9 Tips to Creating Videos Your Fans Will Want to Share

In 2015, our research and analytics team mined 50 leading brands across ten industries to map the state of video and provide insight into how brands should plan for and allocate resources for this year. Well, (somehow) we're nearly halfway through 2016 and we've got updates for you: So far this year, we've found that success with video isn’t limited to specific verticals and that this is still a content category that’s defined first and foremost by experimentation. So, for brands that are new to video or interested in experimenting, here are a few steps to making your videos more shareable. You too can be a video vanguard.

1| Choose the right length for your video

In a Q&A with Twitter, Anheuser InBev, and Edelman on video insights every social marketer needs to know, we explored the topic of video length. The consensus was that video length depends on two main factors: One, what you are trying to achieve? And two, what channels you are using? But, there are a few more findings worth noting.

Keep it short — "Psychologists say that the average human sustained attention span is 20 minutes. But for online videos, it seems to be about 60 seconds."

Begin with a bang — Put the stuff you really want people to see in one of the first shots they see.

Be specific — Every shot should provide new and specific information. When you have shots that say nothing, viewership drops off.

Keep it personal — Put people before your brand’s messaging. People are naturally interested in other human beings. Use this to your advantage. As you plan out your video content, hone in on the simple things you can do to keep your audience engaged across your social channels. For more insights on boosting shares, stay tuned for our post next week, where we dive even deeper into the psychology of sharing with expert Nathalie Nahai, who will be speaking at our Summit in London. You can register here to catch her keynote.

Image found at Wistia

Image found at Wistia

2| Know what your audience likes to see

Get to know your audience by digging into social data. There are clear differences between younger and older audiences when it comes to their receptivity toward branded content. Market research from Millward Brown shows someone between the age of 35-45 years is more receptive to branded thought leadership while "reaching the younger generation seems to require a dose of star-dust or celebrity.” What's the makeup of your audience? Knowing who makes up your audience is an important step in knowing how to engage them.

Image found at Venture Beat

Image found at Venture Beat

3| And learn what motives them to share

Have we forgotten how to tell stories? At our Social Video Tips + Trends webinar, Spike Jones, then-managing director of digital at Edelman (and now head of strategy at Spredfast), gave us the tools to get back to the basics. “Storytelling has staying power and connects cultures across time," Jones says. But how do you create a story with staying power? Further, how do we drive people to watch and what video content works best for our audience?

He explained the underlying motivations for sharing videos:

Ego — We share proud moments that make us look good to our peers.

Info — We share stories that inform others because it makes us feel good.

Emo — We share stories with high return on emotional that produce a reaction.

If your story contains one of these three elements of engaging storytelling, you’re well on your way. If it contains two of three, you’re on to something. And if it holds three of three, well you’ve got yourself a highly shareable piece of content.

4| Provide real value in your real voice

Ask not what your audience can do for you, but what you can do for your audience. When deciding on what to make you should ask “what’s the value we are providing with this content and is it relevant to the audience we are targeting?” If not, then back to the drawing board. Your audience will only share what brings value to them and their followers. And it’s also worth noting that latest Smart Social Report showed how over 90% of interactions between brands and their audience was 1:1 vs 1:many. To improve the shareability of your videos, provide relevant content delivered in a conversational tone. Be real.

5| Don’t follow—find the open space

When we developed our brand video at Spredfast we looked to see what our competition had done. Some used a straightforward product walkthrough — dry, but elegant, brief, and clear. Others went for the shares with a more epic, big-budget approach — and while visually impressive, it didn’t really tell viewers much. It was clear none of our competitors had a brand voice with a sense of humor. So, we set out to combine the clarity, brevity, and awe with a bit of wit. What open space do you see? Go to it.

6| Share your core value in an entertaining way

Your content should provide new information but it should be unmistakably you. Do things that are repeatable but refreshing. Series of videos that provide value create opportunities for long-term success and brand awareness alike.

As Spredfast experiments every day with video across social, paid, and site, we’ve developed a strategy specific to our audience. As a result, we’ve seen increased engagement with our video content on social and through paid. The lens from which we conceptualize our video content is through our brand voice. It sets the tone for how we approach our audience so that everything we put out is engaging and inimitable.


7| Cast a wide net

Don’t leave any social network behind: the brands we see with high engagement rates distribute their videos across all available properties. We found a strong correlation between lower engagement rates and overly relying on one platform or another. Foot Locker pursued this strategy with success by sharing the same videos natively on Instagram and Facebook. Their engagement for these videos was equivalent on both platforms and was just above the average engagement seen for all brands in the study.

8| Dig deeper into data

Once you’ve produced and distributed your video, you must track how it does and gather actionable steps to improve your next video project. Many social networks and video hosting services provide data on where viewership drops off within a video. Take a look at your own video content engagement: are there common visual or narrative elements at these points? If you post the same video to multiple networks, but the drop-off point varies between them, consider producing multiple versions optimized for the intended audience.

Image found at Wistia

Have a look at what a typical video engagement graph looks like: we see a drop-off at the nose, tempered decline in the middle, and slip at the end. Understanding the engagement across the beginning, middle, and end of your videos can help you to better analyze and highlight actionable steps you can take to improve on the next video you produce.

9| Change it up

This is true for every brand, but use data to consistently check in on and take note of what works. If a strategy that previously worked has become stale, don’t be afraid to try something new. But let the data lead you in the right direction. We saw Kohl’s change their strategy by beginning to post more video content month-over-month; at the same time, they saw an increased average video engagement. From July to September they posted 54% more video content than from April to June—and received 184% more engagement on average.

For even more social video insights tune into our Adweek Webinar “Social TV Playbook” where you’ll see how Fox News, the NBA, and Twitter go big on the second screen. And on June 14th, don't miss the latest release of the Smart Social Report, filled with hundreds of valuable insights for social marketers looking for an edge.

April 27, 2016
6 Types of People Who Share and 5 Reasons Why
May 4, 2016
Social Psychology Expert Nathalie Nahai Explains Why we Share
Jared Kinsler is our Creative Marketing Strategist, supporting new content creation for Spredfast. He focuses on making sure the things we share are worth your time. He is a writer by day, composer by night, and Floridian by birth. Follow his visual life @kinsljar on Instagram.