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11 Tips for Creating Social Videos Your Customers Will Want to Watch

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Two of the biggest and fastest-growing online trends are social media and video. Worldwide, the average user spends 135 minutes per day on social media, and a lot of that time is spent watching videos. According to a forecast by Cisco, by 2021 video will account for 82% of global internet traffic.

Social video continues to emerge as one of the most popular ways for businesses to reach their target audiences and increase engagement. According to a survey by Animoto, 93% of businesses say they have gained new customers due to social videos.

If you've never used social video, or you aren't sure you can do it successfully, follow these 11 tips to create effective social media videos to increase engagement with your brand.

  1. Keep social videos short. While longer videos, like instructional videos and presentations, can be effective on corporate YouTube channels and company websites, social videos need to cater to the shorter attention span of the social media user. Keep all social videos under 1 minute and follow specific recommendations for each channel.
  2. Grab viewers’ attention right away. Even a short video will lose a viewer's interest if it starts slow. Begin your video with a splash by creating an opening that is engaging enough to keep people watching.
  3. Know your audience. Your video is unlikely to go viral, but if you’re using a video for marketing purposes, you don’t need everyone to see it, just the right people. Get to know your audience and create your videos with a specific target audience in mind and let that shape the subject matter and tone.
  4. Evoke emotion. The most successful videos are the ones that make us laugh or cry, that surprise or inspire us. Use your social videos to make your viewers feel something and you’ll see engagement go up.
  5. Design for the platform. Optimize each social video according to the social media platform on which it will appear by using the recommended dimensions, length, size, and any special features, like the new “swipe up” feature in Instagram Stories.
  6. Chose compelling content. So what do you make a social video about? Choose something that your customers are already interested in: Make an easy-to-digest video out of a high-performing blog post, have your company CEO answer a common customer question, or give viewers a peek behind the scenes of an interesting company process.
  7. Add metadata. Meta tags like titles and descriptions tell both humans and search engines what your video is about, and can increase views and lead to a better search rank position.
  8. Aim for engagement. The whole point of marketing with social video is to get your audience to engage with your brand, so don’t just create a video meant to entertain, create a video that both entertains viewers and compels them to take the desired action—liking it, sharing it, or posting a comment.
  9. Get creative with visuals. The trick with video is to keep the eye interested, so don’t create a static image with a boring voiceover—mix in photos, charts, graphs, and photos of the speaker to show (not tell) your story and keep viewers engaged.
  10. Choose the right video format. Select the orientation for each video based on the device viewers will be using, the social media platform, and the content of the video. The square and portrait formats are best for videos viewed on social media, landscape works best when viewed on a desktop or TV. For more information, check out this guide to social media video specs.
  11. Consider buying a video ad. All major social media platforms now offer video ads, which let you distribute your video to specific audiences to build brand awareness, drive website traffic, and generate leads. Purchasing a video ad not only lets you target specific viewers based on demographics, interests, and more, it allows you to learn what types of videos work best on which platforms and with which audiences.