Three reasons I hate using Instagram for video and three reason I’ve come to love it

Let’s be honest, you have a lot of apps on your phone you never really use. Instagram was, until recently, one of those. It was there but largely ignored. I posted the occasional photo and at least three people liked it. Three people! Very occasionally up to ten people liked a photo and they were definitely not family. I definitely never posted video to Instagram.

All that has changed.

To explain, here are three reasons why I don’t like it and three reasons why I have come to love it.

Three reasons why I didn’t like Instagram for video.

1. Square format. Which is great for photos but as a video format I, and many other video professionals, hate it. Every time we see a video shot in portrait mode a little something dies within any self respecting video pro. You can of course get round this and shrink your wonderful widescreen video to fit but then it is so small you can hardly see it.

2. You can only post from your phone. Instagram has resisted the calls to allow people to post to it from programmes such a Hootsuite and Buffer. The only way to post is via your phone. Which means anything created outside of your phone has to be transferred and then downloaded. Not exactly the end of the world but it adds a few more steps to the creative process.

3. Video is only a minute long. Not so long ago it was only fifteen seconds so a minute is great improvement. So anything over that and it requires re-editing to post to the app.

Three reasons you should use Instagram for video.

1.  Hashtags. These have been a feature of social media for ages. Some research indicates that posts with appropriate hashtags do better than those without. Hashtags give you visibility and utilising the popular hashtags gives you an opportunity to feature in Instagram’s ‘top posts’ feature.  From my own experience I have been able to target different audiences using different content simply by using specific hashtags. I have been able to get video views and likes well beyond my, admittedly, quite small bunch of followers.

2. Promotion. Instagram for business allows you to promote your content through the app and through Facebook. So for a small financial outlay you can boost your content and gain more viewers and likes. As your views increase through paid promotion so will your organic views. Views bring more views. Faced with a choice between a video with 100 views and one with 1,000 which one are you going to choose? Which one will you see as more popular and thus worth watching? 

 

This is a video I shot for my Five Thoughts For Thursday Blog. Using the appropriate hashtags, promotion through my own social media channels and some paid promotion through Instagram and Facebook (totally $14!) the video was viewed by almost 9,000 people. It also saw a 30% increase in my followers.

3. Creative problem solving. Back to the limitations of Instagram, the square format and the one minute restriction. If Instagram is going to be a part of your digital mix then you need to bear this in mind in production process. Factor it in to your pre and post production work. It’s much easier to create content to fit the platform if you have thought about it in advance. See the one minute limitation as a creative opportunity. I can even live with the square format, just.

Explore Instagram. Use it for videos. I think you will be surprised.

You can follow me on Instagram for videos and photos, making_video_work

Gordon O’Neill

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Five things to consider before putting your video on social media

Choose Wisely or it may cost you

Once upon a time there were only two platforms for video. VHS tape and DVD. Very quickly, it was just DVD. Then along came online video, for years dominated by YouTube. Now there are a host of different platforms where you can not only host your video but share and promote your video.

 

Which is great, right? Well yes it is, but it does mean you need to give a bit more thought to any video production you create or commission.

 

Here are my top five tips for effective video production.

 

1. What do you want to say? It seems rather obvious but it i is a really important question. Simply getting the video made is not the goal. Content is king. Video is it’s own medium. It is not simply a moving picture version of your other communication collateral.

 

2. Think about how you want to say it? Video is a visual medium, the way you say something fundamentally has to be visual first, reinforced with words, graphics and music.
3. Understand your platform. Different platforms serve video to their users in subtle but different ways. The optimal time for a Facebook video is 81 seconds. For YouTube it is 870 seconds. Instagram is currently a minute. There are also technical considerations to keep in mind. The majority of Facebook videos are watched with no sound, Instagram is a square format as opposed to widescreen. Snapchat is a vertical medium. Not all video is equal.

 

4. Choose your platform(s). In the past, videos were made and plastered wherever you could! No longer. Each platform may well serve a different purpose for you. Don’t think one solution will work everywhere. It won’t. As the entombed knight says in Indiana Jones and the last crusade “Choose Wisely”.

 

5. Shoot appropriately. If you are going to place your videos on a number of different platforms it is really important to bear this in mind when you come to shoot. There is an old film production saying “shoot for the edit’. Make sure you capture the right kind and right number of shots that you know will work across the platforms. It will save time, energy and money in the long run. Blindly shooting and then trying to shoehorn footage to fit different platforms is a thankless and costly task.

 

If you want to chat about any aspects of video production then please do get in touch. Happy to talk on the phone, Skype or FaceTime or visit you and talk about how we can make video work for you.

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Viral or Niche, where is your audience?

Once again my eyes have been assaulted by claims that this, that and the other has become a viral hit on the internet.

On closer investigation I discovered they didn’t really go viral. At best they were shared a good number of times but not really viral. Viral suggests reaching an audience way beyond your intended one. Let’s face it having millions of people viewing your video, post or photograph must be brilliant but in reality what does it achieve?  A million YouTube views. All that means is one million people clicked play. They may have clicked off after 3 seconds, got distracted and just not paid any real attention to the content anyway.

I am not saying numbers are unimportant but that they might not be as important as we think they are.

Maybe we need to examine them a bit more. If you make a video of a friends birthday party and post it to FB and everyone of your 600 friends on the platform viewed it, then you can say your video was a success.  It reached everyone of your intended audience. Beyond your Facebook friends your video has no audience.Maybe we need to re-examine what we deem success in the social media world. Huge audiences does not necessarily imply huge engagement.We need to define our audience better and assess the success of the video or campaign, not by how many random people have watched it, but by the engagement it generated with our intended audience. At a recent Charity Comms event Joe Hall, online campaigns and communications manager, The Climate Coalition/ founder, Woo Hoo Yeah Yeah! shared this slide.

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It shows an event was trending, surely a success, but the sharing was only amongst activists. As the next slide showed everyone else was unaware.

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Numbers only tell a part of the story. It seems to me having plenty of committed activists engaged with your message is much better than a large mildly interested one.

How you define your audience is up to you but define it and reach it you must. Viral isn’t everything engagement on the other hand.

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Five Thoughts For Thursday – the one about promotion

5Thoughts on Thursday Logo

Five things that occurred to me as waded through the internet this week.

 

  1. It’s OK to blow your own trumpet. Why would you want to blow someone else’s anyway’?  It’s probably not that hygienic. Remember though not everyone is a trumpet person, some are violin people others are piccolo people. Make sure your message is suited to your audience.
  2. Big yourself up by all means but visiting a couple of places does not a tour make. “By popular demand” does imply a demand beyond you, your friends and your dog.
  3. You are most certainly a unique person but it’s unlikely that your business or your offering is. Don’t claim to be the only one and only, leave that to Chesney Hawkes.
  4. Don’t make a claim to be a leading something or other unless you can back it up with hard evidence. Make sure you are the leading expert in your own house before claiming it for your street, town or world.
  5. Don’t promise what you have no idea how to deliver.  Stretch yourself by all means. Remember, what you don’t know you can learn.  What you can’t do someone else can and collaboration is a strength not a weakness.

Happy Thursday!

#FTFT

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Does anyway comment on blog posts anymore?

does anyone comment on blogs anymore

Seriously asking for a friend…discuss.

photo credit: WebRTC conversations via photopin (license)

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Five reasons I may unfollow you on twitter

twitter
  1. You insist on telling me your twitter stats, daily, weekly and monthly (I don’t care)
  2. You are still using paper.li
  3. You post links to websites I cannot read.
  4. You never engage with anyone. Not even a RT or a like for anyone or anything.
  5. All you do is RT stuff.
If you ever find me doing these things then feel free to unfollow me immediately but don’t tell anyone it’ll be our secret.

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Ten signs you know you’re a freelancer…

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  1. You choose Costa (other coffee shops are available) to work rather than your own office.
  2. You have developed a tolerance for Christmas music in November.
  3. You can shut out the world and his/her dog, well maybe not the dog but certainly many children, in order to  work.
  4. You can make a medium Americano last for more than an hour.
  5. You have developed a liking for stone cold Americano.
  6. You have a Macbook pro.
  7. You have amazing bladder control so you don’t have to pack up all your expensive tech in order to go to the loo. (loo breaks are for arrival and departure)*
  8. You can complain/rave about the free wifi.
  9. You are glad you bought that WiFi dongle.
  10. You spend more time writing tweets, watching cat videos or writing blogs rather than the work you should be doing.
Yep, that’s me..currently sitting in Costa.
*I realise bladder control or the lack of it may be an age or gender problem.

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Amusing ourselves to death

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Some years ago I had a sabbatical and my topic was “Communication in a Post Modern World”.  Now I do not intend to share my findings or lack of them. However I have revisited a book that had a profound influence on me at the time.

Neil Postman’s book, “Amusing ourselves to death” was an analysis on television’s effect on culture. Published in 1985 it was pre internet, email, Facebook, Twitter etc yet re-reading it has given me some food for thought.

We spend a lot of time on social networks and there are many who now claim it as an art, a skill, and by the looks of things a marketable skill, BUT, there is has to be a but, maybe all this time and effort we are putting into social networking is really just amusing ourselves to death.

In investing time and energy into social networking are we deceiving ourselves into believing we are being productive and all this effort is worthwhile. Maybe in a years time social networking will be so last year and there will be another genre of mass communication to amuse us.

Every now and again I re-arrange my office, re-order the way I work. Why? Because it is something that I can do.

There is an end product. It makes feel I am achieving something.

In reality I am rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

There truly are better ways to feel and be productive and maybe the 100 “tweets” I posted will make me feel productive but maybe I would have been better doing some real work!

“When a population become distracted by trivia, when a cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainment, when a serious public conversation becomes a form of baby talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; cultural death is a real possibility.” Neil Postman

[“Amusing ourselves to death” by Neil Postman is still available on Amazon as are several other of his books and what looks like an updated version of this classic. http://www.amazon.co.uk

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