What You Need to Know to Make Awesome Social Videos

At the heart of every successful video strategy lies one thing: great videos! Creating, editing, and publishing an original video can feel intimidating at first. But original, high-quality videos are only moments away – even for those with little or no video experience. Let’s walk through the process of creation, from finding a great story to crafting your video to perfecting it for publication!

Find Your Story

Before you can get to properly producing a video, you need a story! The question of what story to tell can be a challenge to answer, but there are some go-to sources for story ideas to keep creation flowing (like this ideas list).

Start by looking at what is already working for your organization. Are there popular written pieces that could be transformed into video? Or a particular subject your audience has taken an interest to recently?

You can also look at what’s hot on social. What’s are the trending topics everyone is talking about? Entering the social conversation with a unique take that speaks to your audience is a recipe for success.

Remember that whether your aims is to entertain or inform, emotion is critical to social video success. But be sure think about why you are making this particular video. Do you hope to inspire, entertain, or educate? Knowing how you want your video to serve your audience allows you to shape its emotional resonance.

The shape your video takes should also be informed by its purposes. Will you give your audience a listicle piece? The first in an ongoing series? A social video focused on social conversation? There are a number of tried-and-true formats, but don’t hesitate to experiment.

When settling on a story and form, keep in mind the elements that help stories succeed. 58% of viral videos (over 1 million views) tell evergreen stories that are not time-sensitive (of course, covering breaking stories can also lead to a lot of views!) And a whopping  81% of viral videos evoke an emotional response. Overwhelmingly, emotions targeted are positive.

Keep in mind that not every video can or will go viral. But giving videos the common qualities of viral hits, as possible, can only help them be more successful.

Gather the Pieces

With a story idea in hand, you’ll need the video clips and image assets to create your piece. Use your own databases or tap into commercial ones. Some video creation platforms include editorial and creative media already inside.

Wochit, for example, has an enormous asset library made up of content from the AP, Getty, and many more. This makes finding the content you need a breeze.  In choosing assets, focus on high-quality, eye-catching visuals. You want every moment of your video to pop and keep viewers engaged. To this end, use moving image clips as much as possible. The movement of video helps hold the attention of viewers.

Choosing a great video clip is especially important for the opening of your social video! The first few seconds of a video make or break its success. Social viewers have short attention spans and will decide in the first three seconds whether or not to keep watching. So always start off with a bang!

As you gather assets, think about the final aspect ratio of your video. Will it be a square video, ideal for Facebook or Instagram? Or a classic horizontal video, perfect for YouTube (and still effective on the big social platforms)?

Aspect ratio isn’t just a question of where you’ll be uploading your piece, it’s also a question of your audience’s habits. Do they most often watch your content on mobile, as many videos are now viewed? Or are your audience views from desktop? Which kind of user are you trying to reach? Square and vertical videos are ideal for mobile viewing, as they preview in full-size in feeds. Taking up more screen space simply makes them more alluring. Their ability to catch eyes across platforms and screens is part of the reason we’ve seen such a rise in the popularity of vertical in the past year.

Whatever aspect ratio you are focused on, select assets that can be effectively cropped and manipulated to that format. Also, keep in mind the ideal length for your video and how your assets fit into those confines.

Awesome Social videos vary widely in length, of course. Most viral videos run between 30 seconds and 1 minute. But we’ve seen longer videos become more popular throughout the last year. This is in part driven by the need for longer videos (90 seconds or more) to monetize on Facebook. But viewers are also responding positively to videos that are slightly longer than traditional social bites.

Now it’s time to order and edit your assets into your video. Shape your assets as you think you’ll need them, but don’t be afraid to adjust them as you move into the heart of production…

Bring Your Story to Life

This final part of the process is where creators can truly flourish, leaving their stamp on original videos. With text overlays, animations, music, gifs, and emojis, your video can become anything you can imagine. This is where you can really make your video stand out!

You might start with text overlays since for many videos text will be how the story is told. Start with your opening asset, adding a title or interest-piquing introductory text to reel viewers in.

As you go through your assets adding text as necessary, try different colors and styles. Highlight key phrases with special colors, bold, or larger size. Wochit’s Text Styles can help you design you manipulate text easily, and even match your organization’s branding.

Use text to lead viewers through your piece, from asset to asset. You might ask a question in one text block, then answer with the next. Or use ellipses to create a sense of anticipation leading your viewer forward.

Try animating text on- and off-screen as an added attention grabber. Add in other flairs if it suits your piece, like some emojis or gifs for a little playfulness.

Throughout this process, remember to let the visuals have center-stage – this is a video, after all! Don’t place text over the most interesting part of a visual asset. And don’t put too much text on-screen at once, or viewers will tune out from being overwhelmed. Be sure you leave text on-screen long enough to be comfortably read.

Once all your text, animations, and transitions are in place, add some audio magic to your piece. For some, this may be a voiceover. For others, it will be a nice musical backing track.

While we know many videos are viewed with the sound off, this doesn’t mean your piece should be silent. Some viewers will have the sound on and will want the full experience. A well-matched backing track can enhance your video, increasing its emotional impact and making for a more memorable viewing experience.

At this point, your video is all but completed. There are just a few final things to tend to…

Put on the Finishing Touches

Before you publish your piece, you’ll need to choose the perfect thumbnail, title, and description for your piece. You’ll also need to be sure to incorporate a call-to-action (CTA) in your video (or, at the least, its share copy).

For your CTA, consider what you want from your viewers. Would you like them to share your piece? Leave a comment? Click-through to your own website? Or simply watch more of your videos? Whatever it is, close out the video with your organization’s branding alongside a strong CTA pushing viewers to the next action you want them to take.

To get your video sharing-ready, it needs a catchy title. But that may not mean what you think. Our data shows that some of the most oft-used title formats, like “Need to Know” or “Things to Know” etc., actually perform significantly below the average for all videos. So get creative with your title. Make it stand out from the crowd and pique the interest of viewers.

Along with a catchy title, you’ll need a comprehensive but interesting description. Remember that your description serves two purposes: to draw in viewers and to aid your video SEO. As web crawlers and search engines can’t watch your video to discern its content, your description is the way for you to deliver this information.

A clear, detailed description will help your video show up in the right search results. Whether users are searching the whole of the web or looking for content on a particular platform, you want your video to show up in the right results! This will bring new viewers and audiences to your content.

One thing is left to choose before sharing your video with the world, and that’s a great thumbnail! We have some great tips for creating strong thumbnails here. But the key is to choose a standout image – something that will catch eyes even in cluttered social feeds.

With all the pieces in hand, the time has finally come. Your awesome new social video is ready for the world. Upload it to your social network of choice, track your results, and hone your skills moving forward. You’re on your way to being a video pro!

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