Have you ever watched a press conference surrounding any major event? One person stands at the podium while hundreds of journalists vie for their attention. Cameras flashing. Questions shouted. Arms flailing.
This is every business’ dream, on social media these days. You will do anything to get the attention of your followers in a place where they are inundated with marketing messages. Crossing your fingers that they stop scrolling long enough to catch the first few seconds of your video and then hoping the video keeps them engaged with your brand for 15 to 30 seconds.
Video marketing has exploded and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. By next year, online video will make up 80% of all web traffic. The majority of that traffic points to social media sites like YouTube and Facebook. We know people are watching a lot of videos – approximately 90 minutes per day for most and up to three hours for others. Therefore, the question becomes how do we convert video watchers to video engagers
There are no right or wrongs when it comes to finding new ways to drive engagement with online video. Instead, it requires some trial and error and a good understanding of what will click with your audience. Paired with a solid content strategy and social media strategy, video marketing can work for you. Start by trying these six tips for increasing video engagement.
Inspire your audience through storytelling
Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication – it even predates writing. It may look a little different in 2019, but it’s still one of the most effective ways to capture an audience.
Storytelling works because it emotionally engages the viewer while feeling more experiential and relatable and less like a sales pitch. If viewers can create a personal connection to the content in the video, they will feel more inspired to engage with it. Emotion can be a variety of things, from humorous to empowering to tugging at your heart strings.
If you aren’t sure what story to tell or how to tell it, consider sourcing user-generated content. There’s nothing more authentic and personal than having a loyal customer or follower share your story for you. Plus, it can encourage others to do the same, resulting in both more engagement and more video content.
Never underestimate the power of a good story, no matter the medium that’s used to tell it.
See this James Allen video as an example of a great story that helps convey their message in a powerful way:
Spark a conversation by asking a question
There are 3.397 billion active social media users around the world. That equates to a lot of conversations happening at one time. In such a crowded space, how can you ensure that your video gets a piece of the engagement pie?
Sparking a conversation starts with something as simple as asking a question. What do you want to learn from your audience? Or, do you want to participate in an ongoing conversation online? Maybe there is a trending topic that’s relevant to your business and your followers? This is where knowing your audience can really come in handy.
Either way, asking a question in a video will prompt an answer from those watching it. They may even answer out loud. “Do you want to make more money?” “Are you tired of sleeping on a mattress that just isn’t cutting it?” Etc. If these sound like questions you’ve heard in commercials before, there’s a reason for that. They are! And they work!
A good way to reach people outside of your social media following that are interested in the conversation is to use hashtags. Many trending topics have specific hashtags associated with them and people use those to search for and participate in existing conversations.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple approach that gives people the opportunity to be heard.
Include subtitles for easy watching on the go
Did you know that 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound? It makes sense. People typically use their mobile phones on-the-go, out in public spaces or at work where having the volume up is a phone etiquette no-no.
If your marketing videos aren’t optimized with subtitles, you’re missing out on a lot of potential engagement from viewers. You might receive a fair amount of views initially from people analyzing the first few seconds of your video. They’re likely looking for two things within the first three seconds:
- Am I interested in the subject matter of this video?
- Can I watch it without the sound?
Both questions are happening automatically. And on an almost subconscious level, those who are watching sans sound will scroll right past your content if they’re not hit with some words right off the bat.
The key to jump-starting engagement is to make it as easy as possible for people to watch your video. In this case, that means adding subtitles or text narrations. One of the simplest ways to do this is during the video editing process – especially if the video was already scripted. However, Facebook makes it even simpler with its built-in subtitles and captions tool. It can even auto-generate subtitles or you can choose to write them yourself.
Respect how people are engaging with videos online and watch your own video engagement improve as a result.
Use a strong hook and a stronger CTA
If you want people to engage with your video, why not encourage them to take action? After all, they need to have some reason for sticking around – so what’s the hook? Reel them in with captivating content and leave them looking for more. Calls to action (CTAs) compel viewers to respond in a manner designated by you, like subscribe, comment, or share.
There are many ways to add CTAs to videos depending on the format and the social network it’s shared on. For example, if your video includes spoken dialogue, the CTA could be written into the script. Or, if it’s added to YouTube, you can use the site’s built-in interactive cards and end screens.
Cards can be added throughout the video and support whatever is happening, from product references to scripted CTAs. End screens direct viewers’ attention somewhere else, like other videos on your channel or a website URL.
Regardless of how CTAs are added, they should always inspire the viewer to take further action.
Tap into the power of music
Music is powerful. It can influence people’s emotions and it’s something everyone understands, like a universal language. It also has the ability to set the tone for any video and helps create a connection with the viewers.
A carefully curated soundtrack can have an enormous impact on a video and how people respond to it. But, how do you pair the two together? First, you have to determine what the music needs to accomplish. Is it the main focus? Does it play a supporting role behind dialogue or b-roll?
Then, you’ll want to work through other details like genre, tempo, and mood to find the perfect soundtrack that will pique the interest of your audience. However, adding music to your video does more than catching the attention of viewers, it can actually help keep them around longer, too. Using music throughout the entirety of a video maintains interest and carries the message from beginning to end.
Find a tune that fits the mood and add it to your video to help viewers make a stronger connection.
See for example this short video that Promo.com, (disclaimer, this is the company I work for), created to announce a new name and a new branding. In this example music is a major component and it highly contributes to the effectiveness of this video.
Create videos consistently
A great way to increase engagement with video marketing is to let viewers know what to expect – to a point. That doesn’t mean giving away the contents of the video prior to sharing it or over-explaining what the viewer will see in the caption.
However, there are ways to get people to tune in by setting expectations. Look at television programming for example. Shows come on at regular intervals, the same day each week, and at the same time each day. Plus, we always know the storyline and the video trailers tease what new information will be revealed in the upcoming episode.
Video marketing can be handled in a similar fashion. On social media, be consistent with how often and when you release videos as well as the channel that you use. Also, viewers should have an understanding of what the video is about, but always take away something new. Plus, if you include some of the other video hacks, like asking a question or including a CTA, you’re sure to increase engagement.
Remember, be consistent – not predictable. Give people a reason to tune in time and time again.
Easily create engaging videos in no time
Which one of these video tips are you eager to try first? In truth, the brands which are most successful will follow all the above and more. However, creating captivating videos isn’t always easy, especially for small businesses or internal marketing departments without the proper resources.
Luckily, there are now ways to create beautiful, high-quality videos that were previously unattainable by all but the brands with the deepest pockets. So now, there’s really no excuse for not creating the kind of awesome content that drives engagement and builds brands online.
Video is not only growing, but it’s also exploding right now. Brands which put an effective video marketing strategy into place are positioning themselves for greater success moving forward. Start with the tips above and you’ll be better positioned for awesome online engagement too.