Essential expert tips to get you started with social video

hand holding a video camera

Many of our partners and clients, of all sizes and across industries, are planning to include video in their 2018 content strategies. In fact, some of the smaller and more nimble businesses are already doing it with great success. So, we decided to pass the benefit of their experience onto you so you can get started with confidence and move fast with social video.

Maria Lopez-Linares, owner of a vintage jewellery business in Spain, is the face of her brand and posts free-to-make videos on her YouTube channel twice a month. She says that even though her channel is still young, she has already realised how much video is helping her company:

“My videos help me to showcase my products more effectively than any image could. And, I can create valuable content about the history of each piece of jewellery, which brings trust and loyalty from my customers and followers.”

person writing a plan

How to plan social video for 2018

Planning your marketing activity for a new year can often feel a little daunting and tricky to prioritise if you’re focusing on getting other projects wrapped up. But if you spend a little time now, thinking strategically, January will be more productive than ever before. With that in mind, here are some planning pointers from Caitlin Attal, former Digital Marketing Manager at ALTV, and now a member of our collective:

  • Diversify your content. One-size does not fit all for video, you need to tailor it for each social platform. If you do this, your content will serve different goals and give you an edge on your competitors.
  • Experiment with Instagram Stories, Snapchat Stories and live video. Telling stories will offer you a way to show the human side of your business and help you to connect with your audience.
  • If you have produced social video before, review its performance over the last year and compare your strategy to the general trends of 2017, to find gaps in which you can utilise your content.
  • Don’t be scared to spend some budget where needed. Video can be more costly to produce than static images but the payoff is far greater because interaction is much higher.


Graeme Mill, a UK filmmaker and production company owner, stresses how important it is to plan ahead:

“Don’t believe the hype, by expecting to unleash your creative power on the day. Instead, focus your creative energy on pre-production. Research the best stories, locations and characters for your purpose, and then invest your greatest energy into developing a killer brief”.

If you’d like to learn more about how to plan and test your creative idea, we have the key topics covered in our first free guide of an educational series about social video. Go ahead and request it.

Creating user-targeted video content

The content you create must always meet the needs of your audience. If you deliver useful content that is valued by your users, in return they will trust your brand and that will significantly influence their purchasing decisions.

“Remember that you have to put yourself in your audience’s shoes, they are people (not consumers)” Andrew Jennings, Social Media Consultant in London, recommends. He also talks about understanding your target’s language and finding out “what they like and then show them that or highlight something which adds value to their experience with you, your brand or product.”

Yasser Ahmed, a Digital Marketing Strategist in the Middle East and a member of our community, highlights the importance of spending time studying your audience’s behaviour and listening to them.“See what videos they’re already sharing and analyse them. Let these successes inspire your approach to social video”. In his opinion, the best ideas often lie behind those human insights.

Andrew also agrees with Yasser, emphasizing how listening to your audience goes a long way:

“Tell a story, introduce an element of jeopardy to be solved and most of all, LISTEN to what your audience has to say in response to your content. Sharing your social insight with your production team, be it quantitative or qualitative, can be invaluable.”

Testing and optimising your content, and your approach

Monitoring the performance of your videos, testing different formats, copy and opening images will help you understand what works for your target audience. Once you start gathering data and feeding those insights back into your strategy, you will see your content improve with each project.

This seems like a basic rule of digital marketing. However, it can also sound time-consuming. That’s why not everyone out there is yet doing it. So how can you get started?

“Try using runtimes of 1 minute, 30 seconds, 15 seconds, and possibly even 5 seconds.’ Caitlin Attal points out. ‘For example, at ALTV we discovered that our sweet spot for video content was 5-20 seconds.”

To allow for different versions that will work for each social platform, you need to make sure you plan your shoot in advance. Otherwise, the footage you end up with may not be what you wanted at all. Yasser Ahmed recommends that “if you want to turn video around quickly, taking your time while you’re shooting will make your edit easier. Make sure you get enough footage but not so much that it is impossible to sort through all the clips to find the best one. A few long, steady shots are better than a ton of shaky, short clips you can’t use”.

Most times, business-minded marketers jump into promoting their product too quickly, wanting to see fast results. They demand to see traffic, leads, sales. That’s, of course, understandable. That’s the reason any business invests in marketing. However, we need to take a step back and understand why people are spending time on social media in the first place.

“People want to engage and the hard sell doesn’t really cut it on social platforms or channels” Andrew Jennings concludes, “so add value, tell them something they don’t know or add an element that they can share or take away with them to ensure success.”

Hopefully you’re feeling more confident and maybe even a little inspired to get started with social video, or to optimise how you’re using it. The first step is always the hardest and when you get into the swing of things the return on your investment will be huge.

Downloading our guide to social video now to learn more.