Stop the talking heads and flapping lips on social video! :)


Yes…stop it. No one wants to hear your rants and dialogue? Just because you have an iPhone and video camera…it just is not working. People want more than you flapping your lips and ranting your thoughts on Facebook and Instagram.

I feel the old newsroom junkie in me coming out in this rant. My old news director used to preach to us…do not let me see your talking head during your live shots. People want you to show and tell, give the audience the opportunity to explore the story visually.

Yes…Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Twitter video is here and it is all over the place. And YES…the same principles my old news director preached applies here in social. I think television news people are the worst on social. The new mentality…just hold the iPhone up, record your short little teaser while standing in some random spot. As you scroll through the news feeds, you see this…over and over and over.

Silent First – Sound Second
The difference here with Facebook and Instagram…the video is silent until you click to watch more. BUT…when you click…you hope the volume is turned up on your mobile device or laptop. So, bottomline…we have to assume people are consuming video silent first…sound second. Listening to sound in these platforms are a HUGE barrier to entry when delivering information.

I remember in the old days of television, photojournalist are taught to edit stories assuming that someone will not hear the sound. Mom’s are consumers of news information during my television days, so you had to assume they were not sitting and choosing to watch the news. They were working in the kitchen, doing something in the house, or just being active…so you had to be able to deliver content in two ways:

  1. Assuming people did not hear the story and could get the information visually.
  2. People only heard the information because they were listening from another room.

Delivering video content via social

Here are my thoughts:

  1. Assume people are scrolling in the news-feeds and the autoplay may stop people to watch, but not all the time. During auto-play when scrolling, video is SILENT!
  2. Assume they will not listen, stop scrolling, and only watch.
  3. Lots of movement left to right, right to left to grab people’s attention.
  4. Include graphics and text that move to capture people’s attention.
  5. If you are going to do a “selfie” video, then do some show and tell. Show people something other than your face and your flapping lips.
  6. KISSS – Keep It Short Simple…STUPID

Facebook video outperforming images???
We are finding that Facebook video is starting to out perform images when it comes to reach. People are stoping to watch content especially if it is a topic that is relevant to them, it catches their attention, and if they know someone in the video. Links and image click-through rates (CTR) are still out-performing videos. So, videos are a prime asset to add to the content portfolio, especially when it comes to reaching a large audience…specifically raising awareness.

With that said…it is all about keywords in videos. Whether using keywords in the graphics or the copy that is being said by the person talking, people are searching for those keywords. So give it to them, and be prepared to have your Google Adwords campaigns set-up to run concurrently when posting social videos. You want to capture that search.

We are also finding when using Facebook video that includes customers, it is better to boost the Facebook post rather than just creating an ad. This allows you to share the video organically, allowing the community to engage, then boost to increase reach.

Bottomline…find ways to show-and-tell. Movement in the videos stop people from scrolling in the newsfeeds. This is important if you want to grab people’s attention and engage them to actually listen to your content.

Great brands to watch engage social video:

  1. USA Today on Facebook – Great graphics and engaging visuals to make you stop and explore.
  2. Mashable on Facebook – Great use of text with the talking head to make you stop and watch.
  3. Furman University on Instagram – They do a great job using interesting camera angles to share video content from the student’s point-of-view.