Videos for social media: 5 best practices

In social media marketing strategies, video plays an important role. In this post, we will look at best practices for video in social media!

Marketing Team
Video Marketing Videos for social media: 5 best practices

Table of Contents

In every company’s marketing mix, social media plays a decisive and central role. This is unquestionable. Also unquestionable is that video is the most powerful tool for social media marketers. Why? 

Because it is the type of digital content with which we are all increasingly familiar. Because it is the one that guarantees the best performance in terms of effectiveness, where messages are best understood and conveyed in a simple, quick, and memorable way. And finally, because it is the medium that, more than any other, is capable of triggering the virtuous spiral of engagement.

In our previous post, we started from these very basic understandings and compiled a complete guide to social media videos. We provided an overview that is divided by sections: starting with Facebook, and then on to Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn. 

We chose to proceed in this way because each social platform is an ecosystem with its own unique characteristics that companies must always take into account.

Now, however, we want to take it a step further. In fact, there are video best practices for social media that always remain valid, for all types of platforms and for all types of businesses. We decided, therefore, to collect them around 5 key points and we will focus on them in the remainder of this post. 


1. First: organization and strategy

The first of our video best practices for social media concerns something foundational, but it’s something that we could forget, getting carried away by the speed at which things happen when it comes to social media. We’re talking about organization and strategy. 

First of all, we must always keep in mind that social media marketing is always part of a broader marketing strategy, which in turn fits into the strategies and identity building, first of all, of the brand and, secondly, of a given product or service. Therefore, it involves planning everything down to the smallest detail.  

It starts with a self-analysis that should lead to setting very specific and, above all, measurable goals. It then continues with market surveys, research on the target audience, sentiment analysis, and a study of one’s competitors

Next, we move on to the design of the social video marketing campaign, broken down according to the different channels through which it will be conveyed. It reflects on the budget available and its most efficient distribution. 

Finally, and importantly, you must create a publication schedule: well in advance, but also with a certain degree of elasticity. In short, it’s important not to turn the outline into a cage, in order to not to appear “out of touch” and to be able to ride the wave of current events, when convenient. This is on a general level.

And this is not all: even the individual video must be planned and built according to an internal strategy. Translated: your script must be defined in detail. And this applies to videos of a few seconds as well as those of several minutes. 

Storytelling is never about improvisation even when the effect you want to communicate is one of freshness and spontaneity! 

2. Always be multichannel

We already pointed it out in the opening of this post: each social media platform has its own technical rules, its stylistic customs, and its decisive differences as far as the potential target audience is concerned. A video that you have decided to upload to the company’s profile on LinkedIn is not likely to be suitable for your TikTok channel as well.  And on Instagram, what works in a story may not work in your feed.

The key words are adaptability and optimization. And there are many elements to consider. First, the basic technical levels that involve the format: horizontal, vertical, square?  Again, it depends on the platform. 

Then, duration: which in some cases, such as in Instagram stories, has well-defined limits. Then there are differences in tone and style. These also depend on the target audience.

The real challenge here is to adapt to different channels without compromising the unity of tone of voice of a campaign and the brand promoting it. It’s a matter of delicate balances. 

Of course, upstream of it all, there is optimization based on the devices themselves that you must consider: social media videos must be optimally usable from the desktop as well as any type of smartphone. In this case, the approach should be mobile-first, for the simple reason that the vast majority of people access social media from their mobile phones.

Finally, we have one very specific suggestion. A Verizon survey of the American public revealed that 93% of people on social media prefer to watch videos without sound

The need, consequently, is to make the message understandable even when it is “silent.” Translated: it’s almost always essential to include subtitles. 

3. Attention grabbing in the first few seconds

Here we come to one of the most delicate video best practices for social media: the one concerning capturing attention, which, in turn, is the trigger point for any kind of engagement. 

We know: for a brand, social networks are the digital arenas where there is fierce competition to capture people’s attention. In our experience as users, just think about the enormous amount of stimuli that overwhelm us as soon as we open Instagram, for example. Amid this myriad of inputs, the challenge for companies is to get people to spend time on your video. 

How to do it? As we like to repeat, there is no universal recipe that applies to everyone equally. But what is certain is that there are two decisive elements: 

  • the first is knowing your target audience (and to this side we will devote the last point of our list of video best practices for social media);
  • the second is to work on the very first few seconds of your video. 

A now-famous study by Microsoft showed how people, on average, end up losing attention after just 8 seconds. And it’s in this very short period of time that everything is at stake: in these crucial seconds the user decides whether to continue viewing, up to the call to action, or to move on to something else. What is needed, then? 

Strong hooks, first of all: questions directed to the viewer, for example. Narrative openings that create suspense and anticipation. Callbacks to current events. Promises. Provocations. 

Watch out, too, for an important aspect: in these few seconds your brand must be immediately recognizable, but not invasive. So, pay attention to how you insert your logo, product name, and tagline. 

4. A consistent call to action and at the right time

We saw in the previous point how decisive the very first seconds of a video are in capturing—amidst the whirlwind of social stimuli—the attention of users. But this is only the first step. 

The video must then have a relevant and coherent narrative development, revolving around a strong and unified core (the one that will remain imprinted on the viewer) and therefore able to lead, in a fluid and natural way, to the moment of the call to action. For this decisive moment, there are two main best practices to follow:

  • The call to action must be in line with the video’s narrative; it must be its natural culmination. It cannot be perceived as a stretch or break too abruptly. The penalty: lowered click-through and conversion rates; 
  • Be careful not to create calls to action that are focused solely on sales, as they risk annoying and alienating users. A call to action like “learn more” is more subtle but also performs better than a direct call to action like “buy.”

5. From data to people: knowing the target audience 

Here we come to a really decisive point, which we already mentioned just above. The real secret to soaring video effectiveness on social networks is about knowing your target audience. To put it another way: instead of shouting louder than everyone else, it’s about addressing the “right ears” in a familiar way.

This is the passage of personalization. But what is the starting point? The collection, analysis, and interpretation of data

Learning how to leverage this asset, for companies, is critical in two senses: 

  • The first: having a high-resolution snapshot of their actual and potential audiences, their characteristics, habits, and desires. From this overview, you can then tailor videos to different audience segments all the way down to individuals.

In short, moving from a single, indistinct target to many micro-targets to be reached with tailored communications: from a one-to-many to a one-to-one perspective. 

  • The second: analyzing data also means being able to very accurately assess the results of each individual video marketing campaign. And, from this awareness, to recalibrate them continuously, in a surgical manner, triggering a spiral of constant performance improvement.

How do you put all this on track in a simple, automated way that is in line with your needs and without wasting time and resources? 

By relying on the video automation and video personalization solutions offered by specialized platforms like Babelee. Perfect solutions for all types of video marketing, including those involving social media!

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