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A Video Marketing Guide On Creating Epic Content for Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and More

Feb 11, 2017 13 min readResources

Video marketing has taken the social media world by storm.

People watch more than 100 million hours of video on Facebook.

YouTube brings in nearly 4,950,000,000 video views daily.

Time spent watching video on Instagram is up more than 80% year over year

What was just a blip on the radar a few years ago is now a top content marketing priority for brands and influencers everywhere. Yet the barrier to creating video marketing content that resonates with audiences can still feel high. You need …



Video editing skills.

We’d love to help remove those barriers so you can give social video a try!

We’ve put together a list of everything we’ve learned over the past few months about creating video marketing content on a budget, the importance of video marketing, and how it fits into your content strategy moving forward. By the end of this article we hope you’ll have everything you need to begin creating engaging videos today!

video marketing guide

Why Video Marketing Is So Valuable

In addition to the hundreds of thousands of hours that people spend watching videos each day, video marketing can also help to drive brand growth and a solid marketing ROI. Here are just a few of the findings from recent video studies, courtesy of ReelSEO and HubSpot.

  • YouTube reaches more 18-49 year-olds than any broadcast or cable TV network.
  • YouTube does all this with just mobile traffic! (The above stat doesn’t include desktop visits.)
  • After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to purchase a product online.
  • Conversions may increase by as much as 80% with a video on a landing page.
  • Visitors spend 88% more time on a website that includes video.

Dr. James McQuivey did calculated frames per second and length of video to find that the value of a 1-minute video is worth 1.8 million words.

Importance of Social Video Statistics 2016

We’ve seen great video results at Buffer in some of our early experiments.

In the past 30 days, the average reach on our Facebook video posts is 2.7x higher and engagement 1.9x higher than our non-video posts. We’re seeing similar results on Twitter and Instagram as well with video driving a smaller, but still notable increase in reach and engagement.

Video offers the opportunity to communicate your brand, showcase your product and connect with your customers in powerful, never-before-used ways. And with the ability to record HD videos in the palm of your hand, the tools and resources are more accessible than ever.

A Go-To Video Marketing Strategy for Each of the Big 5 Social Channels

Tips for creating video on Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter

Naturally, video strategy has evolved on each of the various social media platforms over the years.

That’s why we’d love to briefly cover the five major players when it comes video content creation and posting strategy – better preparing you to create awesome videos tailored to each specific channel.

The five big social media video channels are Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. Here’s a bit on each of them.

1. Facebook Video is Fun, Emotional, and Highly Shareable

Social Video Marketing, social video, video marketing, social media video

Think back to the last time you shared a video on Facebook.

What was the overall feeling of the video? Was there a particular reason that you shared it? Thinking share-first when planning and creating Facebook video will help put the story you’d like to tell in perspective.

Facebook also provides brands and marketers with incredible opportunities to target video advertising towards potential customers on granular levels. Metrics such as personal interests, locations, website visitors and much more are all available as targeting options.

And let’s not forget that there has never been a better time to create native Facebook video content. Over the last several months Facebook has begun to place a huge emphasis on video content in their news feed algorithm which means more organic reach and growth for marketers.

It’s a good time to be a video creator on Facebook!

For Facebook videos in particular, here’s a quick cheat sheet for making the most of Facebook video:

  • Use “square” or 1:1 format. Studies show 1:1 outperforms landscape videos by 30-35% (source)
  • Add captions to your video! 85% of videos are viewed on Facebook without sound (source)
  • Make the first 3 seconds count. Facebook’s Autoplay will count 3 seconds as a “view” (source)
  • Use high-resolution 720p or 1080p HD. 720p format has a resolution of 1280 x 720 or an aspect ratio of 16:9 and 1080p format has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 or an aspect ratio of 16:9 (source)
  • Export your video in the format and resolution in which is was filmed (source)
  • Write a compelling headline for your Facebook Live sessions to attract more viewers (source)

2. YouTube Remains the World’s Largest Video Search Engine

Social Video Marketing, social media, social video, video marketing

Some brands and influencers have found an incredible niche on YouTube. YouTube personalities Casey Neistat and Amy Schmittauer are awesome examples of influencers with a loyal following while GoPro is the Cinderella story of brands making it big. Those, along with countless others, have discovered a formula for YouTube success and it has worked well.

For the rest of us, YouTube serves a much different (yet still important) purpose – discovery.

YouTube processes more than 3 billion searches per month and is the second largest search engine online right behind Google, which makes sense because Google owns it.

Uploading and optimizing social video to YouTube allows you to seamlessly embed videos across your website while also creating content that is discoverable on Google and other search engines. Create videos that bring value to your audience and optimize them with closed captions, tags, and descriptions that will make them discoverable.

For YouTube video marketing, here’s a quick list of best-practices:

  • Add captions to your video! YouTube videos may see 40%  more views with captions/subtitles (source)
  • Make the first 3-10 seconds count. 20-25% of viewers will watch less than 10 seconds (source)
  • Use robust video descriptions and tagging in addition to meta data to help with SEO rankings (source)
  • Use high-resolution 720p or 1080p HD. 720p format has a resolution of 1280 x 720 or an aspect ratio of 16:9 and 1080p format has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 or an aspect ratio of 16:9
  • Spend some time picking the right keywords to unlock major channel growth and video views (source)

3. Snapchat Video is Raw, Authentic, and Going Mainstream

Social Video Marketing, social video, snapchat video marketing, snapchat strategy

We recently published an article asking:

If you could travel back in time to when Facebook or Instagram first started grabbing mainstream attention, knowing what you do now about the opportunity they hold for brands, you’d jump aboard, right?

Well, that opportunity is now on Snapchat.

Snapchat users are currently watching an incredible 10 billion videos per day on the platform, up from 8 billion in February. The sky is the limit for Snapchat and brands are quickly jumping aboard – figuring out what content is driving the most engagement and growth on this platform.

For a lot of users, especially the younger generation, Snapchat is a premier form of communication. This makes Snapchat an important channel to be active on as an influencer or brand.

A quick cheat sheet for Snapchat video marketing best-practices:

  • Add text and drawings to your video! 33% of videos are viewed on Snapchat without sound (source)
  • Make the 1st Snap count. We’ve found that 22% of viewers drop off after one Snap (Add us on Snapchat)
  • Record in a vertical format. Viewers tend to engage more with content that looks and feels native (source)
  • Provide a variety of content that your users will find either entertaining or helpful (source)

4. Instagram Video is Captivating, Thoughtful, and Inspiring

Instagram Video, video marketing, instagram video marketing, social video

With the recent launch of Instagram Stories and their long-form video app, IGTV, Instagram is the new major player when it comes to social video. Brands and marketers are jumping on the new feature, testing it out, and looking for ways to stay at the top of user’s minds.

The main question, however, is how do Instagram Stories differ from the video marketing content that we’re used to seeing on Snapchat?

When Instagram first introduced video in 2013, more than 5 million videos were shared within the first 24 hours. We’re seeing a similar trend with Instagram Stories as marketers look to find what works on the new medium. What we do know is that the introduction of this new feature has opened up tons of new video marketing opportunities on Instagram.

Here’s a quick list of video marketing best-practices on Instagram:

  • Use “square” or 1:1 format. Studies show it costs 33% less to get someone to engage with square video (source)
  • Think “no sound.” Instagram requires that you “tap video for sound” meaning silence is automatic (source)
  • Part of the appeal of Instagram is the quality of content. Aim to keep your videos on par with your photos
  • Posts with at least one hashtag get 12% more engagement. Remember to optimize captions & tags (source)
  • Instagram Stories allows uploading of videos within 24 hours of being “added” to your phone. Anything you create on your computer and send to your phone counts within that rule
  • “Bring your photos to life” with Instagram Stories. Behind-the-scenes looks at how the photo was created

5. Twitter Video is Quick, Personal, and Entertaining

Social Video Marketing, social video, social media marketing, video marketing

Twitter is the silent hero when it comes to social video content. While everyone is talking about Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube, Twitter continues to innovate its video platform – bringing new ways for brands to share video on Twitter to light.

Did you know that 82% of Twitter users watch social video content on Twitter and that an additional 41% of them say that Twitter is a “great place” to discover educational video content?

Social media marketers know that Twitter is a highly-personal and engaging platform when you take time to interact. There is so much content these days that one of the only ways to win on Twitter is to dive into those 1-on-1 relationships.

Create personal video content on Twitter and take the extra time to follow up in an authentic way.

For Twitter videos, here’s a quick cheat sheet for making the most of them:

  • Humanize your videos. Videos showing people in the first moments are 2x more like to be viewed (source)
  • Tell a story. Videos that have a clear beginning, middle, and end can increase viewership (source)
  • Videos that simply aim to entertain your audience can lead to a 15% higher intent to share (source)
  • Maximum video length is 140 seconds with a file size of up to 512mb (source)
  • The video format supported for mobile apps are MP4 and MOV (source)

Tools to Create and Edit Social Video on a Budget

I’m hoping by now you’re feeling super inspired and that you’re ready to get out there and create some epic social video content for your audience!

To get you there, I’d love to share some creation and editing tools that can help you record videos and polish them up to promote across social media. Here’s a quick list of some easy-to-use and inexpensive tools for video creation and editing.

Video Creation Essentials: Hardware

There are a lot of things that go into a great video like lighting, staging, scripting, acting and more! But for the purpose of social video, it’s important to focus on two key components, picture quality and sound.

  1. iPhone 5 (or newer): If you are trying to keep cost down, you might not even need to buy a camera – an iPhone can create some amazing footage. iPhone 6 even shoots 4K video which is excellent quality by many standards.
  2. Android: If you prefer Android devices there are a ton of great phone options with incredible video shooting capabilities. This article via AndroidPit provides rundown of the top Android phone cameras for 2016.
  3. Camcorders: For marketers that want to take their social video creation game up one step while still staying on-budget, a camcorder is your next best option. Check out C|Net’s guide to the top inexpensive camcorders on the market.
  4. Phone Camera Tripod: Video marketers filming with phones or camcorders may quickly realize that it’s quite tough to keep the camera stable. That’s where mini phone and camcorder tripods come in and they work like a charm. Here’s a list of some of the best options available today.
  5. Microphone: Also known as lavalier microphones, these inexpensive, yet powerful mic options will improve the sounds quality of your videos dramatically.

Video Editing Essentials: Desktop apps

Sweet! Your epic social video content is recorded and now it’s ready to be edited. Here are a few of our favorite video editing products that are inexpensive and have a relatively shallow learning curve.

  1. Apple iMovie (Mac): Apple’s iMovie application is available free with all new iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. It’s a user-friendly tool that will allow you to perform basic edits to your video including captioning, adding music, enhancing the quality, reducing background noise, and more.
  2. Windows Movie Maker (Windows): Similar to iMovie, Windows Movie Maker is another easy-to-use video editor capable of creating fresh social videos without all the extra (sometimes complicated) features that come with programs such as Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro.
  3. Wondershare Filmora (Windows/Mac): Filmora is the software that we use here at Buffer to edit many of our videos. The app costs between $34.99 (yearly) and $49.99 (lifetime) for personal use and $99.98 (lifetime) for businesses. We’ve found that it works super well for quick edits and enhancements to videos.
  4. Lightworks (Windows/Mac): Looking for an Emmy and Academy award winning video editing software program that has been used to produce everything from LA Confidential to Pulp Fiction? Look no further than Lightworks which offers both free and paid tools for marketers.

Remember that as much of 85% of video views on Facebook and other social media platforms occur with the sound off.

Getting good at one or two of the social video editing tools above will allow you to caption your videos with ease – increasing “watch retention rate” and overall shares.

Here’s an example of a video we captioned with Filmora that has now received more than 13,200 views on Facebook:

Video editing essentials: Mobile apps

There are also a bunch of cheap (even free!) mobile apps that come with powerful video editing features. These are great for on-the-go video creation, which may fit a lot of your social strategy and workflows.

  1. iMovie App (Apple): Similar to the Mac desktop application, the iMovie app for mobile devices comes with a ton of powerful features that allows you to splice together footage as well as add titles, captions, music, and more!
  2. PowerDirector (Android): This nifty video editing app for Android is a user-friendly yet powerful editor. Clips can quickly be arranged and trimmed, titles can be added, and you get access to a solid set of transition options.
  3. Pinnacle Studio (Apple / Android): While iMovie and PowerDirector are user-friendly mobile video marketing tools, Pinnacle Studio offers a lot more features including speed control, transitions, picture-in-picture, audio edits and robust title options. This great tool has been around since the ’90s.

And finally, I’d love to share some inspiration to get your mind churning on what could work for your next social video.

Awesome Examples of Engaging Social Video

Friends Furever” by Android

Wondering what the most shared video ad of 2015 was? It’s a bunch of adorable animals!

The video is cleverly named “Friends Furever” by Android:

Key Takeaway

What I love about this video is that it curates video clips captured by everyday people. There is nothing particularly spectacular about the video quality or sound, but the story it tells is extremely powerful and captivating.

This is a great lesson for us as marketers to think story-first. Only after you have story you want to tell thought out that you begin to figure out how you’re going to capture it and turn it into a video. To develop a compelling story, think of every unique aspect about your brand, about your culture, and about you community.

There is a great story waiting to be told about everyone and every brand.

Rope Swing Beer Pong” by Chubbies

Treating everything they do “like it’s Friday.” That’s what Chubbies looks to deliver in their marketing and video content and it’s working like a charm.

Take their “Rope Swing Beer Pong” video, for example, which has received more than 98,000 likes, 65,000 comments and 21,000,000 views on Facebook alone.

Key Takeaway

Chubbies knows exactly who their audience is and what they love to do in their spare time. By creating and developing this type of internal marketing personas, they are able to deliver the video content that their audience wants to see on a consistent basis.

In marketing, there is a fine balance between what we as marketers think is interesting social media content and what our audience thinks is interesting. The challenging part is separating the two and putting your audience first.

Get as deep as possible into the mind of your community. What are their passions? What keeps them up at night? What makes them happy? What problem can your brand solve for them?

Dance Craze Battle: LIVE!” by BuzzFeed

Live dance battle, anyone?

BuzzFeed took to the streets with this epic dance battle on Facebook Live that now has more than 2,500 likes, 15,000 comments, and 213,000 views.

Key Takeaway

One of the hottest trends in video marketing right now is live video, particularly Facebook Live. In this example, BuzzFeed used Facebook Live as a way to engage their audience through active participation – similar to a “live” television show.

Throughout the dance battle BuzzFeed commented on their own post asking the viewers how they thought a certain dancer was doing on a scale of 1-10. A genius way to drive extra engagement throughout the entire video (increasing retention) and putting the outcome in the hands of their audience.

When experimenting with Live video, try and aim to create additional ways for your audience participate in the stream. Questions are a great way to do that along with a host of other fun ideas specific to your industry or brand.

That’s A Wrap!

The key takeaway from all of this is that video marketing is an incredible way to create new and interesting content that will drive engagement on social media. Now is the perfect time to begin experimenting with video and figuring out what your audience enjoys most.

Social video is continually evolving and so it is up to us as marketers to keep up.

And if you’re interested in checking out our latest (massive) study we ran with Animoto all about the power of 1:1 or “square” video on social media – you can find the complete research here!

What type of video content do you plan to produce for your social media and content marketing posts this year?

What video production tools have you tried? Have you tested any of the tools or resources listed above?

I’d love to hear your feedback and experiences with video marketing!

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