3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy

Vertical Video, Social Video, Live Video, Short Video, Square Video .. is it time to rethink your Social Video Strategy?  There are so many types of social video right now that it can be hard to know where to start. 

In this post I break down some key ways to rethink your social video strategy.  Some of them might surprise you! 

3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy
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I've been thinking a lot about social video over the past year or two. So much has changed about how we view and consume video.

We need to be constantly adjusting what we create for our audience to notice and engage with us. We need to rethink our social video strategy on a regular basis!

I've presented on social video strategy around the world as part of keynotes on visual storytelling. There have been a few key strategies that I've been talking about. I'm sharing 3 of them with you.

And I will share a takeaway-packed webinar about everything in this post that I did recently with Wave for our mutual audiences.

Ready? Let's jump in!

Let's Talk about Social Video

According to Mark Zuckerberg we are now living in a video first world.  You hear stats like our communication will become 80 or 90% video in the next few years. Yikes!

I think text and audio is huge too, and I am not sure that it's sustainable for us to consume everything as video.  Time is of the essence and we all consume content differently.

But I do think video is and will continue to be huge – and we need to be prioritizing video in some form in our marketing.

The ever-insightful founder of Social Media Examiner (and Social Media Marketing World), Mike Stelzner, made this key prediction not so long ago:

Michael Stelzner Quote about Social Video - 3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy
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I'm not discounting long form video (also super important, especially YouTube) but for most of my audience, it's about getting started or creating video consistently. Short social video is a great place to start.

I'm talking about the type of social video (up to 30 seconds to 3 minutes) that you might see on Facebook, Instagram,  Instagram Stories or Twitter. Maybe even IGTV or Instagram TV.  Not super long but definitely super engaging. 

In this post I want to touch on where you could get started and how you should focus your efforts, given a few key shifts in how we consume video.  I also want you to walk away with a couple of tips for creating video content quickly and easily.

Why do we love Social Video?

I have no scientific basis for saying this, just common sense. We're compelled to hit the “play” button.  When we see it on a screen, we can't help ourselves. Social media platforms are developed to create and feed our need to watch!

It's like the old Viewmaster toys that we used to play with as a kid. We'd click the lever to see the next scene, always wanting to see what's next!  Video is no different.

I don't personally do a lot of live video. I prefer live webinars if I am going to go live.  That's my personal preference. But I hear people freak out all the time because they think they have to go live on Facebook or Instagram. I'm here to tell you, that although live video is awesome, you don't have to go live.

It's not the Truman Show.  You don't have to go Live 24/7. Start with Social Video. Get comfortable. Then maybe go live later.

Quote about Live Video - 3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy
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And I like to quote Linda Boff, the Chief Marketing Officer from GE (General Electric) on how we can find and tell stories, even if we don't think we have it in us.  She said this:

GE are master storytellers.  They have made machines human and interesting (not in a freaky SkyNet kind of way).  If you want to see how storytelling (and social video) is done well, follow GE on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

So let's take a look at 3 ways you can rethink your social video and start pressing the play button on your own brand story and tell it in bigger, more engaging ways!

3 Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy

1.  Go Vertical With Social Video


I wrote about vertical video here, almost a year before writing this post.  I've been thinking about it for a while. Here are some stats to be aware of:

  1. It's pretty well accepted that square video performs better than landscape video on Facebook. It takes up more real estate.  We are 67% more likely to watch a square video to completion compared to a horizontal video (according to Adweek. But what about vertical video? Well…
  2. Vertical video ads are viewed to the end 9x more than horizontal ads on mobile according to Adweek.

And it makes sense that we are connecting with vertical video. We hold our phones vertically and it's natural for us to watch in that position.

And you only have to look at Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, Snapchat, IGTV to see that platforms are adapting to showcase vertical video.  In fact Mark Zuckerberg famously said this:

Wowzers!  Don't get me wrong, I'm a card-carrying lover of horizontal movies and the cinema, but I think we have to consider that there will be some content that is best viewed in vertical position.  

How Can You Leverage Vertical Video?

Post Vertical Video to Facebook

Visit Queensland posted this video on their Facebook page.  It might not look all that optimized when you view it in the video gallery but they posted a vertical video orientation for a reason – to make it look good on mobile.

Tourism Queensland Facebook Vertical Video - 3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy
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Here's how the image looks when I view it on mobile. When I tap the video it increases to full screen.

I'm still experimenting with IGTV while they develop their search and discovery functionality, but it's definitely worth exploring. The bottom line is that I think vertical video is here to stay, in some form!

Tools for Creating Vertical Video.

1  Rotate Your Phone and Press Record

I use my iPhone to capture vertical video. Any smart phone can capture vertical video, so rotate your phone occasionally. Then you have footage ready to go on Facebook or Instagram, already optimized for vertical.

2  Use Wave.Video

Secondly, I use the tool Wave.Video – I'm an ambassador for Wave and as such it's my go-to tool and I have been using it for a year now and LOVE it.  They keep bringing out new templates and features to make social video creation soooo easy.

It's a simple, drag-and-drop interface that anyone can learn to use in minutes:

Wave Video Template Sizes - 3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy
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… and it's super easy to go from a square video above to a vertical video.. in one click:

Wave Video Template Sizes - switching to Instagram Story Size - 3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy
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And if you're unsure about where to start, Wave have LOADS of great templates, with more being added all the time. Here's a sneak peek:

Wave Video Templates - 3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy
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Wave has thousands of stock video footage clips you can use in your videos.  Or if you want to get really clever… combine the videos you take with your phone with the clips in Wave. You can upload your own videos.


2.  Optimize Your Social Video

It's not ok anymore to just throw up a video on YouTube and then share it to Facebook in the same size and format.  Facebook will kill the reach as they don't want to be sending people to YouTube.

There are videos that will crossover well, say a square video on Instagram will post well to Facebook (you just have to create a caption that is suitable for each platform. But most video won't cross easily from platform to platform.

We have to think about what size, shape and format suits the platform. There are 4 factors to consider:

Factors to Consider when Posting Native Video

  1. Size
  2. Sound
  3. Length
  4. Captions
1  Size

Different platforms require different sizes of your video for best results.  What works for one platform might not work for another. Even just looking at Wave's size selection for social video, you can see there are many to choose from.

Facebook has a few sizes for optimum video – but generally you can bank on square or portrait (2:3 vertical) working well.  As I said above, 2:3 vertical will take up the entire mobile screen when you tap it. And of course 9:16 portrait is great for Facebook Stories.

Facebook Video Templates on Wave - 3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy
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On Instagram you can create vertical video for Instagram Stories and IGTV, and then square video for the newsfeed:

Instagram Video Templates on Wave - 3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy
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And so on for Twitter and LinkedIn … every platform has sizes that you should be aware of. The beauty of using a tool like Wave is that you don't have to keep checking the sizes. They are right there in the tool, ready to edit and switch between.

2  Sound

Videos can be “sound on” or “sound off”, but what's best on which platforms? Funnily enough, the ideal sound on/sound off scenario is polar opposite for Facebook and Instagram.

  1. 85% of videos are watched on Facebook with the sound off.
  2. 70% of videos are watched on Instagram with the sound on.

So you should optimize your social video strategy for it and consider adding text captions to your video, especially on Facebook.  On Instagram Stories for instance, it's a good idea to add a sticker to encourage people to turn the sound on if it warrants them doing so!

3  Length

Short social videos work well on Facebook – from just 3 seconds up to a minute is usually ideal. Instagram stories are 15 seconds but you can also create 60 second videos for the Instagram newsfeed. Now with IGTV you can add up to 1 hour of video, although some users are still restricted to 10 minutes.

Think about what suits the platform you are posting your video on and optimize it for length as part of your social video strategy.

4  Captions

The ideal length of captions for your videos varies between platforms too.  For example on Facebook shorter captions are the norm, whereas on Instagram, captions are longer and can almost be like mini-blogging.

I wrote about Instagram Captions in this post if you wand to find out what works best.

And that brings us to the 3rd way to rethink your social video:

3.  Netflix Your Social Video Strategy

I wrote about creating serial content in this blog post, with a detailed guide (and examples) for why episodic content or video series are working for brands.

Serial video content is compelling and we just can't stop watching. I have described this as Neflixing your Content during keynotes I have given to audiences about visual storytelling.

Netflix Your Social Video Content - 3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy
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There's no doubting the impact that Netflix has had on our “viewing” habits generally, and my reason for referring to it this way is because I am seeing the same online with social video.

Netflix has conditioned us to watch episode after episode of serialized, episodic content. It hooks us in and even moreso, it hooks us into watching just one more episode.

Use this in your video strategy! Think about how you can hook people into watching more than one episode of something.  Create regular serialized content on your social media channels with video.  Some ways you can do this are:

  1. Adding Highlight Playlists to your Instagram Account for Instagram Stories – where viewers will watch it in sequence.
  2. Create a YouTube series. Limited episode series work well. Netflix is doing this too (ie 6 episodes to the whole series).
  3. Create an IGTV series where you post content under the same theme every week. Announce new episodes!
  4. Create a series of videos for your Instagram feed or Facebook feed or add a weekly Instagram Story episode.

Whatever you do, think about this:

And think in terms of playlists!

Doctors without Borders are an example of how you can do this, adding regular Staff Stories to their Instagram Stories, and then saving them into one long playlist of all the episodes.

Doctors without Borders on Instagram - 3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy
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So that's it!  Let's summarize before you watch the webinar recording:

There are 3 key ways to rethink your social video strategy:

  1. Go Vertical With Video – create some vertical video for your audience (who are largely on mobile phones).
  2. Optimize Your Social Video (for size, length, sound and captions!)
  3. Netflix Your Video – create serial video content.

And if you want to learn more then watch the webinar recording below.

The Webinar Recording

Here's the webinar that I did with Wave – including all the content in this post. Watch it now if you didn't catch it live!

And just to help you out, here are the tools I mentioned in the webinar about social video strategy:

  1. Wave – social video tool
  2. Easil – for creating cover images for IGTV videos.

As I say in the webinar, put less focus on selling and more on telling your story with video in a way that is human and relatable.  That's what helps people to feel something about your brand and that's where the real magic lies!

Your Turn

Are you rethinking your social video strategy already? What tip/direction are you keen to try?

Let me know in the comments below.

3 Engaging Ways to Rethink Your Social Video Strategy
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