How to boost plays and engagement for your videos on social

Victor Blasco
by Victor Blasco on June 22, 2020

Success on social media seems like a win all around: Average Joes and plain Janes can get their names out there by themselves and profit from creating content. Meanwhile, businesses can raise their brand awareness and grow closer to their customers in a cost-effective way.

But not everything is a bed of roses when it comes to content creation. There’s a lot of hard work behind the curtain. 

Yes. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but most influencers and brands put a lot of thought and work on those video posts that look so casual and fresh. They know a mere "post and pray" technique won’t take them where they want to go! 

So, content creators and brands carefully choose when to upload a highly produces piece like an explainer video, a quick behind-the-scenes story, or just going live. And they always have good reasons why they do so as well.

Today, we are going to learn those things as we discuss simple tactics that can have a significant impact on your social videos’ engagement rates. Let’s get to it, shall we? 

First things first: know your audience!

Understanding how your target audience is composed is a core marketing precept. That said, when it comes to social media strategies, this concept gains a whole new dimension.

You see, the top social platforms allow you to choose who will come across your targeted content. In those networks, you can select your ideal customer’s features, taking into account interest-based aspects, or demographic factors like age, gender, or location.

Think of the famous expression, "Quality before quantity." That's exactly what this is about! Instead of having a video that reaches a broad audience full of cold leads, it's better to deliver your social video to a bunch of people who are actually likely to interact with it.

Anyway, knowing your target audience isn't just a matter of enhancing your targeted content’s performance. It's equally useful for organic posts as well. After all, if you want people to follow your account or subscribe to your YouTube channel, you have to be aware of their interests.

Fortunately, that bit is easy to figure out with social networks' analytic tools. They can give you hard data about your posts' performance and your current audience's profile.

Another excellent method for getting familiar with your audience is by asking them for feedback and suggestions. Not so long ago, that would have been a bit cumbersome. But now it's as simple as ABC. Thanks to tools like Instagram's polls and the classical comment section, you can learn your audience's opinions without carrying out complex surveys.

It goes without saying that asking for feedback will get you nowhere unless you are actually receptive to your audience's words. So, once you have valuable reviews, use them to shape your social strategy accordingly.

Make a strong first impression

On social media, people are always only a short scroll away from ignoring your video. That's why it's necessary to capture their attention from the get-go. Here’s how you manage that.

Grab people's attention from the start

In most social platforms, videos work on autoplay mode―when uploaded natively, at least. So, if you manage to create a compelling introduction, you'll be able to catch the audience's interest. 

Many experienced production companies accomplish this crucial goal by opening their videos with a question or statement that appeals to the audience on a personal level, or with an intriguing phrase or image. They know every second count, especially at the start, so they strive to make the video enjoyable from the very first moment. 

Go with a compelling thumbnail

Videos on some of the biggest video platforms – like YouTube – have to be clicked on to play. So, when it comes to attracting views, having a customized thumbnail can make all the difference in the world.

Now, this isn't just about choosing the most alluring frame of the video. It's can also be about selecting or creating an image that can describe the content and tone accordingly.

Some YouTube channels add written words to the thumbnail, for a maximum effect.

Craft a social-media-friendly video strategy

A social video is more likely to engage audiences if it has a particular length and covers specific topics perceived as worthy by its users. Let's take a closer look!

Make it short & sweet

Let's get this straight: social media audiences tend to have short attention spans ― a.k.a.: 21st-century society ― so a video has to be brief to work well in that context. That said, the “perfect length” varies from network to network:

It's recommended to keep YouTube's videos under five minutes, Facebook's under two, and Instagram's and Twitter's between thirty and sixty seconds.

Try to focus each of your videos on a single key point to stick to those ideal lengths. You can always make a video series if the topic is too extensive.

Feature Shareable Content

You've probably heard that word of mouth can make a significant impact on a brand’s success. By the same token, shares can have a similar effect on a social video's performance, leading to a broader organic reach.

That's why it's crucial to create content that's worthy of sharing, such as:

  • Videos regarding trending topics
  • Educational or informative videos
  • Video content that makes people laugh or cry

Audiences find these sorts of videos helpful or relatable, so they are more prone to sharing them. 

Share user-generated content

Featuring videos created by your followers is an excellent way of prompting people to engage with your content. 

All over social media – and particularly on Instagram – we can see videos of people recreating dishes from their favorite cooking account, unboxing something they've just received, tagging the bar they are in, and so on. These people are not only demonstrating a remarkable engagement with the original accounts, but they are also promoting them!

So, the best way of thanking those committed followers is by sharing their content. That way, you'll also encourage other users to follow their lead!

Make use of your post’s copy

A well-crafted copy is possibly the most enriching tool you can add to your video. With just a few words, you can spark curiosity in your piece and maximize its effect. But to handle that tool efficiently, you first have to understand what makes an excellent copy.
We can divide video copies into two big groups:

  • On the one hand, there are short texts that pique the audience's interest by giving viewers a hint of what the video is about. Think of messages such as "Learn how to gain more followers today" or "He didn't see that coming." These types of copies can be understood with just a glance, so almost everybody is likely to read them.
  • On the other hand, we have texts that convey information about the video and its context ― details not included in the piece, your inspiration for the video, etc. These copies tend to be longer and are usually aimed at an already existing fan base.

Whatever the type of copy you want to leverage, it’s vital to make it understandable and free of grammar mistakes. Digital writing tools always come in handy to proofread your text, but you can also ask for a friend’s feedback before posting it.

Now, I guess you want your video to reach new audiences interested in your field, so you need the hosting network to index your content accordingly. Here’s when hashtags come into play! 

Include popular hashtags related to your content in your video's copy, but don't get carried away! It's recommended to use up to six hashtags on Instagram and only two on Twitter and Facebook. That said, it's worth noticing that Facebook users don’t usually search for hashtags, so a hashtag strategy may not lead to high results in that platform.

Implement CTAs effectively

The purpose of every social video out there is to bring about engagement. Now, people can engage with your content spontaneously, but they are more likely to interact with it if you encourage them to do so.

That’s why you can benefit from adding CTAs to your video, prompting viewers to visit your website, leave a comment, share, subscribe, and so on.

Keep in mind that mentioning a CTA only once may not do the trick, and the same goes for including it excessively. So, stick to a middle-point: make around three CTAs and distribute them equally throughout the whole video. 

The first one should be placed in the introduction after you've presented your video's topic ― insisting on a CTA too soon may put viewers off. Then you should include another CTA in the middle of the piece ― in case viewers don't finish watching the video ― and a last one at the very end. 

I strongly recommend you to add CTAs to the video's copy as well, such as links to your website or to your other social accounts. That way, viewers won't have to interrupt your video to follow your CTAs.

Wrapping up

There are no two ways about it: a social video that doesn’t engage people is a video that falls short. 

You see, having views is not enough for a video's success. It also needs to have likes, comments, and particularly shares. That way, both your social presence and your fan base can grow wider and stronger.

Now, your digital presence won’t strengthen with just one successful social video. That can only have a short-term effect. To steadily engage viewers, you have to post regularly and use the tips above not just as a one-time thing, but as a long-term strategy.


Related posts