7 Things Not to Do With Social Video

Video content on social media is booming. Facebook is reporting over 8 billion daily video views, YouTube’s watch time is rising 60% year over year, and Periscope users are consuming over 40 years worth of videos per day. With traditional broadcast mediums in decline, adapting to the social video model is critical.

Check out these seven things not to do when creating your videos, and get a head start on your social video success.

#1: Ignore the no-sound experience

An increasing amount of social video is consumed on mobile devices, many of which do not have the sound enabled. Because hey, no one wants to be that person on the bus, waiting in the line for groceries, or attempting to stealth-check FB while in a meeting from hell. If you’re not including subtitles, or otherwise making your content compelling without sound, you’ve already lost. You’re just one more piece of content in a never-ending feed of delights and distractions.

#2: Focus on selling

Even if the core aim of your video is to introduce and sell a product, you need to be careful about how you position your content. People on social media are not looking for an infomercial, and launching into a sales pitch isn’t going to win you many views. So how do you get your product out there, and still appeal to users on social media? Tell a fun story, be entertaining, and use humor!

The Squatty Potty is a great example of a product video that got some serious social love. At over 16 million views on YouTube alone, the Squatty Potty video reached a ridiculous number of potential customers. It also created a… let’s just say ‘memorable’ experience in the process. How? With an ice-cream pooping unicorn and a humor-first approach to storytelling.  

#3: Create a feature-length film

As we’ve previously discussed, you have less than 10 seconds to capture the attention of your audience. That splashy 30-second intro you love? Cut it. If your video is more than a few minutes in length, you better be certain that the first minute of content is so good that people will make a point to stick around.

Imagine the person watching your video is waiting for the bus and they’re halfway through your video when the bus pulls up. Did they see what they needed to see in that first minute? Or was your story so compelling that they’ll come back to it when they get home? If not, rethink your strategy.

#4: Fail to disclose paid endorsements

If you are selling products or doing business in the United States, you must disclose any paid endorsements in your videos. Even if your company is located internationally, it still falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if you’re selling into the U.S. market.  

The disclosure needs to occur within the video itself, and cannot be relegated to the accompanying text description. If you’re receiving payment for endorsing anything within the video, just make sure to be up front and honest about it.

Why not risk it? Well, for one it’s unethical and if your viewers find out about it (and they will) you’ve poisoned your social status as an honest business. Secondly, FTC fines are no laughing matter. Can your business afford the fees and collateral damage to your brand when you fail to disclose paid endorsements?

Learn more about endorsements and the FTC here.

#5: Disregard your audience  

It’s as simple as this: make sure you’re making your video for your audience, rather than yourself.  

This is doubly important to remember when creating social video content. Making a video for a Twitter audience is not the same as making a video for a Facebook audience, or a Tumblr audience, or an Instagram audience. Make sure you understand who your audience is, and adapt your content strategy to work for them.

#6: Take too long

Creating a video to tap into a current trend or meme? You’d better get it out there, FAST. You have a very limited window in which your video will still be relevant.

Mets make a fantastic Harlem Shake video... two months too late.

Remember, sometimes getting a timely video out is more important than polish. Learn where you can make compromises, and when you should just to cut your losses and move on. Nothing reeks of desperation more than a brand latching onto a trend that’s already well past its prime.

#7: Forget that it’s social

Social video is social! While traditional content models focused on a broadcast method, social video allows you an unprecedented opportunity to tap into your audience directly! Don’t forget to use this to your advantage, and to build your content in a way that supports those objectives.

Have you:

  • Included your social channels at the end of every video, and in the description text?
  • Requested feedback either directly, or by including a relevant hashtag?
  • Created an opportunity for a dialog with your viewers?
  • Asked your audience to share your video?
  • Asked your viewers to subscribe?
  • Thanked your viewers for watching?

And more! Just keep in mind that social video is inherently a social experience. Relax, create great content, adapt based on feedback, and enjoy the process!

Any feedback, comments, or great social videos you’d love to share? Post them in the comments below, or drop us a line @wipsters!

And let us know – what would you add to the list?