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.

    Style: Documentary
    Song: “Flapperjack” by the Texas Gypsies

  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.

    Style: Hi-Rise
    Song: “Coco and the Squirrel” by the Texas Gypsies

  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. Makeup artist Megan McNeely created this video showing how to quickly and easily create zombie makeup. Her directions are short, sweet, and easy to follow.

    Style: Documentary
    Song: “How to Raise the Sea” by Reid Willis

  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 do at home. Maybe that’s why our team member Beth’s video was so popular last Easter. It showed viewers how to naturally dye Easter eggs in a way that came across as both achievable and fun.

    Style: Soft Focus
    Song: “All the Pennies” (Instrumental) by Mindy Gledhill

  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.

    Style: Blank Slate
    Song: “All Year Round” by Research Material

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.