Video content is popping up more and more on social media platforms. It's a far more comprehensive way to share your message when compared to images and text alone. In this post, we will share with you some tips on how to plan and execute your video, whether you're filming on your phone or at a professional set.
If you have questions or need assistance on your video project, feel free to contact us 563-441-1504 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLANNING | RECORDING | EDITING | POSTING
STEP 1: PLANNING
What will your video accomplish for you business?
Sales: Sell a product, service or idea
Promotion: Increase users/customers
Education: Teach a skill or concept
Awareness: Introduce a brand, product, or service
News: Keep your clientele updated
Fun: Improve public relations
When defining your goal, make sure it’s specific and measurable. Use analytics to track how many people click through to your website, how many new followers join your page, etc.
Weak Goals to Avoid
Views: Of course people would like a lot of views, but how do you want the views to benefit you?
Content for Content's Sake: Don't waste people's time if you don't have content that provides value.
Who is the video for?
Define the target market and be specific. Many social media platforms allow you to really narrow down and target your audience via demographics such as: age, location, industry, profession, etc.
Who are the market leaders?
Research companies that are successful in video marketing (SocialBlade). These could be competitors or just other companies that also appeal to your audience. Study their tone, style, vocabulary level, and output frequency. However, do not just copy them, play to your strengths and your brand.
- Vocabulary: What level of vocabulary is the audience comfortable with?
- Language: Is this for international audiences? If so you will want subtitles or perhaps use more visual language.
- Tone: Is the tone more professional, casual, or have a touch of comedy?
- Style: What is the level of production value? Do they incorporate flashy graphic overlays with background music or is it simple and straight forward?
Which social media app is your audience using?
Age is a big indicator here. Facebook audiences tend to skew older, Linked In is more middle-aged focused, and a majority of Instagram and TikTok users are under 30. Consider your business model as well. Facebook and LinkedIn are much more popular for B2B.
Who are the market leaders?
Research those that are doing a good job and video marketing. These could be competitors or just other companies that also appeal to your audience. Study their tone, style, vocabulary level, and output frequency. However, do not just copy them; play to your strengths and your brand.
What style of video will you create?
There are different categories or ways to create video content. Some of the most popular on social media are: Templates, Vlogs, Sponsored Influencer, and Commercials.
Template: Fast and Simple
Video template websites allow you to create short videos that are pre-packaged to work for the social media platform of your choice. These are a great option for a quick promos.
- Tons of stock video/animations/music to incorporate into your video
- No recording necessary, but you can place in your own video clips, images, and logos.
- Easy to edit
- Limited to template designs
- Limited in video length
- Subscription fees
Video Template Sites:
Vlog: Personal and Relatable
Vlogs typically consist of a person speaking to the camera (talking head shots), but the narrator could be off camera. Relevant B-roll footage can be edited in to provide context and add excitement. The tone is often casual with little to no visual effects, which can be perceived as more authentic. However, there is a thin line between genuine charm and a cheap amateurish look. Really consider the lighting set up for these and what you are wearing (avoid thin stripes or busy patterns). Vlogs are a great choice for instructional videos, news updates and behind-the-scenes videos.
- Viewed to be more honest and genuine
- Direct connection to the audience
- Complete control of the entire video process
- Must be comfortable on camera
- Could come off as amateurish
- Requires some quality equipment (audio, lighting, and camera)
Sponsored Influencer: Popular Endorsement
Rather than organically building an audience, you can take a shortcut and partner with a content creator that already has a large audience. It is highly recommended to be open and honest about the partnership. In the past there have been some shady sponsor deals where the influencers were not upfront and hid the fact they were paid. This caused a backlash against the influencer and the sponsoring company. Sponsored videos are a popular format for new products and make for great "unboxing" videos.
- Built in audience
- Valuable spokesperson
- Outsource the video production
- Not viable for every product/service
- You have little control over the video
- Could backfire if the influencer does not like your product
Commercial: Big Budget Splash
Then there is the traditional format we are all familiar with. Although commercials can vary in budget, typically they will be the more expensive option. Commercials require a film crew to handle the production which can include: script, equipment, talent, location scouting, scheduling and editing. Unless you have a large marketing budget, keep this format for ads that can last and be reused, not for timed sales that will quickly be outdated. Keep in mind, even if your commercial is popular, views don't equal loyal customers. This larger scope format is great for name recognition and brand awareness.
- High quality
- Creative control
- Could go viral
- Must trust in the film crew
- It's a gamble - some Super Bowl ads are a hit, others flop.
Viral commercial examples:
Purple Mattress Protector
STEP 2: Recording
8 Tips for Video Recording
Shoot more than you think
When recording, it's best to record some extra shots and takes to avoid re-shoots. Trying to capture the same weather conditions, or even schedule people and locations again can be a headache. Also B-roll footage can be useful in editing for pacing and masking cuts.
Clean, quality audio
People are more forgiving with a lower quality video but not with audio. It's easier for our eyes to fill in missing information compared to our ears. Try to control the audio conditions as much as you can. Background noise can be removed with certain editing software but can affect the quality.
Audio Equipment Brand Recommendations
Record in high resolution/frame rate
You cannot upgrade what you record. Just like with images, you can always downgrade, but if you try to scale a 720p video up to 1080p, it will look pixelated and blurry. So it is best to start with a higher resolution (1080p +) and higher frame rate (30 or 60 fps). Some cameras may allow for very high frame rates (great for slow-motion shots) but at a reduced resolution, and vice versa.
Types of video recording equipment:
Phones and Tablets: Consumer grade but still good for smaller video projects
DSLR & Mirrorless cameras: These are high end photography cameras that can also record high quality video
Cinema Cameras: Large cameras designed for longer shoots with 4K and slo-motion capabilities
Screen Recording software: For recording you desktop screen. OBS is one we use and it's free.
Avoid handheld movement
Handheld camerawork can add spontaneity and a more visceral shot, but they can be distracting and nauseating. Gimbals can be a nice middle ground. They allow you to move around while reducing the shakiness.
If you don't have equipment for a tilt or pan shot, I suggest starting the shot with your body in an uncomfortable position and then ending the shot in a more comfortable position. This will make for a smoother movement.
Focus lens on subject
Recording in high resolution will not be effective if the subject is not in focus. Many cameras have auto focus settings that work well. To manually focus, zoom in on your subject, focus the lens, then zoom out to your desired position. For more static subjects a manual focus will be a safer choice and prevent other objects from stealing the focus which can happen when using auto.
Close and large lighting
Unless you are going for a very dynamic or stylist look, you most likely will want soft lighting.To achieve soft lighting, you will want a large light source, or two, close to the subject. These also help light up people's eyes for the audience to focus on.
High quality, double edge
As mentioned before, the vlog video format often has a more authentic feel due to the lack of flashy effects. The more you polish your video with cool camera movements, visual effects, etc., the more people may become skeptical and view it as "too commercial."
STEP 3: Editing
Maintain a consistent look throughout the video
- Color and brightness: Tune your saturation, brightness, and contrast.
- Graphics: Any overlays you use should remain consistent with similar entry and exit animations.
- Transitions: Maintain similar cuts (fade or hard).
- Intro/Outro: If you are making a series of videos, use a similar intro and outro for consistent branding.
Clean and Clear
- Edit out background noise: Some software allows you to select and remove annoying background sounds, but this can affect the main subject audio.
- Cut loud noise spikes: You can reduce the decibel levels by key-framing around the spike.
- Keep levels consistent: Bring up soft talkers and bring down loud talkers. You don't want viewers to constantly adjust their volume settings.
Short and Sweet
- Get to the point: As there is more and more content to distract us, attention spans are on the decline, so get to the point, stay on point, and end without dragging on like this sentence.
- Splice in B-roll: To avoid monotony, spice up your video with some B-roll.
- Break into multiple videos: If you are trying to say too many things in one video, you may just want to cut one long video into a series of short videos.
Test Early And Often
- Share rough cuts: Don't wait to get feedback. Share you rough cuts internally so you don't waste time going in the wrong direction.
- Recruit blind testers: Show your video to people who have no idea what your goal is for your video, and see if they can comprehend your goal. Preferably, you will want people who fit your target demographic to be these testers.
- Test devices: See how your video looks on different devices. Something that is easy to read on a large monitor might be difficult to see on a phone screen.
STEP 4: Posting
Find Your Audience
- Research similar accounts: SocialBlade
- Thumbnails and titles: Test keywords and attractive imagery.
- Tag properly / use SEO: Tubebuddy, SEM Rush.
- Be part of the community: Communicate via forums/comments.
- Use analytics: YouTube has free comprehensive analytics.
- Target demographics: LinkedIn allows you to target specific demographics.
- Autocomplete: Use autocomplete in search bars to see what popular keywords people are searching.
- Subscriber based
- Entertainment / tutorial focus
- Serialized, personality driven, niche
- Playlist infrastructure, annotations
- Best for building loyalty and community
- Have a good thumbnail
- Powerful title (first three words are key)
- SEO keywords for title and description
- For video series, stick to an upload schedule
- More visual
- News and update focus
- Audience skews older
- Best for one-off campaigns
- First three seconds are most important
- Start with question or cold open
- Add a call to action at the end
- Burn in captions
- Personality focused
- More informal, recorded on phone (vertical)
- Great for collaborations, more sharing
- Good for polls or interacting with an audience
- Can be a longer video and higher quality
- Auto adjust dimensions
- Burn in subtitles
- The most formal platform
- Business, networking focus
- Great for niche campaigns, and B2B
- 37% between 30 - 49 years of age
- First 10 seconds are most important
- Take advantage of the specific ad targeting
- Tell your brand story
- Share customer success stories
- Demo your product or services
- End with a call to action
Practice: You don’t necessarily need to stick to a script, since that can come off unnatural, but have an outline, stay on topic, and test the timing. It's normal to be a little nervous on camera at first, but you will become more comfortable overtime and accustomed to hearing you own voice.
Chunk the content: Rather than trying to say everything in one take, break it into parts. This way you can have clean cuts, recompose yourself, and move onto the next section. This will definitely make it easier to edit. I recommend placing in B-Roll or title cards to help transition between sections.
Record indoors: Do some tests outside, but most likely you will have more control indoors. This goes for controlling the background sounds, and photo bombs.
Introduce yourself or company: Each video may be someone’s first. You can incorporate a consistent intro and outro to show the company logo. Animate the logo if you want to get really fancy.
Keep it short: Unless you are posting to YouTube, your videos should be 60 seconds or shorter. Stick to one-to-three points. If your video is going long, consider cutting it into multiple videos.
Be yourself +1: It’s annoying when people are over-the-top, so be yourself, but also maintain a presence. Like in any presentation, hold a good posture, be confident, and smile.
Collect feedback: See which videos get the most traction.
Is your video useful, or just noise?
Ads have a reputation for being annoying, but you can make it a helpful video that your audience will appreciate.