How to make great social media videos using the M&C 4-star method

Updated: Sep 21

Today in the M&C Move the Stairs Friday conversation we're talking about the strategy behind some using some simple tools to make good social media videos! We break down everything from the simplest setup to rolling out the technological red carpet for your social platforms. Soon, you’ll be able to thoughtfully turn your videos into engaging social media videos that look and sound great!


By the way, here’s a downloadable 1-sheet with some great strategies to get started. Download and read on!

Make great social media videos
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How to make videos for social media: the 1-star approach


Simple, quick, and inexpensively with gear you already own is always a great place to start! Quick-- what's sitting next to you on the desk? Your smartphone, right? Then you've got everything you need to get started on your social media video production journey!


Your goal in the 1-star approach is simple: clean, straightforward video where you can see and hear everything. Simple, right? But before you shoot a minute of video, think about the end use and audience for your content. How is your audience going to be consuming it-- on their TV, computer, or on their phones?

  • Shoot vertically (portrait) if you’re going live on social media or your target audience will only be viewing it on social media

  • Shoot horizontally (landscape) if you’re going to use the footage on YouTube, in a larger video piece, or to distribute to media

  • Remember, you CANNOT switch between landscape and portrait in a Facebook Live!

What type of social media should you be targeting for the one-star approach? Our recommendations:

  • Facebook stories are less formal, more behind-the-scenes, and fun! The story feature is great because you’re capturing those fun, informal little moments that your customers LOVE to see!

  • Instagram: Utilizing videos for the story feature will help keep your business or brand at the top of the screen for those who follow you.

  • Tik Tok: Think of Tik Toks like your Instagram stories: fun, informal, quick. The majority of Tik Toks are taking advantage of what’s trending online. Use your smartphone to shoot some fun, behind-the-scenes video.

Think carefully about posting video on LinkedIn. It’s a professional platform where you should be showing your best work. Think of your Linkedin page as your business or professional resume page and only post well-constructed, well-shot videos. This is NOT the ideal platform to post your social media videos, especially if they're low quality.



Social media video best practices: the 2-star approach


Here is where you’re starting to step up your game a bit and introducing some tools to help you thoughtfully take your content up a notch. This is where you start to get a bit more thoughtful with your approach- it’s not too difficult! There are a number of easy and inexpensive ways to take your video quality from one star up a notch.


Lighting: it's one of those things that when it’s done well, you don’t notice. You (or your speaker) just look like you’ve gotten a great night’s sleep, lost a couple of pounds, and just had a great haircut. Most importantly, the focus is on your MESSAGE, not your appearance. But when the light is bad, no one is listening to a word you say. They’re distracted with the appearance, or if they know a little bit about lighting for video, they’re thinking about all the quick and inexpensive ways you can zazz up your lighting. Either way, no one is thinking about your message. Here are a couple tools we use for lighting:


Sound: invest in an inexpensive smartphone lavalier microphone. This will help you get good, clean sound and cut distracting background noise. Search for "smartphone lavalier microphone" on your favorite online technology store and for less than $40, you will be well on your way to making great social media videos.


This is also the point where you should be looking into tools on your phone to edit the video. Most phones have at least a limited capability of video editing, including trimming the video on either side. Get comfortable with cleaning up the beginning and end of your videos to draw attention to the best parts.



Social media video strategy: the 3-star approach


OK, by now, you've had some solid success with social media videos. You’ve upgraded the lighting and sound and now you’re getting a steady shot using some of your tools and also incorporating other tools to enhance what you’ve already got going on you’re ready for the next level of video quality that can be used almost anywhere!


If you like to move around and cover lots of territory in your social media videos, (maybe you're a realtor who wants to take viewers on a virtual tour of a new listing!) think about investing in a piece of equipment called a gimbal. The gimbal allows you to plug your phone in record and stop recording from the handle AND get this: it keeps your shot steady! Search "gimbal stabilizer for smartphone" and for less than $150 you'll be well on your way to smoother, more stable and sophisticated video content.


Would a GoPro be a good investment to show a great bit of action or a time-lapse? It allows you to capture a different perspective of a scene. We’ve even strapped it to beams in buildings under construction to get great time-lapses that the media love to use!


It’s also time to think about boosting your editing game! Think about it- if you’re starting to incorporate different tools to beef up your social media videos, you cannot edit on the fly using your phone. Now we’re talking getting really familiar with iMovie or a similar editing software to learn how to edit your video before you use it.



How to make the best social media videos: the 4-star approach


Congratulations, you’re ready for a four-star production. This isn’t quite a Hollywood blockbuster, but you’re getting closer. We also don’t expect you to be working on a big budget production, but you’re moving the stairs to make your business or brand look good.


Here is where you are rolling out the red carpet of equipment and tools. You’re shooting with a professional camera and tripod. You’re using hard wired or wireless lavalier microphones where you can adjust audio. You’re using a professional lighting kit.


If you’re making a video and reading the narration yourself, that’s where a professional microphone comes in handy- and they actually aren’t too expensive! They can be used for any number of things including laying audio tracks for videos or podcasts!


At this point, think carefully about whether investing the time and money in the kind of equipment you need to make really good social media video is worth the investment. If you love doing it, and have the time, or find that it brings in more business, it may very well be worth it. If it's something outside of your comfort zone or you just can't get to it on a regular basis, think about contracting the work to professionals who can make quick, effective, and engaging work of the production.


If you'd like more details on how we use video to create powerfully engaging social media strategies, take a look at this week’s Move the Stairs episode!





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