9 things to consider when making video content for social media
Updated: Nov 4, 2019
Everyone tells you content is king, and that you need to be making it consistently in order to grow your fan base and keep them engaged right? Well that's true. But before you dive in head first, consider these 9 things that may save you some hassle (and money).
1. What is the purpose of your video?
To get people to hear your music, duh. Right, but depending on where you're planning to promote it impacts how people will engage with it. For example, big production, story driven music videos can do really well on Youtube, but they're not great on Facebook and Instagram. Think about who you're trying to reach with your video and where you're trying to reach them.
2. What type of video will it be?
As stated above, this will depend on the platform you're using to post it. If your main strategy is promoting through Facebook or Instagram I highly recommend making a performance type video over a story driven one. The reason being people are busy scrolling and don't have the patience to get invested in something that slowly unfolds before them. They need immediate action to stop their scrolling and pay attention. An impressive vocal or instrument performance can do exactly that. Whatever type you choose, make sure it's interesting or exciting, and get to the point quickly - people don't have the patience to sit through long opening sequences or credits if they've never heard of you before.
3. What's your budget and does it make sense to invest much money in this?
Big, beautiful, high production value videos are sexy, and everyone wants to see themselves all glossy, but they're also super expensive. If you're an indie artist self-funding everything you need to be thinking about your return on investment. Will this video actually make you money back at some point, or is it just a very expensive promotional tool? Could you accomplish the same or better with a more cost effective video type?
4. Are you going to film it yourself or hire someone?
This will depend on your budget and goals. If cost is no issue, then by all means hire a professional videographer for your shoot. But if you're like the rest of us, money is tight and needs to be spent wisely. The good news is that single-shot live performance videos with no fancy editing out perform bigger budget, story-driven videos almost every time in terms of views and engagement. It's counter-intuitive but there's no need to go all out on a huge budget deal, in fact it may end up not working as well as if you made something cheaper. For the purposes of this post I'm going to assume you're planning to shoot a live performance video yourself going forward.
5. What camera will you use to shoot your video?
This depends on you and your abilities. If you have a killer voice, your iPhone camera may be all you need. People love seeing natural, raw talent. Couple that with an amazing song or interesting twist on a popular cover tune and you could rack up the views quickly. If your skill is less technical and more focused on the songwriting or composition, then you may want to consider doing something will excite people visually first as they get sucked in by your songs. In that (or any) case, you could think about buying an affordable camera if this is something you're going to be doing regularly. Here are a few recommended low budget cameras ($500-$1000):
- Sony A6300 ($850) - Sony A6400 ($1000) - Sony A7 ($1000) - Canon M50 ($600) - Canon EOS T7i ($740) - Fujifilm X-T20 ($1000) - Panasonic Lumix G7 ($500) - Panasonic Lumix G85 ($700) - Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera ($1000)
Another option: if you're in a major city or university town there may be a community audio/visual organization that will loan or cheaply rent camera equipment to you. In Montreal where I live, CUTV (affiliated with Concordia University) has an extensive list of cameras, lenses, tripods, etc, and even an editing lab, green screen studio and workshops on how to use the gear and software available to you for only a $20 annual membership fee. Check to see if your city has something like this.
6. Do you have proper lighting?
Whether you're using an iPhone or an expensive camera, lighting can make the difference between a low quality video and one that looks great. If you're just starting out and have no proper lights, a big window on a sunny day is your best friend. Experiment with different angles and see what looks best using that natural light. If you're looking to invest in something a little more versatile but still super budget friendly I recommend this softbox light duo from Amazon. They're under $100 and have been working great for me.
7. How will you record your audio?
This one is important. We want the video to look as good as possible of course, but at the end of the day you're promoting your music. It needs to sound great! If you have a home studio set up you're good to go. If not, you may want to consider building one. A basic audio interface like the Focusrite Scarlett Solo and an affordable condenser mic like the Rode NT-1a will do the trick. Don't forget you also need a good sounding room. Acoustic treatment is very important when recording audio, so make sure you buy or build some sound absorbent panels and place them strategically around your room.
One important thing to consider: recording and mixing great sounding audio takes time. If you are completely new to it you may want to consider hiring a professional to record the audio for your video so that it sounds great right from the start while you develop your skills in that area.
Another option: you could do a lip sync video to your studio recording. These can perform well too, but if you're going this route make sure your sync looks convincing! People can spot a bad dub a mile away and won't hesitate to flame you for it online. I've seen it happen, it's not pretty.
8. How will you edit your video?
There's loads of free, easy to use video editing software out there, and while lots of it is pretty janky, you don't need Adobe Suite at the beginning. I use Open Shot and it does the trick for basic, one shot or split-screen performance videos. Anything more complex and you may want to upgrade your software, and your editing skills to match.
9. Are you going run ads to your video?
Running Facebooks ads can be the best and most cost effective way of building a fan base.But you have to know what you're doing and have a strategy before you start or it will get expensive very quickly and not amount to much. That's a whole other topic in itself, so I'll write another post about it soon. For now, just keep this in mind as an option for the future.
Above all else, work with what you have. Making some content is better than making no content, so use the tools at your disposal until you have the funds and skills to make something nicer.
Hope that helps. Happy creating!
Not sure how to get your artist career off the ground? Start by downloading your free copy of "Launch Your Music Career: 21 essential actions for the modern artist" and booking your free consultation call with Jordan now.