Separate from traditional text posts, the use of video has become more prominent as an easy and quick way to see other humans. Social media and video complement each other like peanut butter and jelly — and with work-at-home restrictions due to the global health pandemic, the use, production and consumption of video has inevitably increased significantly.
There are many ways to manage social media and remain connected during this time. Let’s take a walk through the “Eight A’s of Video in Social Media” that will help you not only survive communication during COVID-19, but also thrive.
When text messaging was first introduced, many people, myself included, thought it was unnecessary. I used to think that if I had a smartphone and that phone could receive emails and phone calls, then it already had the capacity to do what texting was designed to do. However, texting quickly became an integral part of the mobile communication dynamic.
The next element of that dynamic is video, which skyrocketed as people were required to work from home and maintain productivity. You may hear people say, “I don’t like the way I look on video. I don’t like the way I sound on video.” The reality is that is how you look and sound to the rest of us every day.
Video is commonplace today, and once you’ve accepted that fact, you’ll be able to leap over those personal hurdles. If that hurdle is still there for you, here is a quick tip: Have a video buddy. Every few days, have a video call with them. The more video calls you make with that safe person, the more comfortable you will become with the concept.
The first step in implementing video into your social media plan is asking, “What am I trying to accomplish?” If you’re trying to get your message out there in an entertaining way and aren’t looking for real-time dynamic interaction, choose a video tool that lends itself to that approach. Certain platforms work more like a traditional camera that records you, publishes the video and allows for written and/or emoji feedback. This type of video is particularly useful for vlogging (video blogging), training, marketing messages and new product information.
Video platforms where multiple parties can see and communicate with one another simultaneously from different locations have been growing in popularity. This type of video is particularly useful for interviews and group conversations.
When creating video with a specific aim, it can be difficult to run the technology and deliver your message simultaneously. You may wonder: Am I centered properly in the screen? Is the audio loud and clear? Can they see my hand pushing the buttons? Am I boring? The list goes on. Making sure all of those technical issues are being addressed while you are speaking is tricky. The most effective solution is to have someone else with you when you make the video. That person can hold the camera, push the buttons, make sure you are centered, and approve of the look of the shot.
Maybe there’s someone in your home that can assist you with your video creation. Talking to a camera phone provides zero feedback. Talking to the person behind the camera is much more natural and comfortable. Plus, you’ll be able to take cues from that person’s reactions. If they laugh, you know you are being interesting, and your audience is engaged. If that person looks bored, it may be a cue that it’s time to change it up.
It has often been said that a camera adds 10 lbs. to the person being recorded. I find that a camera reduces energy level by 10%. When you’re being recorded, it’s a good idea to be more animated than you may be on a daily basis. Use your hands more. Speak a little quicker and louder. Focus on ramping up your energy to maintain interest from the audience.
Imperfection and mistakes are not only accepted but expected on video. Note that the mistakes being referenced are mistakes of production, not facts. You still must be factually accurate. However, if you mispronounce a word, make a grammatical error, or your child walks into view, it is more than acceptable. It’s actually desired, because it shows your sincerity and authenticity.
When you’re creating a video with other people, whether in person or virtually, it is an excellent idea to acknowledge, promote and applaud them. By making someone else the star of your videos, not only do you appear humble, but it also helps your message reach a larger audience.
When you make a video and publish it on social media, your audience will be exposed to your message. When you make a video and make the other person the star of your video, not only will your audience be exposed to you, but the other person in your video, the one you acknowledged, promoted and applauded, will also post the video on his/her social media feeds for exposure in their networks. However, make sure you get the other person’s permission prior to posting on social media.
One of the most common and distracting video production mistakes is people talking over each other. This is where patience plays a big role. Wait for other people to complete their thoughts before speaking, even if you disagree. Have some kind of signal for the presenters when someone has something to contribute, even if it’s a simple hand wave.
Avoid locations where there’s bright light behind you. If you’re positioned in front of a bright light, whether it’s a from a window or fluorescent light, the camera will darken your features possibly to the point that you merely appear as a silhouette. Avoid bright lights behind you unless you are looking for anonymity.
Also, avoid camera angles from below. There is nothing less flattering than a shot that features a double chin or gives a view up one’s nostrils. The camera should be at eye level or slightly higher.
Avoid any inappropriate items in the background of the shot. Obviously, bathrooms and beer bottles should be kept out of frame. Always, but especially now, when we’re spending more time working from home, it’s imperative that any personal data or documents containing sensitive information do not appear in any video you produce.
An easy and effective way to get people to engage with your video is to announce it on social media. For example, say something like “Tomorrow at 3 p.m., I will be talking live about the new changes in our industry” or “Join us tomorrow at 5 p.m. for a virtual happy hour and trivia game.” When you make your announcement, put some effort into naming it. Try something catchy like “Lunch & Learn,” “Wine & Wisdom,” or “Quick Bits & Bites.” The more interesting your title, the more likely connections in your network will be to attend and engage with your video.
There’s really no time like the present, so take a deep breath and get your video on.