Oct 31

Social Video for Amateurs

iphone-1603478_1920If you’re a social media nerd, you know that video is the shining star of content. However, I’m amazed by the number of brands that aren’t utilizing video to its fullest possibility in their social media strategy.

Video is the fastest growing content source on Facebook and preforms the best – in fact, videos have 135 percent greater organic reach than photo posts.

And while a glossy, produced video is the stuff of marketing dreams, you don’t always have to make a large investment to make an impact. Here are a few tips for incorporating simple video into your social media strategy.

  1. Native content is king: Uploading your content directly into the platform is one of the best ways to boost the chances for your video being seen. This is a serious social media pet peeve of mine. If you take the time to develop a video, don’t you want to be sure it has the greatest viewing possibility? Facebook in particular is really pushing video (evidenced by the insane amount of food and cat videos that now show up in your feed) to compete with video giant YouTube. You need to make it easy for viewers to consume your content – don’t make them click an extra link. Check out Facebook’s help center for how to upload a native video.
  2. Use your phone: Our smartphones are powerful tools that often have better cameras on them then a traditional camera – making them a great tool for developing quick-hitting videos. You just need to take a few moments to ensure you’re capturing the video correctly. A great tool to invest in is a tripod – you can get one very reasonably and often can find an iPhone attachment. Keep it simple when you’re using your phone (this is not time to release your inner Scorsese).
  3. There’s an app for that: There are quite a few video apps that help you stitch together quick-hitter videos in a short amount of time. I personally have been using FilmoraGo to create a few videos and I enjoy it. It allows you to stitch a few clips together, add some music over it and insert a few captions. Nothing groundbreaking, but it creates a professional video that is perfect for social media. This video, from East Grand Rapids, is an example of what you can create with the app. I happened to catch some paving work that was being done on Lake Drive and snagged a few photos. Using the app, I stitched it together and uploaded it to Facebook (as native content, naturally). It ended up reaching 5,250 people and had 2,900 views, 81 likes and 13 shares – what!? I think this really shows the power of video in the content mix.
  4. Use online tools: If you haven’t already heard about Adobe Spark, it’s a fun, easy to use tool. This product is designed for folks that aren’t graphic designers, but want to still create professional visual assets. I find the online platform very helpful when I need to make a quick social media graphic and don’t feel like building a whole document in InDesign. I’ve also been loving its video creator. Though very basic, it’s a perfect for creating quick-hitting social media videos that combine words, icons and photos. Most recently, I created this :30 video for Kent County’s upcoming public safety proposal. It’s a complicated proposal, but I was able to distill it down with carefully chosen words and icons to enhance it.
  5. Have fun: The best part about social media is that it’s social! While you want to definitely present a professional image, don’t get bogged down too much. A quick-hitter social media video is not a multi-thousand dollar marketing video that will be shown as the global representation of who your company is*. It’s an opportunity to create engaging content that will be viewed for a few days and go away.

I’m curious if you’ve used simple videos in your social media strategy? If you have, please feel free to share your tips and thoughts on how to effectively do this in the comments below.


*To be clear, I’m not advocating for throwing professional videos out the window. On the contrary, it’s also time to invest in a beautifully created, professional video (perhaps a T.J. Hamilton original). I simply think there is an opportunity to augment your content through simple videos that help push your message in a creative way.


2 thoughts on “Social Video for Amateurs”

  1. Erin N. says:

    Spark is so much fun. I’ve been playing with it all morning and have created half a dozen internal postings. What a handy tool. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Brian Jon Greenleaf says:

      It really is! It’s not for everything, but for easy social posts, it’s a great resource. I hope that they continue to expand on the customization/branding opportunities more — especially on the video side.

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