Two days. One city. One conference. Three members of the UMSocial team and a lot of digital media pointers.


A presenter opens his talk by telling us about his two young daughters learning shapes. He shows us a video of them going through cards with shapes on them, excitedly guessing each one correctly. They get to the triangle: both take a long, puzzled pause and then shout “PLAY”!


And the takeaway is: the play button is the most compelling action on the web.


Working in social, we already knew that video is the content that generates the most engagement. But learning that from looking at metrics is different than seeing the raw effect it has on real children in real life. That experience served as a wake-up call for us to really explore how to use video in social media for the generations to come.

Here are are six more things we learned about using video in social content from the Detroit Digital Media Summit:  


  1. Be consistent. Video has its own niche in each major social platform and it’s up to the creator to identify these specialities and create visually engaging content around them. No matter what platform you are using to reach your audience, reinforce your brand. This is done by consistency through imagery, text, logos, music, color, and mood.
  2. “Authenticity is more important than hilarity.” While keeping up with the trends is necessary to engage with your audience, it is important to take your brand’s voice into consideration. Use humor when appropriate, but stay true to your brand.
  3. Don’t forget the little things. Size, format, and resolution specs  change from platform to platform, and are vitally important in order to ensure that your video is displaying properly. When it comes to Facebook, always go square. Square content takes up 78 percent more space in your followers’ feeds and will stand out better among all the rest of it. Keep in mind that 85 percent of videos are watched without sound, so edit with a silent viewership in mind.
  4. Start off with what works. The  average video is only in front of users’ eyes for 5 seconds or less. So  save the best for first. Open with the most cinematic, humorous, engaging shots in your bag to draw viewers in.
  5. Be empathetic to make your messaging resonate with your audience(s). Get to know them on a personal level and engage with them so you know how to appeal to their emotions and offer content they will appreciate.
  6. Be brilliant. Make creativity a priority. There are millions of videos out there:  make yours different. Make yours special.


When you are able to make your video content something that people watch, learn from, and constantly think about, you’ll have a better chance of engaging users—including those next-generation kids who know that the triangle means “play.”


As always,

Be social. Stay social. #UMSocial

Post written by McKenna Whipple, Troy Cini, and Ashley Preston.