How to Create Social Video Like an Expert (Even When You Are Not)

how to create social video when you are not an expert

No, it’s not just your kids constantly glued to their phone laughing at funny, breathtaking and incredible social videos. Everyone, from tots to grandparents, watch and share this visual content so it’s important to consider it as part of your strategy.

According to HubSpot and Wyzowl research, “in 2023, people are watching, on average, 17 hours of online videos per week, and people are 52% more likely to share video content than any other type of content” on social media.

This confirms video as important for business. In fact, the research also shows 66% of consumers have watched video (i.e., product demos, reviews, FAQs, unboxings, etc.) to learn about a brand or product.

However, you may say to yourself, but I’m only a PR professional—I’m not a video editor! Or you may not have the budget to bring on another resource. PRNEWS asked some video experts for some tips for communicators who may not have an editing and production background, but can create engaging social video with some simple guidance.

Video conceptualization

  • Keep the audience in mind

“Ask yourself what topics would be important to the audience you're trying to reach, and how your product or service relates to them. As an example, Marino works with an olive oil brand and we create recipe videos featuring our products so the audience knows how it can be used. It’s entertaining and informative without being too ‘salesy.’”—Michael Katz, VP of Social Strategy at Marino

“While it may be tempting to jump on a trend right away, consider whether your audience will understand it, and what they really want to know.”—Alexi Velasquez, Senior Social Media Manager, BerlinRosen

  • Plan ahead

“Create a storyboard or shot list in advance to ensure you capture the necessary footage. Having more content than you need gives you editing flexibility.”—Michelle Mastrobattista, Founder & Creative Marketing Strategist, Brand Paradise

  • Utilize themes

“Plan 2-3 repeatable content themes. For instance, if you're promoting a fitness brand, consider having themes like technique demonstrations, weekly challenges, and customer testimonials. This streamlines content creation.”—Michelle Mastrobattista

Simple Video Editing Tools to Use

  • Don’t forget the OG’s

“Most of the major social media platforms include basic editing tools that allow you to stitch together several clips, add music, overlay text, etc. These tools should suffice for any basic edit.

And for those looking to edit on a laptop, Canva provides easy-to-use editing tools with some advanced features to help quickly create professional-looking videos.”—Michael Katz

  • Third-party platforms

“I like to use InShot, because it’s easy to add and edit clips, and insert text. InShot has its own royalty-free music library that’s easy to search through. Instagram also allows you to edit Reels directly in the app, and you can add filters, text and music.”—Alexi Velasquez

“Lucihub is an AI-powered video production platform and mobile app. Its service captures user-generated content from multiple collaborators and outputs professionally edited videos in hours, not weeks. Lucihub combines technology and creativity to empower content creators to bring professional, timely content to market.”—Amer Tadayon, CEO and founder of Lucihub

“If you're not an editing expert, apps like CapCut or ReelsApp provide templates you can customize with your content.”—Michelle Mastrobattista

 Tips for Filming

  • Shoot your shot

“It’s important to have a plan and vision in mind for the video ahead of time. Work with your team to put together a shot list so you know exactly what you’re capturing once you get on-site, and you aren’t running around capturing footage you can’t use in the final product.

And the algorithm prioritizes videos that are formatted for social, so make sure to film vertically. That way, when your content shows up on someone’s feed, it takes up the whole screen and the user is more likely to engage.”—Alexi Velasquez

“Adding motion to shots increases production value. Try tilting up and down or down to up, panning left to right or right to left, or just walk toward your subject or pull away from it. Also try filming from lower or higher angles. Be mindful of lighting. Don’t shoot into the sun. It’s best to shoot interviews in quiet areas, and interviewees should speak in full sentences.”—Amer Tadayon

“Brevity is Best: Keep your social videos short and engaging. Around 7-15 seconds for Instagram Reels and 21-34 seconds for TikTok is a good rule of thumb.”—Michelle Mastrobattista

  • Camera tricks

“When using a phone camera, use the lens on the back of the phone and set the camera to shoot in 4K (if available) and get different angles for more flexibility in the edit.

Make sure the lens is clean and avoid using the digital zoom or pinch-to-zoom to frame shots. This degrades the quality of the image.

It’s important to have plenty of light when filming and make sure the light is set in front of your subject and not behind.

Whenever possible, use a tripod or gimble to stabilize the shot. If you need to shoot handheld, keep the phone close to your body, rest your elbows on a nearby object and use your body to absorb bounces and shakes.”—Michael Katz

“I like to turn on the grid on my iPhone camera to make sure everything is straight when I’m filming—it’s one fewer thing to edit later on.”—Alexi Velasquez

“Frame Rate Matters: Filming at 60 frames per second (FPS) ensures your video remains high quality after compression on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.—Michelle Mastrobattista

  • Audio essentials

“Whenever possible, use an external microphone to capture audio. An audience can usually tolerate lower-quality video, but often will not sit through a video with poor audio that is difficult to understand.

If you don’t have a professional microphone, wireless headphones like AirPods can be used, if speaking.”—Michael Katz

“Most users watch Reels with the sound on. So whether it’s a voiceover or music, consider adding sound whenever possible.”—Alexi Velasquez

“Music can define mood, but pick your music wisely, and stay away from copyrighted music. Using copyrighted music is the fastest way to have your video pulled from social media.”—Amer Tadayon

Social Video Graphics and Design

  • Less is more

“Let the video speak for itself. If you do need to add text or graphics, keep it simple, and easy to read. Make sure any graphics or text fall within the “safe zones” of the Reel, so the text isn’t covered by the caption or likes and comments.”—Alexi Velasquez

“[Use] a lower third if you’re introducing a subject or highlighting a location.  And if shooting for your business, keep your brand colors in mind when building the graphics.”—Amer Tadayon

“Skip the logos, websites, or phone numbers overload on your social vids. Remember, social platforms aren't the ad zone; they're all about making those connections, dishing out genuine value, and weaving that loyalty web.”—Michelle Mastrobattista

Tips for Social Posting

  • Image is everything

“Design branded cover image templates. These cover images serve as a preview or thumbnail for your video, appearing in users' feeds before they even start playing. A well-designed cover image that reflects your content's essence and branding can significantly increase the likelihood of users clicking to watch.

Secondly, a consistent and visually appealing cover image style across your videos establishes a recognizable visual identity, contributing to stronger brand recall and association.”—Michelle Mastrobattista

  • Upload at the highest quality

“When uploading to Instagram Reels, go to "Advanced Options" and be sure you have selected the option "upload at highest quality". This will ensure that your video looks its best.”—Michelle Mastrobattista

  • Hashtags and Keywords

“Utilize relevant hashtags and keywords in your video captions to increase discoverability. Research trending and industry-specific hashtags to ensure your content reaches a wider audience.”—Michelle Mastrobattista

Nicole Schuman is senior editor for PRNEWS. Follow her @buffalogal