Content may be king, but within the content universe, video rules. Video is the most popular type of post on most social media platforms. The viral pandemic created even more of a demand for video as people sought out diversion and entertainment during the lockdowns.
Platforms have increased the visibility of video in their feeds and have created more video channels, like Reels and IGTV on Instagram and Facebook Watch. In 2019, more than 500 hours per minute were uploaded to YouTube.
With all this video content available, how can your videos stand out from the crowd?
Understanding the basic elements of video is key to improving engagement. Let’s look at those elements:
- The social platform
- Each platform attracts different audience types. What resonates on Facebook or Twitter may not do so well on TikTok or Instagram, or vice versa. Consider the base audience for each platform – e.g., millennials or Gen Z for Tiktok and Instagram, and a wider, usually older audience for Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is a different matter altogether, since it’s a networking platform for professionals.
- Differing video formats can affect video production. You’ll need to consider the orientation (landscape vs. portrait), as well as the size of the video. Fortunately, there are tools that can automatically size videos for each platform.
- Don’t forget: Load each video directly to the platform you will be using, rather than sharing from one platform to the other.
- Length of the video
- Each platform and each channel has its own requirements for video length. For example, Instagram video lengths are 15 seconds, 30 seconds and up to 60 minutes for Stories, Reels and IGTV, respectively.
- Attention spans are short, so be sure to get your message out in the first several seconds.
- Consider the device. 70% of videos are watched on mobile devices, so it’s important that graphics can be easily viewed on mobile. Simple graphics generally work best for mobile.
- Be sure that thumbnail images aren’t too small for optimal viewing.
- Be aware of the effect of varying data speeds on file size. Large files may be slow to load and the user can lose interest if the video doesn’t load and start playing quickly.
- Depending on the user’s location when viewing the video, sound may not be used. People tend to watch videos without sound when they’re in public places; even when they’re in private, one quarter of viewers still watch without sound. Thus, you have to consider the effect of your video without sound. Using subtitles or text is a good way to counteract “silent watching.”
- Watch the final product without audio before uploading it to make sure it doesn’t need tweaking for silent watching.