An outline of creative best practices across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter
The social media landscape may be constantly changing but one element remains consistent: content is king. However whilst content itself may be an essential component of any social media strategy, the creative formats and best practices for each platform are often quite different and not always transferable across one another.
There are many helpful guides, blog posts and resources to help digital marketers stay on track but I thought it worthwhile highlighting some of key creative best practices for YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in the form of a quick, bullet-point checklist. This is by no means a definitive list but hopefully a decent top-level guide and primer for anyone new to producing social creative.
YouTube is still by far the number one digital video platform globally, however, they’ve seen strong competition from rivals including Facebook in recent years. In line with changing consumer trends YouTube now emphasizes the importance of mobile, with more than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
- Publish YouTube content with consistency to grow an engaged audience. Content marketing research indicates that consistency correlates strongly with success on YouTube:
- Post during peaks in YouTube viewership
- Vary your content lengths but consider snackable content with ‘bite-size’ videos (ideally 16 seconds – 2 minutes in length). Videos under two minutes generate the most views:
- Make sure all videos are optimized for mobile
- YouTube users want to learn, watch and be entertained so create videos that feature original content and meet a specific need
- Update content on a regular basis. The brands who have been successful keep their message fresh with regular updates to their channel
- Read user comments on your own channel and respond promptly wherever possible. Ignore and flag spam and any form of abusive/ derogatory comments. Do not engage with trolls!
- Utilise robust tagging, metadata and keywords to increase the discoverability of your content
Facebook continues to dominate social as the leading social network and since their evolution to a mobile + video-first platform, Facebook has championed new ways creative formats for smaller devices (albeit with help from challengers such as Snapchat!).
- Always produce creative from a mobile-first perspective
- People scroll through their newsfeed quickly so content needs to be ‘thumb-stopping’ and make an immediate impact within the first two to three seconds
- Ensure the product and/ or logo feature within the first few frames
- Avoid deploying 16/9 videos on Facebook as these are proven to deliver poor in-view and view through rates
- Research has indicated that a combination of video and text delivers the best results in terms of engagement. Ensure all video content feature subtitles and these appear within the first few seconds
- Keep headlines short. The recommended length is about five words
- Keep post text and link description short, too, and consider featuring popular words such as ‘you’, ‘free’, ‘because’, ‘instantly’, ‘more’, ‘up’ and ‘new’
- Use a call to action to maximize the effectiveness of the ad unit. Consider CTAs such as ‘Learn More’, ‘Shop Now’, ‘Download’ and ‘Watch More’
- Link to something specific within your campaign rather than something more generic, e.g. the homepage of your website
- Develop multiple versions of your ad to cater for different audience segments. A/B test and learn!
Twitter claims to be the place to be if you want to know what’s happening and it’s hard to argue with this perspective. Whenever there is a big event or controversy people turn to Twitter. It’s no surprise that they have a more discerning, influential audience, with the top traits of Twitter users (as defined by their friends) being #1 trustworthy, #2 well-Informed, #3 generous and #4 intelligent.
- Being aware of what your brand is and is not is critical on Twitter. Your brand’s look and tone of voice should seep into every interaction, passive or active
- Be interesting, there's nothing worse than boring tweets. ‘Boring’ may be subjective but the goal is to strive to be interesting to your target audience. Streams that constantly push promotional messaging get old very fast
- Post videos to make your Tweets stand out and drive engagement. Uploading a video natively to Twitter drives 2.5 times more replies, 2.8 times more Retweets and 1.9 times more likes than simply including a link to a third-party video
- Due to the condensed format and quick pace of Twitter, it's essential to respond to your community as swiftly as possible
- Have a good sense of whom the ideal brand representative should be and consider how they should talk, respond to conflict and joke. It's better to know ahead of time than to create answers based on their mood or the amount of sleep or coffee they've had in a given moment!
- Be sure to keep your tweets relevant, helpful to followers and spam-free. Jumping in on irrelevant hashtags to market your product is unhelpful. Likewise, relentlessly mentioning every person in your feed to draw their attention to a piece of content or offer can become annoying
- Create Twitter Lists of important influencers and loyal customers and monitor their Tweets to identify questions your brand could answer
- Host branded Twitter chats. Twitter chats are conversations people have using a shared hashtag at a predetermined day or time. They can revolve around a specific topic or trend
- Twitter polls are a great way for businesses to do market research, get feedback on their content and spark conversations