How to Make Social Videos That Your Followers Will Want to Share
Social videos are a killer way to engage your audience and connect with them. But if nobody’s really hitting play and paying attention, they’ll be of no use.
In some aspects, social video marketing isn't that different from the cinema industry.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not comparing The Godfather Trilogy to Kim Kardashian’s live streaming (at least not the first two movies). What I’m talking about is how there are many wonderful films out there that nobody knows about... and many run-of-the-mill pieces that have been a huge commercial success.
And the same happens with social video content. You can come up with and upload a fantastic explainer video, or the perfect how-to, and yet have them go unnoticed for the most part.
And then you start to wonder, what went wrong? The video was perfect!
Sadly, a great video isn’t enough to engage people if your social strategy isn’t great too. You need to pair your video posts with effective techniques that actually attract more viewers (and more shares!). And that’s why we’re here today!
I’m about to show you some amazing tips that every content marketer or would-be influencer should know about when uploading a video to their social accounts. Let’s dive in!
Make Your Video Short
When was the last time you watched a 10-minute video on your Instagram feed? Probably never, right? The truth is hardly anybody would watch such a long video entirely, least of all share it. That's why I strongly recommend you to keep your videos short. Around 2 minutes or less, in fact, as viewers are unlikely to stay all the way ‘til the end otherwise.
We could take the easy way out and say it's all the fault of our 21st-century short attention spans, but that actually wouldn’t be a fitting explanation.
You see, the same people that would scroll past a 10-minute Facebook video may be willing to spend 20 minutes watching a piece on YouTube. Why is that? Is it that, perhaps, they hold a grudge against Mark Zuckerberg? No… well, maybe. But there are even bigger reasons.
YouTube users mostly search for the specific content they want to watch, and in most cases, they are expecting to find (and predisposed to consume) longer videos. Other social networks, though, present a whole different story.
On Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like, people don't usually search for a particular kind of content. It's more like they stumble across it while scrolling down their feeds. So, if they stop to watch your video, they are definitely interested in the subject, but probably not as much as to keep watching for long.
Provide Valuable Content
I've just told you most viewers are willing to watch long videos on YouTube since they have searched for the subject in question. But it's also because, in most cases, they don’t feel they are wasting their time, but investing it.
Maybe they are learning something new, they are informing themselves, or maybe they are just consuming good-quality entertainment. The thing is, they are taking something out of those videos, something they didn’t have before watching them.
Viewers are naturally inclined to videos that provide them real value. What’s more, they know that other people enjoy that kind of content too, so they are likely to share it with their relatives and friends.
What I'm trying to say is, don't just stick to posting shallow or self-promoting video content. Also provide your followers with useful tips (like these ones!), ideas, information, or tutorials.
I know of an ecological clothing brand that, for example, has a special day of the week in which they feature fashion news and explain eco-friendly trends. They also provide tips regarding how to take care of your clothes so they last longer. In the end, it's useful to follow them, so not only are people prone to share and recommend their content, but they are also unlikely to ever unfollow the account.
Make Your Videos “Mute-play-friendly”
I can’t stress enough how important this tip is.
By making your video understandable without sound, it becomes accessible (and shareable) for a much wider audience. I’m not only talking about viewers with hearing impairments or with a different mother tongue - I’m also referring to all those people, namely 69% of US consumers, who visit their feeds in a public place and would rather not turn the volume up.
Taking this into account, it’s recommended to add captions or subtitles to your videos. In fact, viewers are more likely to watch a video to its completion when closed captions are available.
Another alternative is to simply create a video with a strong visual story, one that can be understood independently of the sound. In some cases, animated video companies resort to motion graphics to make a video more understandable through sight. They handle this animation technique to display written text instead of using a voiceover, or just to reinforce what the narrator is saying. Either way, they end up with a video that can be enjoyed by a wider range of viewers.
Aim for Strong Reactions
Have you ever watched a video that made you feel fired up with rage or left you crying tears of emotion?
I bet that, if you have, you remember it more than all the other videos you have ever watched. I even dare to say that you felt like sharing it as soon as you watched it, didn’t you?
If you did, you are no exception. In general, people are prone to share posts that elicit strong emotional reactions, whether positive or negative. It’s the reason why so many heartwarming stories, controversial videos, and news about injustices tend to go viral.
So, when it comes to making your video more shareable, you have to forget about gray areas and middle-points and aim for intense responses. You can even leverage automation tools to program a set of pieces that emotionally synergize with each other!
That said, it's advised to focus mostly on generating a positive reaction on your audience, especially if you are managing a business social account.
In that case, posting polemical video content can be a risky move, doubly so if it regards a topic unrelated to your company’s field. Most times, it’s better to just use your personal social accounts for those kinds of “heated debates”. Besides, you don’t want your brand to be associated with negative video content, right?
Optimize Your Videos’ Copy
A social video without a copy is a missed opportunity. This element has the power of drawing eyes to your video… or driving them away from it.
An optimal video copy is the one that gives a hint of what the video is about (without getting into detail) while piquing the audience’s curiosity.
Regarding its length, there's a common misconception that a copy should be short. This statement is neither true nor false: it depends on your goals! If you are trying to attract more viewers towards your content, go with a short copy that people can read at just a glance. But if, on the contrary, you are aiming at generating engagement, then a long copy is the one for you, as it's more likely to make people leave a comment.
That said, don’t write words just for the sake of making your copy long! The text has to make sense with the video’s content. A meaningless copy is unlikely to drive engagement regardless of its length.
Now, we can’t talk about social media copies without mentioning hashtags.
It’s common knowledge that they make your social content more findable, and therefore, more visible. So, every person or business who’s trying to boost their visibility resorts to these symbols, using the most popular ones and sometimes getting carried away with them to the point that their copies have more hashtags than actual text. Big mistake.
First off, nothing screams “desperate for views” as a video's copy with way too many hashtags. And what’s worse, sometimes the keywords are too general or even unrelated to the video in question, so they aren’t targeting the right audience. Keep in mind that it’s more effective to use just a few specific hashtags than too many mainstream ones.
The tips you’ve learned today aren’t complicated or out-of-this-world techniques, and yet, you’d be surprised to know what a difference they can make on your video’ success.
Do keep in mind, though, that these tips probably won't have much effect on your video's shareability unless your piece is actually good by its own nature. They do work like a charm, however, as a complement to great-quality videos.
But don’t take my word for it! Try applying these valuable strategies to your social video uploads and see their effectiveness for yourself. Good luck!