Social Media: how to best reach users in under two minutes!

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight – have we still got you hooked? 😀 Good … because in a digital world where social media is king, eight seconds is all you have to grab a viewer’s attention. But, once you’ve got their attention, the real challenge is being able to hold it, especially if you’re using videos as a type of social reach.

And since viewers watch over one billion hours of YouTube videos a day, they can move on to the next video as easily as swiping left. So, your next move should be to follow the golden rule of social media videos. Keep it short. 

By now you’re probably wondering, how short is short? Well, a HubSpot study found that the ideal video length is between one to two minutes long. One hundred and twenty seconds? That sounds doable, but where do you start? Well, today, we’ll guide you across the landscape of social media to pick up a few must-have party tricks for short videos.  

Everything starts with a plan and a story

Social Media: image of young boy watching short videos
Image: Envato

The average person watches online videos for a hundred minutes each day. Which means the demand for new content is always on the rise. So, storyboarding and strategic planning are vital steps in translating content to views. Creating a storyboard is also helpful because it gives you an idea of exactly how a shot would look, eliminating the need to record multiple takes.

Planning your videos in advance can give you a useful time frame to follow. And since haste makes waste, knowing if the video will take a day, a week, or a month to create helps you manage your schedule and meet your deadline. 

So, now that you have a plan, what comes next?

Consider your message 

All videos have a message or key point of focus. Take the time to consider if your message is specific and consistent throughout your video. After all, viewers are more likely to watch the video to the end if they can follow the message right from the get-go. 

Video pop-ups are also a great way to build anticipation. If you want to build up to a specific moment, consider using text or voice over prompts that say ‘watch on to see’ or ‘things are about to get real.’ This makes the viewer aware that something significant is about to happen and they’ll be less inclined to hit close.

Know your target market 

Understanding the needs of your target audience is a crucial part of successful social media. After all, the key to achieving great content in a short space of time is knowing who’s on the receiving end of the video.

In fact, Burger King took their Instagram ad video one step further. On American Sign Language Day they created the #WhopperSign. Aimed at ASL users the ad featured the usually silent plastic king openly communicating in ASL. Making this video a great example of knowing and catering to the target market.  

Keep it simple 


That’s it?

Sounds like it might be a little too simple. Well, not necessarily. 

Viewers are more likely to pay attention to videos that are shorter in length because they get straight to the point. Here are a few steps you can follow to create simple yet meaningful social media videos.

1. One vs. many 

Multiple messages in a video can confuse the viewer and swallow up the point. So having one main message promotes a clear CTA that the viewer can react to.

The Starbucks Morning Yes advert is a good example of this. By connecting the viewer’s morning to Starbucks, the brand channels conviction from the product to the viewer. Giving the viewer something direct to act on. 

2. Big vs. little 

When you’ve only got a few minutes to impress, it’s really tempting to try to get your message across guns blazing. But viewers don’t want to choke on branding. In fact, the Skittles touch the rainbow video is one example of overbranding. In the video, a man named Tim turns everything he touches into Skittles, including people. And, though the brand is clear and the timing is less than a minute, there is no value impressed upon the viewer. It’s unclear whether the viewer should want skittles or not because it might isolate them from others. So emphasizing simple authentic values in a video can increase brand awareness and lead to sales. In a nutshell, don’t sell your audience; try to engage them.

3. Similar vs. contrast

The human brain functions on contrasts to make decisions. So using video structure like before and after allows you to demonstrate aspects of your brand/product that could arouse curiosity in the viewer. Like O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream video. Using before and after images and reviews, the video creates a solid connection from the product to the viewer. All achieved in under a minute.   

4. Voices vs. music  

The human voice has the power to translate thoughts and feelings into action. But it’s not to say that music has no power. Rather a professional voice actor uses their voice to guide the communication of your message closer to the viewer.

A fitting example of this is how the voice actor in the Alibaba 2018 Winter Olympics ad was able to bring the true story of Kenya’s first ice hockey team to life. The underlying determination in the voice over helps the audience really feel the incredible odds the team was up against. And, at the end of the day, viewers were able to see and hear about how the rules of what can and can’t be done can be defied. 

Inspire viewers through emotion 

Social Media: Image of a man being consoled by a woman.
Image: Envato

Think of the last video you watched and how it made you feel. Were you prompted to act? Videos can stimulate emotions like shock, curiosity, and even empathy. This is what draws in the viewer, capturing and holding their attention.

In fact, videos that evoke emotions in viewers are twice as likely to be shared online. Think of the Coca-Cola Brotherly Love ad. In just a minute that video invoked the feeling of nostalgia in countless people around the world. Why? By infusing real aspects of the relationship between two siblings, the video became more relatable to viewers by connecting the brand Coca-Cola to family. 

How can you reach your viewers with social media videos? 

1. Keep it short 

It’s often reported that the attention span of a person has fallen to one second below the nine-second attention span of a goldfish. So keeping your videos under two minutes offers viewers more meaningful content in a fraction of the time. 

And if you need a little guidance on video length go through our helpful suggestions on how to shorten lengthy videos

2. Keep it simple 

Without sounding to cliche, what you really need to keep in mind is the idea of less is more. Your video can be more appealing to viewers if the entire video has as much clarity as the first eight seconds. So, the motto of videos should be, when in doubt, leave it out.

3. Keep it straight to the point 

As popular as digging for gold was in 1848, digging for hidden meanings is not something viewers want to do with videos. It’s also the easiest way for viewers to lose interest. Fast. That’s why keeping your video message direct helps viewers know exactly what you expect from them. 

Final thoughts 

Social media is an industry that’s in constant motion. This means shorter and more direct content is needed to hold the attention of viewers. By adapting the length of your social media videos you ensure that more viewers are watching your content from A-Z.

You can do that by keeping your video content short, simple, and straight to the point. 

So, we wish you all the best as your videos continue to circulate on social media. Voice123 also has a host of professional voice actors to help narrate your video content before you click upload. And as always, may the odds be ever in your favor.


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