Video Marketing

Creating a video for social media: 8 rules to boost engagement and efficiency

Making video for social media is the best place to promote yourself and your business digitally. Everyone uses social networks these days and constantly consumes the information from the feed.

To make the most of it, you have to follow some basic rules. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn — the way users watch videos on those platforms is very different from consuming ads on television or YouTube.

We prepared 8 tips that will immediately and dramatically improve the engagement of your auditory and your social video marketing efficiency.

Ultimate Rule #1. Make the start of your social media video really really exciting


You better make sure the first 5-7 seconds of your video are really catchy. If a social network uses autoplay then your video is probably going to be muted. Count on the visuals. Start with action and emotion or bright, striking colours. This is what gets attention, not the long and sophisticated intro where nothing ever happens.

👍 DO: Start with something exciting and give the audience the ‘juiciest’ shots in first seconds.

👎 DON’T:This restaurant’s promo looks really uneventful and shows an empty plates. The viewers get bored with such a slow action. And definitely scroll down this video after first five seconds

Rule #2. Cover actually matters


It’s important to create a great cover for your video. Choose a picture that sparks an interest and questions within your audience. It can be a frame from the video or specially made ‘poster’.

👍 DO: Good cover from the MAC Cosmetics. Quality picture and text gained twice as more reactions than the next pic.

👎 DON’T: Wrong choice of a frame – messy and not recognizable – will drive your audience away.

Rule #3. The shorter the better. Or cut all you can cut


Video for social media must be short. It’s very simple — people don’t have enough time to watch a series (unless they’re in the office). Jokes aside, try to get into 1-minute length. Cut everything that is not critically important to the story you’re trying to tell. It’s okay if your video is a little bit longer, but there’s no need to tell all the information in one video.

An ice cream cafe promo that happens to be clever and attractive. It’s intriguing and short which is a very good combination for social media.

Rule #4. Call to Action is strongly recommended in the video


Call to action is very important — it draws the line at the end of the video, but keeps your viewers interacting with you. You can ask them to share or like the video, leave a comment or keep watching your content.

If you’re trying to sell the product or service you can make them contact you or push them to give your product a try. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with the users interested enough to watch the video till the end.

Leave a phone, an e-mail and don’t be shy to focus their attention on your CTA.

Rule #5. Description must be clear, short and attractive


The title of your video must be short and understandable — like the headline in a newspaper. Don’t try to outsmart your audience and use complicated words — that will drive them away. Social media is a place to relax for many people and they don’t want excessive amounts of information streaming down on them.

The title must be intriguing but also giving away a hint of what’s going to happen in the video. You need to make them curious enough to hit the play button.

Also, don’t lose the opportunity to make your social video more searchable — always add the text description. But keep it short — don’t give away everything in the summary. Your viewers must be intrigued enough to watch the whole video until the end.

Rule# 6. Subtitles, subtitles, subtitles


It’s so obvious yet still ignored by social media video creators. People don’t listen to your videos. 88% of Instagram users surf their feed with the sound off. Facebook shows almost the same numbers — 85% of FB videos are watched while on mute. So if your video has a voiceover or a dialogue, you must provide the subtitles.

Rule #7. Tailor video for the platform and use all options


Your video will do its best if you make it specially for the social network you going to post it on. For example, the best choice for Instagram is a 9×16 ratio for the Story, 1×1 ratio for the post and the catchy title that is written all over video cover. Its helps to get attention in the ‘Recommended’ section.

It’s always better to use the network’s video player than embed a video from outside hosting platforms like YouTube. This trick helps to get better statistics and reach more users through the recommendations.

👍 DO: Michael Kors campaign is a good example of tailoring video and animated text to the Story format

👎 DON’T: Example of unsuccessful IGTV usage. The video doesn’t fit the format ratio and the viewer can’t see the whole text properly.

Don’t tie your hands with just casual posting — try everything that the platform has to offer.

Stories format is extremely popular thing right now. A short video doesn’t stay long there and gives the viewers a feeling of catching relevant information ‘right now’. You won’t see what’s inside the Story unless you actually open it, so the element of curiosity is a big help to your promotion.

Rule #8. Think ahead and experiment with the content for social media


You can create one social media video and wait for it to go viral… But let’s be real — you have to be really lucky to get there. What you want to do is to create a proper video campaign that will keep your viewers engaged for a long time. Making more videos, experimenting, analyzing your viewers’ behaviour and planning your posts in advance is the key to stay relevant.

Great example of a smart content chain is BuzzFeed ‘Puppyhood’ campaign for Purina. A video story about a man adopting a puppy gained 90 million views on Facebook and almost 3.2 millions reactions (likes, shares and comments).

Creators didn’t stop and made a series that showed great statistics also. Their next video got 36 million views and almost 1 million reactions in total which is actually an amazing result for a ‘follow up’ content.


Now you are ready to conquer the world of social media with your videos! Follow these rules and don’t be shy to try new things that the networks develop and offer to you — those might be your lucky chance to get to the right audience.

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About author

Successful marketer and top manager with over 20 years of experience in technology businesses. Passionate about effective marketing strategies to delight customers and accelerate profitable growth.
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