How To

How to Make a How-To Video

Moira West


They’re impossible to miss as you scroll through your social media feed — quick, punchy videos explaining how to do things — bake a cake, design a craft, create simple life hacks. Making one of those helpful, catchy videos can help you get noticed, or just help you share what you know with your social media audience. But before you create your own how-to video, take a look at our tips for making one that’ll draw viewers in and make them want to share your content.

  1. Choose a topic that can be covered by a video. Ideally, you want to choose a subject that’s visually interesting and that can be easily broken down into pieces for your audience. While you can cover economic theory or how to write a novel, a simple craft or recipe video, like the one below, may do better on social media.

  2. Use a title to draw viewers in. Since your audience will probably decide to watch your video based on the first few seconds, letting viewers know your topic immediately can help convince them to keep watching. That’s why our how-to guide for shooting photos during fireworks started with both a title and an interesting image to grab viewers’ attention.

  3. Give simple instructions. Use short sentences with an uncomplicated structure. This will make it more likely that your viewer will understand your instruction and watch your video all the way to the end. For example, ecommerce company Click n Curl created this quick demo showing their audience exactly how to get a gorgeous blowout using directions that are short and easy to follow.

  4. Add lots of video clips or photos. One of the reasons people love how-to videos is that they show, rather than tell, the audience how something is done. Photos and video clips bring a process to life to help the viewer feel like it’s something they could achieve, too. The Unbeaton Bodies video featured below does this especially well. It illustrates exactly how to do an exercise routine, making the workout seem accessible and demonstrating the fitness business’s expertise at the same time.

  5. Keep it short. In our recent Online and Video Marketing Study, we learned that social media videos fair best when they’re under a minute. If you can be ruthless and cut your video to just 30-40 seconds, your audience is more likely to stay with you for the whole video. Of course, a super-short how-to video won’t work for every topic, but for the simple, do-it-yourself coasters in the video below, 40 seconds was just about enough.

Do you have a great how-to video you’d like to share? Post it in the comments below, or reach out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram by tagging @Animoto.