A Guide for Social Media Managers: How to Create Highly Engaging Social Media Videos

Social media

If you’re somewhat active on social media, you’ve most likely watched a video within the past few days – or even hours.

It’s no secret that video content has taken off, completely transforming the way brands reach and engage with customers. Video marketing allows you to deliver messages more effectively while connecting with your audience through storytelling elements better than text and still images ever can.

And there’s no question as to if video helps marketers reach goals. It’s simple – the more engaging your social video is, the more people will see your content, and ultimately the more traffic will come to your website; meaning more conversions and customers. In fact, 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.

Compelling video content has a direct impact on the customer experience – 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service. If you still don’t believe in the importance of social media video marketing, here are a few more stats:

  • 45% of people watch an hour or more of video per day
  • More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day (WordStream)
  • 84% of consumers have been convinced to make a purchase after watching a brand’s video (Wyzowl)

Social media directors and managers should continuously be paying attention to the rise of video. They must understand the impact social media video marketing has on ROI and overall digital marketing efforts.

As social media marketing recruiters, we expect video to become an increasingly important part of every brand’s social media marketing strategy (if it isn’t already). We also understand that creating compelling video content is easier said than done as it’s more challenging than designing a graphic or writing a blog post. However, it isn’t as difficult as you may think; and the benefits you can get from it are far more valuable.

Do you feel like you don’t have the time, budget or resources to create compelling video content? The good news is that with the right strategy, tools, and marketing talent in place, you can implement an effective social media video marketing strategy without spending much. Creating engaging, high-quality videos doesn’t mean you have to dish out thousands of dollars on extravagant tools and rent out a studio. It can simply be done in the comfort of the office or conference room. Most of the time, all you need is a good idea, background, lighting, and audio.

Social Media Marketing Recruiters: How Great Social Media Managers Can Create Even Greater Video Content

Today’s digital marketing landscape has completely evolved, and social media managers must invest in social media video marketing. To do so successfully, you must understand the best practices for each social platform in order to build an effective strategy for each one (something we’ll get into in a later post).

Social media marketing recruiters understand how challenging it can seem. That’s why we’ve collected essential tips social media managers, directors, and their teams can understand and implement into their social media video strategy. We’ll touch on core elements that go into killer video creation like the ideation, equipment, and various layouts you need to consider.

Engaging Topics

The first step to creating great video content is to pick topics that your target audience would find interesting – even a simple video requires planning and building a strategy to successfully execute.

Understand your audience – what would they be interested in and find valuable? What is going to be said, and what will be shown to deliver your message? You’ll want to create a script for videos that focus on dialogue and conversation as it helps keep your messaging clear and the production process organized. However, keep in mind that scripts don’t have to be extremely formal.

It helps to do a practice run of your script with team members to make sure it flows nicely and doesn’t have words or phrases that are hard to understand. If you don’t think a script is necessary, have a basic outline of how you want your video to go and rehearse it so your video doesn’t look disorganized.

A few ways to generate topics are to re-purpose popular content, identify top blog posts, or find popular videos in your industry. If you’ve created videos that have performed well before, look at the ones that generated the most engagement compared to others and get inspiration from them.

Remember to always tie your videos to a real marketing goal; so when you think of ideas, consider how each one will help you achieve your goals while making connections with your audience.

Camera Quality

Video quality

Shooting high-quality video doesn’t have to be done with a thousand dollar DSLR camera. It can be done on your iPhone (iPhone X now shoots in 4K) or any other smartphone with great camera quality.

There are many external lenses that can fit on your smartphone. These often give you options of taking wider shots, macro shots, and fisheye shots. These options can make your videos more dynamic and improve the overall quality.

Regardless of what you use to record your videos, use a tripod to stabilize the camera and make sure your shots aren’t shaky (in case of smartphones, use a portable video rig).

Optimal Layouts

When creating videos for social media, what layout works best for you and your audience? You have various options when selecting the type of layout you want like landscape, portrait, or square.

Different social media platforms call for different optimal layouts. If you aren’t too sure which channel you’re planning to publish your video on, don’t worry. You can certainly shoot videos without deciding on a final layout, but it does help to keep in mind the optimal video specs for the platform you plan on posting to.

The safest bet is to record it horizontally. With a landscape layout, you can more easily adjust it to fit the proper dimensions based on the specific platform. To keep up with each social network’s specific video sizes and specs, we recommend checking out Sprout Social’s Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Video Specs.

Additionally, make sure the layout of your videos is optimized for mobile viewing. According to Wordstream, over half of video content is viewed on mobile.

Top-Notch Audio Quality

Bad audio can ruin a phenomenal video. Distorted sounds and loud background noise are extremely unpleasant for the viewer’s experience, and distract from your core message.

The audio quality of your video is highly important, so investing in an external mic is extremely helpful in capturing the best sounding audio. This doesn’t mean it has to be a costly one – great mics can range from $17-$330. Many of these mics can simply be plugged into your smartphone and will amplify the sound quality.

Make sure to find a quiet place to record your video. But be aware that recording in a super quiet and empty room can create an echo so you’ll need to soften or deaden up the room. You can do this by installing sound absorption panels into the walls, or simply by filling the room with couch cushions and a rug or hanging up blankets. The idea here is to stop sound waves from bouncing off of the walls and flooring.

How to Get Better Audio in Your Videos – 5 Budget Audio Tips

Video by Think Media

Quality Lighting

Natural light is the best source of light for videos. But if you aren’t able to get good consistent natural lighting, it’s smart to invest in studio lights.

Again, you don’t have to spend a fortune on lighting equipment. You can build a DIY lighting set for under $100. Wistia provides this diagram to help you set up your shot:

Lighting interviews

A Complimentary Background

Find a flattering background for your video and the main subject of the video. Shooting in front of a super busy environment or using an obvious virtual background can be distracting and seem less authentic.

Filming against a white wall looks quite boring. However, a simple colored backdrop adds more life, is great in driving focus on the subject of the video and doesn’t distract the viewer from things going on in the background.

Helpful Subtitles

According to Digiday, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. Much of your audience will likely watch your videos at work, meaning they can’t have the audio blaring. Social media platforms even take this into consideration and mute videos that play automatically.

To drive more engagement, place overlaying text in your video or incorporate closed captioning so viewers can follow along with or without sound. YouTube and Facebook provide simple close captioning tools to help you generate captions.

Make It Short and Compelling

When your audience’s attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter, you have to figure out a way to grab their attention quick. That’s why concise, easy to digest videos perform the best. According to Vidyard, “a video less than 90 seconds in length sees an average retention of 59%, as compared to a video over thirty minutes in length which retains only 14% of its audience all the way to the end.”

The ideal length for videos differs across social media networks so managers must be aware of how long videos should be for each platform.

Focus on telling a story and immersing your audience into an experience. Videos that are too focused on promoting your product or services and are mainly focused on driving sales won’t resonate with viewers. If you are able to grab your viewers’ attention in the first few seconds, they will be more likely to watch it all the way through. So, be creative with it!


With these tips in place, we hope that you’re more confident about your social media video marketing strategy. With the right strategy and great marketing talent onboard, social media managers have the opportunity to transform the way they engage and connect with their audience.

As long as social media is around (and it will be for a very, very long time), social media marketing recruiters believe video will continue to be a key part of every brand’s digital marketing success.

Video is the present and future of content marketing. Creating compelling videos for social that have the potential to go viral drives results like higher engagement and growing your audience. Sometimes, all you need for a viral piece of content is to post it through the right channel at the right moment.

Now that you’ve learned how to create high-quality videos for social media, you’ll need to choose the right platforms for your business to share your awesome videos. Next, we’ll go over how your videos fit within each network’s best practices to further drive and optimize your social media video marketing strategy.

What additional tips do you find the most helpful in creating video for social media? Let us know!

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