The year video took over
It’s beginning to infiltrate every platform and every website
For years, marketers have been shouting that “content is king” and advising their clients to keep that content simple, streamlined and to the point and to make it easy for customers to scan and take action. Your website visitors, social media followers and email subscribers want to scan the bullet points, skim a few paragraphs of text and easily understand the message you’re trying to send.
During the past two years, social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and even Facebook and Twitter, have continued to streamline this content, making images bigger and more prominent, giving extra credit to those who use more visuals and less text.
In recent months, this has gone further, to a point where we don’t have to read much at all. Video is beginning to infiltrate every platform and every website.
On Facebook and Instagram, you don’t even have to click to watch a video. It just starts playing for you when you scroll by it. And this, right here, is where the opportunity lies. If you can create videos that capture the attention of viewers who just happen to be scrolling by your content on their feeds, without any sound, then you can pull them into your page, your blog or your website.
You now have an opportunity to get them to take action.
Step 1: creating videos that get attention
For starters, you don’t need a huge production budget to pull this off. The important indicators of quality and professionalism are a focused shot, steady camera, good lighting and good editing. You can bring in a videographer to shoot and edit a series of videos in a single day, which can be published days, weeks or months into the future, or you can setup a tripod, microphone and smartphone to shoot it yourself.
The first 10 seconds of the video are the most important, and at most, you don’t want it any longer than one minute (the cutoff on Facebook is 60 seconds for video ads). Keep the message to a single point: What do you want people to see, know or understand? Then storyboard your plan for explaining this point.
The best examples are the recipe videos that have been shared so often in the past few months on Facebook. They show a pair of hands over a bowl, mixing individual ingredients with text explaining “1 cup of milk,” “3 eggs,” etc. and then show the hands putting the food into the oven and taking out a beautiful finished meal.
The steps are simple, the text is streamlined and easy to understand and the clips are edited in quick snippets to make the entire process seem so easy that anyone could prepare this extravagant meal in a few minutes.
If you can explain your message in a similar fashion, you’ll attract your audience and get them to pay attention.
Step 2: telling your story without sound
In order for video to work in social media streams, it must be able to capture attention without sound. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you must add captions or subtitles; in fact, if it’s an action video, you probably don’t need any text at all. But if you’re relying on social media feeds with auto-play videos, then you need to be able to get your point across without any audio. Luckily, Facebook has finally rolled out a captioning feature to their video uploads tool that will make this much easier to pull off for even the least tech-savvy users.
Remember: although your video should be easy to understand without sound, people do have the ability to click into it and watch it with full sound. So there should be audio, whether it’s a music track or a person speaking, to keep their interest when watching the video in a player.
Step 3: convincing viewers to take the next step
You have a prime opportunity within your video to offer the viewer a next step, but it must be well-positioned and fitting to their current stage as well as the information you’ve presented.
If you’re showing an example of someone using your product, a fitting next step could be “see another use of this product” or “view product details.” Be cautious of leaping too far ahead in the process or offering an irrelevant action step. Consider the most likely and relevant next step for a viewer watching your video, and then include that as a call to action. At the least, you could invite them to follow your channel or share the video with others.
Melissa Albano-Davis, principal of Grapevine Marketing, Manchester, can be reached at 603-685-4782, ext. 101, or firstname.lastname@example.org.