Sometimes the hardest part of starting a social media plan is just getting started. That’s why we asked vegan chef, social media expert, and the blogger behind Sweet Potato Soul, Jenné Claiborne, to break down how she plans out social video strategy and to give tips for succeeding on multiple platforms. Check out the chat with our Chief Video Officer, Jason Hsiao, in the video below, and then read on for a few highlights:

Jenné’s tips for general social video success

Have a customer in mind

When you sit down to make a video, Jenné recommends that you envision your ideal customer. “You’ve got be really, really, really specific.” Then, she suggests you ask yourself, “how can I make a video that that one person is gonna love?” By picturing a specific person, you can stop yourself from thinking abstractly and hone in a messages that will appeal to the exact audience you want.

Don’t expect to be perfect

Creating videos is a learning process, and the best way to learn is to just do it. As Jenné pointed out, “If you put something out there that you don’t love, you can always take it down later once you put the next one out there which is better. But challenge yourself to actually show up and put stuff out, even if it’s not your best.” She added, “You keep trying, putting yourself out there, and improving—that’s what matters. Eventually the audience will show up, and success will come from that.”

Make a plan and stick to it

“If you’re just getting started with all this stuff, make a clear plan for yourself.” Jenné works in 90-day chunks, but you can choose a time period that works best for you. To help formulate your plan, she suggests that you ask yourself:

  • How many videos are you going to put out?
  • How many posts are you going to do?
  • What are your goals in that timeframe?

If you’re not sure what your goals are or how to get started, check out our Complete Guide to Video Marketing for Beginners for some inspiration. Whatever plan you decide on, stick to it consistently, and don’t change your plan midway through. “Don’t give up; maybe don’t even look at the analytics. Keep going and then see what happens at the end of your actual plan.”

Look for achievable inspiration

Spend a little time every week looking for inspiration. Check out people in similar businesses on your platform of choice in order to discover ideas for content, design, or video hacks. Then think about how you can apply what you’ve learned to your business.

But before you dive in, Jenné recommends you limit the time you spend hunting for that inspiration online. “You could be in Instagram or Pinterest forever, so instead, I like to be mindful about the times in the day when I allow myself to scroll and to find inspiration. Otherwise, it’s too distracting.”

Put yourself out there

Even if you’re not comfortable in front of the camera, try to work your unique style into the videos you’re creating. Or as Jenné put it, “I think the best way to really stand out is to show your personality, show who you are. Because there’s only one of you.”

But showing off who you are doesn’t just help you stand out. It also helps develop trust. Jason shared, “I just know when I see a real human there’s just something that seems so much more authentic about it. For me, authenticity equals trust. And if you trust the brand, maybe you’ll actually buy from them.”

Collaborate

Jenné shared one of the easiest ways to expand your reach is to collaborate with others on social. You can collaborate with your fellow small businesses by agreeing to cross-promote products or services. Just tag your collaborator’s content and encouraging them to tag you to help their audience find their way to your social media. Want an even bigger boost or have a bigger budget? Reach out to an influencer, and arrange for them to spread the word about your product or service.

Platform-specific tips

When it comes to deciding which social networks to focus on, Jenné advises, “Don’t expect to do all of them.” Instead, she recommends tackling one social network at a time, focusing on just one platform that will work best for your needs. As time goes on and you feel you have a better grasp on your chosen platform, you can expand to other platforms and widen your social video plans.

Take a look at some of the advantages Jenné mentions about each of the different platforms before you decide where to start.

Facebook

What the platform is good for: The most popular social network by far, Facebook gets Jenné’s recommendation as a good starter platform. Facebook works well for short-form and storytelling content.
Best practices: Facebook rewards videos that are funny or surprising. Edit videos to keep them on the short side, and put important information early on to grab attention before
Design tips: Add text to make your ideas clear, even if your video is viewed without sound.
What aspect ratio should you use? Square video for video ads; horizontal for live video; vertical for Stories; for regular posts, choose the ratio that best fits your story

Instagram

What the platform is good for: Choose Instagram for visually compelling or short-form content, especially since there is a set 60-second limit for video. Jenné considers this another excellent choice for first-time video makers.
Best practices: When posting, “make sure that you write something equally as captivating in the description, because that’s what’s going to have people staying for longer.”
Design tips: Despite what you may think, you don’t need fancy equipment to succeed on Instagram. Your phone is just fine, and you don’t have to be a professional photographer, either. Jenné shared, “You’ve got to make sure that you post a photo or video that’s eye-catching. It doesn’t have to be professional, but it has to be eye-catching, whatever that means for you and your brand.”
What aspect ratio should you use? Square video for your feed; vertical video for Stories

YouTube

What the platform is good for: This platform will probably give you a slower start, but YouTube content tends to have a longer life, since it’s always searchable, both in YouTube and Google. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, YouTube works well for long-form content, and Jenné likes it because it helps create a sense of connection between her and the audience. However, she doesn’t recommend it for first-time video creators.
Best practices: Post consistently to effectively build your YouTube presence.
Design tips: Shooting solo? “You can set up your phone and buy a little tripod for your phone” to film yourself. For a different angle, try shooting footage with your phone on the table, or even try our hands-free overhead camera hack.
What aspect ratio should you use? Horizontal videos

Want more amazing interviews with social media experts? Head to our Video Talk Live page to see a few of our past events and sign up to get notified the next time Jason’s going to be on Facebook Live with another expert guest.

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