As entrepreneurs, we spend a lot of time connecting with people on social media. However, if we’re not constantly sharing content with our audience, our accounts can become boring pretty fast.
In the race to gain an audience, social media streams are crowded and competitive. Social media generates a staggering 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day. An incredible 5.3 trillion display ads are shown online each year. This relentless stream of content makes it harder than ever for your message to cut through the noise and get noticed.
While there’s no secret formula to creating content that gets shared, it isn’t random selection. The fact is people are visual creatures. This is part of the Law of Visual Hierarchy. Movement is more visually prominent than still images. And images are more prominent than text.
Remember awhile back when marketers realized that they needed more than text in their Facebook posts? They turned to images but even photos aren’t enough anymore. Now you need to add video and animations. Check out any of the top brands on social media and you’ll find they use all types of visual content, including videos, photos, animations, gifs, infographics and memes to tell their story.
So where do you start? There are several rules of thumb we follow in creating social content.
For years, a video or photo shoot was seen as a one off. It might be for a commercial, a print ad, a corporate video, maybe content for a new web site… but that’s it. Time would pass and the next time a request came up, a new shoot would be planned. It was an ineffective and expensive process.
Done correctly, shooting all your brand content at the same time makes sense… and saves time and money. A photo shoot piggy-backing off of a video shoot doubles your content and provides all the imagery that you need. You need a plan to execute such a shoot correctly. Our process is to shoot video first and then let the photographer come in to shoot. You’ll need continuous lighting and the same setups to make save time and get as much footage as possible. Think of it in three steps:
Plan out the shoot and create a shot list for video and photography each
Capture your shots using the same location and lighting setup for both video and photography
Move to the next setup and repeat
No one wants to spend time and resources creating new content only to have it fade in popularity and visibility over time. Experienced marketers know that repurposing high-performing content into other areas helps extend its lifespan. And by leveraging your content in multiple ways, you can reach a wider audience in a more interesting and persuasive manner.
Video and photo content provide great opportunities at repurposing. Videos can be pre-rolls or smaller, targeted videos by “lifting” an existing section. Interview sound bites are a great example of bite-size videos. Photos can be used as a collage, slideshow, or background for quotes and infographics.
Remember, the content you create is not a one-off… it’s a potential steady stream of posts to your social media accounts. With a little creativity and planning, the ways you can leverage your content is limited only by your imagination.
LESS IS MORE
Studies reveal that marketers have just 10 seconds to grab an audience and call them to action. After those 10 seconds, engagement drops off dramatically. Our goldfish-like attention span wanes and we continue to scroll down or click away. The key is to provide quick bite size chunks of eye candy that convey the brand and vital information.
Length will depend on which platform your audience is viewing. Brand marketers should consider customizing video length for each platform. Bite size content is the trend so staying under one minute is preferable. Facebook’s auto-playback feature makes 30- to 45-second videos optimal, while Instagram and Twitter have demand for “micro-videos” that are 15 seconds or less.
The number of images should be considered as well. Twitter allows four photos in a post while on Instagram you can add up to ten. Facebook mobile has a 30-photo limit while the creator of a Facebook album can add a maximum of 1,000 photos. Again, less is more.
The Colorado Department of Transportation wanted to communicate the dangers of drunk driving and importance of using breathalyzers in an ‘outside the box’ way… at a Beer Yoga class. Besides shooting photos, three short videos were created for different social platforms… at 15-seconds, 30-seconds and one-minute in length. Each was short but succinct in messaging. Beyond the colorful visuals, notice that captions are included throughout the video. Captions actually let viewers know what the video is about, giving them a reason to tap and turn on the sound and listen.
People connect with people, not brands. To connect with your audience, show your brand’s personal side… it’s story. Posts about company employees, their lifestyle, and the culture all connect your customers with your brand.
If you’ve got news, share it. Behind the scenes moments, show it. If your company helps the community, make it known. Remember, video and photos can tell a story better than any text. The old adage of “a picture being worth a thousand words” is a cliché because it’s true.
National Geographic has over 350 million followers due to their success with social media storytelling.
User generated content (UGC) is another way to tell your brand story. When you share UGC, you're not only engaging with your audience, but you are making them feel seen and appreciated. Best of all, consumers find UGC more trustworthy. That’s because it’s created by people who just love your brand. These opinions are seen as unbiased and genuine.
Creating the perfect social media aesthetic for your brand’s feed is challenging. But coming up with the vibe or feeling your brand projects is crucial if you want to grow your audience.
Think of it in terms of walking into a store… The open layout, clean lines and crisp white surfaces of an Apple store give a very different feeling than walking into a bold blue and yellow, yet less grandiose, Best Buy. They have some similar products, but their overall vibes are totally different.
This same rule applies to your brand’s social media accounts. The style of the videos and photos you curate within your feed say a lot about the overall personality of your business.
Starbucks does a great job in their brand consistency with clean design that translates across all of their social media, especially on Pinterest.
Additionally, you don’t want the appearance of your social media accounts to be drastically different than all of the branded materials you already have out in the world, such as your website, logo, and marketing collateral. Corporate identity guidelines can help in this area. If you’re in the process of re-branding go through your videos and photos and delete the ones that no longer fit your brand image.
Some things make so much sense, you can’t understand why you didn’t think of it sooner. Social platforms are meant to be about shared experiences. Video and photography communicate more in sight and feeling than words alone. That’s why people can’t get enough of it on social networks. If you’re trying to break through the clutter on social media, use visual content to take your accounts to the next level.