When it comes to modern marketing, every single campaign and asset has two or three different purposes and must be subtly optimized to serve each one effectively. For social video, those catchy little episodes of semi-promotional video, your goal is more than just making interesting and entertaining content or designing a format your audience can recognize. While most marketing teams remember the 'ulterior motive' to SEO with every asset, remember that there's another great way to increase the reach and impact of your social videos: clickability. You want every single person who sees your social video post scroll by on a wall, hashtag feed, or a friend's likes to be unable to resist clicking on your video and then watching it all the way through.
Here's how to do it:
Use Your First Few Frames
'Autoplay' is a feature that has become increasingly popular with social media platforms, especially the big names like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Unlike YouTube where this term means 'automatically plays next video' instead, on these platforms autoplay means that when a user mouses over a thumbnail, the first few seconds of your video plays to give them a quick preview. This is fantastic little feature can make your videos irresistible to click on, but only if you start moving in the very first few frames and that movement is something that peaks the interest of your viewers.
To make the most of this feature, we suggest designing your 'first few frames' as part of your episode format, giving the most visually interesting preview of the video content before your opening logo or 'Hello and Welcome' introduction.
Unusual Titles = Curious Viewers
Eyes on you, your autoplay movement caught someone's attention and now they're actually deciding if they want to watch your video or not. This thought is a split-second, a moment's consideration primarily influenced by those opening frames and... that's right. Your title. Your title should inspire curiosity and a strong urge to find out just what the title could mean for your video content or the answer to the question you've posed. Depending on your industry and target audience, the title could be anything from bizarre references to your personal stories to DIY how-to guides. As long as it draws viewers in and accurately represents the video at the same time, the title is doing its job.
As a word of advice, no matter how much you like your episode format, never let your titles 'get into a rut'. Do your best to keep them spicy, entertaining, funny, or unusual to peak curiosity every time and make social media viewers unable to resist peeking at the content inside.
Open with the Attention Grabber
Congratulations! You got the click and now someone is watching your video. Now the trick is to keep them interested so that your video isn't closed in the first five seconds. That's why most people start with some kind of attention-grabber. This is a lot like our first few frames but now you're working with the full video, sound and everything. Have your hosts do something wacky, film something from an odd angle, or provide a fascinating tidbit of information as your opener. Anything to prevent people from quickly dismissing your video as boring or "same old same" and moving on before they watch your actual content.
For your attention grabber, aim for surprise and humor. Ideally, you want your audience simultaneously delighted and curious within the first 30 seconds of pressing play.
Engaging Use of Sound and Music
For your social media viewers able to watch with the sound on, the last thing they want is a silent or audibly boring video. Even if you're covering a relatively mundane topic like how to fix a bicycle, you can grab attention and enhance engagement with your soundtrack alone. Catchy or eerie music, sound effects, and interesting background noise are all a great place to start but don't wait until the video's halfway through. Social media viewers can click away at lightning speed so make sure to get started with both content and music or sound effects pretty quickly.
Many marketing teams have found that a catchy theme song, the audio for an entertaining event, or a dynamic use of theme-related sound effects is a great way to enhance their content with sound. Or you can open with your hosts singing. Normal people singing with gusto is almost always entertaining.
Don't Forget the Subtitles
Subtitles are absolutely amazing for social video, and for more reasons than you think. First and foremost, subtitles allow the hearing impaired members of your audience to join in the video fun and discussions about your video content. That alone is a good enough reason to add subtitles but it actually goes further than that. Many of your viewers will be watching at work, school, or in other public situations where they can't politely use sound. Some will have broken sound systems, others might simply prefer to browse without sound to avoid those annoying video ads that have become so "popular". For whatever reason your viewers can't hear the video, a high-quality subtitles track makes sure that everyone can be included in your social video campaign.
As a fun extra note, if you can get your subtitles accurately translated into several of the more common international or local languages, you can also significantly increase your potential audience and your chances of going globally viral.
Experiment with Interesting Thumbnails
When autoplay isn't rolling your video forward a few seconds per mouse-over, your video is represented by the thumbnail. Also known as the 'cover frame', this is what most users will see when your video appears in their social media feed. Understandably, it has a huge impact on whether or not someone hits 'play' on your video or decides to pass. Don't just pick the first frame of your video and 'roll with it'. Feel free to play around with several thumbnail options to find the right size, resolution, and design for both your platforms and audiences.
If you're torn between several great thumbnail options, try a little A/B testing or even use different thumbnails for your various social media platforms to appeal to each separate online community.
Make Use of Trending Hashtags and Headlines
There's nothing more important to the social media culture than trends. What people are talking about today, the topics they're interested in, and the current events they're worked up about. Whether this week's biggest hashtag is a news story or another mini social movement, staying apprised of the trends and working them into your video content is a great way to stay connected to your audience.
There are two ways to cater to the trend-minded social media communities. The first is to mention trends while still sticking with your usual format and video content themes and the second is to take a brief break from your normal content to cover something ripped from the headlines that matter a great deal to your audience or industry.
Show Fans Love by Sharing Their Content
Social media audiences adore participation in the communities they join. Answering calls and messages is a great way to start the engagement process, but after a while, you will almost guaranteeably start to receive fan content submissions. Welcome them. Tell your social media community that you care about their opinions and their contributions to your brand or organization by featuring the best of their shared fan content with the entire online community. Fan content can be anything from submitted poems and written works that they'd like you to read aloud to pre-recorded video segments for your special features or even someone who'd like to be interviewed on camera. Pick and choose what fan content to feature by how impressed you are with the work and how well it meshes with your current video content, style, and themes.
No matter which social media platform you're talking about, video is gaining an increasing amount of popularity and effectiveness in enticing new audience members and entertaining the ones that have already joined your community. From Facebook to Imgur, Twitter to QQ, even LinkedIn communities can get behind a catchy and entertaining social video. For more bold tips and tricks for your next social video campaign, contact us today!