Video for social media

A lot of our clients these days consider video to be the most valuable content for their social media channels. It’s a smart strategy; research overwhelmingly points to video as the most-viewed and most-shared content on the web.

Creating “social video” is a lot different than what many of us in the production world are accustomed to. Here are some things we’ve learned.

Be brutally honest.

Social media is built on trusting relationships. If you want to be invited into those relationships, you have to earn trust. Your message should reflect sincerity, concern, compassion — not a sales pitch. Allow your audience behind the curtain to see the real you, warts and all.

Keep it short.

Last year, the average length of the 50 most-shared videos on the Internet was 2 minutes and 54 seconds. When asked “How long should a video be?” it’s often been said that it should be only long enough to make its point. Make your point quickly.

Start out strong.

YouTube Analytics tracks viewership second by second for a video’s duration. You have only 15 seconds to pull the viewer in. If you haven’t done it by then, viewership drops off dramatically. So — don’t save your best stuff for last.

Keep it focused.

Each video you create should have a single, very specific focus. If you’re a restaurant, don’t talk about your entire menu … instead, show how the chef makes the Insalata Caprese by hand, and where to go to get the best fresh basil leaves.

Quality matters.

Assuming your video doesn’t involve an infant biting his brother’s finger or a cat riding a skateboard, production value does in fact matter. The videos you post on your organization’s social channels are a reflection of who you are. There is a space between “crappy YouTube video” and “network tv production” — and that’s where you want to be.

Make it fun.

Let’s say you’re a college and you want to make a video showing how great dorm life is. You could interview a bunch of students hanging out in their rooms (boring,) OR you could create a Top Ten List of “Ways to Get Along With Your Roommate.” Much more fun!

Give ’em a reason to share.

David Murdico says there are seven reasons people share online video: (1) to share an experience, (2) to discover something new, (3) to validate a belief or position, (4) to reflect a viewpoint or identity, (5) to elicit a reaction, (6) to raise awareness and be part of a cause, and (7) to help friends and network. If your video is doing any one of those things, it’ll get shared.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.