How To Create Successful Online, Social Media Videos




Plan, develop and script like an expert, this step-by-step outline shows you how to develop videos in no time.

Welcome to part two of my video series. In part one, we discussed why video is becoming more important in retail. In this piece, I will teach you how to develop your video outlines so that they have a much greater chance of success once you release them.

Creating standout video isn’t rocket science, in fact the formula is pretty simple –– people often over complicate it by doing too much at once. Great videos are comprised of emotional appeal, they are relevant to the people watching them, have a great storyline, provide information the audience is seeking, they ask the audience to take an action and have a production value that fits the channel they are being used on.

Establish The Purpose of Your Videos

Now that you are considering using video as part of your marketing strategy, you have to lay some groundwork before you head into production. This will help save time, money and get you to where you want to be, faster. To start, you want to establish the purpose of each video you are creating. Ask yourself:

  • Is this video designed to bring more traffic to my website?
  • Is it to showcase our product features?
  • Is it to show customers how to use or style our products?
  • Is it to generate new customer sales?
  • Is it to start building relationships with future customers?
  • Is it for social media engagement?
  • All the above?

The reason WHY you are making these videos has a direct impact on the type of content you have in them. If you have more than one goal (which is perfectly acceptable), you’ll want to take that into account from the beginning. Having chosen two or three of the goals from the options listed above, you will create one video for each goal. Each video will have a different set of production requirements that goes with it. So it’s critical you plan accordingly!

Decide Types of Video You Want to Make

Once you’ve decided the purpose of the each of your videos, you can then decide what kinds of video you want to make. These could include:

  1. Brand Introductions: A short introduction to people that tells them who your company is, gives a bit of your history, shows what you have to offer, tells them what the line is about and why they should care about your company.
  2. Behind The Scenes: Behind the scenes videos are created to further tell your brand’s story and give people a first hand look at your design and development process. Often these focus on showing how things are made.
  3. Interviews/Q&As: Interview videos have evolved over the years. Today, live chats, Q&As and Meet the Maker/Designer are quite common, depending on the channel or live industry events they are part of.
  4. Product Demo/How-Tos: Product demo, how-to, and educational videos are big. Teaching someone how to wear/style or utilize pieces in a collection helps them understand its use. In general, if they like how it fits into their personal preferences, they are more likely to buy it when they know how to incorporate it.
  5. Social Video: Social videos are where you have the ultimate creativity. From simply things you create with mobile apps, to developing a series from one of your longer pieces, social video on Instagram, SnapChat and anything that is mobile based, allows you experiment with anything and everything fast.

Any of these types of video can be as low or high budget as you like and they don’t have to be elaborate either. Brands actually need a mix of Hi- and Low-Fi content. From a simple Instagram arm party to an animated poetic ballet that took months to make, it’s up to you to decide what is best for your brand. Always remember that you are speaking to someone for a reason, not just making something for the sake of art!

Insider Tip: if you are going into the artistic realm of inide film, keep in mind these projects cost $50,000 to $500,000 or more!

In the rest of this article, we will do our best to address each scenario around each video type, but don’t be afraid to use your imagination to fill in any gaps.

Decide Who You are Talking To and Why

Once you’ve established the purpose and the types of video you are making, you will also want to establish how each video is going to speak to your intended audience. Ask yourself, “who are we talking to?” From there, you’ll need to ask yourself a few more questions such as:

  • What is it I want my audience to do when they watch this type of video?
  • Who is speaking to them?
    • Is it the company founder? A staff member or a brand ambassador?
    • Is this the right person to be speaking to them or should we swap roles?
  • What is the one thing I want to them to do once they’ve seen this piece?
    • Shop? Share? Comment? Like? Or simply watch?

Once you’ve added the answers to your outline you are ready to start developing the video content –– aka –– THE SCRIPT.  And if you are starting to feel a little Hollywood at this point, that’s totally acceptable, it shows you are the right track!

Insider Tip: It’s best to keep your videos short. People do not watch 15-minute videos. Try and get your message done in two minutes or less!

Get Your Script Components Right The First Time

Now that you’ve got a firm foundation on what you are hoping to create, you are ready to build your narrative. No matter your video format, channel or type, there are four components your script will need in order to achieve the results. They play out as follows:

No. 1: Establish An Emotional Connection

The first step in developing a successful video is to establish an emotional connection to your audience. How do you want people to feel when they watch this video? Do you want people to laugh, cry, be curious, hopelessly fixated or extremely happy when they see your content? Why do you want them to feel that way?  

With online video, you have less than three seconds to draw someone in; you have to figure out how to interest them almost immediately. Research shows that consumers watch videos that spark emotions that contribute towards positive ideas of themselves. Ask yourself, “What are the motivators that drive the audiences I am speaking to? What desires can I play to and what problems can I help them solve?”

Insider Tip: If you are not well versed in consumer behavior, here are four ways you can develop an understanding of your customers. You should also look at Harvard’s latest research on the New Science of Customer Emotions, it’s packed full of insight on what makes people shop today.

Establishing an emotional connection can seem daunting, my best advice is to not overthink it. Marketers have built an industry on complexity, it’s your job as the brand to simplify it and make it real for your customer. Just think about it, if you are selling jewelry, what happens to someone who finds the perfect piece while in your store? How do they act? That’s the emotion you are looking to connect your video viewer to!

No. 2: Establish Audience Relevancy

Your second step is going to be establishing the “why” of your video; the “why” is the reason your audience is watching it. In your initial planning, you identified who you were speaking to. Now it’s time to further develop the initial identification by adding in the emotional connection factors you just selected. In this step, you are appealing to the viewer’s needs and providing them with what they are hoping to understand from watching your video. For example:

  • Do they want to understand how to layer bracelets to create the perfect arm party?
  • Do they want to understand how to choose the right earrings for their wedding dress?
  • Do you want to help them understand the difference in diamond cuts and quality?
  • Do you want to show them how to wear certain trends?
  • Do they want to understand your brand and why it’s different from others?
  • Do they want to know how to make something themselves?

The simple question of “why” helps you address their needs, desires, or goals in achieving something. Give them what they want in a easy to use, short format.

No 3: What’s Your Story?

Your third step has to do with your video’s narrative, also known as it’s storyline. While it may seem like the story should come first, it’s actually a step that happens after you’ve done everything we’ve talked about up unto this point. Your storyline serves as the emotional bridge between your viewers and the message you want them to take away.

Your story should capture your audience’s attention, tell them what you want them to do and show them how to do it. Depending on what you are asking, you may find that you don’t need a full narration to tell a story;  often a few text callouts and great music allow you to demonstrate how something can be achieved. In other cases, you may find that you can give concise instructions that give your viewer the information quickly. If you need assistance, Hubspot created a free video script outline that you can use.

No. 4: Ask Your Audience For One Action

With the first three components in place, your last step is to ask your viewers to take the action you are seeking. After you’ve spent all this time, energy and money on video, not asking the person watching to take an action would be a waste. Remember, when asking your viewer to do something, you should only ask them to do one thing, not two, or three. And for the one thing you want them to do, make it easy to do.

For example, if you want someone to subscribe to your channel, ask them to subscribe. If you want someone to share or comment, ask them to share or comment. If you want to them to buy, give them multiple opportunities to buy through links in descriptions or bio annotations that lead to external product page links to purchase. You will have many future opportunities to ask your audience to do other things, so focus on one thing at a time. You will see much higher returns over the life of your efforts.

Don’t Forget to Focus on Production Quality Throughout the Process

While not a part of the formal formula, treat all stages of video production as an important part of the overall process. Quality production generates far better results in the short and long run so it’s worth taking time to implement quality controls.  

Pro Tip: Spend extra time on audio and lighting, they are two things that will help drive enagement and views.

Launch The Finished Product

Once you’ve finished your videos and signed off on the final product, it’s now time to launch them. Make sure you adhere the best practices of the channel you are launching them on. You’ill want to add google titles, descriptions, links tags, hashtags and whatever other metadata is available. After the video has been uploaded, share it on your social channels, to your email list, add it to your website and make it part of your marketing strategy in any way that fits. Good luck and see you behind the camera!

Other Video Resources

To continue your understanding of video and to better understand some of the information found in this article, I highly recommend:

  1. Blog: 5 Key Elements of Video-Marketing Success: What Brands Do Right – Adobe
  2. Study: Mobile And Video Are Key Drivers Of Apparel Purchases – MarketingLand
  3. Infographic: 31 Video Marketing Statistics To Inform Your Marketing Strategy – Hubspot
  4. Blog: Can Product Videos Increase Conversion Rates? – Kissmetrics
  5. Video: 10 Practical Video Edits – Wistia
  6. Blog: How To Use YouTube For E-Commerce – SweetTooth
  7. Blog: 7 Ways YouTube Can Improve Your Sales – Shopify