Hate seeing yourself on screen? You’re not alone but most of us realise the importance of variety when it comes to social media posts. Videos continue to be hugely popular. Instagram is one platform increasingly favouring video, what with Stories, Instagram Live and 60-second videos. Facebook Live attracts considerably more comments than standard video posts. Video sharing is also fast growing on LinkedIn. 

If you produce all your own social media content, it can feel like quite a leap from writing posts to actually communicating your messages verbally and visually! 

I’m no film-maker, far from it, but I have spent many years in jobs where I recorded simple but effective videos. I’ve also worked alongside a fair few professional videographers so have gleaned some tips along the way to get you started.

  1. Consider your lighting. As tempting as it is to show the wonderful view from your office window, sitting in front of a window won’t do you any favours. Unless you want to be appear in darkness as your lens focuses on the light behind you. Check for overhead lighting which can cast an unflattering shadow too. Sitting sideways on to a window can help. Take a few practise shots and watch them back so you can alter light positions as you see fit.

  2. What’s behind you? Double check what’s around you. It can be easy to ignore the little things you are used to seeing but remember you want the viewer to focus on you and what you’re saying. Less is more so declutter the area but don’t make it completely blank and sterile. 

  3. Time for your close up. Actually we just want to see your head and shoulders so don’t zoom in too close but not too far away either. Look directly at the camera, take the time to check it’s set at eye-level.

  4. Steady now. Shaky footage makes videos feel homemade (and your viewer seasick) so using a tripod or setting your camera on a sturdy surface will help them to look more professional. 

  5. When you’re ready to start recording, begin with a smile to engage your audience (it will also help relax your face 😀) Check your posture, no slouching! Make a conscious effort to slow down your talking as most people naturally speed up when they’re presenting. If you feel totally out of your comfort zone, imagine you’re chatting to a friend. 

    Practise makes perfect so it’s worth having several run-throughs so you’re as relaxed as you can be. It will make all the difference. Watch it back and be a kind but critical observer, looking out for things you can improve on. And finally, make sure you’ve planned your video in advance. You may well have spoken about this particular topic many times before but you’re in danger of waffling on if you haven’t planned a structure to it. 

  6. Ideal length. The ideal video lengths vary for each platform. Hubspot did some research and recommends the following:

Instagram – 30 seconds

Twitter – 45 seconds

Facebook – 1 minute

YouTube – 2 minutes

But it’s all down to trial and error, test out different formats and lengths and see which your audience really engages with.