5 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Videos

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

5 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Videos

To say video is popular in social media is an understatement. According to Hubspot, 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week, and over two-thirds of video is viewed on mobile worldwide according to eMarketer. With more people noticing and paying attention to video, your social media marketing strategy would be incomplete without video production in the mix.

While the big brands may spend tens of thousands of dollars on video production, a small business video strategy doesn’t have to break the bank. Producing videos on smartphones is an acceptable – and even recommended – way to go when it comes to producing quickly and affordably. But even making videos with you smartphone on the fly requires some planning and considerations.

Here are few tips to improving how your smartphone-generated videos look on your social media accounts.

1. Choose Between Vertical or Horizontal

You may have a tendency to hold your smartphone vertically when filming, but keep in mind where you’re publishing the video and how most people will view it. Vertical videos (portrait) usually work well in social media when viewed on mobile devices, however, if someone were viewing the video on the web or an Internet-enabled TV, vertical videos look amateurish with the black borders on either side and horizontal (landscape) videos fit the larger screen. With the statistics of people watching videos on mobile devices on the rise, viewing your videos will be more seamless if you film your verticals vertically. Filming them horizontally gives you more editing flexibility if you’re using your videos in multiple ways.

2. Use a Monopod or Tripod

While most smartphones have an “anti-shake” feature to try to equalize the phone movement so the resulting video looks steadier, invest in accessories to ensure that you produce steady videos. A mono pod is more commonly called a “selfie-stick” these days. The selfie stick is a lighter version of a professional monopod and tends to be cheaper and ready-made with a clamp to hold your smartphone. While professional tripods don’t come with smartphone clamps, smartphone tripods do and tend to be not only lightweight, but in some cases, flexible so you can wrap the legs around objects such as a fence or a chair. You can also purchase a smartphone tripod adapter and use it with standard monopods and tripods.

3. Get a Better Smartphone

A quality smartphone isn’t always great for taking photos or videos. While you might think getting a smartphone with a camera with higher “megapixels” means a better camera, it is more complex than that. A good quality smartphone camera has a combination of standard to higher megapixels (12 megapixels or above) with a larger image sensor although a phone with fewer megapixels but a larger image sensor can produce images that look better than a 12+ megapixel phone with a smaller sensor. While smartphone manufacturers reveal megapixel numbers, they don’t divulge sensor sizes so test and do a comparison while shopping for the ideal phone and get recommendations from sales clerks who know that more megapixels does not mean higher quality images.

4. Get Closer If You Can

The tendency when filming is to capture from a distance then zooming into the subject. Because of the limitations of smartphone microphones, moving in toward your subject – if and when it is safe to do so – will result in better sound and often a better image. If you’re interviewing someone, don’t be afraid to move in closer to capture their voice clearly, particularly if there is background noise. In the case of capturing movement, close-ups aren’t viable and tend to look blurry or you missing the action. Filming at a distance can be better for fast-moving action, particularly where environmental sound is important or interesting such as filming a race.

5. Keep Your Lenses Clean

Chances are your smartphone is covered with fingerprints from handling it multiple times a day, and you may have just put a smudge on your phone’s camera lenses. Make sure you have lens-cleaning solution and a lens-cleaning cloth handy and keep your lenses clean when you know you’re going to be filming. Periodically clean the lenses on your smartphone even if you’re not planning to film as you never know when a moment presents itself with perfect video content. The last thing you want is a blurry image because of a dirty lens.

Gone are the days of needing separate cameras to produce video for social media. Your smartphone can do the trick. With a little planning and minimal investment, you can easily improve the videos you produce on the fly from your phone and have more usable footage to leverage later.