How to Produce Video Content That People Want to Watch

Stats say video stokes engagement. But how do you make the most of it on each social media channel?

According to Vidyard, manufacturing companies have each produced 131 videos on average, making video content crucial for industrial marketers. If your company has been talking about producing more videos for your website and social media, this post is going to steer you in the right direction.

According to Cisco, by the end of 2019, 80% of content consumed on the Internet will be video. The increased demand for video content — coupled with the higher barriers to creating it when compared to blogs — presents a wonderful opportunity for your company to get in front of your customers.

Additionally, the production quality that can be achieved with consumer video cameras and today’s smartphones is amazing. With a minimal amount of skill, the right lighting, and some minor editing, you can achieve video quality that just a few years ago would have required a professional studio.

I’m going to share some best practices to use when producing and editing video for different social media channels. I’m also going to share some tips to help you maximize your viewer retention and get the most out of your video content on social media.

There Is No “One-size-fits-all” With Video Content

People visit different social media sites for very different reasons.

When they encounter your video, the circumstances are going to vary quite a bit depending on the website that they are on and the format your video has taken in order to respond to that.

There are so many channels available for sharing video, from Facebook, to YouTube, to Instagram, to TikTok, and your video format will need to be tailored to the platform where it will be viewed.

Video on Facebook

Get to the Point Quickly

Facebook video content is usually “discovered,” not “sought after.”

This means that while someone may go to YouTube and type in “how to replace a windshield on a Toyota Camry,” Facebook video is usually stumbled upon as people are scrolling through the video feed or their newsfeed on a cell phone.

Video on Facebook has split seconds to get viewers engaged. Facebook videos have an average view time of only 10 seconds, barely enough to even finish the intro that is played before many YouTube videos.

If you intend to produce video content for Facebook, it must grab the viewer in 1–3 seconds. Unlike other channels such as YouTube, where users are accustomed to longer videos, you must get straight to the point with your Facebook videos. No long graphic intros, no rambling introductions, just get straight to the point and hook them.

Once you’ve captured their attention, you still need to keep it concise. In the first months of 2019, the average duration of the top 10 most-engaged videos on Facebook fell to 71 seconds from 147 in 2018.

Edit for Small Screens

Additionally, you must consider the small size of the smartphone screen that a typical Facebook visitor will use to view your content.

It is quite unlikely that anyone on Facebook is going to be watching your video on a large screen. Rather, they’ll likely use a smartphone with a screen that is only five or six inches tall. This means that any text content has to be quite large in order to be legible on a cellphone .


People Visit YouTube With a Purpose in Mind

Visitors usually go to YouTube to seek out content about a specific topic. In the case of your company, this means that the viewer may be in the consideration phase of your buyer’s journey, looking into reviews and details about the product your company offers. They are likely to be more patient than a Facebook user and you’ll have a little bit more time to establish a proper introduction and context with your video.

You Do Have a Bit More Time on YouTube, but Get to the Point Quickly

While YouTube does allow for longer intros, it is important to get to the point as soon as you can. I’m certain that you’ve experienced the frustration of clicking on a video only to have the person on the screen ramble on for 45 seconds before getting into what you’re actually interested in learning about. If you take too long to get to the meat of your content, people will leave and your engagement metrics will go down, which can result in less reach for your channel.

Long-form Video Does Occasionally Work on YouTube

YouTube is the only social media platform that really lends itself to long-form video content. To start, the YouTube algorithm is designed to suggest videos that are likely to keep visitors on the site as long as possible.

If you manage to produce an hour-and-a-half video that keeps people watching, you can consider that a home run for that video and your entire channel.

The other great thing about long-form video content is that it can allow you to really dive deeply into complex topics. If you are in manufacturing, science, or engineering, YouTube can afford you the time you need to really demonstrate your expertise and explore your topic, unlike any other social media channel.


Instagram has been the fastest growing social media channel over the last five years and video content is powering the growth of many company-owned accounts on this platform.

An example of this is Bloomberg, which has used Instagram video to break away from its competition on the platform by closely tracking the engagement its videos receive and producing similarly formatted content in response.

Many of the formatting tips that we shared for Facebook apply to Instagram as well:

  • Edit for small screens; your content will be viewed almost exclusively on smartphones
  • Keep it short; Instagram videos have a maximum length of 60 seconds


Mostly Teenagers . . . for Now

TikTok is a rather new social media channel that is most popular with very young Internet users. It’s designed for videos under a minute and supports adding text and music easily.

TikTok has not achieved widespread adoption in older demographics, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. In 2005, there was almost no one outside of the 18–22 age bracket on Facebook; today it has over 1 billion users, most of which are middle-aged. In 2011, Instagram had a small, passionate base of users almost entirely under the age of 30. Look where it is today.

A company that is able to establish a strong foothold on a growing social media platform will have a first-mover’s advantage when everyone else comes on board.

There Are Industrial TikToks

There are industrial TikToks that have gained popularity, such as this channel where they show fencing being manufactured (which is surprisingly satisfying to watch).

While this channel doesn’t seem to have peaked, the potential for future exposure could be a golden chance for branding, website traffic, and, ultimately, improving search engine rankings.

Production Value Is a Branding Decision

The cost and skill needed to produce slick video content has decreased dramatically in the last few years, but it’s not always absolutely necessary to shoot Super Bowl–quality video. Whether you decide to produce slick video content or whether you decide to just go with handheld cell-phone video is largely a branding decision.

If you’re trying to go for a brand that says “cutting-edge company,” cell phone video is not likely to help you accomplish that. If you are trying to communicate authenticity and establish trust, videos with less polish and “lower production value” may better serve you, decreasing the likelihood of your content being ignored as an ad.

An Example of Unpolished Smartphone Video Generating Millions in Revenue

Less polished video can often resonate with people in ways that professionally shot video can’t.

An example of this would be Tai Lopez’s arguably obnoxious, but massively effective “Here In My Garage” ad.

This video promoted a $67 course. The landing page for the course claims that over 200k people have purchased the course which, if true, means that it may have generated $10 million dollars in sales.

If you’re interested in learning more about how this post became so massively successful and lessons you can learn to do the same for your “authentic” cellphone video, visit here.

There Is No Silver Bullet With Video Marketing

If there’s one important takeaway from this exploration, it’s that there is no silver bullet when it comes to video content on social media.

The important thing is to understand the formats that work on each channel and to produce your video appropriately for each one. Different formats work on different social networks and your goal doesn’t always have to be to make broadcast-quality video (though in some cases, it may be advisable). Whatever you do, don’t try to use the same exact video on every social media channel!


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