Social media streams are crowded, fast-flowing and very very competitive. As social networks pull back on organic reach, showing up is hard and getting attention is even harder.
So how can you stand out on social?
Marketers that go big are doing better. And the one way to go bigger than anyone else is to upgrade your content to maximum power. That’s social media video.
Social media videos are so engaging that the networks are pushing them way to the top of social streams. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn all want us to do more in this all-powerful format. It wins in the algorithms and in wins for attention.
As a social media marketer, video is your most powerful tool.
So rather than just post a headline and link to your article, make a tiny commercial of you introducing your article to your followers.
Here’s how to make social media videos that slow the scroll and capture clicks.
A shakey cell phone video isn’t what we’re going for here. That’s what everyone does. Your laptop has a camera and mic, but you can do better than that. A little more effort will get you much better results. So here’s my process for leveling up my social media videos with just a little bit of equipment and software.
It will take a little time to set things up, so make the most of that time by shooting four or five of these at one time. This kind of “batch shooting” means you make the most of that good-hair-day and that your not playing with your lighting every time.
If you haven’t built a DIY recording studio, just set up a camera in a sunny corner of your home or office. Here’s what mine looks like:
ProTip! Pick a spot where you can leave the mic and tripod in place. This makes the process faster, making it easier to do this more often. Efficiency is one of your main goals.
Lights… Camera… Turn your phone ringers off… Action!
Press record on the camera and on Camtasia. You’re about to make a one-minute social media video. Now sit back, take a deep breath and…
1. Smile 0:00
This will be the first frame of the video
2. Introduce yourself 0:02
Just your name and title are fine
3. Tell the viewer what you’re doing here 0:05
“I’m sharing with you an article about…”
“This is just a quick video to tell you about…”
“Here is a quick summary of our latest advice…”
These are the seconds that are most likely to be seen in the social stream, so start with big energy, punchy statements and an extra bit of body language.
4. Summarize the article 0:45
Quickly go through the bullet list summary of the article. It should be five points or so with a few words about each. Just list the key points as if you’re telling someone about it in a voicemail message.
Get a little excited about it. Use your hands. Don’t make it perfect. If you feel like you messed up, just pause, smile and do that part again.
5. Your CTA: Suggest that they click! 0:55
“If this sounds useful to you, just click the link in the post…”
“Click the link and check out the article for the full story…”
“The link in this post will take you to the complete process…”
6. Thank them for watching 1:00
Stick the landing with a very brief sign off. It can be one simple word: thanks.
That’s it! Now do two or three more before you get up.
Since you recorded the sound on the laptop, the file in Camtasia is already open and ready to go. If you used a camera, plug the SD card into your laptop, copy the file onto your desktop, then drop in into the open Camtasia file.
You want your head to be big and centered. Remember, it’s social media. On a desktop, it will appear in just a small part of the browser. On mobile, the entire screen is small. Let your face fill around 30% of the video. And scootch it up a little so there’s room for captions and the video player controls below your face.
Syncing the audio and video should be very easy because you can see the waveform of the audio from the video file. Just line up the peaks and valleys.
Editing is really just cutting out the mistakes and trimming it down to that one-minute mark. Don’t try to make it perfect. In fact, those little breaks and imperfections are a benefit. They’re called “jump cuts.”
Captions are critical. In the social stream, the video will start playing without sound as they scroll toward it. Our goal is to slow them down and catch their attention. A silent, talking head doesn’t have a lot of stopping power.
The text of the captions will draw them into the content. They’re also important for accessibility.
Here’s a quick screencast of me doing the editing for one of these videos. This 4x speed so you can watch the entire 14-minute editing/captioning process in about four minutes.
Wave.video is another super easy way to add text to video. You can quickly put beautiful text animations on top of any video, creating a compelling little intro and save it to the right size for any social network. Check out this demo…
Save the file as an MP4 to your computer. Now it’s ready to be uploaded.
The social network will show you basic engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares and views) but it won’t show you if visitors clicked (traffic) or what they did after they landed on your site (conversions). For this, you need campaign tracking code.
For my LinkedIn video, I kept it very simple. Source: linkedin, medium: social, campaign name: video. If you do many of these and you want to track them separately, give each its own campaign name, such as “video_articlename.”
ProTip! Always use lowercase letters in campaign tracking codes. It matters in Analytics!
You’re going to use that link with the tracking code in your social media post, allowing you to track the traffic and conversions in Analytics.
Create a new social media post and import your video. Then, add the link with the tracking code. Next, you need to add the next and make the rest of the post use every trick in the social media book to catch the visitors attention.
Mentions are a key ingredient in social media posts because they immediately make the visible to people who may share it. Adding contributor quotes to your articles (like this one) make your content better, make marketing more fun, and give you someone to mention in social media when the article goes live. I highly recommend any form of collaborative content marketing.
ProTip! Post the social media video a few days after the article first goes live. That gives you the opportunity to thank (and mention) people who already commented or shared it.
The video itself will do wonders for your click through rates, but the formatting and mentions are important too. If you need ideas, check out these social media post examples.
Now that the post is live, it’s very helpful to jump-start the conversation by sending it to a few people right away. This helps trigger the algorithms that push the video to the top of the social streams.
Take a minute to get the word out by sharing the link of the social media post itself. Here’s how to grab that link and send them directly to the social post.
Here are a few quick ways to share it with close colleagues who may give it a quick like, comment or share…
If they’re truly close friends, the request will be very short.
“Super quick favor! Could you please take a look at this post and like it or comment if you think it’s deserving. Thanks, buddy!”
If you really want to throw gas on the fire, there are tools that make it easy for your internal team to amplify any social post. Gaggle and LinkedIn Elevate are two of the biggies. But remember, social media isn’t a dumping ground for links. Follow social media best practices. Be social, have conversations.
Yes, I’m suggesting making commercials for articles. I’m suggesting sending emails to promote the videos that promote the content that promotes your business. It does sound crazy.
Things used to be so much simpler, didn’t they?
It’s very indirect. Very meta. But it’s effective. It’s an excellent way to do marketing.
Content is a great way to promote a business. Social video is a great way to promote content. And directly sharing the video with close friends is a great way to promote the social media video.
The social network will show you the number of likes, comments, shares and views. But keep in mind that a “view” in social media is a video playing for just three seconds. They may have just slowed down a little bit as they scrolled past. Social metrics aren’t really what we’re looking for.
The campaign tracking code we added lets us see the traffic, conversion rate and new email subscribers. Two things are remarkable about these results:
The visits from the social post and video above went even higher after I took this screenshot. Visitors from more recent posts were lower, but still in the hundreds.
The reach of the video is a function of the size of your network. Larger and more active followings will see greater reach and engagement from any social activity. Results vary.
It might seem insane to spend 20 minutes on a single social media post. That’s like ten times the normal effort. But for us, the results were even greater.
Still, it may not be realistic to put in this kind of effort for every single article. So focus on those articles that convert visitors into subscribers at the highest rate. Before making a bunch of videos, do a content marketing audit and discover your best mousetraps.
These are absolutely worth 10x the promotion. They’ll get you 100x the results for the effort.
Sean Callahan – Content Marketing Manager, LinkedIn
“At LinkedIn, we create short video commercials promoting the content on the LinkedIn Marketing Blog. All of our team members do one of these every month or so. We compete to see who can create the most inventive video. I did a video with my dog in it, which generated 359 Likes and 17.6K views. My colleague, Judy Tian, borrowed from Bob Dylan and used handwritten cards in her video. That video got 326 Likes and 23.3K views. Bottom line is this stuff works.”
All the hard work is done. You now have an amazing little piece of social content you can use many times and in many places.
Any other ideas for getting more value from a social video? Or ideas for making them easier to create? Please share your tips with your fellow readers in the comments.