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How to improve your social media marketing for video

A practical guide to improving your social media marketing, plus examples of standout social video from real small businesses.

At a glance

  • Social video is on the rise – and small business owners should be across recent changes to key platforms.
  • Instagram and Facebook are prioritising vertical videos of set specifications and limited time length.
  • Use space wisely – and avoid placing any elements where they will be obscured by on-screen elements.
  • We’ve compiled examples of Australian small businesses producing top-notch video content for their social media platforms.

Of those business owners anticipating growth over the next 12 months, one in four predicts new customers will come from advertising and marketing – that’s the third most cited source of revenue growth for businesses*, and an encouraging indication that getting your marketing right could pay off in the long run. 

So how can you improve your social media video – and by extension, your marketing strategy – in 2022? Here’s a practical guide.

How social media platforms prioritise video 

For the uninitiated, social media can seem like a minefield of new platforms and updates. 

Facebook’s parent company is expanding into the metaverse. TikTok continues its mammoth rise while other platforms respond by creating space for short-form, full screen vertical video. Even YouTube, which has been the home of long-form video for a decade and a half, has introduced YouTube Shorts, its sub-60-second offering, to capitalise on the trend. 

Instagram is a prime example of this across-the-board transition to short video. Although traditional photo posts are here to stay, the company is heavily pushing its shorter video offering, announcing: 

  • The consolidation of all video formats, bringing together in-feed video, Reels and (now-defunct) IGTV content in a single place. 
  • The extension of the maximum video length from 60 to 90 seconds. 
  • New features such as Remix and Dual, which encourage users to play around with existing content and repost on their own channels. 

These changes have also been reflected over on Facebook, which has offered Reels in Australia since February 2022. 

So what does all of this mean? Video is here to stay, it’s central to successful social media marketing, and it presents an invaluable opportunity for small business owners to capitalise on a growing trend. 

Savvy small business owners who’ve made the most of social advertising over the past two to three years need to make some fast changes to maintain their results.

Tips to improve social media marketing using video 

Making the most of social video isn’t quite as simple as taking out your phone and hitting record (although hand-held video can certainly go a long way to foster a home-grown, down-to-earth feel to your content).  

Gone are the days when 1:1 photo posts – square images – dominated our Instagram feeds, but you’ll continue to see more and more video-led content from users and other small businesses. 

Correctly shooting and formatting your video is critical: 

  • Get your specs right. Reels asks for videos with specifications of 9:16 – the kind of footage made possible by holding your phone in portrait mode. 
  • Know when to stop recording. When we talk of ‘short’ video, we mean it – a limit of between three and 90 seconds is applied to all videos. 
  • Use space wisely. The most essential information, and certainly any text, should remain in the centre of the frame, not towards the top or bottom of the frame. 

This last point is particularly important. Users watch your Reels in fullscreen mode, which is designed to present a more immersive experience for the user on mobile – but it also means that elements such as page title, caption and buttons show up on top of the video itself at the top and the bottom of the frame. 

Think of an invisible 4:5 section in the middle of the 9:16 vertical frame – that’s where you’d look to put any text, stickers or polls to ensure those elements aren’t covered partly or fully by a layer of text. Your videos will also appear in your Reels grid with a portrait 4:5 preview, so you’ll need to create a cover frame to suit these specs.

Standout examples of small businesses on socials 

Sometimes, it’s most helpful to see examples of advice in action. 

We’ve compiled a bunch of small businesses hitting all the marks when it comes to producing engaging – and well-made – video content for socials. These are videos that illustrate the tips and guidelines outlined above – a real-life example for you to consider emulating in your own social content.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Eco by Sonya Driver (@ecobysonya)

This YouTube Short from skincare small business Eco Tan shows how the use of a simple concept, short length and upbeat music can quickly communicate information – in this case, the announcement of a new sale.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jemima (@kingstonjewellery)

Here’s a low-cost, high-impact example of a small business – Kingston Jewellery – using a popular Reels music template before adding in its own imagery – designed jewellery, which is centred in the middle of the frame.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Clothing The Gaps (@clothingthegaps)

This Reel from Indigenous clothing business Clothing the Gap exemplifies the trademarks of an effective social video: striking visuals, a simple and easily digestible message, and a length that doesn’t go overboard.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Laundry Lady (@laundrylady_aus)

Mobile laundry service the Laundry Lady gives another example of using Instagram Reels to great effect by keeping the video short, avoiding text nearing either of the frame’s extremes, and cutting fast from shot to shot.

Over on Facebook, how about this pet-friendly video from pet sitting network Mad Paws? It’s a little longer than the other examples above, but it maintains viewers’ attention through anthropomorphism that speaks directly to its dog-owning audience – while still maintaining the usual points such as keeping text in the middle of the frame. 

*Prospa x YouGov SME Sentiment survey, August 2022 

Talk with a Prospa small business specialist about how your business could access ongoing funds of up to $150,000 to keep things moving during the holiday season – or any time of year.

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The information in this post is provided for general information only and does not take into account your personal situation. Nothing contained in this post constitutes advice or an endorsement or recommendation of any kind by Prospa. Any links to third party websites are strictly for informational purposes only. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from financial, legal and taxation advisors. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information as at the date of publication, Prospa, its officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded), for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information for any reason, including due to the passage of time, or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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