How to make time count with social media videos
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How to make time count with social media videos

Author: James Cresswell | Posted on: 8 April 2021

During the pandemic, many of us have spent a lot more time scrolling through social media news feeds. You’ll certainly have noticed the prominence of video - particularly short-form video - on the various platforms.

Research from Animoto shows that, on social media, shorter is better:

“Facebook recommends that small businesses try keeping videos to 15 seconds as much as possible … videos that are an average of 26 seconds receive the most comments on Instagram … [On Twitter,] we’d recommend staying under 30 seconds.”

When faced with trying to say what you want to say about your business, it can certainly seem daunting to be faced with such narrow time frames. Here are three ways that you can use these time constraints to your advantage:


Tease longer-form content

One of the most effective ways that you can use short videos is to grab users’ attention and link them to your longer-form content. This is often the sort of thing you might often see from podcasters, where they’ll take a particularly insightful, funny, or shocking moment to draw a potential listener’s attention towards the full podcast.

When working on one of our own long-form projects - the 17-minute promotion video we made with USE-IT! - we made use of the video’s chapter-based structure to make four 30-to-40-second-long videos that blend key points from the interviews we’d recorded with a condensed selection of shots.

Make a regular series

With a short, engaging series of videos, you can keep followers coming back for more. As Shama Hyder, writing for Forbes, says:

“You want to maintain your followers’ attention and stay top-of-mind, not remind them you exist each time you release a video. This is much easier to do if you’re releasing video content within a shorter time frame.”

This can be a great way to provide your audience with helpful and relevant tips or insights, or to cover different aspects of a particular topic. Further down the line as well, serialised content can have a wealth of advantages to your brand, as the social media management platform Loomly note on their blog:

“One idea can be turned into months of content. It’s an ideal opportunity to go deep on a topic rather than skimming the surface [... and serialisation also] gives your audience more time to digest and grasp concepts. You can divide one broad topic into smaller segments, which improves knowledge retention and avoids content overload.”

This is something that we tried with our #OneMinuteContentMarketer series, in which we condensed Robert Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion into a series of six short and easily digestible videos.

Encourage interaction and engagement

One of the key functions of social media is to facilitate real conversations and interactions between people, and it’s definitely worth any brand’s while to think of how a short video can be used to springboard further interaction or conversation. The below example from BBC Radio 3, for example, marks 50 years since the death of Igor Stravinsky with a 30-second animation featuring 12 significant objects from his life for users to spot.

With this approach you can make viewers part of the creative process, and encourage feedback. As part of an informative video series, for example, you could ask your audience for suggestions on what you should cover in future videos; or you could encourage discussion about a particular segment from one of your longer-form videos.

The Ember team prides itself on having as great an understanding of distributing video as we have of producing it; if you have any questions for us, or want to know how we can help you, please get in touch with us.


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Author: James Cresswell

James Cresswell gravatar avitar
James is our copywriter and social media manager here at Ember Television. He joined us after studying an MA programme in Film and Television: Research and Production at the University of Birmingham.
How to make time count with social media videos



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