Brian Peters is the Digital Marketing Specialist at Buffer. He’s responsible for managing Buffer’s digital marketing campaigns and initiatives, including video strategy and creation across social media. He’s primarily responsible for channel growth, engagement, and experimentation. He also hosts and manages Buffer’s brand podcast, The Science of Social Media.
We can’t wait to watch Brian’s talk at CouchCon on August 14, but before we do, let’s dig into some of his best advice for creating videos that succeed on social media. Don’t miss his session all about how Buffer generated over 2M views on social media in just one year!
WISTIA: How do you decide what topics to cover when creating videos for social media? Where can someone look for inspiration if they’re just getting started?
BRIAN: The first thing I always tell businesses and marketers to do when they’re looking for great topics to cover with social media video is to look at what’s already working for them. Google Analytics is a super powerful tool for identifying landing pages or blog content that would make for a potentially successful video. Simply head into your Google Analytics and sort the pages by “most visits/sessions” and you’ll automatically have a list of topics that your audience is interested in learning about.
“The first thing I always tell businesses and marketers to do when they’re looking for great topics to cover with social media video is to look at what’s already working for them.”
Another great way to find content is by using your customers as a resource. Every business has a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) from their customers — those are another great place to find inspiration for social media videos! Use tools like Reply, HelpScout, or your email hosting provider to identify questions that your customers always ask.
Finally, look outward to identify what’s working for similar brands or competitors on social media. BuzzSumo and Facebook Pages to Watch are two great tools for sparking social media video content inspiration. In other words, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to create engaging videos.
WISTIA: How do you tie in video creation for social media into your current marketing strategy? Do you create videos to promote existing content or do you make stand alone videos for social?
BRIAN: One of the ways that I think about video creation for social media is that video is not an entirely different form of marketing. Instead, video is a way to amplify your current marketing initiatives. When thinking about it that way, it becomes clear that video can be used in so many different ways and still have a major impact. At Buffer, we try to include some form of social media video in everything that we do.
For example, if we’re launching a new marketing campaign, we will build in video creation from the very beginning. We’ll figure out things such as: video topic, length, script, filming, editing, placement, etc.
And sometimes, video is its own social media campaign. YouTube, for example, is essentially a massive search engine where people search for answers to their questions or challenges. We decided to experiment on YouTube by creating videos specifically for that platform and ended up growing our channel by 59% in just 30 days.
You can check out the video here. I encourage businesses to think of video as an extension of everything they’re already doing!
WISTIA: What are some must-have elements or best practices anyone can apply to the videos they create for social media?
BRIAN: One of my biggest pieces of advice for creating videos on social media is to remember that your audience is on social media for a specific set of reasons. Those reasons usually include connecting with friends, keeping up with the news, and being entertained.
“One of my biggest pieces of advice for creating videos on social media is to remember that your audience is on social media for a specific set of reasons.”
Your videos should reflect that user behavior.
Meaning that the best social media videos are typically short (30 seconds-90 seconds), can be watched with the sound off, and are straight to the point. Social media videos should also be optimized for mobile consumption! In fact, more than 90% of Facebook and Instagram users access the platform by their mobile devices alone.
We ran a huge study last year with Animoto and found that by creating square aspect videos (1:1) as opposed to landscape videos (16:9) we were able to increase video views and engagement across the board. A lot of this has to do with how effective it is to optimize your videos for social media and mobile.
WISTIA: When it comes to measuring your videos, which metrics do you look at to determine success? Does your goal vary across social channels?
BRIAN: We look at many of the metrics that you might expect with social media video: views, likes, comments, and shares. However, we also like to dig into some of the deeper metrics as well to really get an idea of how a video is performing.
Video completion rate is a really important one for us. In other words, how many users are watching our videos at 3 seconds, 10 seconds, 25%, 50% and even 75%. If we find that a certain video has particularly low engagement, but a high completion rate, we still consider that a big win for our brand on social media.
Video engagement rate is also one we take a close look at and often use to determine which videos we should boost or use in advertisements. You can quickly calculate engagement rate by dividing the total engagement by the total reach, which will give you a percentage. If we see that a video has a relatively low reach, but high engagement rate, that video makes for a great candidate for extra promotion.
“If we see that a video has a relatively low reach, but high engagement rate, that video makes for a great candidate for extra promotion.”
WISTIA: What’s the best piece of advice you could offer someone who’s looking to get started with video for social media?
BRIAN: Great question! My best piece of advice for any business or marketer looking to get started with video for social media is to experiment and iterate frequently.
All too often I see brands trying to create “perfect” videos for social media. In reality, there is no such thing as the perfect video. User behaviors are unpredictable and rapidly changing. What goes viral one day will be different the next.
Constantly experiment by creating tons of different types of video on a variety of subjects on social media. Then, iterate quickly on what you’ve learned with every new video.
That’s the formula for success!
Want to learn more from Brian Peters and other business video experts? Join us at CouchCon!