Imagine you’ve created what feels like a perfect video for your social network of choice.
The piece is simple yet compelling. It’s totally “on-brand” with the rest of your content, and your message shines through in every frame. You know you’ve made all the right choices—including making a social video in the first place!
After all, few channels give you a better way to connect with an audience, increase your visibility, and get more visits to the rest of your online presence. You are eager to upload, and do so. But then there’s a problem.
After all the time and resources involved, nobody’s engaging with the post. No shares, no retweets, not even your mom leaves a comment. What gives?
Ask any competent video company worth their salt about it, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: “Social” is its own unique battleground. If you want your videos to succeed there, the work starts even before making them.
Today, we are going over some tips and tricks to make your social video as viral and engaging as possible.
Know your target audience
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, and there are good reasons for that. It’s a fundamental aspect of any marketing attempt—and doubly so if it’s intended to stand out on social media.
Audiences engage with different networks according to their age, taste, and lifestyle. To start off on the right foot, you should pinpoint which social platform interests your target audience the most, and concentrate your efforts there.
That said, that’s not the only aspect of the “audience” conversation you should be thinking about. Equally as important is to consider the stage of your viewers’ buyer’s journey.
Don’t try to engage potential new leads with the same video you’d use to close a sale, or you would probably end up failing at both goals. Use the right tool for the job.
Lastly, if you are using ads, consider that the top social platforms allow you to customize them to your target audience. This means that you can choose the types of people that will come across your video content, and have a better chance to capitalize on its effects.
Social media networks distinguish from other platforms because they create and allow conversations around particular subjects. You should always try to use that to your video’s advantage by basing them around a relevant topic that your target audience will want to talk about.
Trendy themes are an obvious choice. But why not seed conversation about other stuff as well? I’m not talking about making polemical or offensive statements, but about shedding light on unusual or related topics that will pique their interest nonetheless.
After all, people are most likely to engage in posts that provoke strong emotions. Enthusiasm and anger are the two go-to’s, but there are popular formats, like explainer videos, that let you tackle the whole gamut with ease.
Focus on topics that relate to your audience’s pain points and create content around it that evokes feelings. Do it right, and people won’t be able to do anything but engage with it!
Make strong first impressions
Have you ever seen a shop window so distracting it made you retrace your steps? That’s the exact effect your video’s thumbnail should have on users scrolling through their apps!
You see, most of the time, your post will be neither the first nor the last that will appear on your audience’s feed. It’s clear, then, that it needs to stand out from the crowd to work.
Use a thumbnail so compelling that they grab people’s attention and pique their curiosity. An image that makes them want to hit the “Play” button. And last but not least, one that oozes the style of your brand.
Some platforms broadcast videos automatically. You may not need to worry about the thumbnail so much there. But this does bring about similar challenges since it means the first few seconds of your piece should grab the viewers by the throat.
Opening with an intriguing frame, phrase, expression, or question can usually do the trick. Anything that makes people stop scrolling for a while.
Favor native uploads. Always.
Logically, Zuckerberg, Dorsey, and the bunch don’t want their users leaving their platforms to watch your video somewhere else. Maybe more importantly, most of the time, viewers don’t like to do so either.
Having to click on an external link can be annoying for some. Many would give up the task before the page finishes loading. And those who persist wouldn’t bother to go back to the post to leave a comment, share it, or further engage with it.
It’s a natural conclusion that if you are trying to connect with your audience within a platform, native uploading is the best way to go.
Length and structure
If you want your audience to engage with your whole video, then it should within their average attention spa—which, online, means very short. This “ideal length” varies wildly from platform to platform, and from type of video to type of video. That said, try to convey your message within the first 30 seconds (or the first 15 if you can manage it.) That way, even if they don’t stick around for the whole thing, most of your job would have been done, and the chances of a like or share go up.
You must also bear in mind that most people will watch your post on their phones. As a result, mobile-friendly pieces are a must. Try to favor a square format, which is easier to play on phones.
Caption and text overlays
Mobile phones give your audience the possibility of watching your video anywhere they are—which means most of them may view it in a public place. The last thing they want is an unexpected sound blasting out from their phones, so your video should be understandable even without sound.
Captions and text overlays offer an excellent way to make sure that’s the case.
Moreover, even when your video is played with sound, these are a nice addition that increases your piece’s accessibility, so it is a win-win.
Don’t neglect copy
If you have read this far, you don’t need me to tell you how influential audiovisual pieces can be. Imagine then, how powerful they can be when paired with text that helps them shine.
Your post’s copy is not merely an accessory of the video, but an opportunity to optimize its results. A well-written copy provides context, yes, but it should also work as a standalone post that also provokes interest in the video.
To make engaging copy, stay away from promotional phrases and clichés. If you are trying to sell, be subtle! The idea is to have your content connect with customers emotionally. Trust me; this will be reflected in your bottom line.
About hashtags: they are an extraordinary tool to increase the visibility of your piece. Despite this, try not to overuse them. It’s recommended to use less than seven on Instagram and only two on Twitter.
However long or short your text is, your main point ought to be expressed in the first line. Most people aren’t likely to click on “See more” to finish reading.
Lastly, you can encourage viewers to share or leave a comment asking their opinions or experiences as a CTA. Make them feel like you are genuinely interested in what they have to say.
Likes, comments, and shares are a reflection of your relationship with your customers. But even the most spectacular video can have trouble creating social engagement when it’s missing the essentials.
Do whatever is on your hands to generate a conversation around your post and increase its visibility. Make it appealing, provocative, and emotional.
Virtually engaging with your clients can be a game-changer. It will have a lasting impression on them and on how they see your company. It’s an opportunity that your business can’t afford to miss.