*Updated: November 1, 2023
Video is the new it girl! It has the X Factor, and everyone from your grandma to your little brother is jumping on board for the video explosion. Of course, that means social media feeds are congested with videos, some of which are fantastic and oh-so-shareable and others that are, quite simply, a hot mess.
Like any new and exploding medium, there are best practices and plenty of mistakes to be found.
We often focus on the things that make a video stand out in the crowd, but let’s take a moment to consider the other side of this equation. Here are X social media video mistakes to avoid.
Note: If any of these apply to you, take heart: The beauty of recognizing a mistake is the ability to correct it. This is your opportunity to learn and grow, setting you up for long-term success in your video marketing efforts!
10 Video Mistakes to Avoid in Your Small Business Marketing
Creating Without a Content Plan
If you wake up and ask yourself, “What should I video about today,” then you may have a serious issue as time progresses. While winging it and doing this in the spontaneous moment is fun and has a time and place, social media videos with zero thought can backfire.
A video content plan will help you be intentional with your content creation, identifying ways to use video marketing to build your small pet business and support your business goals. This is often discussed as one of the significant YouTube mistakes to avoid, but it is true across all social platforms. Posting trending audios on TikTok won’t sell your product if they don’t tie back to it somehow.
Are you struggling with limited time? Schedule things in advance but respond in real-time. Don’t let social media and video creation eat your day away.
Overlooking the Video Basics
What is the lighting like? Is your background appropriate? Do you have a forest of trees behind you where one branch appears to be sticking out of your head? Do a location check first. You need not spend a lot of money on background, but you should be aware of the lighting and your surroundings.
There are other tools of the trade that could boost your video quality, including ring lights to improve poor lighting situations, tripods to hold your phone steady during filming, and microphones that improve your sound.
Mishaps will happen. While filming a Facebook Live a few months ago, a slew of police sirens passed by my office. I just worked it into the video and held up a note that said, “Well, I guess I’m in trouble,” which I had ready in case of sirens.
Not Considering Platform Video Length
Every platform has its ideal video lengths, ranging from shorter Instagram Reels to long-form content on YouTube. Take a moment to consider which platform you are creating for and whether your topic is well-suited for that style of video content.
For example, a short-form video could be a great place to share quick tips for your community, while an in-depth, step-by-step tutorial may warrant a longer video. Don’t just ramble on. Every moment needs to count.
Failing to Speak Clearly
One of the most common video mistakes is to become so focused on recording that you forget you are just speaking to people… and you must speak in a way that makes your viewer want to stick around.
When I am shooting videos, I think to myself how I would explain my concept to a friend. I try to forget the camera is there and focus on talking to a friend about the topic at hand. I use my hands, I smile, my cadence is the right speed, and I am enthused about the subject matter without being overly exuberant and annoying.
Forgetting to Include a Powerful Hook
You have 3 seconds at most to make a first impression with your video content. During this time, you need to give the viewer a reason to stick around and watch the rest of your video – this is called a hook.
Content hooks can be included in the text displayed on the screen or in your spoken words. They should be focused on your viewers and how your content can offer value to them, quickly engaging them and sparking curiosity before they scroll onto the next video.
Neglecting the Call to Action
Learning to successfully use a call to action is a huge component of any blog post, social media post, or video. A Call to Action (CTA) is a statement that encourages your readers to take some sort of action. In a sponsored blog post, this may be clicking a link to a website or product landing page or asking your readers to share information to help increase awareness of the brand, product, service or initiative, among others.
Wistia.com shares advice for three locations to insert a CTA in a video:
- Pre-roll Calls to Action at the very start of the video ensure that every viewer sees them and has an opportunity to click.
- Mid-roll Calls to Action can be anywhere between the very start and the very end. They are designed to target viewers when they are most engaged.
- Post-roll Calls to Action appear at the very end of the video to ensure the viewer is highly interested before being presented with a CTA.
A call to action, CTA, is crucial for positive video results. Do you want your viewer to watch your video, go away, and never return to your page? Of course not, so give them something they absolutely must do.
Trying to Make the Same Video Work Across All Social Media Platforms
While we are huge supporters of repurposing your content, there are some key differences to consider for each platform. This includes differences in the tone and voice of each platform, viewable area on your videos, and where you can safely place text for it to be seen. For example, this is the same video in the screenshots below: the left on Instagram Reels and the right on TikTok. You can see that the location of buttons and text on the video are slightly different, which could impact text placement.
Some videos will take off on one platform and fail to gain any traction on another. Why? Trends, like trending audio and dance trends, may differ from platform to platform. Many trending audios on TikTok will trend later on Instagram. It could also be a difference in the style of the video. TikTok videos are often raw with little to no editing, while Instagram Reels incorporate a more edited and polished vibe.
Have a video content and social media plan: Each platform has its own legion of followers who go there to be with their like-minded community. What works on Facebook may not work on Instagram, YouTube or TikTok. Plan ahead.
Avoiding Live Videos
You need not be promotional to do a live video, but avoiding them entirely is one of the video mistakes that could be holding you back in growing your online community. In fact, a live-form video allows your followers/fans to connect with you in a fresh, engaging way. Plus, most social media platforms will reward creators who use all the features the platform offers – including going live.
Live videos have a purpose, and before you go live, yours should have a purpose, too. Create videos that serve the needs of your audience, and sometimes that need is to get to know you. Ask yourself what problems you can solve for your demographic and start your live with that focus in mind. But be flexible. Conversations and questions your followers bring up could be more valuable for building your community than just sticking to a script.
Making Videos That Focus on You and Your Product First
You are the vessel for your readers and followers. Make videos that serve their needs. Ask yourself what problems you can solve for your demographic and then create videos around it. Creating video content your audience sees as valuable will help build trust, an essential piece of the sales puzzle.
This is one of the mistakes new YouTubers make when creating vlogs about their daily experiences or entertainment-focused content, but even this style of video content can provide value. Consider why your audience watches your videos and what encourages them to return. It could be that you are teaching them how to do something or offering a solution to a problem in their lives.
Entertaining your viewers could be the solution if the problem is that they are bored, but you want to stay focused on the fact you are entertaining them and not just entertaining yourself while making your content.
Try creating a buyer persona to better understand your ideal viewers and what they need from your content.
Forgetting to Trim the Fat
One of the major video editing mistakes we often see is forgetting to edit out the unnecessary moments in your videos. Did you stumble over some words? Capture too much? Is the speaker on your video getting ready or hesitating? As we previously mentioned, your viewers have a short attention span. You want to make sure that every second counts!
Fall in love with a video editor app. As in writing, a good editor is key to picture-perfect video. Whether the app is a mobile version of iMovie or something more elaborate, be sure to edit accordingly.
Final Thoughts: Video Marketing Mistakes
Video is a powerful tool in any small business marketing plan, but you must be intentional when creating content. Pay careful attention to your surroundings, video and sound quality, content length and style, hook, call to action, and (most importantly) your goal in creating this content.
Don’t forget that you are NOT finished when you hit publish. Track and analyze your video marketing efforts, using this information to create better, more successful videos moving forward.
Are you using video for social media? Where can you use help? What video mistakes are you struggling with? Tell us in the comments below.
Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®