Producing video for social and mobile - 5 things to consider
Updated: Nov 20, 2018
As more and more social video campaigns become successful and more publishers invest in video, it's worth mentioning five crucial, but often ignored rules that should help you create better video content that resonates well with your audience.
This one seems obvious. You've defined your audience and your desired outcome, you've worked on your format and story. But do you know what type of video works on what platform? What you create on Instagram might not be relevant on LinkedIn. Should you repurpose your Vines as Facebook videos?
If you're only just starting out, it's probably ok to make one video with a few cutdowns for different platforms. In fact, many big and established brands do that. But that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.
I know I’m stating the obvious here, but each platform - whether it's Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter - has its unique audience and that audience comes with its habits and expectations. Often a platform also comes with its technical limitations (see 'Vertical video' below). So it's worth exploring what formats work on your preferred platform(s).
See what the competition does and whether it works for them. But also don't be afraid to experiment: quite often it's a question of trying several approaches until you find the one that works.
Have you noticed that when you scroll through your Twitter timeline, most videos begin to play immediately? It's called auto-play and you need to be aware of that.
You will have just a couple of seconds to grab somebody's attention. When the video starts, you need to jump straight to the point. If you post, say, a Twitter video with 10 seconds of opening credits or some unattractive visuals, you've probably lost them.
The first 2-5 seconds count, make them count. And directly related to this is the next point:
If an auto-play video starts and it's either muted by default or the user's mobile's audio is muted, they won't bother unmuting it unless they're really interested. So what do you do?
BIG CAPTIONS. See what Now This does with their videos on Twitter:
Short, informative, easy-to-read captions to support the story. With long enough gaps to allow the viewer to digest the information.
If you hit play on the above video, you can probably hear the audio. But if you saw it on your Twitter timeline, you wouldn't hear a thing unless you unmuted it. Bear that in mind when planning your social video strategy.
4. Vertical video
That's video shot on a mobile device in portrait mode. This is still a very controversial subject as many believe producing vertical video is wrong.
Not if Snapchat is your favourite platform. But it's not just Snapchat. Some well-established publishers like the Washington Post have decided to embrace vertical video.
Shooting vertically comes with its own challenges and limitations - you may need to pan more to show a scene, you'll fit fewer words per line if you have captions - but it's becoming more and more popular. Some publishers seem to have mastered the art of creating traditional videos that are filmed in a way that allows them to change the aspect ratio by cropping out the edges without losing any content or visuals. And voila, a new, vertical version is born, ready for Snapchat. See Tastemade, for example. Their Snapchat channel has a few videos that were originally shot in landscape mode.
Remember the times live-streaming was still in its infancy? In 2016, when Virtual Reality videos are the next big thing, live-streaming has become as ubiqutious as emojis.
It's no longer just YouTube or Periscope (the other livestreaming app, Meerkat, has decided to become a video social network). You can now live stream on Facebook as well and you can do it from your mobile as well.
But like with any live broadcast you need to be well prepared (unless it's a breaking news story) and you need to master the necessary technical skills required for a live broadcast. Is your camera stable (i.e. on a tripod or a selfie stick)? Is your audio clean? Is your bandwidth sufficient? Are you able to interact with your viewers, answer their questions in real time as well? Your live stream might not be perfect, but you may want to do a few test runs if you’re planning to use live-streaming apps or functionality on a regular basis.