3 Secrets to Making Your Videos a Success on Social Media

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Q: What is the best tool for creating videos that I can edit and share across different social media platforms?

A: In the ever-evolving field of social media, video has become the darling of the moment. Both Mashable and Buzzfeed, among others, have made a transition to focus more on video due to the increased demand and consumption of online video content. Indeed, Cisco reports that by 2018, 69 percent of total internet traffic will be video. And, right now, 100 million internet users watch online video every day and many of these are videos are significantly longer than 10 minutes. This should not come as a surprise, as we see an increase in smartphone usage, faster internet speeds and in more total video content being created. As we feed the beast, the beast consumes.

So video consumption will grow, and it will grow in part because it boosts retention, but it also comes at a cost -- of human time and energy that does not necessarily produce a net positive ROI. Therefore, companies need to think about video as a delivery mechanism.

Related: Why You Need to Start Video Marketing Now

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As for what is the best video platform, there unfortunately isn't a one-size-fits all tool. You need to find one that best meets your business goal. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

1. Decide if video is the best option for your business needs.

In my classes, students are constantly interested in the latest social media fad – GIFs, podcasts and of course, videos -- and we can see these being incredibly successful. It worked for Chewbacca Mom. However, for most people, video, along with the other trends, is expensive and time consuming. Creating daily or weekly video content requires a huge amount of time and effort – not to mention a fair amount of money, and a lot of creativity. Yet, rarely nets the results needed to justify the time, cost and effort, especially for small businesses.

Therefore, you need to ensure -- and this is something I talk about a lot in my e-course and my University of Florida classes -- that your social media and business goals are best met through the tools you are choosing. Could you perhaps use photo, text or other content in a way that can be just as effective for your business goals?

If the answer is no, and video is the only delivery mechanism to serve your business goals, then you need to determine which style of video is best for your brand and then what social media platform will be the best delivery mechanism. The platform shouldn’t inform your decision. Your needs inform your decision.

2. Determine your preferred video style.

There are a few different styles of video you can post online:

Unedited: Video content as see on platforms like Snapchat or Facebook Live where the video is created fast, on the fly and often in short “sugar bursts” of content. Generally, these videos are not edited and are shot using a smart phone.

Semi-edited: This is video content that you can shoot and edit on your own using tools like the very simple to use Microsoft Movie Maker or Apple’s iMovie – both of which come free with your computer. For paid options, professional bloggers like Sarah Conly of StyleIt and Monica Vila of The Online Mom recommend Adobe Premier, which has a deep and full suite of editing options.

Professional: This is video content that is lit, edited and shot by a professional. You can often save yourself time and money by using a freelancer or finding students who are looking to take on a project for their portfolio at no cost. As a result, you’ll get high-quality video at a lower price point.

Each one of these styles is and should be reflective of your brand. For many online influencers, using an unedited video style helps to build authenticity with their followers and grow their follower count. For many brands, a semi-edited or professional edited video helps to create the professional brand persona they are looking to create online. Given the immersive quality of video and its lasting impression, it’s important to ensure that the video content is deeply reflective of your brand.

Determining your style will also help you to understand which platforms are best suited for your goals.

3. Choose the goals of your video

There are a myriad of goals that you could have for your business that involve creating video content. Given that, the below is a sampling of these goals and recommendations on the best video platforms for achieving them:

Goal: drive sales
If your goal is to drive sales from video there are a few questions to consider when choosing the “best” platform: who is your audience, where are you currently the most active and what is your video style?

First, you’ll want to choose the platforms that have your most active consumers. From those platforms you'll want to select which one has the best video style that aligns with the video your brand wants to create. Finally, you’ll want to create a video that drives people to a sales landing page.

Related: 5 Reasons Businesses Should Focus on Creating Video Content

Alternatively, you could increase your customer scope by going to a platform where you have a few amount of current followers but a big potential for new followers and build your video content there.

Goal: increase brand awareness

If your goal is to increase brand awareness, the best platform will be one where you have a strong pool of potential customers, where your video style is a match for those most popular there and where you can put paid advertising behind promotion. Ultimately, videos that are not promoted, unless they have the best content you have ever seen, will rarely get seen outside your brand page.

Goal: social media channel growth

If your goal is social media channel growth, I’d argue that the best video platform right now is probably Facebook Live. Facebook is putting a premium on brands that are creating sticky video content and ensuring that Live feeds show up higher in the Facebook feeds of page followers.

If growth on Facebook is not a priority, you’ll want to look towards the channels that have the biggest following in your customer base and create the type of video content that is shareable on those channels. For something like LinkedIn, this would be video that has numbered tips on how to do something related to business or some other "news you can use" content.

When you’ve examined your business goals and your brand personality/style the answer comes that there is no best platform for video. There is no best advice for where to place your video. Instead, the best social media advice, I or any other expert can give you, is to get very crisp on your business goals. Use those to inform your social media goals and then pick the tactics and platforms that will best help you to achieve those goals.

Once you have credited video content on your identified platform in your identified style, you could consider a tool like Slope (still in beta) which helps with collaboration, storage and management of video content or my personal favorite app Edgar which loops and schedules content for you across all of your social media networks. With Edgar you can create content once and repurpose it for months and years to come – thus reducing the burden of constant video content creation and freeing up your time to put social to use in even more effective ways for your brand.

Related: 7 Keys to Producing a High-Converting 'Explainer' Video