How to Plan Video Content for Social Media that Really Engages Viewers

How to Plan Video Content for Social Media that Really Engages Viewers

Video has started to truly dominate the social media landscape, and it is easy to see why. In general videos receive more views, shares, and reactions – and brands have started to take note of that and emphasize creating them more.

While you may be thinking about doing the same, you should take note that it isn’t enough to just come up with video content. Instead you need to make sure the videos you produce are able to engage viewers and hold their attention and interest.

That starts long before you roll the cameras, and to pull it off you’ll need to plan video content so that it can engage viewers.

Define and Research the Target Audience

Before you start to actually put a pen to paper and come up with a plan, you need to know exactly who is going to be watching your video.

Initially you can start by defining the target audience in terms of the demographics that you are aiming to reach on social media. That will encompass factors such as their age, location, gender, average income, education level, marital status, occupation, and ethnic background.

After that you can define the psychographics such as their interests, likes, dislikes, values, lifestyle, hobbies, personality, and so on.

Once you have a firm grip on the target audience that you want to reach – you need to thoroughly research them. Ultimately your goal is to find out as much as you can about that group of people, and use it to make decisions about the topics, video style, tone, background music, and pretty much everything else that your videos will contain.

Brainstorm Ideas of Interesting Topics

Next up you should sit back, relax – and brainstorm ideas. At this point your will want to find as many ideas for topics that your target audience may be interested in, and your research should come in handy to do that.

If you feel a bit stuck or are having trouble coming up with ideas, there are a few options that could help:

  • Look at your competitors’ videos and see how viewers respond to them. Don’t just ‘copy’ the topics however, but think about how you can make them better with a different perspective, unique spin, and so on.
  • Find popular blogs or website in your niche and look at their most viewed articles or video content. As before you shouldn’t copy either outright, but should make your version unique.
  • Scope out forums or social media groups where your target audience frequents. Find out what they’re talking about, or even engage them directly and ask for their input. 

After you’ve listed down as many ideas as you can, you can go back and evaluate them. Think about the kind of videos you could create based on those topics, what it would look like, and whether or not it would be interesting to your target audience.

Start to narrow down the list and gradually identify a topic (or set of topics) you feel would make for engaging social media videos. Don’t discard the rest of the ideas however, and keep them safely for the next brainstorming session.

Tips to Develop Ideas into Engaging Videos

Technically the next step is to develop one of your ideas and turn them into a plan. However to make sure you’re able to plan videos that engage viewers, there are a few tips in particular that you should keep in mind.

  • Open with a hook

The first few seconds of your video must contain a hook that is designed to immediately make viewers interested. Without one a significant number of viewers won’t watch anything more than 8 to 10 seconds.

One type of hook that is consistently effective is to focus on the benefits. Let viewers know what they will gain by watching the video, and how it will help them.

  • Keep it short

Overall the videos that you create for social media should be short. The optimal duration for videos can vary based on the platform itself, the target audience, and the type of video – but shorter is normally better.

Simply put viewers on social media don’t have the longest of attention spans, and the longer the duration of your video – the more of them will leave before the end. As a general rule you should aim to keep it around 60 seconds, though sometimes you may find it better for it to be shorter than that.

  • Use the visuals

Always remember that the reason videos are able to engage viewers so effectively is because they can convey information visually in a way that no other medium can. It is important that you plan your video to capitalize on that, and use visuals to deliver the information in your video.

In fact you should make sure that the video can stand solely on the strength of its visuals as a significant portion of social media users watch videos on mute.

  • Trigger emotions

The most engaging videos on social media are the ones that trigger an emotional reaction in viewers – and you should try to plan yours to do the same. It doesn’t matter what emotion you trigger, and it could tickle, inspire, surprise, or even outrage viewers.

One way to make it easier to trigger emotions is to use a storytelling narrative and base it around a central character and situation your target audience can relate to. That should get them to feel emotionally-invested in the story and its outcome.

  • Add a call to action

Every social media video should build to a call to action that tells viewers what to do next, and convinces them to actually do it. It is a crucial elements if you want to engage viewers, as it will get them to actually react to your video and act based on it.

Based on the tips listed above you should have all the key ingredients that you need to start coming up with a solid plan for your video.

Write the Script

Essentially the video script is going to contain all the details of the video that you want to create, and should encompass not only what is being said – but also what is being shown.

That is why the two-column script structure is often a good place to start. The left column will contain details of the scene itself and what is going to be shown in your video, while the right column contains the audio that accompanies it.

Although it can seem daunting initially, you should try to start putting pen to paper and coming up with a first draft. After that you can go over the draft and fine-tune or even revamp it completely – multiple times over if need be.

Make no mistake some scripts are significantly rewritten over several drafts to the point where the final version no longer even resembles the original. As such you shouldn’t worry too much about mistakes that you make it your first draft, but should just focus on getting your ideas down.

If the visuals in your video are very involved, you may want to consider using storyboards to supplement your script so that you can nail down the details of each scene.

Add, Amend, Remove, and Rewrite as Required

After each draft that you come up with, you should go over the script and start to rewrite it. Keep in mind the tips discussed previously, and try to make sure your video’s script follows them closely.

To be more specific some of the ways you may want to rewrite your script are by:

  • Condensing the scriptso that it delivers key information more concisely and without any extraneous details that aren’t necessary.
  • Putting yourself in the audience’s shoesand trying to figure out how they will react to the video, its concepts, and the narrative structure as a whole.
  • Deciding on the tone of the videoand the mood that you want it to project in terms of its visual style, music, and other elements.
  • Getting feedback from unbiased third-partiesthat will give you a glimpse into how your video is perceived.

Essentially by the time you’re done – you should have all the makings of a very solid plan that you can use to record and create engaging videos.

Final Words

While a good plan is the foundation that every engaging video needs – there are other factors that can affect the video engagement as well.

Chief among these is the quality and production value of the video, which need to be top notch. Nowadays there are lots of tools that you can use to make sure that’s the case, and for example you could try Movavi Video Suite if you need a powerful video maker.

Keep in mind that although your plan should help you to structure engaging videos – you should be open to making alterations if need be. Sometimes as you start to record the video itself a new idea may spark that makes you rethink parts of your existing plan, and you should try to include them if it is feasible.


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