Top tips: creating great social media videos

Top tips: creating great social media videos

Facebook recently reported that the amount of video posted by people and businesses has increased 3.6 times year-over-year. Today, more than 50 percent of people who visit Facebook every day watch at least one video. With this growing appetite, there’s no better time to start developing great social media videos. Check out these tips to help you put your best foot forward:

Section 1: Planning your social media video

Think about Health and safety

Your first priority when making social media videos must always be the safety of everyone involved in your shoot.

  • Never try to shoot stunts or dangerous practical effects. Leave that to the experts!
  • Don’t climb ladders, ascend to dangerous heights or stand in the road to get a certain shot.
  • Don’t leave your equipment or cases lying around where people could trip or slip.
  • Restrict public access to locations where there may be tripping hazards such as cables.
  • Be careful with tripods, they can be hazardous.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Are there dangers such as passing traffic?
  • Make sure that you have adequate Public Liability Insurance.

Plan your content

  • Develop a storyboard or a list of shots, so that you know what you need to shoot.
  • Prepare a script (however short) and share it with anyone who will appear in your video. Give them time to learn the lines well before the shoot. If the people appearing your video are not actors, negotiate the script with them. Allow them to make suggestions for improvement.
  • Secure permission for use of your location.
  • Make sure everyone who needs to be there knows the date and time and that they get a reminder closer to the day.
  • Pack your equipment and make sure you have fully charged batteries for all equipment and any necessary extension leads etc.

Get permission

  • Get permission from the person or organisation responsible for any building or location that you plan to shoot in.
  • Get permission from anyone who will feature prominently in your video. E.g. Anyone in close-up or in the main action. Have signs on location clearly stating that filming is in progress. You can find free release form templates online.

Section 2 – shooting your social media video

Shoot with sound quality in mind

You want to avoid making social media videos with muffled sound, inaudible voices, overpowering music or distracting background noises. We recommend using an external microphone like the RØDE VideoMic GO On Camera Microphone. If you can’t use an external microphone, make sure that your subject is close enough to the camera for the sound to be picked up. Check out our article on great low budget audio equipment.

Think about lighting

Lighting is just as important for social media videos as sound. We recommend this Red Head Dimmable Lighting Kit as a great, versatile and value-for-money lighting solution for pretty much any video project.

Avoid placing your subject in a sunbeam, against a window during the middle of the day or in very bright light as this will lead to overexposure, where the person’s face will be whited-out and featureless.

Conversely, be careful not to shoot in dim light as the lack of light will be amplified in your final video. People will quickly hit the ‘stop’ button if they have difficulty seeing the content.

Add visual interest

Try to find a background for your video that provides some added visual interest. Nobody wants to see a video of someone standing in front of a magnolia wall. People with a little bit of technical know-how may want to digitally add a background using Chroma Key technology. This great value Green Screen Background Backdrop should fit the bill.

Keep it short

Ideally, social media videos should not last longer than ninety seconds. That may sound very short, but it allows plenty of time to get any message across. You can always provide a link for people to access further information online. The research shows time and time again that people will not engage with lengthy social media videos and the number of views will drop off sharply for every minute you go over the 90 seconds. Remember that the duration of your video will appear in the link and people will consider this when deciding if they’ll watch it.

Section 3: Sharing your video

Take the time to write an effective description for the video

Use persuasive text to entice the viewer to click ‘play’. It’s also important to use tags and categories as these help search engines to sort and serve your material to others.

Select the best thumbnail for your video

A thumbnail is the screenshot form the video that visitors will see before they click play. A title slide is unlikely to attract much attention. Choose some sort of action scene from your video. First impressions count!

Keep all your videos in one place

It makes sense to upload your videos to one online service such as YouTube or Vimeo. Both services allow you to create your own ‘channel’. You can direct visitors to this channel, where they can view all your previous videos.

Avoid using copyright material without permission

Don’t make the mistake of using a song from your favourite band or from the soundtrack of your favourite movie or TV show. You could find yourself facing a substantial fine. Youtube or Vimeo are both likely to flag the copyright violation automatically with the rights holder. You can find royalty-free soundtrack music here, which you can use free of charge as long as you credit the composer.

Use branding were possible

Consider including your logo in your video. This could be easily done by having a pop-up banner in the background.

Include a call to action

Tell the viewers what you want them to do. E.g. “Visit our website at…” or “Join us on January 3rd at 8pm for…”

Provide a link

Provide a link to your website in the description.

Choose music carefully.

Disagreeable music may result in an early stop.

Don’t go crazy with transitions!

Star wipes and fades between shots are fun, but they look really amateur and can quickly become a distraction for the viewer. Pick one simple dissolve or fade and stick with it.

Upload good quality video footage

Your video doesn’t need to be high definition, but it shouldn’t be blurry or fuzzy or dimly lit.

Learn from the experts!

We can provide practical training for video production. We also have all the expertise and equipment to produce great quality videos for you. (We recently worked on Game of Thrones Season 7.) Fill in the contact form below to find out how we can help you.

Essential equipment for a successful Facebook community: photography

Essential equipment for a successful Facebook community: photography

By far, the most popular posts on social media (measured in terms of likes, shares and comments) are those featuring great photographs. Good photography is an essential ingredient for a successful Facebook community.

Whilst camera phones and snapshot digital cameras produce acceptable photographs, it is worth investing in a Digital SLR camera. Thanks to their many automatic features and precision optics, these professional-style cameras will produce hugely better photographs, even in the hands of the most amateur photographer.

By investing around £300 you could purchase a camera that, if treated with care, will provide a useful service for many years to come. These cameras can also be used to easily record high definition video.

The Nikon D3300

We recommend the Nikon D3300 (pictured) which is now available for around £300 (price checked at £329 on 20th January 2017) with an excellent lens included. It is easy to use, has excellent online reviews and is packed with features. You can buy it online from Amazon by clicking here.

Essential extras

  • An SD memory card – this is where the camera stores the photographs. We recommend at least an 8gb card. These are inexpensively available here.
  • A bag/case for your camera – it’s worth spending a few pounds extra to get a good quality bag that will protect your very fragile camera and lenses. Remember that the camera will be carried over shoulders and in the boots of cars, so protection is essential. A good example can be found here.
  • Access to a computer with an SD card reader built in or with a USB SD card reader, for storing, editing and sharing photographs. Most modern computers will have a built-in card reader.
  • Someone to take the photographs. (See below.)
  • Good lighting is essential if you are photographing products, especially food. For small products, we recommend a studio box light tent kit like this great option.

Optional

  • A tripod for use when shooting video. You can find a very affordable one here.
  • Photo editing software for enhancing your photos. We recommend the excellent Photoshop Elements 16. It features almost all of the advanced editing features that the full version of Photoshop is so famous for, but at a fraction of the price. It is also much easier to use as it adapts to the skill level of the user. Available here. This excellent guide book will have even a beginner using the software like a professional in no time at all.

By making a modest investment, you can create stunning social media content that people will love to engage with.