Graphic of camera on orange and yellow patterned backgrouhnd

The easiest way to boost social engagement? Video.

12 min read
Dylan Culhane

The social media game is all about engagement, and video content is guaranteed to skew the game in your favor. Conveniently, it’s also never been easier to create. Here we explain why video content boosts social engagement, and why you should be excited to give it a go.

If you’re using social media for your business, just about every ounce of effort you’re putting into it – planning, shooting, designing, and writing, week after week – are really all just in aid of one thing: engagement. All the finite time and money you invest into your online presence only makes sense to your business if it pays off in activated fans, followers, and customers.

To this end, engagement isn’t just something you monitor, it’s something you do. The most worthwhile engagement happens over the long haul, upping the ratio of followers to customers by continuously showing up with content that keeps your business front of mind, and relevant in our lives. Your brand’s sparkling persona might get us to notice you, but showing up consistently is what’ll keep us hanging around long enough to do business with you. Even after you’ve secured the sale or the sign-up, ongoing engagement is needed to maintain interest, and build a loyal customer base of folks who are genuinely interested in what’s coming next.

That’s the formula that holds the whole thing together: the harder and smarter you play the engagement game, the more you get rewarded with customers exploring your world, sharing appreciation, inviting others, drooling over your products, and hopefully adding a few of them to their virtual cart.  So, the question you always need to be asking yourself is whether the juice is worth the squeeze: Is the work you’re putting into your content paying off in increased engagement with your brand?

And since we’re asking ourselves questions about engagement and squeezing fruit, the next logical one might be: Are you posting enough juicy video content?

Adding more video content to your feed is an easy win for increased social media engagement. Unless you haven’t turned your phone on in the last year or so (or you’re Blackberry for life) you would undoubtedly be aware of the growing domination of video content on social media.

This explosion represents the culmination of a few factors – not least of which is the extra engagement potential of video content – but the most important thing to realize is that social platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest gain the most value from increasingly engaged users. As such, the algorithms that essentially define your experience on these platforms will give priority to video content because it’s far more likely to grab eyeballs.

In other words, the very act of embracing video as part of your content strategy gives you an immediate head start out of the gate. It’s hard to argue against at least giving it a go.

Woman taking a selfie against a peach colored wall

Let's back up for a moment and look at exactly why video content is winning the race for our attention. Three important reasons for this are that, when compared to static posts, video content is:

  • Harder to ignore 
  • More engaging 
  • Easy to create

Let’s take a closer look at each of these ideas in turn:

Moving images are more eye-catching and evocative

The human eye finds moving images much harder to ignore than static ones; it’s hardwired into our primitive brains, and probably has something to do with avoiding being eaten by tigers two million years ago. Even a meditating Zen master can’t ignore the butterfly that floats through his field of view.

Social media is an attention game: you need to grab it as quickly as possible, and waving your hands in the air is a better way to do this than standing still – as anybody who’s ever hailed a taxi on a busy street will confirm.

Because video content gets you noticed much more, it ultimately gets better results for the businesses and individuals who make use of it. Beyond simply grabbing eyeballs, hundreds of millions of users on Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook clearly enjoy the added dimensions of information, narrative, humor, emotion, sound, and visuals that video content brings, and are happy to consume more of it. Supply and demand are skyrocketing side by side, making it an easy decision for social media platforms to prioritize this high-performing content.

Close-up of mobile phone set to video mode on a selfie stick

The upside for you? Video content basically guarantees you more reach and engagement than static posts. For maximum engagement, and the greatest return on the time spent maintaining your social presence, you can’t afford to ignore video content. Adding some element of video to your existing content strategy – an ad, a tutorial, a video carousel of photos, or simply talking to the camera in your hand – is how you’ll politely elbow your way to the front of the queue.

Video expands the potential for narrative and description

Beyond increasing your algorithmic odds of being discovered by more potential customers, video is compelling and descriptive by its very nature, presenting an opportunity for your small business to deepen engagement with your audience by giving them a more authentic or evocative moment with your brand. By compelling, I mean that it has more potential to make us think or feel something, and by descriptive I mean that it’s able to show us more.

“Show, don’t tell,” is the classic filmmaking maxim. With video, you can show us so much more – from a bird’s eye view to a detailed close-up, and everything in between. Instead of a photograph of your product, give us a 360-degree walkaround with your phone, so we can see the thing in all its glory.

Take us on a quick tour of the house you’re listing, instead of a carousel with a photo of each room. Don’t bullet-point the recipe, show us how you made it. Life is dynamic, always in motion, and video thus represents the human experience more truthfully. Crucially for your business, the opportunity to showcase your product or service in three-dimensions with increased detail invariably increases the odds of us engaging with it.

Man looking through a ring light

When it comes to narrative and emotion, I’m not talking about short films or Superbowl ads. Within just a few seconds you can breathe energy, humor, or intrigue into a single frame with the smallest of movements: a burst of laughter, a crashing wave, or a curtain being drawn open all only last for a second or two, but are infused with so much more energy and intrigue than photographs of the same thing.

Simple, filmable actions like placing your product on the shelf, adding the final garnish, or opening the door for a customer can go a long way in making your business feel more real, fresh, and inviting; a sense of being a business in action, ready for customers.

Moving beyond the single frame, stitching a few dynamic moments into a sequence unlocks the power of storytelling. This could be literal (before and after our landscaping service: the story of a dirt patch that blossomed into a garden) or more figurative (gentle waves and drifting clouds evoke a context of relaxation, much like the experience of sipping our herbal tea).

The human brains seek out narratives to make sense of the randomness in the world. Though it needn’t always create a logical sequence of events, the prospect of seeing what comes next can be a powerful hook that maintains attention, and ‘maintaining attention’ is another way of saying ‘increasing engagement’.

To enhance the emotional potential of video, we can’t forget about sound either. Video is inherently mixed media, in the sense that it calls our eyes and our ears to action. Audio works in tandem with visuals to draw us into the world within that little window of our feed. Music now becomes another weapon in your brand identity arsenal. Design styles like ‘Bold’, ‘Elegant’, ‘Street’, or ‘Retro’ can all be brought to life with specific kinds of music, in the same way that your fonts, graphics, images, and color palette contribute towards this impression.

Beyond defined styles, music can also induce a ‘vibe’: laid back, playful, coastal, Korean, and so on. When they tango in perfect harmony – the beat, the energy, the feeling – video has immense power to engage us with your brand, by simply making our brief moment with you entertaining (yet another synonym for engaging). Keep doing that often enough, and you’ll find yourself in the midst of a growing community of fans.

On the topic of audio, let’s not forget the most magical instrument of all: the human voice. The dimension of audio narration multiplies the amount of information a visual alone could provide. Raw and in real-time, this mode of interaction feels more like Facetiming a friend than enduring a sales pitch.

As humble as it might seem, the front-facing phone camera might be the biggest revolution in advertising this decade. “Putting a human face to the business” or “finding your brand’s voice” are well-worn refrains in advertising agencies, typically achieved with the aid of casting directors and a team of copywriters. But for the solopreneurs, side-hustlers, and small-for-the-time-being businesses, a much simpler and more authentic solution is (literally) at arm’s length. You are the face of the business. You are the brand’s voice.

The barrier to creation is getting smaller every day

Alright, so you’re convinced that video is the way forward. The only problem is that it’s complicated and costly to produce week after week, right?

As Dwight Schrute might argue: False.

To be fair, video was a daunting prospect until very recently. The lights, the cameras, and the action all came at a price – not to mention the mysterious complexity of the editing suite. But that’s all in the rearview mirror now that our phones are capable of filming, editing, and distributing high-resolution video content.  You can easily join the video frontier with nothing more than a smartphone (and a ring light if you’re feeling fancy). The tools and the platforms are all contained within a mobile ecosystem.

More importantly, they’re super easy to get to grips with. The steep learning curve has flattened out to a walk in the park, demystifying the technical art of film production. Free apps like GoDaddy Studio include functionality for creating simple videos to add to your content mix. Using video templates and animated graphics is exactly as easy as working with regular templates – simply tap to add for the most part. Creatively editing short video clips calls up the same tools you’d use to edit a photo, and takes the same amount of time. To put a finer point on it, making video content is something anybody can do right now.

A woman facing away from the camera, taking a photo on her mobile phone in a car

With technical barriers out of the way, this opens up space for enjoying the process, and having fun with it. TikTok best represents this new spirit of spontaneity and creativity that “video for all” ushers in. You’ll also find it’s a very forgiving place to put yourself out there; that’s what everybody else on the platform is doing, after all.

Related: Check this guide and see how using TikTok will benefit your business.

Adopting a “safe to fail” attitude is good advice. Worst case scenario? Your video doesn’t get as many likes as you’d hoped for. Best case scenario? The right idea lands in the right feed at the right time, and everything changes for you. Ten minutes of effort and a dash of daring for many thousands of eyes on your brand feels like a fair trade.

So try another one. And another. It’s silly to think you’ll be perfect right out the gates. Consider instead how much potential there is to get better at it, quicker than you’d think. Jumping in and simply paying attention to what other brands and content creators are doing is an immersive education that will open pathways to ideas you can’t imagine right now. You just need to start, and decide to fall in love with the process.

It helps to remember that authenticity is king, which drastically lowers standards in production. Kubrick and Hitchcock must be rolling in their graves as “clumsily hitting record to drop a knowledge bomb in my jammies” emerges as the pinnacle of modern filmmaking. It almost seems too easy, but all it takes is a quick scroll through TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, twitter, Snapchat, or LinkedIn to realize how many small businesses use their phones as a portal to speak directly to us.

Executed with openness, friendliness, and the desire to add a pinch of value to our day, a simple talk-into-camera video has major appeal and takes minutes to create. It’s basically a hack to instantly establish a human connection with your audience. Sure, it might be a little scary the first few times, but projecting the confidence to associate your reputation with your product or service will almost certainly elevate our perception of it.  Rest assured, we’ve moved beyond the polished illusion that Advertising has relied upon for decades.

Close-up of DSLR camera facing a male model posing in a white t-shirt and hat

Don’t forget that consumers love to support entrepreneurs, so getting up close and personal from time to time is an advantage that tiny businesses have over gigantic ones. Engagement doesn’t have to be viewed as a digital marketing strategy, when it can simply be reframed as good old-fashioned rapport with your customers – like the chef who comes out from the kitchen to ask what you thought of his new dessert, and explain where the inspiration came from. Your story, processes, and ideas are probably more watchable than you imagine.

With such a low barrier to entry, you’d be crazy not to give it a go. The only bad news in all of this is that there’s no excuse to watch from the sidelines anymore.

Looking for somewhere to start? Try customizing beautifully designed video templates in GoDaddy Studio. Download the free mobile app on iOS right now!

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