How Long Should My Social Video Be?

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This question was originally asked on Quora.com and came to me from a client recently: What is the ideal length for a social media video?

For those of you who are making a video for your company and don’t want to learn the “why” behind it…

  • If you are looking to capture attention and build something that will engage well with social audiences, stick to 30 seconds or less.
  • If you want to turn that attention into action or share your industry expertise, anywhere from one to three minutes will work, so long as your content compels viewers to watch as much of the video as possible.

Now for the longer, fun explanation!

Finding the right social media video length is a difficult question, without an exact answer. Based on what social media platform you’re posting video too, you could get as many as five different ranges for ideal social video length. The answers change on a yearly basis too as social platforms change news feed algorithms and formats.

Maybe your company has a marketing coordinator or an intern that handles your marketing strategy, including video. Maybe you trust a marketing agency dedicated to creating award-winning social media programs. If you want to make a great social video for your firm, where do you begin?

Start with the End in Mind for Social Video

As with everything in marketing, you need to have your end goal identified and clarified before you start coming up with concepts. Social video is no different! The best way to start here is to think about where your target audience is at in your marketing funnel.

If you are looking to attract new prospects who haven’t established a previous relationship with your company, they probably won’t spend much time watching your social video. Keep video content for this audience between 15 and 45 seconds, and make sure the video concisely conveys the most important information and visuals.

For clients who know your firm and are curious to learn more through social video, a more engaging piece of video content could be produced in the range of 60-120 seconds. A medium-length social video is a great way to give blog content new life. This would also be an ideal length for videos to show off a new office location or do a Q&A with one of your key employees! Videos like these can turn your target audience’s attention into action.

Many studies, such as this one from Wistia in 2016, illustrate the common assessment that engagement with social video declines sharply after the two-minute mark. But what happens past that point? If you give people compelling content and they stay with your video past three, four or even five minutes, you can keep their attention for a long time.

If you have clearly-defined industry expertise on a given topic and you want to share that – anyone else thinking of webinars? – give viewers a hard sell in your first minute to get them to watch and give them a long-form video. This could be anywhere from three to 60 minutes depending on how much you want to share.

Craft a Social Video Plan

Now that you know what social video length works best for your target audience, it’s time to start crafting your content! It’s important to know the following when creating social video:
* The content that you want included in the social video
* The strategy for distribution of your video across social media platforms

Say your company is opening a new office location and wants to use social video to showcase the location and spread the word. It certainly doesn’t have to be an episode of Cribs, but you can put together a really nice set of videos at different lengths.

Step 1: Start with a 15-second video walking up to the office, with some brief text or audio stating the address of the location. The key here is to tease the audience and pique their interest to visit the office, while keeping only the most pertinent information in the video. Find the day and time that your followers are most active on social media and add some paid promotion behind your post. Cast a wide net and maximize distribution of easily-consumable content to get attention for your company’s announcement!

Step 2: After building buzz with your first post, follow up in the ensuing hours with a 60-second video of a company leader inviting guests to the new office and discussing the benefits the new location provides. After attracting the attention of your captive audience, the key with this next video is to engage them with a more personal message that shows why you want them to visit.

Step 3: Those viewers that are highly-engaged after seeing the new building and hearing from your company’s leader might want to see more of the new building before going. The most engaged members of your new social video audience would want to see a walkthrough of the new building, experiencing what it would be like to walk through your doors! Keep the walkthrough between three and five minutes, and delight viewers with a rich social video experience!

Social video can be the basis for an incredibly compelling content strategy! What do you think would create more buzz for your new location: the set of three videos above, or a blog post on your website?

Ready to Start Making Social Video?

You know your target audience.

You have a strategy for the content you want to make and you know how to distribute your social videos.

Now it’s time to get started!

Most smartphones today have tremendous video quality, giving you the ability to shoot and upload right to social media. If you’re looking for a mobile app with a variety of editing capabilities, I highly recommend Adobe Premiere Clip as a free tool (for both iPhone and Android) I’ve used many times in the past. Odds are you already have the tools to start making great videos for social media today.

Getting more engagement on social media is at the top of many marketers’ wish lists. Creating attention-grabbing social video is one way to achieve that goal! If you’re ready to learn more about BARQAR’s unique approach to social media, contact us today.

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