How to Generate More Engagement From Social Media

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📅 Last update: August 13, 2020

Everyone wants to be one of those brands that’s just rolling in social media engagement. 

You know who I’m talking about. Each and every post gets thousands of likes and hundreds of comments, and whenever anyone thinks of that particular industry, they think of that brand. 

Raking in a ton of engagement on social media is a type of currency. More engagement means you’re more connected to your customers, your campaigns carry more weight, and your audience is more likely to expand organically. 

Clients love this stuff. Not only because it carries a tremendous impact on brand perception, but also because it has a strong emotional resonance. It makes clients feel like their company is succeeding. 

But social media has changed. It takes a lot more to succeed these days than just curating links, responding to comments, and proactively reaching out to people who are having conversations vaguely related to your industry. 

So what’s the secret? How do you push those engagement numbers up and to the right? 

The answer is video. Yup, good video is the secret to more social media engagement. 

In this post, I’ll cover a couple of things:

  • Why video surpasses every other kind of social content, 
  • how you can have conversations with your clients about a video strategy,
  • and which types of videos get the most social engagement. 

Social content is video marketing 

Like most things in the digital age, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when visual content became the norm on social media. But it is the default now, and it regularly generates the most engagement. 

Even in a world obsessed with memes, video regularly yields more engagement per post than any other content format — particularly on Instagram. Here’s a chart from Mention’s 2020 Instagram Engagement report that illustrates video versus other content types: 

How to Generate More Engagement From Social Media

The broader takeaway from this data is that social media marketing is now a media production competition. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean you must have a cinema-quality video to be successful. I’ll show you some examples of lo-fi videos in the content strategy section that have been very successful. However, it does mean video in general commands the most attention. 

The client conversation

If you have clients who want to increase their engagement on social media, then video is the logical strategy to pursue. 

Of course, the next steps are more complicated. There’s the matter of who is going to do the video production and the ROI from increasing engagement on social platforms. 

If you have production talent inhouse, then the conversation is pretty straightforward: “Yeah, we can do that for you.” If you don’t, then there’s always freelance networks you can whitelabel. (You can even grab some royalty free music through a subscription service.)

Another option is to empower clients to create the content themselves and send it to your team for some post-production polishing. (Perhaps using a tool like ContentSnare.)

If clients dig a bit deeper on the ROI of investing in social media — as they are wont to do — there actually is a decent argument to be made. Namely, increasing engagement on social posts expands the list of people you can retarget with social ads. 

So the one-two punch could be: 

  1. Release a couple of killer videos
  2. Retarget everyone who commented, clicked, or liked with an ad meant to drive transactions 

Oh, and one last thing to instil in your clients: the content strategy is everything. 

If you don’t understand what matters to your audience or approach those topics in a compelling way, your video strategy will be like an empty cinema: the show goes on but no one is watching. 

How to produce engaging videos 

It probably goes without saying, but any type of video you produce has to be based on a consistent content strategy. You can’t just start making videos in the formats listed below and expect them to perform. There must be a method to the madness. 

Alright, let’s get to the good stuff. What types of videos are most engaging for social audiences? 

Short tutorials 

These are the classic “quick tip” or “hack” videos. This strategy might not be the most original, but if the execution is good, they can work. Buzzfeed’s Tasty brand has built a sizable Instagram empire on the back of super brief recipe videos. 

At Soundstripe we provide content creators with stock music, so our audience eats up any videos about cinematography. A few weeks ago, we posted a short video of our in-house filmmaker doing a motion technique as part of a longer piece. 

A short tutorial video on Soundstripe's Instagram account

This topic isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it is cool and modestly educational — basically the perfect mix for social media. This short clip has gone on to be one of our most viewed and commented-on posts of the summer. 

So what can your company do to make videos like this? 

If you’re a bike shop, can you teach people about how to fix their rides? (My chain keeps catching.) Or if you work for a veterinarian, can you tell people how to properly trim a dog’s toenails? (With an emphasis on how to subdue the dog.)

Are those examples just content I’d like to watch? Maybe. But you get the idea. And if you take that idea and execute it well, you’ll get some engagement in return. 

Talking heads 

These are the newly classic influencer-style videos we all know and love from YouTube. 

The basic idea is to get someone on camera and have them riff on a particular subject for a minute or so. Whoever’s on camera also needs to be knowledgeable, because good content will make people feel like they’ve learned something. Or at least gotten an entertaining hot take. 

Entrepreneur and agency-owner Billy Gene consistently puts out this type of content. Here’s a clip of him talking about backsliding on goals and the dangers of settling: 

A video of Billy Gene with lots of comments

Like influencer content in general, this technique works better if there’s one particular person who becomes the personality of the videos. That doesn’t mean brands can’t do it, too. It just means you need to find the right person in your company to do so. 

If you want to have more than one talking head, that works too. 

Behind the scenes

If you’ve ever been to a digital marketing conference, or read a book about digital marketing, or even heard any living person talking about the subject, you’ll know it’s all about “storytelling”. 

Quite often, it’s unclear exactly what that means, but people sure say it a lot. And those people are right about something: humans dig stories. 

So one surefire way to give your client’s brand a better narrative is to create some videos that give your audience a peek behind the curtain. 

That could mean detailing the story of your brand’s founding, how you build your product, or cover the ongoing circumstances that make your product necessary.

This video from Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is an explanation of how the zoo cares for their furry friends: 

A video from the Audubon Zoo about orangutans

Now, we can’t all work at zoos and make videos with baby monkeys, but you can certainly find something interesting about how your product is made or where it comes from. 

News 

News about your company is another good reason to make social media videos. And you can be pretty liberal with what constitutes “news”. 

If you hire someone new or upgrade the brand in a big way, talking about that in a video is a good idea. Likewise if you land a huge client or launch a big collaboration. 

But sometimes the more down-to-earth news is the kind of stuff that can humanize your brand and get people engaged. For example, does someone at the company have a milestone work anniversary, or have they been working on an interesting project that’s about to be completed? 

Making short videos about this kind of stuff may not seem like headline news, but it lets your audience view the emotional inner-workings of your brand. And that makes you seem more real, and therefore more engaging. 

So that’s a short tour of how to increase engagement on social media. Like I said at the top, it’s all about video. 

Now that doesn’t mean you have to launch a full-fledged production studio to get results. A lot of the examples above were made with relatively little investment. It’s mostly about matching the content strategy with the interests of your customers. Well, that and executing at a high level. 

With that said, think about how your clients could produce some more engaging content for social. 

What about their product, service, or company is worthy of highlighting on film? How can you use social to humanize their brand? If you’ve seen some good examples, share them in the comments. 

ZW

Zach Watson

Zach is the content specialist at Soundstripe, an audio library of YouTube royalty free music.

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