Dec 10, 2010

Tips for creating great video for social networks

Video is one of the fastest-growing communications practices, and with good reason.  We’ve all seen fast-spreading viral videos that accrue millions of views.   But even if you don’t hit the viral video jackpot, there are still lots of good reasons to incorporate video into your social media program.  It’s engaging in a way that plain text isn’t.  Videos uploaded to YouTube and other video sharing sites are highly visible in search engines,  taking your message visibility to a whole new level.  And some social networks, most notably Facebook, give video prominent placement.

When creating video for social media, always keep in mind that it really is never intended for television—start thinking in terms of computer screens and mobile screens. Try to make the video easy to understand and avoid complexity.  Short and simple works better.  Avoid wide shots which will look even wider and distant in a player on a computer screen or mobile devices.  Be careful about quick moves — titles and pans as they don’t translate well on a small screen.

Just like any other video you produce, a good way to get started with a social media video is to write a script or an outline before you record your video so you don’t waste valuable production time trying to figure out a storyline.   Once you shoot, it can be like trying to re-order the pages of a book if you have not shot the story you are trying to tell.

Be short and to the point.  Know who your audience is and how best to speak to them.  It doesn’t have to always be fancy and full of graphics to make a point.  In fact, testimonials and soundbite montages often make great pieces of video.

Engage your audience with a call to action and provide a viewer feedback mechanism such as a comments section, a forum or even direct contact information. Think about making your video “evergreen” to give it a long shelf life. You can do this by not including dates or tying it in to a certain time of year.
The internet gives video a much longer viewing life and you want to make yours as relevant as possible for as long as you can.

Take a little risk, experiment and be creative. Humor is a great way to gain traction—just be careful not to push it too far. The Internet does not have the same standards as television and allows much more leeway in content.
If you have a budget for production, hire the professionals.  A multimedia agency/production company can make your video look cool, viral and eye catching.  They’re the experts at producing shoots.  They’ll ensure that the video looks how you envision it.

Most important: make your video accessible, easy to view, and easy to share.

Authored by Evan Horisk, producer, MultiVu.

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