Tips to do video well on social media


If a photo is worth a thousand words, imagine the power of a video. Done well, video more naturally captures how people convey—and digest—information, from humorous to helpful.

Video is becoming a primary player on social media channels—and we’re talking far beyond YouTube. Here’s our proof:

  • Twitter just rolled out video on their mobile app (30-seconds max)

JCPenney’s holiday campaign “Just Got Jingled” featured videos of customers receiving surprise gifts from strangers in stores (on JCPenney’s dime). Nice timing for the department store chain to pick up Twitter followers in time for January white sales and Valentine’s Day gift season.

  • Instagram, which uses 15-second videos, is the fastest-growing major social media network
  • Video consumption on mobile continues to skyrocket (thanks, 4G and LTE, plus new no-limit data plans)
  • Video on Facebook grew by 50% from May – July, 2014 (remember the outpouring of videos and support in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?) Sample of powerful video on Facebook and other social media platforms
  • Each day on Facebook, people watch more than one billion videos; Facebook is shifting its post priorities, too (as always), and videos will likely carry more “weight” in organic reach
  • 52% of senior business executives watch video for work at least weekly (source: Forbes)

 How should you do video?

1. Start strong

Begin with a compelling image that catches peoples’ attention. Otherwise, you’ll lose them in a couple seconds. Consider starting with a question, the end result or other impactful images.

2. Keep videos short

Plan your content before you hit “record” so it all fits within the platform’s time limit. If there’s no limit, keep videos to 30 seconds or less anyway.

Consider stop and starts like this video:

3. Utilize video as a customer service tool

How about answering questions submitted via social media with a video? Perhaps a retailer could show the back of a dress to a prospective online purchaser. A manufacturer could shoot a quick video of the inside of a fuel tank or other component, or illustrate how to install a part.

For instance, Mattress Firm Customer Service uses video, often in live format, to answer customers’ questions. They may ask a customer service representative to prove that a mattress cover is waterproof or compare the size of two pillow options.

Mattress Firm uses live video for customer service.

Photo source:

4. Make your point(s), but no more than three

Don’t overload videos with minor facts; just stick to one, two or three simple messages.

5. Stay centered on viewers

People care about how your product or cause helps them. Frame messaging so it informs or inspires viewers. People know a contrived, sales-ey tone when they hear it and don’t like it in social media. Stick to a “human voice,” even if it means also pointing out some potential challenges. Psst: This type of content is also share-worthy!

As video in social media continues to grow, we advise keeping the focus on content relevant to your audiences. Need more guidance? We can do everything from talking through a social media video strategy to helping shoot and post videos for you.

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