We’ve all heard the numbers: video is expected to make up more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019. From Instagram Stories to Facebook Live, more and more B2B marketing professionals are realizing the potential of social video in driving greater audience engagement, higher conversion rates, and more revenue. But as we all know, a video that performs well on YouTube may not necessarily do so on Facebook and LinkedIn. So if you’re really looking to see a return on your investment, you’ll need to optimize videos for each individual network. Below we break down each element:
Optimize Videos with Cross-Network Elements
Before video marketing bloomed, everyone thought that the “one-fits-all” approach would work. In 2018, it’s clear that every social network is unique, leading by its own set of features, target audience, and characteristics.
That said, creating a memorable, brand-driven, and most importantly, optimized video content also involves using specific elements, no matter the social platform you use.
For videos to win over the hearts of your target audience, they need to tell a story. Stories are not only how humans process information but also how they remember it. Stories also engage your viewers and make them want to learn more from your brand.
Instead of opting for dry, robot-like videos, present a real challenge your audience is facing, and then explain how your product caters to it. This way, your audience is more likely to identify with the messaging and remember what you showed them.
As cliché as it may seem: video is a visual medium. As such, bland and static visuals won’t move the needle. You need exciting, moving, and powerful imagery that will rivet your audience and arouse their appetite for more.
Speak to your audience’s emotions. Videos that make viewers laugh, cry, or feel inspired, have far better chances of being engaging and shareable. We all know that people respond to meaningful, emotional messages – your audience is no different.
Your videos should follow the same brand language used across all content formats. Your brand is a calling card of sorts, and you want people to start recognizing it and associating it with your corporate values. Consistent visual branding and messaging are the key to achieving that.
Post descriptions (the text above your video) are critical on every social network as they entice viewers to hit play.
Make sure the description is accurate. Misleading descriptions will make users drop off halfway through the video, which will negatively impact your video ranking in newsfeed algorithms. Descriptions become even more crucial on YouTube, where they are a prerequisite for better SEO.
People watch videos at work, on public transport, or even at restaurants, which means they’re likely to have the sound off. To make sure your message doesn’t get lost in translation, add subtitles so they can still enjoy and understand the content on mute.
Calls to Action
Let your audience know what you expect them to do next with a call to action. It can be subscribing to a blog, following your page, or even requesting a demo of your product. Keep the conversation going with the help of clear CTAs, and your audience will come back for more.
Optimize Videos with Network-Specific Elements
Optimal Video Lengths for Each Social Network
Different social networks have different audiences. These audiences also have a different set of expectations from each network. While a 30-second, fast-paced video works amazingly on Twitter, that doesn’t mean it will draw viewers’ attention on LinkedIn. Consider these optimal video lengths for each social network:
The most popular format on Facebook is the attention-grabbing Engage Videos – these are 12-30 second, entertaining videos that pique the curiosity of viewers about your brand or product.
If you’re looking to further educate viewers by providing additional information, use longer, 90-second videos. When it comes to Live Video, the sky’s the limit. However, that’s not to say that you should abuse the format. If people aren’t engaged with your hour-long Facebook Live videos, maybe that’s a sign to shorten them.
Twitter is all about keeping things short and sweet – hence their character limit. Videos on this platform need to be very “to the point” and no longer than 30-45 seconds. They can also serve as teasers for longer content pieces, such as blog posts or eBooks.
As the home base for video, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, after Google of course. You can truly leverage YouTube’s potential and go for different formats: short Engage Videos of 6-40 seconds, as well as long, 2-6 minute how-to videos.
YouTube is also the place for long-form videos, with audiences tuning in to speeches, Q&A sessions, webinar, events, etc. Diversify your offering on YouTube but don’t bore viewers with unnecessarily long videos just because the platform allows it. People go to YouTube either to be educated, inspired, or entertained, so make sure your video falls under one of these categories.
As a highly visual social network, video is booming on Instagram. In-feed videos can be up to 1 minute long, but we recommend you stick to 30 seconds maximum since users usually won’t watch anything longer than that.
Instagram Stories are also an extremely popular format that B2B brands are starting to tap into. You can be creative and post one 15-second Story, or post a video consisting of several 15-second segments –it’s all about experimenting.
Don’t forget about IGTV – a new vertical long-form format, that allows you to upload videos of up to an hour. It hasn’t been adopted by B2B brands yet but it can certainly be a good way to get your foot in the video door.
The go-to B2B network, LinkedIn is starting to flourish with video. You can upload a native video of up to 10 minutes, with the most popular content being Explainer and Thought Leadership. Video consumption trends on LinkedIn are still evolving so you need to experiment with different formats and see what performs best.
Optimal Aspect Ratios per Social Network
Aspect ratio is the size and shape of the video. It differs by network and video type. Here are the most common aspect ratios:
- 16:9: The wide, 16:9 ratio, is how people watch YouTube or anything on mobile, and is considered to be the “classic format”. You can also implement it on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook
- 1:1: This is the square ratio used in the Instagram feed. It’s best to stick to this aspect ratio, otherwise, it will look small and chopped up. You should also use this aspect ratio when trying to draw more attention to videos on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook feeds.
- 9:16: This vertical ratio is making a comeback. It’s on the rise on Facebook mobile, Instagram Stories, and IGTV. Just hold your phone up and record your video, it’s as easy as that.
Live vs. Recorded: Which Should You Choose?
When it comes to going live or sticking to the safer pre-recorded format, you should dare to experiment and step out of your comfort zone. The advantage of Live Video is that it can be an exciting, fun, and authentic format that will glue your audience to their screen.
Another benefit of live video is that it allows you to interact directly with your audience. You can do an Ask Me Anything session, a live broadcast from an event, and engage with your audience through this format. Audiences today are hungry for an unlimited access to brands and the exclusive content it provides them. Live video can also go a long way towards humanizing your brand and making it accessible.
In terms of where to post your live videos, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all the right places. For pre-recorded content, opt for every network, including YouTube and LinkedIn.
Optimize Videos on Social Media: YOLO
When it comes to optimizing videos, YOLO should be the motto for every B2B marketer. As a compelling and exciting format, it has endless potential for driving audiences to engage and convert. In addition, it offers limitless possibilities to play around with lengths, aspect ratios, and other creative elements.
This doesn’t mean you should publish videos on every social network. If you’re all about long-form Thought Leadership videos, then LinkedIn is the place to be, but if you’re aiming for a quick visual impact, then Twitter or Facebook is probably your go-to social networks. Remember to A/B test different formats with varying copy, visuals, and CTAs and see what works best for your target audience.
To learn more about how to make social videos work for B2B marketing objectives, check out our latest webinar with Powtoon.