A woman in a teal cardigan sits in front of a sofa and speaks to a digital camera, which sits out of focus on a tripod in the foreground. An open laptop sits on a low table to the woman's left. The sofa behind the woman is piled with pillows in various sizes and shades of red and brown.
People react well to seeing other people in videos, so don't be afraid to put yourself or your employees in front of the camera. — Getty Images/RoosterHD

Video is one of the most powerful ways to engage followers on social media. In 2019, one report found that users spent 6 hours and 48 minutes each week, on average, watching online videos. Tweets and Facebook posts with video regularly outperform static content, while platforms entirely dedicated to video, like TikTok, have exploded in popularity.

If your business is increasing its video content on social media, good move — you’re likely to see more engagement, brand awareness, and hopefully, a boost in sales. As you plan your video content, keep these best practices for using video on social media in mind.

Keep it short

Despite the fact that many followers spend a lot of time watching videos, they usually want to see shorter clips. HubSpot calls this content “snackable,” short-form content that someone can watch while commuting, waiting in line, and killing time between meetings.

[Read more: 5 Unique and Clever Ways to Use Video on Your Website]

The ideal length for your video depends on the social media platform you use. Here are some guidelines, based on research from Influencer Marketing Hub:

  • Facebook: Two to 15 minutes.
  • Instagram: A Story should be one to 10 slides; a video in Feed should be one minute or less; an IGTV video should be two to six minutes.
  • Twitter: 45 seconds.
  • LinkedIn: 30 seconds.
  • YouTube: 10 minutes.

Remember that your audience is scrolling; they won’t spend time watching a long video, since there are plenty of other posts to be seen. If you have a lot to say, break it up into shorter clips.

Add text or subtitles

People are watching videos on the go, which often means they aren’t in a location where they can turn the sound up. Add subtitles and text to make sure your followers don’t scroll past, and to reach those who may be deaf or hard of hearing.

Some platforms, including Facebook, IGTV, and YouTube, offer automatic captions. However, TikTok and Instagram Reels require you to manually add text. These platforms do have native tools to help you add text, but you may want to create your own using a separate video tool. Editing in another app allows you to add colors, font, and effects that reflect your specific brand.

There are plenty of tools that can help you with this task: Try tools like InShot, Captions for TikTok, and VEED.io (for desktop).

[Read more: How to Choose the Best Video Editing Software for Your Business]

Showing your face in your social media videos can be a major growth hack.

Natasha Samuel, Later

Start your video strong

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to video.

“When Facebook analyzed their users’ video consumption data in 2016, they discovered that 45% of people who watch the first three seconds of a video will keep watching it for at least 30 seconds,” wrote HubSpot.

Start your video with some kind of “hook” — a provocative question, a face people will recognize, or the punchline of the video. Then, you can dive into more detail, drawing viewers in the whole way through. Videos need to tell a story, so use the first few seconds to set up the narrative, then flesh out the detail and finish strong.

Show real people

There’s a reason why becoming an influencer is now a (somewhat) viable career option. Audiences love seeing videos with people in them. “Showing your face in your social media videos can be a major growth hack,” wrote the experts at Later. “Why? It helps create more trust with your viewers — and can encourage engagement through comments, likes, and shares.”

If you’re not comfortable being on camera, ask one of your team members or customers to star in your content. Be careful though: You don’t want to seem like you’re paying for an endorsement. Ultimately, the goal is to find someone who can authentically speak about what makes your brand different. So, if you choose to work with someone who isn’t genuinely enthused about your product or service, the video may fall flat.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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