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How Do You Create Good Social Media Marketing Videos?
I’m often asked, how do you do really good videos?
And then I tell people, I don’t know. I don’t do really good videos!
… But that’s kind of the point.
I think people generally overthink video content.
They overthink all the things you should and shouldn’t do. And I’m not a fan of the word ‘should’, either.
But I have done lots of videos, and I’ve had a lot of success from videos, and as just a regular video maker, I thought I’d give you some of my kind of top tips, things that you really could maybe think about when you create videos.
Tip number one – look down the lens
I look straight at the green light at the top of my phone. If you’re using a smartphone to record videos, then you can look straight down the lens by looking at the light at the top of the phone. If you haven’t got a light, then maybe put a tiny bit of sticky tape at the very top of your phone, just to remind you until you get used to it.
I’m more than used to now looking down the lens, but I don’t do it all the time, ’cause it’s kind of weird. Look around a little bit, be natural. And as tempting as it is, don’t just look yourself in the eyes. It looks odd to your viewers.
Tip number two – plant your feet
I was taught this by a speaking coach. Plant your feet. You shouldn’t put your hands in your pockets either, because – if you’re like me and you like to move around – you’ll do some strange foot shuffling thing to expel the energy elsewhere.
I’m quite an animated speaker, but even if you’re not, there’s lots of body language that your body projects that your audience picks up on. So much communication is non-verbal, so allow your upper body to move by keeping your feet planted.
Depending on what type of video you do, of course, if you’re doing cycling, or doing a training video, maybe not, but try and keep your feet planted, move your hands around if that’s natural for you, and project if you can.
Tip number three – video lighting
The next tip is lighting. Ring lights are cheap as chips, you know. God bless our friends over in China for making plastic rubbish on the internet. They’re really effective. It was about quarter to four in the afternoon on a November evening when I recorded the video below. It was quite dark outside, so the lighting isn’t amazing. I might look something out of The Blair Witch Project, but it’s lighting me. (Millenials – ask your parents.)
I also don’t have to worry too much about overhead lights. There’s a light above my head, if I put those on, I really would look like something out of a horror movie. So have a light that lights the front of my face.
Tip number four – think about sound
The next tip is about sound. Your sound is really important. Lots of people watch video with the sound off, so you might need subtitles like the ones I added to YouTube in the video below. That’s a little throwaway tip there, but the main reason I’m mentioning the sound is that lots of people will be put off by a video if the sound is difficult to hear.
Many people I speak to listen to videos. They’ll play a YouTube video as they’re driving in the car. I’m not sure whether that’s fully legal, but lots of people do it, and other people listen to videos as they’re walking too. I’m a big fan of listening to YouTube when I’m walking. I typically put on either Audible, a podcast, or a YouTube video. So the sound has to be really clear and without too much background noise.
I’m in my office which is furnished, so hopefully, the sound isn’t too bad for you. If I was outside when I recorded it, I would definitely use a microphone, or maybe my headphones. Lots of people use headphones for their mobile videos because it makes for the perfect makeshift mic. You don’t have to spend lots of money here. If you’re going for video, consider investing in a ring light and a microphone. I’d be amazed if you spend more than £20, but the difference it makes is huge.
Tip number five – have notes
The next thing is notes, and that’s why I’m looking down occasionally on the video shared at the bottom of this post. I’ve just got a post-it note in my hand. It’s just got all the things I wanted to mention on this video, in short bullet points.
Sometimes I pin them to the top of my phone, or the bottom of my phone so I can read them. When you’ve got a ring light on, sometimes you can’t read them, so I’m actually holding them in this example. Just have a few points on the side that you want to make. I’m actually covering quite a few points in this video, but generally speaking, I recommend sticking to three main takeaways. There clearly are more than three things in this blog to help you make good videos, so I couldn’t stick to that rule today!
But if you can stick to three things, make three notes. I know you’re thinking, “I can retain three things in my head!”. Well, you can, it’s kind of almost proven that that’s how the brain remembers things in threes. But I guarantee you’ll get halfway through your video and you get to point three and you think, “Oh, what’s point three again?” And then you’ll have to stop the video and then you have to do a take two.
This is my first take. I won’t be doing a take two. I’ve stumbled a couple of times, but it’s good enough. This isn’t a green screen room. If I were on live TV, I couldn’t be re-recorded. I love live video because that’s it; it’s out there, it’s done, and I’m on to the next thing. I’m a big fan of that.
That’s my own personal view, but it also means you’re gonna get loads more content created. You’re not gonna waste time saying, “Oh actually, I didn’t really like the way I started that video. Maybe I should have mentioned something else, or I could include an Einstein quote”. You’ll just spend more time. Sometimes that’s an investment of time, but sometimes it’s a waste.
Tip number six – use a tripod
The next tip on video is to use a tripod. I’m actually using a tripod in the video below and often do in my videos. With a ring light on top of it, it looks a bit like a lamp. It’s really good, actually. Again, it was around twenty quid from Amazon. It’s fantastic, and it works. It works to hold my phone steady, and is really great for making sure that you’ve got the position right, which is the next tip.
Tip number seven – get your position right
Get your position right. Try to get your face and your shoulders in the center of the phone. If you go for landscape then try and get something on one side of the video and one side of the other video. Think about your background before you press record! Think about the whole screen, and consider what people can see in the background. It’s weird, you know, what’s in the background of your video might keep people on the video for longer. If you watch someone sitting in a chair in front of a library shelf sometimes your eyes will gaze around and look around. I bet by now you’re bored looking at me in that video.
Having something different in the background keeps people watching your videos for slightly longer.
Tip number eight – make it the right length
The next thing to consider is the length of your video. This example is a slightly a longer video as I was always going to use it here on the blog, but keeping your video short and sweet often helps people watch to the end as it’s less of a commitment.
But… there are many thoughts now that videos between 12 and 15 minutes are perfectly acceptable, especially for YouTube. Lots of influencers, dare I say, have videos that go viral that are around 12 to 15 minutes. Of course, there are exceptions to all rules, and there are videos that are two hours and there are videos that are 10 seconds that are gonna beat those.
But generally speaking, go for short and sharp tips of around two or three minutes, if possible. Instagram will currently allow 60 seconds within the home page or the tiles, and LinkedIn will currently allow up to 10 minutes on the timeline, so you’ve got to think about the platform you’re posting on, too.
The retention is quite important here, especially if you’re worried about reach on social media or reach on YouTube or your ad spend (if you’re sponsoring your videos). How much of the video people watch is a metric the algorithms use to see if your video is engaging enough. There’s plenty of information out there and loads of opinions. Marketing is full of them. My biggest advice to anyone doing marketing is to try it yourself and see what the results are. See what you get from it, and do more of what works.
Tip number nine – have a point!
The next thing is to have a point in your video. Lots of videos I see just sort of ramble on…
“Oh hi, thanks for tuning in, I’m just gonna wait for people to tune in!”
Yes, on Facebook Live you might be waiting for people to tune in, but what about the people that watch the replay?
The other thing is when you start your video, you’ve really got to tell people straight away what you’re gonna tell them. You may see this trend, and you’ll certainly see it now I’ve mentioned it, on a lot of videos, they completely sum up the video at the very beginning in kind of an amazing movie trailer style. It’s highly edited, and very professional, but it works. It captures your attention and always leaves you with some cliffhangers to ensure you carry on watching.
Try and get to the point, and try and get to the point quickly.
Tip number ten – have a Call To Action
And the final message here is to have a Call To Action. I didn’t plan to have a call to action on this video because it was created for this blog. It’s an informational/educational piece of content. But lots of videos do need a CTA.
Think about these questions:
- What’s next?
- What do you want people to do after the video?
Bonus tip – sum it all up!
I’m gonna give you a bonus tip. Sum up your videos for those who weren’t listening all the way through.
Here’s my summary for my handy notes:
- Get the lighting correct. Get a good ring light.
- The sound is important. Use a microphone. Use your headphones, AirPods, if you’re an Apple fan, are perfectly acceptable, and work really well.
- Have your notes nearby. Use a huge piece of paper, a whiteboard behind the phone, or whatever’s easier for you.
- Use a tripod. It gives you good positioning, helps you get the video stable, and means you can just move around a little bit.
- Think of your position. Your head and shoulders should be in shot if you’re sitting. Think newsreader.
- The length of the video is important and recommendations vary.
- Background. Keep it professional and/or interesting.
- Have a point. I think that’s kind of the most important tip of all. Have a point. What’s the point of the video? Don’t do a video just because someone tells you to do a video. Do a video because there’s a point to doing that video.
- And last but not least, have a Call To Action. Tell people what you would like them to do next. What’s the best next step? If it’s a landing page it might be to click the button to subscribe now. It’s a blog it might be to comment below. If it’s YouTube, it might be “hit me up in the comments!”.
Over to you…
Let me know what you think.
And do let me know if there are any other tips. These are my kind of basic tips. These are the things that I always think about, almost subconsciously, like a habit. And they do make a difference to your video.
If you do have any comments, please do leave them below.
If not, go out there, get some cheap equipment from the internet or a local supplier if you’ve got one, and go shoot those videos.
If you need any more help then just shout! I’d be happy to help.
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