a combination of photos, video clips, and text. It's an excellent way to get your brand noticed and engaged with customers using either square (1:1) or landscape (16:9) videos.

Here's their 3-step creation process:

  1. Set the tone - choose a storyboard style and music.
  2. Customize it - add your photos, video clips, and text.
  3. Finalize it - produce and share.

You can publish the video directly to Facebook and Instagram, or download and share on other platforms.

Animaker

Animaker lets you create studio-quality animated videos without the expense of using a 'big' studio. Animation is a great way to captivate your audience and get your message across, and Animaker has many styles to choose from including:

  • Video Infographics
  • Vertical Video Maker
  • Whiteboard Video Maker
  • 2D Video Maker
  • Intro Maker
  • Photo Video Maker
  • Promo Video Maker
  • Animaker Voice

Whatever you choose there are plenty of lively characters and scenes for you to create your animated story.

Quik

Quik for mobile is an iOS and Android app from GoPro. You can create quick videos by selecting photos and video clips from your GoPro or mobile device. Or you can let Quik scan your library and automatically find your best action.

Either way, Quik adds transitions and effects, and then syncs everything to the beat of the music. You have the option to use your own music or select from Quik's library, and you can customize your video with text overlays before choosing between the cinema or square format.

When you've finished editing, you can post to social media or save to your camera roll.

Quick tutorial: How to create your first social media video using only text

If you've already created an article, white paper or other text-based content for your client, then Lumen5 can transform it into a social video in minutes.

Here's how it works.

Step 1 - Convert your text to video

There are three ways to convert your existing text source into a basic video in Lumen5.

  • Enter a link

The first option is to enter a link to an existing article or blog post:

Lumen5 Tutorial - Use your article to create a video

Lumen5 automatically fetches the content and populates your storyboard:

Lumen can automatically create a storyboard based on written content

  • Copy and paste

The second option is to copy and paste the text from an offline document:

Lumen5 tutorial - Copy and pasting content works too

Lumen5 begins building your video:

Lumen automatically starts creating a video for you

  • RSS feeds

If you want a more automated approach, the third option is to enter one or more RSS feeds. Lumen5 checks for new posts each day, and if there's nothing new, it uses older posts from the feed:

Lumen5 Tutorial - Automated approach to video making with RSS feeds

Soon you'll have a library of instant videos that you can edit and publish.

Step 2 - Edit your video

Now you have the basis of the video, and it's time to start the editing process.

  • Arrange your storyboard

Highlight the portion of text you want to include in your video and Lumen5 creates a new scene:

Lumen5 Tutorial - Arranging your storyboard

Lumen5 automatically calculates the length of the scene, the positioning of the text, and which words to highlight. But you always have the option to override any of these suggestions and edit the video as you wish.

  • Select your media

For each scene, you can choose a background from the library of videos, photos, and icons. Lumen5 also includes any images from the article. Alternatively, you can upload your own media:

Add media to your social media videos in Lumen5

  • Add some music

The same applies to your video music. Use one of the millions of copyright-free audio tracks or upload your own file:

Add music to your social videos in Lumen5

  • Apply your branding

You can ensure each scene remains consistent with your brand identity by:

(a) Setting the color:

Adding branding on Lumen5 - color

(b) Adding and positioning your logo as a watermark:

Adding branding on Lumen5 - logo

(c) Selecting or uploading your preferred font:

Adding branding on Lumen5 - font

  • Format your video

As you edit each slide Lumen5 calculates the total running time. You can alter the length of the video by choosing a Fast, Normal or Slow transition speed. And you can select a landscape or square format:

Formatting social videos in Lumen5

Step 3 - Publish your video

You can preview your video at any point in the editing process to ensure everything looks fine. When you're ready, click the 'Finish' button and Lumen5 renders a final version. From there you can publish the video straight to Facebook or download it to your computer to publish on other platforms:

Publishing and sharing features for social videos in Lumen5

Here's the short video we produced using a previous Sendible article:


Final Thoughts

Video content is definitely 'in' and it looks like it's here to stay for a while. Each social platform is promoting the use of native video content to attract and engage your audience. And the figures prove it's working.

Over to you: Tell us your experience of using video on social media. What tools work best for you?

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David Hartshorne

David Hartshorne

David Hartshorne is a freelance writer working with business owners and marketing teams to create detailed, actionable content that resonates with their audience. When he’s not writing about digital marketing and technology, you’ll find him chilling with a thriller in Spain.

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