Over the years videos have become ubiquitous with social media as they have grown to dominate almost all popular social media platforms. The reason for that growth is simple: Videos are by far the most effective form of social media content in terms of being able to attract and engage viewers. Social media videos are the hottest type of content you can publish today.
It is important to note however that while videos have staggering potential in social media, you cannot expect for any and all of the social media videos that you create to magically engage viewers and obtain shares. If you want that you will need to tap into the potential of videos by using the right approach from the get go.
Understanding Why Viewers Engage and Share Social Media Videos
The first step to create social media videos that are engaging and shareable is to understand what makes videos engaging and shareable in the first place.
Video engagement is simply a measure of the impact of videos on viewers and is affected by several different metrics including likes, comments, ratings, completion rate, and so on. One metric that is particularly relevant to engagement is how often the video is shared, which goes to show how the two are linked.
In short a video that is engaging is more likely to be shared in and of itself, and conversely a video that is shared often is one that is engaging. But the real question you need to ask is: Why do viewers engage with some videos and share them more frequently than others?
On a very basic level it boils down to the ability of a video to perform three tasks:
- Attract the attention of viewers so that they start to watch.
- Hold the interest of viewers so that they keep watching through to the end.
- Provoke the viewers into wanting to take action.
Sharing in particular is often best understood as a value exchange of sorts. For a viewer to want to share one of your videos, they need to feel that they’re getting value out of doing so and their friends will appreciate that they’re showing them a great video. On the other hand the value that you get is that more shares will mean more views.
All in all it should be clear that if you’re able to attract more attention, hold the interest, provoke viewers into taking action or provide a valuable reason for doing so – your social media videos will be more engaging and encourage more shares. In other words your goal should be to accomplish those things, so the only question that remains is: How?
Tips to Make Social Media Videos More Engaging and Encourage Shares
Now that you know the goals that you’re trying to achieve, you can start to look at specific ways to create more engaging and shareable videos for social media. As you can imagine it is an all-encompassing effort, but there are several areas in particular that you should focus on to start:
Keep the overall video duration short
The longer your video is, the more viewers it is going to lose along the way – which will affect its engagement levels. It is also less likely to be shared as viewers won’t be watching the video to completion.
With that in mind you should try to keep the overall video duration short. On most social media platforms a duration of about a minute at most is best, though in some cases you’ll want to create far shorter clips that are 15 seconds long or thereabouts.
Define the message of the video and focus on it
Due to how short your video is going to be, it is important that it is tightly-focused on a single message. Not only will this help to limit its duration, but it will also ensure that the message isn’t cluttered with distractions that could divert the viewer from the main point.
Before you create your video, you should define what its message will be. All other aspects of your video should be structured around it, and help in the delivery of that message.
Engineer to first 7 seconds to interest viewers from the onset
Did you know that most viewers will decide within the first 7 seconds of the video whether or not to continue watching? Because of that you should engineer those first 7 seconds so that they interest viewers right from the start, and ensure they stay and watch the video.
Considering 7 seconds is a rather short time frame to say the least, you don’t have the luxury of beating around the bush. Instead your video should immediately let the viewer know why they should keep watching – by outlining what its message is about and the benefits to the viewer.
Leverage viewers using the call to action
In marketing videos the call to action (CTA) is used to convert viewers and steer them down a specific pre-defined path. By its very definition it is an integral part of the engagement of the video, and if you wish you can even use it to directly encourage viewers to share and distribute the video.
Sometimes a bit of subtlety can help if you intend to leverage viewers to share a video in the call to action. Rather than demanding outright that they share the video, you could encourage them to ‘spread the message’ or ‘raise awareness’. As you can imagine this approach works particularly well if the message is something that the viewer is passionate about – or is convinced to be, in any case.
Structure the video as a story
Storytelling is important to social media videos and even if you’re not directly telling a story – you should structure your video using its elements. The introduction of your video will be the first 7 seconds that interest the viewer, and you should then use the content to deliver on the promises that you made before finally encouraging them to engage or share the video in the call to action.
If you want you can go a step further, and use other takeaways from storytelling to improve the engagement of your videos. Introducing a conflict and then resolving it is a particularly popular method, as is providing a distinct plan of action.
Add a dash of emotion
When all is said and done, people tend to share videos because of the emotions they feel. That is why funny videos that make people laugh, sad videos that touch them, or inspirational videos that galvanize them all tend to attract lots of shares.
As you can imagine you will want to take full advantage of this fact, and add a dash of emotion to your videos to provoke that reaction. Keep in mind that it isn’t so much about the specific emotion, but rather its intensity that is going to compel viewers to share your content.
Take advantage of trends
Generally the crowd on social media likes to be kept up to date with the latest trends, and that is something you can certainly take advantage of. Creating videos that are about a specific trend or leverage it in some way that is relevant to your audience could help you to create extremely engaging and shareable content.
While staying on top of social media trends can be a lot of effort, one of the best ways of doing so is to keep tabs on what influencers are doing. In most cases influencers tend to be fairly proactive in leveraging trends and you can also gain some insights on how to do so by observing them.
Try to connect with influencers
If an influencer with a sizable following shares your video, it could generate tons of exposure and shares – which is why many big brands nowadays carry out influencer marketing in some form or other. While you may not want to get into influencer marketing per se, connecting with influencers can be helpful.
Building up a relationship with influencers is valuable, and you can start by following their social media and responding to them. Over time perhaps some will follow you back, and maybe even share your content to their following. Of course if you do want to go the extra mile you can think about starting an influencer marketing campaign.
All of the tips above should help you to ensure your videos are engaging and shareable. However it is worth noting that there are two other areas that you should think about, namely creating high quality videos and developing a comprehensive video marketing strategy.
Both of those areas can help to further engage viewers and increase the likelihood that your videos will be shared. The good news is that it isn’t that difficult to create high quality videos, whether you opt to record them with a digital camera or smartphone, or record video on PC.
Similarly your video marketing strategy doesn’t need to be anything too complex – but it should outline the goals that you intend to achieve and how you want to position your social media videos accordingly. Assuming you can cover both of those areas as well as everything highlighted above, you should start to see a big improvement in your engagement levels and number of shares for your social media videos.
The publication of this post has been made possible through the generosity of one of our sponsors but all opinions are strictly my own.