Victor Blasco
December 10, 2019

How to Boost Plays and Engagement for Your Social Videos

Boost Plays and Engagement for Your Social Videos

Have you noticed how most social media sites are becoming video-centered platforms?

Social networks have all but taken over our digital communication and entertainment devices, and video content is at the center of it all. With the introduction of IGTV, Facebook marked push toward video, and emergent platforms like TikTok, the world of “Social” and video are tighter than ever.

Why? Because social videos are compelling and able to drive engagement in many ways.

But just taking any video and sharing it on social platforms doesn’t guarantee a good performance. And if audiences are not engaging with your content, then it’s of no use.

There are many reasons why a given video may fail to connect with its intended audience. This applies to all kinds, from whiteboard animations to video ads, and yes, to social videos too. However, most of these issues can be prevented with a little planning.

Today, we are going to go over some advice to help your social videos perform better and reach their full potential!

First and Foremost, Do You Know Your Audience?

Understanding your audience is the key to great social video content — or any kind of video, for that matter. You need to know what your audience needs, what they know and what they ignore, and what kind of content they usually consume.

Why? Because your video content should be tailored to fit your target audience’s needs. Your video needs to be about a topic that your audience cares about because if it’s not, it will never get enough engagement.

A great way to start your next video project is to visualize what your target audience looks like, how do they act and think, and create “personas” based around those aspects. These are characters that represent different sections of your audience, and that will help you understand how to shape your message to get to them.

So, we’ve already established that knowing your audience is essential to making your social video work. But is it the only important thing to be aware of? Not. Even. Close.

7 Elements That Will Optimize Your Social Videos

1. Make that first frame shine!

The first frame of a video is something that’s usually seen as unimportant and even ignored. People won’t even look at it, so why bother, right?


In social media, the first frame of a video can be decisive. For starters, it’s the one that gets set as the thumbnail of the video by default. Of course, you should optimize your thumbnail when you can do it, but if not, you need at least to make sure that your first frame is not blank.

When the first frame of your video is blank by default, it creates all kinds of problems. Let me set the scene: You’re tapping through stories on Instagram, and you find a video story of one of your favorite brands. But, maybe you’re on the subway, and your connection is not that good, so the video doesn’t load properly. All you got to see was the first frame of the video… a black rectangle.

Now, what would have happened if that video was announcing something big — a new amazing product? Most people would miss it completely… all because of that first frame. On the other hand, if the first frame gives enough to capture people’s attention, your chances of losing a potential viewer drop dramatically – Which is also a great way to help you grow your follower base, creating a positive feedback loop.

2. Upload your video natively.

When given a choice to upload a video natively on the platform or embedding it from YouTube or Vimeo, you should always go for the native upload. Why? Autoplay.

Native videos autoplay on your viewers’ feeds, which directly improve your view counts. Moreover, autoplay encourages engagement, grabbing the viewer’s attention and prompting them to stop scrolling and keep watching.

Another interesting thing to understand is that all social media algorithms prioritize native video over embedded ones. Embedded videos usually end up taking the user to the original site (like YouTube, with its “suggested video” pop-ups), and social media platforms don’t want this. So, if you want your video to be seen, use native uploads. 

3. Make your topics “social-media worthy.”

What makes a topic social-media worthy? It will all depend on your target audience, of course, and the topics that they want to consume. A good way to understand which topics are most in-demand by your audience is to take a look at your other platforms. If you’ve got a blog, for example, take a look at your analytics to find your top posts. You’ll then understand which topics resonate better with your audience.

Competition is another great source of ideas. If you are unsure how to attract the audience you are after, take a look at competitors, businesses, and other content creators also catering to that audience. See the topics they tackle and convert them yourself with your own original flair.

Lastly, keep in mind that social videos tend to be very up-to-date and fleeting. So, it’s usually a good idea to keep up with the latest news and trends in your industry to make your videos fresh. 

4. Great things come in small packages… Keep your videos short!

A rule of thumb for all video content —short and sweet works better.

Attention spans are getting shorter than ever, and everything points to the fact that they’ll be getting shorter and shorter in the future. Even though it’s amazing to have all of the information in the world at your fingertips, it’s also amazing how this constant connection is shaping the way that we interact with media.

And if people are not able to stay in a single tab for a minute straight, constantly multitasking online, you cannot expect that they stay for a long video – even the most interesting ones.

For social media, this is especially true.

You must make your message get through to your audience in the shortest time possible. One pro-tip? Stick to a 30-60 second-time limit for most platforms.

5. Add captions and text overlays.

On social media platforms, you must know that most viewers will be watching your videos without sound. They’ll probably be in public spaces (waiting in line to get their coffee, on the subway, or even at the office,) and they’ll be watching your video on mute. So, you need to ask yourself — is your video engaging with and without sound?

You need to make your message clear even without sound. For this, you can rely on captions when your video is narrated, or even ditch speaking altogether and use text overlays to communicate your message.

Doing so will do wonders for your videos’ audience engagement, not to mention that captions can also add to your SEO efforts on certain platforms.

6. Don’t forget about CTAs

What is a piece of content without an effective call to action? In the social video world, a video without a clear CTA is just wasted effort. Include a call to action at the end of your videos to capitalize on all of the effort and investment that you’ve put into that piece of content.

Maybe your main goal is to make your audience buy a product, follow your brand, or simply share the vid. Whatever it may be, adding a call to action at the end (and sometimes midpoint) of your videos helps prompt your audience to take the crucial step to the next stage of the customer funnel.

Make sure that your video incites immediate action.

7. Make that copy shine too

The power of social video doesn’t end with the video itself! If your video content is engaging enough, your audience will be looking for some context — in the text that accompanies your post, and in the rest of your social profile.

Use this opportunity to add relevant information that will enhance your content. Add a witty caption that encourages your audience to watch the video. Use relevant and popular tags and hashtags to direct traffic towards your content, and you can also include a link that reinforces your video’s call to action or directs to more of your content!

Never underestimate the power of a good copy!

Are you ready to start?

With the shifting setup complexity and varying website costs, more content creators and businesses are shifting toward social to connect with their audience. Once there, it doesn’t take too long to realize that video is the way to go if you want to stand out.

And while anyone can upload videos there, it’s not that easy to do video right.

For most brands, making video content is quite an investment, and in order to get real results, they need to create content that’s optimized for these platforms.

Luckily, when done right, videos have the best ROI of all the types of marketing content that are available right now. Of course, it’s important to learn the kind of video content that works best for each situation — and it can be a good idea to have a skilled video production company backing you up. However, there’s plenty you can do on your own!

Just remember, social networks are all about sharing personal experiences — and video is the kind of content that works better for inspiring this closeness to your audience. So, if you want them to connect with your brand on a personal level, don’t hesitate to invest in video content.

You just need to do it in an optimized way. Luckily, now you are better equipped to go about doing it!


Featured image: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Víctor Blasco is the founder and CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. He is also an audiovisual designer and video marketing expert. Aside from running the business, he loves studying Chinese Philosophy and is a real geek for science fiction films and comics!