6 Social Media Video Tips For Creating Better Content
Social media has transformed the way we connect, share, and communicate with the world, and entrepreneurs and marketeers the world over are desperate for social media video marketing tips that will help them stand out. Video content is one of the most captivating and influential mediums dominating the online landscape. From viral TikTok dances to YouTube vlogs, social media platforms have become vibrant stages where creators have the opportunity to captivate and inspire audiences like never before.
However, with millions of videos uploaded every day, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to stand out from the crowd. To truly make an impact and create a lasting impression, content creators must harness the power of effective video production techniques that engage, entertain, and resonate with their target audience.
Whether you’re a seasoned content creator looking to enhance your skills or an aspiring influencer just starting your journey, this comprehensive guide is designed to equip you with the knowledge and strategies to elevate your social media videos to new heights.
Here are our top social media video tips to help you delve into the world of video production, exploring a myriad of techniques, creative approaches, and best practices. From conceptualization to execution, we’ll cover the key aspects necessary for crafting compelling content that not only grabs attention but also fosters meaningful connections with your viewers
#1 You’ve Been Framed
Framing a video effectively for social media is important because it can significantly impact how your content is perceived and engaged with by your audience. If you’re one of those people (like myself) who enjoy the dopamine hit your brain gets from watching pimple popping videos, you will be familiar with the pure rage that fills you when the ‘pop’ occurs out of frame, because the camera has moved at the last moment, or something has obscured the shot. The result? Your viewers have seconds or even minutes of build up to a main even they don’t actually get to see.
Trust me, you don’t want to endure the rage comments you’ll receive if your money shot is badly framed.
Different social media platforms have different video aspect ratio requirements. For example, Instagram primarily uses a square (1:1) or vertical (9:16) aspect ratio, while YouTube and Facebook favour horizontal (16:9) videos. Before shooting, determine the platform where you’ll be sharing the video and tailor your framing accordingly.
Keep in mind the rule of thirds, which is a compositional guideline that can help create visually appealing frames. Imagine dividing your frame into a grid with two horizontal and two vertical lines, resulting in nine equal parts. Position your subject along these lines or at their intersections. This technique adds balance and draws attention to the focal point.
Depending on the content and context, you can experiment with different types of framing to make your subject stand out. For example:
Zooming in on your subject (either as you’re framing to film, or while editing) to capture facial expressions, emotions, or intricate details.
Showing the subject from the waist up, providing context and capturing gestures.
Capturing the subject in its entirety, along with the surrounding environment. This is useful for capturing landscapes or demonstrating activities in a broader context.
Pay attention to the background of your shots. Make sure it complements your subject and doesn’t distract from it. Consider shooting in a clean and uncluttered environment or use a shallow depth of field to blur the background and bring focus to the subject.
Good lighting is crucial for creating visually appealing videos. Utilise natural light whenever possible, positioning your subject facing a window or shooting outdoors during the golden hour (the hour after sunrise or before sunset when the light is soft and warm). If you’re indoors, use artificial lights or lamps to achieve proper illumination and avoid harsh shadows. Keep your frame in mind as you light – what will be visible on camera, have you effectively lit this area and eliminated any unfortunate shadows (this can me done by using opposing sources of artificial light, so each beam cancels out the shadows created by the other).
Text And Graphics
If you plan to include text or graphics in your video, ensure they are legible and well-placed within the frame. Avoid placing important information too close to the edges, as it may get cut off or become hard to read when displayed on different screen sizes.
In particular if you’re planning on adding captions to your videos, it’s important to consider this when you’re framing your shot – you will need an area that’s in frame, but doesn’t cover any vital areas (like a person’s face, or the main focus on your video!), and won’t be covered on upload by the in-platform elements of the video. TikTok and Instagram, for example, both provide guidelines on upload to show you how much of the edges need leaving free for in-app buttons, captions, comments etc.
Movement And Transitions
Consider incorporating smooth camera movements or dynamic transitions to add visual interest to your video. Pan from one side to another, tilt up or down, or use a dolly or slider for tracking shots. Just make sure the movement is purposeful and not excessive, as it can be distracting.
Test And Optimise
Before publishing your video, preview it on various devices and screen sizes to ensure it looks good and fits within the platform’s specifications. Make any necessary adjustments to framing, resolution, or aspect ratio to optimise the viewing experience.
A Note On Ratios
Consider your frame and where you are sharing when filming. YouTube primary means landscape. TikToks, Reels, and stories are all tall vertical (9:16). Facebook allows you to use both landscape (16:9) and short verticals (4:5) outside your reels, but if you’re intending to use it in ads you’ll need to be mindful that certain placements won’t be allowed unless your video is a particular ratio. One ratio that’s good for pretty much everything on Facebook is short vertical (4:5).
For tall vertical videos (9:16), consider what you want appearing on the central section of the preview (i.e. the bit people see on grids and while scrolling). If you’re clever about your background and include enough space around what you’re filming, you can film it all in landscape (16:9) and crop different versions so you have multiple ratio options for your various placements.
You can also set up two cameras (e.g. a DSLR camera for a landscape shot and a smartphone for a vertical shot) and film horizontally and vertically at the same time.
Remember, these tips are general guidelines, and the best framing for your video will depend on your content, style, and intended message. Experimentation and creativity are key to finding a framing style that suits your brand and resonates with your audience on social media.
#2 Keep Your Camera Steady
Another pet peeve for most people when they’re watching videos online is shaky camera action. That doesn’t mean it always has to be on a tripod and perfect fixed in place. Some of the best and most popular accounts are not, instead opting to hold the camera close to yourself, or having it on a selfie stick or wearable mount (as you would when taking a selfie). This type of shot works really well for certain types of content. Pia Blossom does this really well on TikTok and Instagram. Her videos are primarily telling stories about her antics and experiences, and the choice to use this style of shot makes everything very intimate.
Other examples of video styles that suit shaky camera situations are action POV shots – head cameras and other selfie sticks used while surfing, cycling, running, and other active subject matters. It’s great for personal POV videos and works really well. People also understand why there’s movement in the camera; you are literally moving. That being said, it helps to add stability to these shots by taking the human element out of the equation. In other words, don’t hand hold your camera, use something that mounts it and ideally includes some form of gimbal; this will keep it as steady as possible while retaining the movement of the action. GoPros and similar cameras are great for this and usually come with wearables to make it easier.
Take Scuba Dan as an example (yes, I’m terrified of sharks, yes, I have a weird obsession with watching shark videos). He’s diving with sharks in most of his videos, not a particularly safe passtime, and he needs his hands free in this situation. He’s wearing his camera, so we get the natural movement that comes with his body as he swims, yet the shot remains reasonably steady (so it’s not annoying or distracting from what he’s filming).
There are also times you want to keep your shot completely steady and don’t want it to move at all. Keeping your camera steady while filming social media videos is crucial to ensure a smooth and professional-looking result. Here are some tips to help you maintain stability:
Use a tripod or stabilising device: A tripod is a versatile tool that provides excellent stability for your camera. Invest in a tripod that is compatible with your camera or smartphone. If you’re shooting with a smartphone, there are also portable tripods and smartphone mounts available. Tripods allow you to position your camera at a desired height and angle, and they eliminate shaky footage caused by hand movements.
Handheld stabilisers or gimbals: Handheld stabilisers or gimbals are ideal for capturing smooth, stabilised footage while you’re on the move. These devices use gyroscopic technology to counterbalance camera movements and minimise shakes and vibrations. They are particularly useful for vlogging or capturing action shots.
Stabilise your body: If you don’t have a tripod or stabilising device available, try to stabilise your body as much as possible. Hold your camera or smartphone with both hands and keep your elbows tucked in close to your body. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, shoulder-width apart, to create a stable base. Avoid sudden movements and use your body as a natural stabiliser.
Lean against a stable surface: If you’re in a situation where a tripod or stabilising device is not feasible, try to find a stable surface to lean against or rest your camera on. This could be a wall, a table, or any other sturdy object. This technique can help reduce camera shake and provide additional stability.
Use image stabilisation features: Many cameras and smartphones have built-in image stabilisation features. Enable this feature in your camera settings to help compensate for any small movements or vibrations. It can significantly improve the stability of your footage, especially when shooting handheld.
Slow and controlled movements: When panning or tilting your camera, do it slowly and smoothly. Avoid jerky or rapid movements, as they can introduce shakiness into your footage. Practise slow and controlled camera movements to maintain stability and achieve professional-looking results.
Utilise body support techniques: You can use your body to create additional support and stability. For example, bracing your elbows against your torso or using your knees as a support point can help minimise shakes and improve stability. Experiment with different body support techniques to find what works best for you.
Take advantage of stabilisation software: If your footage still has minor shakiness or vibrations, you can use video editing software or mobile apps with stabilisation features to further improve the stability. These tools can help smooth out the footage and make it look more professional.
Remember, practice makes perfect. Take some time to experiment with different techniques and equipment to find what works best for you. With consistent practice and attention to stability, you’ll be able to capture smooth and professional-looking videos for social media.
#3 Transitions Are Cool (When Done Well)
We all love a good transition, but a lot of creators – myself included – get so excited to do them that they massively overstretch. I did this with one when I first had a crack at TikTok. Took me AGES. Honestly I spent so much time on it, and when I got to editing it I hated it. To this day, I’ve never posted it.
I invested a ton of time in the very first one I did to make it really elaborate and cool, but I’d never done any kind of transitions before so didn’t know some of the really important things like, what the best camera position would be, how to frame the shot so the focus was on the transition itself, how to setup a series of transitions so your camera position and framing works for multiple transitions.
I’ve since done a hell of a lot of transition videos (both for myself and my clients) and I’m considerably better at it now. That original video I did was focused on a specific brand I love (Killstar clothing if you’re wondering), and showing a ton of different outfits I own from that one brand.
It was an absolute shambles, but, I learned from it and now have no issue filming long sequences of multiple transitions, like this one I did of clothing haul from Collectif (another of my favourite brands) earlier this year, which has ended up being one of their most-watched videos:
So, if you’re going to use transitions in your videos, make sure they genuinely work well. Here are a few tips on how to do that:
Plan your transitions: Before shooting your video, plan out the transitions you want to incorporate. Visualise how one scene will seamlessly flow into the next. This will help you create a cohesive and well-executed transition.
Use a tripod or stabilise your footage: Smooth transitions require stable footage. Use a tripod or stabilise your camera or smartphone to avoid shaky shots. This will make your transitions look more professional.
Mark your placements: If you have to move between shots (to get changed, go get your hair done, or because it’s on a different day) but you want you position to be identical in all your shots, use take on the floor to mark the position of your feet and (if you need to move it) your tripod. I use a simple arrow shape with to pieces of tape, the point of which sits where my big toe is – that’s important so you’re facing in the same direction and not just standing in the same place. You can also mark other things like prop placement, hand height etc by getting a bit creative with PostIt notes, tape and other markers on your walls and furniture (it helps to write on them what they’re marking if it isn’t obvious!).
Pay attention to lighting: Consistent lighting across scenes enhances the overall aesthetic of your video. Make sure the lighting is even and well-balanced, and try to avoid sudden changes in lighting between shots unless it’s intentional.
Maintain consistent framing: Keep the framing and composition consistent throughout your video. This helps maintain continuity and makes the transitions more seamless. Pay attention to the positioning of objects and subjects in the frame to ensure smooth visual flow.
Coordinate movements and actions: For more creative transitions, synchronise the movements or actions of the subject or objects in your shots. This could involve matching gestures, object interactions, or even matching the beats of a song in the background.
Experiment with different transition techniques: There are various transition techniques you can use, such as jump cuts, fades, dissolves, swipes, slides, and zooms. Experiment with different techniques to find what suits your content and the overall theme of your video.
Use editing software: Utilise video editing software to enhance your transitions. Features like keyframes, masks, and overlays can add depth and creativity to your videos. Take the time to learn the editing tools available to you and experiment with different effects.
Pay attention to timing and pacing: The timing of your transitions is crucial. Avoid abrupt transitions that feel jarring. Instead, aim for smooth and well-timed transitions that flow naturally. Consider the rhythm and tempo of the video and adjust the pacing accordingly.
Incorporate complementary music: Choose background music that complements the tone and style of your video. The right music can enhance the impact of your transitions and make the viewing experience more enjoyable. Make sure to follow copyright guidelines and use royalty-free music if necessary.
Seek inspiration and learn from others: Watch transition videos created by other content creators to gain inspiration and learn new techniques. Analyse their use of camera movements, editing, and timing. Adapt and incorporate these ideas into your own style, while still adding your unique touch.
Jump on the latest trends: TikTok in particular is rife with trends that will help you market yourself with their viral potential. This includes trending transitions. When you notice one is taking off, jump on it pronto! Don’t procrastinate, just do it. You can also take advantage of trending sounds. You will find some sound trends include a transition trend, like this one I used for a haircut a while back:
Again, practice makes perfect. Keep experimenting, refining your skills, and honing your creativity. With time and dedication, you’ll be able to create stunning transition videos that stand out on social media platforms.
#4 Time For Your Close Up
Part of the reason that the first transition video I tried failed was because I had my camera position far too far back. Social is close. It’s intimate. You’re inside people’s phones. You’re on screens that are small; nobody wants to struggle to see what the tiny person in a huge amount of empty space is doing. Unless the subject of your video – the point – is your surroundings, or you are not personally in the shot at all (for example, you’re showing a before and after of a project), or you have a lot of movement throughout – parkour! – keep your videos close.
Here are some tips to help you capture great close-up shots:
Use the right lens: If you’re using a camera with interchangeable lenses, opt for a lens with a focal length suitable for close-ups. A macro lens or a lens with a focal length between 50mm and 85mm is ideal for capturing detailed close-ups with a shallow depth of field.
Frame your subject: Consider the composition and framing of your close-up shot. Fill the frame with the subject or the specific detail you want to highlight. Pay attention to the rule of thirds and consider the positioning of your subject within the frame for a visually pleasing composition.
Focus on details: Close-ups are perfect for capturing intricate details, textures, and expressions. Whether it’s a product, a person, or a specific object, make sure to focus on the details that are most relevant to your video’s message or story.
Lighting is crucial: Proper lighting is essential to showcase the details in your close-up shots. Ensure that your subject is well-lit, either by utilizing natural light or artificial lighting sources. Soft, diffused lighting works well for close-ups, as it helps minimize harsh shadows and brings out the details.
Stability is key: Close-ups require precision and stability to capture the details effectively. Use a tripod or any stabilization device to avoid shaky footage. This will help maintain focus and clarity, making your close-ups appear more professional.
Experiment with angles: Don’t be afraid to explore different angles when filming close-ups. Try shooting from different heights, positions, or even extreme close-ups for a unique perspective. Experimenting with angles can add visual interest and highlight specific details.
Control depth of field: By adjusting the aperture settings, you can control the depth of field in your close-up shots. A shallow depth of field, achieved with a wide aperture (low f-stop value), can create a pleasing blurry background, emphasizing the subject in focus.
Use manual focus: Close-up shots often require precise focus on specific details. Utilize manual focus to ensure that the focus is exactly where you want it. Take your time to adjust the focus carefully, especially when capturing fine details.
Capture movement and interactions: Close-ups are not limited to static shots. They can also capture dynamic movements or interactions. Consider filming actions, gestures, or small movements that add interest and convey a sense of liveliness to your close-up shots.
Edit and enhance: After capturing your close-ups, use video editing software to enhance the footage further. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and color if needed to make the details pop. You can also add text overlays, graphics, or slow-motion effects to enhance the impact of your close-up shots.
Remember, practice and experimentation are essential for improving your close-up shots. Pay attention to the details, lighting, and composition to create visually appealing and engaging close-up shots for your social media videos.
#5 Invite People In
There’s also the figurative distance you keep between you and your audience. If your videos often have a sense of detachment – perhaps because they always feature products, without people in them, or because you never appear on camera but are a disembodied voice off screen – creating videos for your social media that invite people inside your business is a great way of mixing things up a bit.
Creating behind-the-scenes videos of your business can be a fantastic way to provide an authentic glimpse into your operations, build connections with your audience, and showcase your brand’s personality. Here are some tips to help you create compelling behind-the-scenes videos:
Plan your content: Before you start filming, outline the specific aspects of your business you want to showcase in the behind-the-scenes video. Determine the narrative or theme you want to convey and the key messages you want to communicate.
Show diverse areas of your business: Provide a comprehensive view of different departments, processes, or aspects of your business. Highlight production, packaging, team collaboration, quality control, or any other relevant activities that contribute to your products or services.
Be authentic: Authenticity is key in behind-the-scenes videos. Show real people, genuine interactions, and unscripted moments. Let your employees and team members speak naturally and share their experiences. This helps create a genuine connection with your audience.
Use a mix of shots: Incorporate a variety of shots to add visual interest. Use wide shots to establish the context and show the overall workspace. Include close-ups to capture details and emphasise specific actions. Consider using time-lapse or fast-motion shots to condense longer processes into shorter segments.
Introduce your team: Feature the people behind your business. Introduce key team members and let them share insights, experiences, or stories related to their roles. This adds a personal touch and helps humanise your brand.
Explain processes and techniques: Take the opportunity to educate your audience about the unique processes, techniques, or expertise that go into your products or services. Explain how things are done, highlighting any special or innovative aspects.
Share anecdotes and stories: Storytelling can be a powerful tool in behind-the-scenes videos. Share interesting anecdotes, success stories, challenges, or unique experiences that have shaped your business. Engage your audience with compelling narratives that resonate with them.
Incorporate interviews and testimonials: Conduct short interviews with employees, customers, or partners. Ask them about their experiences with your business or products and let them share their perspectives. Including testimonials can boost credibility and provide social proof.
Utilise captions and graphics: Use on-screen captions or graphics to provide additional context, highlight key points, or share interesting facts. This helps viewers understand the behind-the-scenes footage better and keeps them engaged.
Edit for a concise and engaging video: Trim and edit your footage to create a concise and engaging video. Keep it focused, avoiding unnecessary or repetitive content. Add background music that aligns with your brand and the overall tone of the video.
Promote on social media: Once your behind-the-scenes video is ready, promote it on your social media platforms. Share teasers, snippets, or highlights to generate interest and build anticipation. Consider utilising relevant hashtags or collaborating with influencers to expand your reach.
Remember, behind-the-scenes videos provide an opportunity to connect with your audience on a personal level. Showcasing the human side of your business and sharing authentic moments can help build trust, loyalty, and a deeper connection with your customers.
#6 The Need For Speed
Getting the speed of your videos right is critical. Too slow, and your videos are frustrating and boring to the ever-shortening attention spans of your viewers. Too fast, and your viewers will find it equally irritating because they can’t clearly see what’s happening. Timelapses are a good example of the need to effectively judge the right speed. If you take a series of images of a project and put them all together you get a super-easy video that appears to show the whole process sped up. BUT you only show the parts you want to see. Stop motion videos are done using this technique – you move your prop a fraction and take a photo, move it again, take a photo. You end up with hundreds of photos which, when run together look like a film
But how long should each individual image remain on screen? Most people guess around a second or half a second each, but actually when I do them they’re usually more like 0.1 seconds per frame. Depending on the subject, 0.1-0.15 creates the seamless speed needed. Any slower and it doesn’t look like a video, it looks like you’re flicking through a load of photos. Much faster than this, however, and it’s too quick.
It’s useful to bear this in mind when you’re creating because if you’re aiming for a finished video of around 1 minute in length (as an example), and you’re going to have each image visible for only 0.1 second, you’ll need 10 photos for every second, meaning 600 photos to create that 1 minute video!
Speeding up videos is very helpful on social media for anything that doesn’t involve you talking into the camera. Anything from unboxing videos to transitions can be improved by speeding them up a little. Often, it doesn’t need to be much. Just a little faster and the video becomes far more consumable on social media. This is particularly true when you’re dealing with TikToks or Reels, particularly if you’re on Instagram and you need to keep them under 90 seconds so you can add music.
If you want speedy action but still want to narrate what’s happening, knowing this ahead of time is useful; you know not to appear on camera talking, because that will prevent you speeding it up. You can add a voiceover after you’re happy with the speed of the video, allowing you to match what you’re saying to what’s on screen.
When you are talking into the camera, think about the speed of your speech – how fast are you talking? Again, too slow and people will lose interest, too fast and people won’t catch what you’re saying.
Remember, you can’t always predict what people will enjoy, so pay attention to feedback – if your videos are too slow or too fast your audience is likely to tell you in the comments. If they do, thank them and take the feedback onboard when creating future content. Do not take it personally or get arsy about it; it’s useful feedback, they’re telling you what you need to know to make your content better.
Final Social Media Video Tips
I’ve reiterated for each of these tips that practice makes perfect, time will help you learn what your audience likes and dislikes, experimentation is your friend, and one of the best ways to learn is to study the videos of creators you love, and creators who are successful in your niche or industry. That, in itself, should be a tip but it needs one extra point adding to it.
Social media is constantly changing. What’s trending one week won’t be for long. What works one week won’t forever. Embracing the ever-changing nature of social media is a mindset shift that is critical.
Don’t get angry about the fact something you did didn’t work as well as you wanted. If you do, you’ll resist trying more in future. Don’t be frustrated if a format that has worked really well for you suddenly stops. Use it as an opportunity to shake up your creativity and try new things.
Finally, have fun with it. Try not to be self-conscious about it. And if you need help remember, the Rebel Wolf den has its own studio upstairs dedicated to content creation. Give us a call and book in a bit of help.
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Hazel is an award-winning copywriter and marketer with over a decade of experience. She built her own business from scratch using nothing but the power of content, and now teaches other entrepreneurs and business owners to create financial freedom and independence for themselves through content marketing. Her methods are based on soulful selling strategies that enable you to create a life you love, on your own terms, without any icky tactics or shady shit.