Did you know that by 2021, 82% of global internet traffic will be video…? (CISCO)

Of all the online content out there, video is by far the most intriguing format for generating audience engagement. Video has become the star of digital communications and social media users absolutely love it.

Online habits are changing. According to Facebook, 75% of social media traffic will be on mobile by the end of 2020. However, on mobile, everything goes faster: for example, Facebook Mobile users spend half as much time weighing up the quality of content (1.7 seconds) compared to those who consume it from a PC (2.5 seconds).

The numbers don't lie:

  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined (Brightcove).
  • 55% of people consume video more than other type of content (HubSpot).
  • 70% of consumers prefer the video format and for 90% of those consumers, video help them make a purchasing decision (Teester, 2019)

Video and audience engagement seem to go hand in hand. Yet, a high-quality video can go under the radar if the right tools aren't mastered.

How to make your videos as binge-worthy as a Netflix series?

Read our guide!

Social video or marketing video? 🤔

Social videos have become the preferred format for social media strategies.

They are created specifically for social media with the aim of engaging and reaching a wider audience. They are intended to:

  • Attract attention through original and playful content
  • Arouse the curiosity of online viewers
  • Encourage web users to perform a specific action (interact, subscribe, visit your website...)
  • Generate reactions

It is, therefore, a question of using social media platforms as levers to gain visibility online and to promote your brand or company.

How is a social video different from a marketing video? A marketing video often contains an explicit promotional message, while a social video is more subtle: its role is to promote your brand or company indirectly through entertaining, share-worthy content.

By definition, social videos generate more social engagement.

So, how do you make one?

Define the objectives of your video 🎯

Creating an engaging video leaves nothing to chance — it is the result of a carefully thought-out process.

To make sure your video achieves its potential, your planning should be structured around these 5 questions:

  • What: What is the main theme of your video? Focus on only one theme at a time to avoid fragmenting your message and losing your audience. The attention of viewers only lasts a few seconds, so if the video goes in all directions, social media users will have no qualms about moving on to other content.
  • Who: Your video is not for everyone, but it must reach your target. A young, dynamic executive will not have the same expectations as a student of visual arts. In short, your video must appeal to your target audience. Make sure it is well defined.
  • How: What form will your video take? You have plenty of options to choose from: an interview, a report, a presentation, a news video... the sky's the limit! Also think about the tone you want to use (sober, serious, humorous, relaxed?)
  • Where: On which social media platforms will your video be posted? This question is important in order to adapt your video to each platform (both in form and content). Keep in mind that your ideal target audience will not be present in the same way on all social media platforms.
  • Why: The secret of engagement lies in the precise definition of your objectives. What result do you want to achieve with your video? What action must the audience perform after viewing your video? Video content on social media platforms must fit into your overall editorial line.

Attract attention from the first second 👀

Welcome to the era of ‘snack content’: a fast, easy, effortless way to consume content. You only have a few seconds to draw a user's attention to your video before they wander off elsewhere. In fact, Facebook and Instagram only count a ‘view’ from 3 seconds into a video.

The first mission of your video is, therefore, to catch your audience’s attention as rapidly as possible. So, how is this achieved?

With the form, be concise and start with a strong hook. For example, use a punchy title in text for your video intro. The introduction must deliver the essential message of your video, and you should use relevant, eye-catching visuals to help deliver this message. Maybe you’ve created a video interview? Use some bloopers from the B-roll footage in your intro to attract your audience’s attention. Or maybe you want to promote an event? Show some attractive images or video footage of the location, alongside the key details (date and theme).

Basically, there is one essential ingredient to provoke engagement. It's emotion. Hook your audience with surprise, fear, joy or laughter. You can use storytelling to keep your viewer on the edge of their seats: get your message across by telling a captivating story.

Remember that engaging videos avoid commercial jargon.

Favour native videos 👶

The algorithms on social media platforms love native videos. Why is that? The goal of every social network is to keep its users on the platform and encourage them to interact with each other.

Native video means that you must upload it via the platform where it will be published, not just share a link to a video hosted on another site. Be aware that the algorithms of all social networks penalize "external" videos by simply restricting their visibility.

Effectively, if you share a video on Linkedin that is hosted on YouTube, its organic reach will be lower than if you upload it directly on LinkedIn. On Facebook, for example, native videos have a reach ten times greater than YouTube link sharing. (Socialbakers).

In addition, uploading the video natively will give you access to more advanced audience statistics.

Adapt your video to each social media platform ⚙️

To generate engagement, you need to adapt and share relevant content for each platform. Every network has its own codes and users are not looking for the same kind of content on each one.

Share videos on your social networks strategically, knowing the specifics for each target audience and adapting the content accordingly.

Here is an overview of the main social media platforms:

Video on Twitter

Did you know that audiences who see an integrated video ad on Twitter are 70% more likely to remember your brand or company? (Twitter)

Twitter is mainly a monitoring tool where visitors are primarily looking for information. But this doesn't mean that they don’t participate in the conversation: a tweet accompanied by a video provokes 10 times more engagement. (Hootsuite).

Video is also a great way to get around the 280-character limit of a written tweet: in a one-minute video, you can say a lot more!

💡 Note that the maximum duration of a video is limited to 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

What kind of videos to create for Twitter?

  • A "Fast and Curious" to interview an influencer in your industry
  • A social video, such as ‘Top 5 of the hottest trends in your industry’
  • A daily news digest ‘slideshow’

Video on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the first professional social network and has over 660 million users worldwide.

Currently, this platform is an Eldorado of organic reach: you can reach thousands of people without paying a cent. In addition, LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter (Hubspot). LinkedIn generates more than 50% of social traffic to B2B sites and is considered the most credible content source (Sumo).

So, what about the video format on LinkedIn? The numbers don’t lie: users spend three times more time watching videos than static content, and video campaigns have a 50% engagement rate. (LinkedIn).

Be aware that videos posted from your personal profile will have more visibility than those posted from a company page because the algorithm favors exchanges between individuals.

💡A video posted on LinkedIn must last somewhere between 3 seconds and 10 minutes.

What kind of videos to create for LinkedIn?

  • An expert interview with one of your innovative partners
  • A teaser of your last webinar (with the full version available on your site)
  • A behind-the-scenes look at your office space, to promote your employer brand

Video on Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg's famous social network has over 2.2 billion monthly-active users worldwide.

Facebook is a more entertainment-oriented platform. Like other social media, videos are highly consumed and achieve high engagement rates. The average engagement rate for a video on Facebook is 6%, compared to 4.8% for a post with a photo and 3.36% for a post with a link. (We Are Social).

💡To capture users' attention, hook them in during the first 8 seconds of your video.

What kind of videos to create for Facebook?

  • A video-report of the last event where your company was present
  • A dynamic video montage of the winners of your last video contest
  • A mini-report on a recent innovation in your industry

Video on Instagram

Over 1 billion people worldwide are using this photo and video sharing network.

In this kingdom of influencers, aesthetics come first: all users can share beautiful photos and edit them thanks to the built-in filters.

But video is not to be overlooked as you have the possibility to broadcast them in 3 places:

  • In Stories (in 15-second segments)
  • In the news feed (3 to 60 seconds)
  • On IGTV for longer videos (15 seconds to 10 minutes)

Stories are a strategic format for videos: even if they are short-lived (visible for 24 hours only), their organic reach is much greater than those published in the feed.

💡Want to know more about videos on Instagram? That's lucky! Here's an in-depth article on the subject.

What types of videos to create for Instagram?

  • An unveiling of one of your new products by an influencer (Story)
  • A tutorial for one of your products (in the News Feed)
  • A mini-reportage in the "Brut." style (in IGTV)

Video on Youtube

As far as video is concerned, YouTube is undeniably the king of social media. The platform has over 1.9 billion logged in monthly users. But Google's product also serves another interesting purpose: it is the second most-used search engine after Google. (Brandwatch).

YouTubers are usually seeking information and entertainment: 65% of people use it to help them solve a problem (Google). It is, therefore, the perfect place to post how-to or explainer videos.

💡The maximum duration of a video on YouTube is... 12h. But don't abuse it! Short and sweet seems to be the golden rule for videos, across the board.

What types of videos to create for Youtube?

  • A dynamic interview with one of your interns, to attract up-and-coming talent to your company
  • A video montage of the latest entries in your video challenge
  • A tutorial or explainer video that helps your B2B clients use your product

Should you make a video for each social network?

Let's be honest, creating content takes a lot of time and energy. If your company is present on several social media platforms, shooting one video per platform can quickly become exhausting. There is, however, an incredibly useful strategy for multiplying your videos across different social media platforms: recycle and repurpose!

Sometimes it is enough to simply readapt a single video to each platform. For example, you can edit down a video posted on Youtube into bite-sized clips for Instagram.

However, don't forget to adapt the description of the video for each platform and make it appropriate for particular audiences, as well adapting the format of the video specifically for each platform (both of these points will be covered in detail later in the article… what luck!)

Don't forget the subtitles 🔉

85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound (Digiday) and this is similarly the case on most social networks. Unsurprisingly, users often watch videos on the move or in a shared workspace (on the sly 😉), and don't always have their headphones handy. So your video needs to be understandable without the sound.

Subtitle your video

If your video is an interview, you must subtitle it. Subtitles are essential for capturing attention and to keep the viewer watching the video. Many users will view your video from their mobile screens: if they can’t understand the content, i.e. what’s being said, they will scroll past your video soon enough. Make sure your subtitles are high-quality and in time with the speech, otherwise their effect will be counterproductive. As you probably know, automatically generated subtitles can sometimes give random — and quite hilarious — results...

This is quite often the case with YouTube, which offers an automatic subtitling tool for uploaded videos. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always live up to expectations. Because it is an automatic transcription, the results are often hit-and-miss, suggesting that the technology is not quite there (yet…) In short, subtitles will often have to be corrected manually.

In addition, there are many online tools out there for subtitling videos, which vary in ease-of-use.

Use text transitions

Another way to make your video comprehensible without sound is to use text transitions (text screens). If you are making a social video in the ‘Brut.’ or ‘Combini’ style, you can highlight the essential elements of the content by using text transitions or animated numbers which appear on screen. If you're making an interview, include title screens for each sequence. You can also formulate each question in text format. This will give your video rhythm and structure while allowing audiences to understand it without the sound.

Adjust the format: vertical, square or horizontal 💠

How to film your video to avoid the infamous black bars that appear around the edges when you upload it to a media player? What format should you choose to make your video fit the mobile screen?

When in doubt, choose square — it’s the universal format for the main social media platforms because it is well-suited to fit mobile screens.

If you can look at the technical side of things square in the eye and declare “I’m not afraid,” then here are the specifications for each format.

Video format for Instagram

For the News Feed:

  • Horizontal format: 1.9:1 I 600 x 315 px
  • Square format: 1:1 I 600 x 600 px
  • Vertical format: 4:5 I 600 x 750 px

For Stories:

Square format: 16:9 to 4:5 I 1080 x 1920 px

For IGTV:

  • Vertical format : 9:16 I 1080 x 1920 px

Video format for Facebook

For the News Feed:

  • Horizontal format: 16:9 I 1280 x 720 px
  • Vertical format: 9:16 I 720 x 1280 px

For Stories

1:91 to 9:16, 500 x 5000 px

Video format for Twitter

  • Vertical format: 1:2.39,  1280 x 1024 px
  • Horizontal format: 2.39:1, 1280 x 1024 px

Video format for LinkedIn

  • Vertical format: 1:2.4
  • Horizontal format: 2.4:1

Video format for YouTube

  • Horizontal format: 16:9
  • Vertical format: 4:3 (letterbox)

💡 With PlayPlay, you don't have to worry about this — you can change the format of any video in just one click!

You’re still there…? Good, let’s continue 😊

video social media

Insert a relevant call-to-action 👉

The call-to-action (CTA) is the big red button that will skyrocket engagement for your video.

Engagement is the ultimate goal of any social video, and the most useful KPI for any social media manager.

The CTA is the action you will ask your audience to perform after viewing your video.

Effective video engagement should lead to concrete marketing results, such as increased traffic to your website, increased subscriber numbers, increased lead conversion or direct sales. Again, it all depends on the objectives you set beforehand.

With a CTA, you could ask your audience to:

  • Subscribe to your Youtube channel
  • Visit your website (include a link in the description)
  • Download a bonus
  • Subscribe to your newsletter
  • Book a meeting

The possibilities are truly endless.

To increase engagement even further, you could ask your audience to:

  • Share your video (except for LinkedIn where shares are counterproductive, because the algorithm doesn’t favor them)
  • ‘React’ to the video to increase its visibility
  • Leave a comment

The algorithms on social media platforms love comments. Posts with lots of comments will, therefore, have greater outreach. Why? Because all social networks encourage human interaction. They’re supposed to be social platforms, after all.

How do you get users to comment on your video? There are several ways to do this:

  • Ask an open-ended question at the end of your video, and ask users to comment on it.
  • Suggest a game or puzzle, and call for comments.
  • Propose a bonus or prize to those who will answer in comments.

Whatever happens, if your social video is created with your target audience in mind, there's no doubt that they’ll want to join the conversation and buzz!

Pimp out the post description 💄

Whichever the social media platform, the description (or post) is paramount. Each network gives you the opportunity to write a few words to accompany your video: make the most of every feature at your disposal!

💡Facebook allows you to write up to 63,206 characters, LinkedIn up to 1250 and Twitter up to 280.

The role of the description is to arouse curiosity so that the viewer can’t resist clicking ‘play’ on the video.

Descriptions also have another use: they contain the keywords that allow you to reference your video. Keep in mind that web users are increasingly using social media as search engines to find answers to their questions.

How to write your description:

  • Start with a catchphrase or hook that arouses curiosity.
  • In a few words, explain what the video is about (without spoilers!). You can use a quote, an extract or a quick summary of the issue which the video content is adressing. Of course, save the best for last: the answer to the question will be in your video.
  • Insert a call-to-action... and don't forget to insert the link, if it leads to your website!
  • Add hashtags : a hashtag is a relevant keyword that reinforces the searchability of your videos. On platforms such as Instagram or LinkedIn, users can subscribe to hashtags that match their interests and discover your company through these keywords.

Promote your video on social media 💄

To increase the visibility of your video, give it a little boost by fuelling the engagement rocket.

There are two ways to do this:

Promote your video organically

Organic reach means that your video can reach thousands of people in a natural way, without you having to pay for it. Be aware that organic reach is strongly influenced by algorithms that favor certain content. On LinkedIn, for example, the algorithm will favor a post containing a native video and penalize a post that links to a video hosted elsewhere (on YouTube, for example).

Organic reach doesn't mean leaving things to chance. Even if your video is top quality, it may go completely unnoticed if you don't give it a boost. What a shame that would be!

Here are a few tips:

  • The right place: You have to broadcast your video on the right platform, where your target audience is mainly located. If, for example, you are primarily targeting professionals, your network of choice will be LinkedIn.
  • The right time: Each network has its own specific days and times of peak-activity: these are moments when you have the opportunity to reach the greatest number of people. There are no hard and fast rules, it all depends on your target. If, for example, you are addressing senior executives, the best time to capture their attention will probably be early in the morning and at the end of the day. On LinkedIn, for example, the busiest days are Tuesdays and Thursdays. The best time to publish would be around 7am and 5pm. Test several time slots to see which one works best and see which posts achieve the highest engagement.
  • Involve the right people: To give your video more traction, you can mention/tag relevant and influential people in your industry and invite them to offer their opinion by commenting. You can also send them your video by private message.

You can also boost the visibility of your video through paid promotions. Each platform has its own rules for advertising management.

To achieve a good return on investment, define beforehand:

  • Your target audience: The more precise it is, the greater the likelihood that you're reaching the right people. Try to test your video with multiple audiences and compare the results.
  • Your objectives: They can be of various types: to boost awareness, to generate engagement or to encourage conversions. Choose one objective at a time.
  • Your promotion airtime: Your budget is not unlimited. Define, in advance, the duration of the sponsored broadcast of your video. Again, you can test your video for a short period of time (e.g. 24 hours) and analyze the results in order to achieve better results down the line.

And there you have it! You now hold all the cards in hand for creating a high-impact video for social media. Just watch that engagement take off!

If you have specific questions, post them as comments and get involved! (a little example of a call-to-action for you 😉)