We all want the videos we post on social media to be liked, shared, commented on and, most of all, to go viral. Otherwise, the time spent creating the video may not feel worth all of the effort and investment. Multiple social media platforms now allow for video content to be posted in various forms, so knowing strategies for how to increase audience engagement is advantageous for developing an effective strategy. There are several tips for driving social media engagement for your video content outlined below.

Social Media Videos

Before you set out to create content, learn the ins and outs of different social media platforms. It helps to be a user on these platforms before being a content creator. Think about what you like to watch on different sites. What are some popular patterns? What are the elements of popular videos? Whether you’re considering YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, understanding the specifications of these sites, their audiences, or features, can help guide you to make the best video for that site.

Driving Social Media Engagement

In addition to the overall quality of a video, there are other factors that influence whether or not your content is viewed, liked, and shared.

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Thumbnail

Think of your video’s thumbnail as the cover of your book. It’s the first image people will see, so make sure it does its job. It should be visually striking and include text that indicates what the video is about. If the video is of a person speaking to the camera, include their smiling face. Make sure it’s well-lit and clear. If you can’t nail the thumbnail, users won’t bother clicking and watching your video.

Text on screen

Using text on the screen can help your video’s message be understood even when the volume is turned down. It can also highlight important details if you choose to selectively use text for key phrases. If you do include text on screen, pick an appropriate font that matches your brand and the vibe of the video. Also, make sure the text doesn’t blend in with the background.

User Generated Content

I wrote a previous blog about user-generated content (UGC). To summarize, a UGC campaign allows users to post their own content under a particular premise established by a brand or company. Many companies have utilized UGC to promote a new campaign, showcase a product, or engage with their loyal customers. Instagram is a great platform for this because your UGC campaign can utilize its own hashtag where all of the user posts can be filed.

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Use Hashtags

Speaking of hashtags, if you’re posting to Instagram, use them. Determine which hashtags are already popular and add them to your post. If you already have an established audience, create your own hashtag alongside ones that are already popular. Hashtags allow for your video content to be properly categorized however you’d like.

Have a Great Title

The title of your video should be immediately engaging. Make it clever, concise, and creative. I like titles that have multiple meanings, but it simply has to make sense for the video. Tap into the purpose and meaning of the video to figure out what will work best. Be mindful of titles that have already been used. A simple Google search can help you find what’s already out there. Be unique.

Call-To-Action

A Call-To-Action (CTA) is another way to engage your audience. Simply stated, a CTA asks your audiencetailor-made-media-like to do something. It could be something as simple as, “Like and share” or it could be a request to get involved in your community, vote, donate, etc. CTAs are common with non-profit organizations with a particular mission, for instance. Like a UGC campaign, a CTA gets viewers involved. People enjoy being a part of something larger than themselves, so use a CTA whenever appropriate.

Consider Length

My basic rule for lengths of any video content is that it’s better to leave an audience wanting more than wanting less. Videos of any kind often suffer because they are too long. Creators can easily get wrapped up in the process and grow close to each clip, which makes it hard to cut anything. Having a third party edit your material can help remedy this. Ultimately, you need to put the audience experience above everything else. If a viewer is bored thirty-seconds into a three-minute video, they are more likely to move on. Post your best material only. And if you want to post everything, then consider breaking it up and making several bite-sized clips. Attention-spans are indeed shorter these days.

Have a Hook

When possible, have a strong hook for your content. A hook is a concept that can be stated in one sentence that peaks audience interest. Figure out what’s going to make your content unique and separate it from the millions of other videos that are already out there. Subverting expectations, offering a new twist to an old idea, or presenting something completely new are a few ways to achieve this. And don’t waste time getting into the action. Hooks keep people engaged long enough for them to be pulled into your boat, so have one.

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Stay on Brand

If you’re posting a corporate video for your company, you want to stay on brand. Step one is to know what your brand is, as well as your target audience. Each video you post should reflect the mission statement, tone, and purpose of your brand. Be consistent with color schemes, types of shots, and fonts. It wouldn’t make sense for GoPro to post a flat, single-take of their CEO talking about how great the new GoPro camera is. Instead, they show it off with dynamic user content across multiple extreme sports to let the audience know what GoPro is all about.

Live Stream

If you already have an established audience, you may want to consider using a live-stream (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok). Live-streams are another way to get viewers to engage directly with content creators. This can be an opportunity to personalize creators, answer questions, announce a new product, or do a giveaway.

Post Regularly

When it comes to social media video content, posting regularly is important for maintaining audience engagement and increasing the likelihood of your videos being viewed and shared. Plan ahead so that you can outline multiple videos you’d like to post over several weeks or months. Consider breaking up longer content so that you can post more often. I follow a TikTok personality who posts 6 new trivia questions every day. It has become part of my routine every evening to watch these questions and try to answer them. If your content can become part of someone’s daily routine, you’ll have repeat viewers who are more likely to tell their friends.

Video Engagement Metrics

There are numerous video engagement metrics to analyze in order to assess your video’s popularity and effectiveness. These are referred to as Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Let’s look at a few:

1. Engagement.

Engagement refers to any type of interaction a viewer has with your video. This includes likes, shares, and comments. The number of comments isn’t as important as what the comments are. If there is a running theme of responses, good or bad, it is helpful to know in order to determine what’s working or not.

2. View Count

The view count refers to how many people have viewed your video. Different platforms have various length cutoffs for view count, which is important to know. Facebook and Instagram videos only need to be viewed for 3 seconds, while YouTube requires 30 seconds to be counted as a view. Among other things, view count may help indicate whether the opening of a video is effective at sustaining the audience’s attention.

3. Watch Time

Watch time refers to the cumulative amount of time people have watched your video. This KPI gives you even more of an indication of whether your video is resonating with viewers. Obviously, you want to see that viewers are watching your entire video as opposed to a small segment.

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4. Play Rate

Play rate is determined by calculating the number of people who visited your site versus the number of people who actually clicked “Play” to watch your video. The higher the play rate, the more people visiting your site clicked to watch. This is an important KPI to keep track of when you embed videos on a landing page. The placement of the video on your page could impact play rate, so adjusting this could provide insight into what’s most effective.

5. Click-Through Rate

Click-through rate is determined by dividing the number of clicks your video or advertisement has received by the number of times it has been seen. This is an important KPI for call-to-action videos that ask the viewer to click on an embedded link, like the page, or perform some additional action. One consideration to determine the effectiveness of this type of video is the placement of the CTA. CTAs can come at the beginning, middle, or end of a video. Many content creators put it early on in the video to ensure viewers see it, but you may want to use trial and error to determine what’s best.

6. Social Shares

Viewers sharing videos is literally what makes content viral. The video must be engaging, universal, funny, relevant, or unique enough for the average viewer to want to share with their friends. Above all, try to be entertaining.

7. Conversions

Conversions refer to a video’s effectiveness at creating new customers. You’ve probably seen surveys that ask, “How did you find us?” This is the company’s way of gauging which marketing tactic was effective at getting you on board. When you’re able to determine how you got a new customer, you will understand which method was most effective and therefore be able to replicate it.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are numerous strategies to consider when attempting to optimize video engagement for your videos. Determine which platform(s) is ideal for your content. Study the specs, length of video, and other elements on that platform that can be utilized to increase exposure. Work to enhance the quality of your video by using a strong thumbnail, text on screen, and a strong hook that gets to the point fast. Consider using a call-to-action or user-generated content campaign to maximize audience engagement. Study the video engagement metrics to assess what’s working and what’s not. When it comes to posting on social media, regular posting is hugely beneficial for audience engagement, so try to plan out a steady stream of content. I hope you find these tips useful for your next viral video.