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Written by Carly Hill
Published on December 8, 2022
Reading time 12 minutes
TikTok, Reels, Stories, livestreams—there’s a reason why video content is everywhere. Capturing that attention pays off. Up to 84% of consumers say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. Video is just downright popular; 66% of consumers say short-form video is the most engaging type of content. That’s why adding video content ideas to your regular brainstorming is a game-changer.
On social, video is a must. Before you pursue big-budget video content for your social strategy, you need a solid plan to make the most of that content. Here are some tips on creating video content for social media.
Staring at a blank page before you write is intimidating. The same goes for staring at a blank phone screen before you hit record.
You can’t know what topics, video formats and content works until you start experimenting. To get you started, here are 15 examples of popular video content ideas that you can use to inspire your own.
Listicles are easy to digest and naturally pique interest—with or without a, “Number Three Will SHOCK You!” headline.
Creating a video version of a listicle hooks people in with the concept, and keeps them watching—which is a solid algorithm-pleaser.
Who said sustainable fashion didn’t look good? #fitcheck #mensfashion #sustainablefashion #sustainablebrands #allbirds
♬ original sound – Allbirds
Show your audience how your product is made, or how to make something with your product. It’s an educational moment within an immersive visual experience.
For example, when you see an Auntie Anne’s pretzel stand in person, part of the fun is watching your giant pretzel get made.
Their TikTok takes this a step further, using their product to create unexpected items, and taking viewers along for the ride.
shhhh, let us work ? #fyp #auntieannes #CloroxMistChallenge
♬ Master – Nima
From easy “Outfit of the Day #OOTD” posts to complex “Creating a Capsule Wardrobe” guides, styling your product in videos helps customers envision how they would use the product themselves.
This is an especially useful video topic for clothing brands. But it can be adapted a million different ways.
Using hashtag holidays is a win-win. They act as creative prompts that guide your content. Plus, using them puts you on a trend wave that can expand your reach.
You can take this a step further and let the day of the week inspire your content. Use existing ones, like #ThrowbackThursday, #MondayMotivation and #SelfCareSunday. Or, create your own. Just make sure the hashtag holidays you use are relevant to your brand and audience.
Happy TurtleTuesday! ? Enjoy some Nickel shell brushing asmr. #seaturtle #aquarium
♬ Storytelling – Adriel
Our research found that 76% of engaged social media users say it’s important for companies to post about their employees.
Highlight the people behind your company with an employee spotlight video series to build trust with consumers, to show employees you care and to attract future talent.
This kind of video content can be highly-produced…
…but they can also be bite-sized and casual. At Sprout, we highlight employees in Reels that showcase their personalities and, in this case, favorite Slack reacji.
Creating a video to share new updates or features of your product is a win-win-win.
It’s a win for current customers—especially when a new feature was inspired by their feedback.
It’s a win for prospective customers who can get a better idea of how the product can fit their needs.
And it’s a win for you because it creates fresh buzz around your product.
A simple product video can introduce the new feature to create some hype…
Don't get spooked. Dark mode has arrived. ✨ https://t.co/lne7s8TcGm pic.twitter.com/ht9jR0tZHv
— Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) October 24, 2022
…or it can provide a semi-interactive product how-to and preview.
Confidence ? Communication With our new tone rewrite suggestions, you’ll write every message just right. Link in bio to get started! #Communication #CommunicationSkills #Tone #WorkTok #WorkTikTok #CorporateTok #Grammarly
♬ Summer day – TimTaj
Posing a question at the beginning of your video creates a natural hook. Not to mention, this scores you extra engagement by encouraging people to comment with their answers.
Level up: Create a series by asking a question or questions regularly, like Auntie Anne’s “Would you eat this?” video content. If they do well, post your series regularly to keep people coming back.
a new take on our pepperoni pretzel nuggets? This is not real!!!! But maybe it could be!! #auntieannes
♬ kodak catching paper planes by vatolocz – vatolocz !
Going to a conference or company event? Bring your audience along with you with video coverage.
Event coverage content can be as deep as you want it to be. A simple visual highlight showing off the event will do. Or, highlight learnings from a conference that your audience would like to know.
Level up: Alleviate the work on your plate—tap coworkers who are attending an event to help you capture content.
Video tours are easy-to-create low-hanging content fruit. They help you connect with your audience by giving them a peek behind the scenes.
Office tours, “desk tours” where you show off your workspace, a tour of your facility (if you’re a destination)—the opportunities are endless.
This video of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery is an excellent example of a simple yet effective location tour. One look at the engagements and you know that it piqued interest.
Day in the life content humanizes your brand by highlighting the people behind it and shows your audience different perspectives and lifestyles they’re curious about.
Indiana University’s TikTok features a series about students studying different subjects at the university and what their day looks like. And it resonates—some videos in this series rack up millions of views.
We share a peek into our employees’ days here at Sprout, too.
Level up: Leverage employees, students, fans and more who are social savvy and have a large following. This can help quickly expand your reach.
Not all of your video content needs to come from you. Lean on the content your audience is already creating.
User-generated content alleviates your workload by leveraging already-made content. And, it celebrates your audience in a way that builds trust—39% of consumers like to see customer testimonials or real customer demos from brands they follow.
This is especially helpful if you’re experimenting with new content formats, like vertical and short-form video, but don’t quite have the strategy down yet.
Just make sure you get permission to use their content!
Level up: Stitch videos on platforms where this feature is available—like on TikTok or Instagram Reels. This is another way to piggyback on already existing content and to insert your commentary, response or reaction.
You can learn how to do just about anything on social media. Explainers and how-to videos are the most popular type of marketing video among brands and consumers. It’s so popular, TikTok formed #LearnOnTikTok, a program to create educational content.
From product tutorials and course-like breakdowns or factoids, to step-by-step “how-to” videos, there are endless ways to create fresh educational content. Let your creativity shine.
Use this type of video to introduce a product or service to new audiences and help existing customers troubleshoot or enhance their experience with the product.
Prediction content can serve different purposes depending on your industry.
For a brand like Sprout, predictions serve as useful thought leadership that social media managers can use to think ahead.
For a sports-centric brand, predictions can be used as a way to engage with your audience and project winners.
For a media brand, you might predict who will or will not get a rose on a certain TV show.
Level up: Tap various subject matter experts in your own organization to get their takes on a topic, like your industry or your customers’ industries.
What makes content “relatable” will differ depending on your brand, industry and audience. Ultimately, this involves taking your audience interests, habits or pain points into account and creating content based on them.
For example, Grammarly creates on-brand #relatable content that’s relevant to their professional audience, and to their product.
Some to-dos require more caffeine than others. ☕️ #NationalCoffeeDay #CoffeeTok #MorningCoffee #NeedCoffee #WorkLife #WorkTok #CorporateTok #Grammarly
♬ original sound – Kyle & Jackie O
This can also be inspired by the platform you’re posting on. For example, on TikTok, social media manager-forward content is a recurring theme regardless of brand—from writing software, to language apps, to aquariums.
Not everyone will have time to drop everything and read a blog post (although I will take this personally.)
But everyone has time to watch a 15-second video that breaks down that blog post.
Break down your longer written content pieces into informative bite-sized videos. These can help you hook interest before linking viewers to a full blog post. For example, this short-form video is an intro to the full, stellar article it’s based on.
Or adapt your written pieces into long-form videos that give viewers two ways to consume one piece of content.
In the ideation phase, shape your content around the followers you already have. Tell a story that will be helpful, intriguing or entertaining to existing fans and the target audience you hope to hook.
One way to do this is to use previously successful posts to inspire new video content ideas.
Using an analytics tool, like Sprout Social, to look at your most successful past social media video content. Sprout’s Post Performance report takes the guesswork and legwork out of identifying your top-performing posts and collects those high performers for you.
Start your free Sprout trial
And look at the pages and blog content that receive the most traffic on your website, too. Use Google Analytics to identify content that resonates with your audience and drives traffic to your site to inspire future videos.
Before you film, think through the creative assets beyond the social media video content itself that you can capture on set.
Consider creating short video teasers of where you’re going, who you’re filming, how you set up and more. Then, use these assets to intrigue your audience and give them a peek behind the curtain of the creative process. Your BTS footage can even end up in future videos, like the one below.
It’s corn. ? #cornsong #itscorn #socialmediamarketing #sociamediamanager #socialmediatips
♬ It’s Corn – Tariq & The Gregory Brothers & Recess Therapy
Lifestyle images are another simple way to tease upcoming video content and provide a look behind the scenes. In Sprout’s Always On series, we used bird’s eye view images of our subject’s desk to give a preview of who and what was to come.
A post shared by Sprout Social (@sproutsocial)
The beauty of BTS assets is that you don’t need a videographer or photographer to make them look good. Use your mobile phone to snap away while you’re on set.
As you prepare to launch, add all of your creative assets to the Sprout Asset library, to keep them organized and readily available for you when you’re ready to schedule your BTS content.
It’s not enough to just want to entertain your audience. You need to set measurable goals upfront for your video marketing strategy to understand whether or not your content is effective.
When setting goals, determine where your content falls in the marketing funnel. What do you hope to accomplish with your video?
Once you’ve determined your high-level goals, decide which metrics will be your key performance indicators (KPIs), and set benchmarks for performance. There’s no one magic metric to track—you need to look at several to measure your success.
For awareness stage content, your KPIs might be impressions, clicks or video views.
If you want to generate demand, consider looking at video engagement metrics, shares or click-through rate.
Not sure where to start? Download our social media metrics map for a comprehensive guide to goals, metrics and KPIs for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
You already know what you want the viewer to do after watching your video—provide a friendly extra nudge with a clear, strong CTA.
CTAs that drive conversion have a measurable result that ladder up to your goals. The key to an effective CTA is that it’s easy to spot and intuitive for your audience, so they know what the result of their action will be.
And there’s no shame in putting your CTA in more than one place—think: your video, your social copy, etc.
When determining what CTAs to select, consider the tone of your video. Is it inspirational, serious, educational or casual? Make your CTA match that tone.
Accessibility matters. There are roughly 466 million people in the world who are deaf or hearing impaired. Your video, and all your social media efforts, should be accessible.
This also benefits people who simply prefer watching videos with the sound off, which most consumers do.
Add closed captions and alternative text to all your video content, GIFs and animations for everyone to enjoy. Most social media platforms, including YouTube, Instagram Reels and TikTok, offer ways to add editable captioning and/or subtitles to videos you upload.
The best way to get better at creating accessible content for the brand accounts you manage professionally is to apply those same best practices to your personal social media.
Write alt text for your Instagram selfies. Caption your funny TikTok videos. Practice makes progress.
— Alexa Heinrich (@HashtagHeyAlexa) November 9, 2022
When publishing social media video content, take SEO into account just as you would for webpages or blog posts.
Utilizing YouTube SEO, for example, can help you get discovered on the platform, and on Google. And adding the right keywords to your captions on TikTok and Instagram can help people find your content.
Research and incorporate relevant keywords in your title, video description, tags, captions, links and CTAs. The keywords should align with your topic and how people might search for it.
Keyword research tools like Google Trends, Moz and Ahrefs will tell you what you need to know about your keyword’s search ranking, how competitive it is and more.
Once you’ve got your keywords and you’re ready to go live, use Sprout to publish video posts and input all the necessary information. For YouTube, specifically, publishing from Sprout ensures that later, when you’re ready to report on the success of your video, the data will be automatically pulled into your YouTube report.
Put your data analyst hat on: It’s time to talk reporting. Creating video content can take a lot of time and resources—measure the return on that investment. As you analyze your metrics, use the following questions as a guide:
When your analysis is complete, create a social media report to present your findings and next steps.
"Metrics are the expectations vs. reality of social media work." –@hiyeshello_ https://t.co/3vQmi7vp8t
— Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) October 16, 2022
The beautiful thing about video is that it can be split, shortened and transformed into something completely new.
Whether that’s a graphic quote, photos, teaser clips, GIFs or even different types of videos (think: YouTube videos vs. TikToks), stretch one video into additional assets to get more value from one piece of content. These kinds of assets can oftentimes live beyond your video story, stand on their own and be incorporated into your long-term content strategy.
If, for example, your original video features a customer raving about your brand and product, turn those quotes into a graphic or short clip that can be shared independently.
You know your audience, what they value and what they want or need from your brand. Whether you have a massive budget with a full video team, or a scrappy social team with phones in-hand, there’s so much you can do with the videos, tools and expertise you already have.
So put your director hat on and kickstart a stellar video strategy.
Ready to dive deeper into your video strategy? Check out our article about how to make a social media viral video to expand the reach of all of your videos.
Carly Hill is a Content Specialist at Sprout Social where her own experience in social and managing a viral campaign involving penguins walking through an empty aquarium in 2020 helps fuel the articles she writes to help professionals set themselves up for success. By night, she enjoys creating comics, loyally serving her two cats and exploring Chicago breweries.
Read all articles by Carly Hill
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