Video content has hit an undeniable fever pitch this summer. Communicators who want to come out ahead online can no longer dismiss video as a proven engagement tactic.
Experts have already predicted that video will make up 74 percent of all Internet traffic by 2017. And Facebook executive Nicola Mendelsohn recently did one better, predicting that the social media giant will be all video in five years.
“The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video,” Mendelsohn said at a press conference.
Video certainly performs better than other content across online spaces. It has 10 times higher reach and engagement on social media. It boosts email open rates by 19 percent and click-through rates by 65 percent. And video raises landing page conversion rates by 800 percent, getting viewers to donate to a cause, download a paper or buy a product.
Video performs impressively, but getting started with video can be intimidating. Here are six easy ways to hit video out of the park with what you have at hand.
- Transform Static Images and Text Into Video
You don’t need to shoot video in order to make video. A few handy apps can transform your images and messages into compelling and eye-catching video content. PicPlayPost and Prezi Nutshell are both free platforms that convert a handful of single images into dynamic video collages. Prezi Nutshell takes three photos and sequences them into a mini-movie with options to add fun graphics.
The $2 app Legend turns your text into a lively video by animating your message with a range of fonts, backgrounds, colors and graphics to choose from.
- Shoot a Direct Message to Engage Your Audience
Leverage video’s high social media engagement rates by employing video to directly engage your audience. A one-on-one video message is easy to film and enables you to test out your video voice—and equipment—with an intimate audience. You can use your smartphone to film a brief thank you or message of support and send it out directly on social media. The Australian blog Socially Sorted shares a great example.
- Break Down Research With Video Tutorials
Video is one of the best ways to make research more accessible by breaking down the facts. Turning a study into an artful and digestible short video that teaches viewers about the facts and their implications can amplify its reach a thousand fold.
The 100-year-old Brookings Institution has turned to digital publishing to promote new research, and it recently created the Brookings Creative Lab to craft video content that excels online. Its three-minute video on economic inequality, for instance, has garnered almost 350,000 views on YouTube since 2014.
- Use Text Overlay to Send a Message Without Sound
Almost all social media platforms mute video by default, making sound optional, so it’s important to employ text to communicate your message. Indeed, recent studies have found that 85 percent of Facebook users watch video without sound as they scroll through their feed rather than clicking the ‘unmute’ button. Since the platform has reached eight billion video views a day, this means that Facebook viewers watch around 68 billion silent videos every 24 hours. Given this trend, more video publishers are turning to powerful visuals and descriptive text. Even President Obama employed a word-for-word text overlay in his recent video endorsement of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president.
To smoothly make this turn to text, check out Vont, a free app that lets you detour complicated film-editing software to achieve high-quality text overlays. It has more than 400 font selections and a range of options to customize the way your text shows up in every video frame.
- Serialize Your Story With Bite-Sized Videos
While Twitter and Instagram have recently expanded their video limit to 140 seconds and 60 seconds, respectively, that still doesn’t give you much time to tell your social change story on social media. But don’t fear; you can tell your story across a series of short videos to capture your purpose and grow your audience. Wire Walker Studios, creators of socially conscious media, believe that a story told with multiple parts has the power to captivate your audience’s attention and ultimately inspire them to act for a cause.
The Genius of Play project from the nonprofit Toy Industry Association (TIA) employs a series of bite-sized videos to raise awareness of how play contributes to childhood development. These tiny videos with big hearts have garnered hundreds of thousands of views and shares on social media. Together, they tell a nuanced story about the benefits of play, and each video ends with an effective call-to-action for viewers to learn more.
- Broadcast Your Events with Live video
One of the newest ways to dive into video is live broadcasting an event. Live streaming is popping up on experts’ top social media trends this year, and it’s packing a punch. Periscope, purchased by Twitter last year, is leading the pack of options, but Facebook Live is also a contender. Both platforms are easy to use and let users save and share the live feed long after filming.
The latest newcomer to live video is the U.S. House of Representatives. Congress members used Periscope and Facebook Live to stream the June Congressional gun control sit-in, which generated 1 million and 3 million live streams, respectively. Live video stepped in to great success when C-SPAN went dark, and C-SPAN later rebroadcast the live streams captured on Periscope and Facebook.
How have you joined the video train? Share your thoughts in the comments below.