Getting the best out of social media video

iPhone image by Holger Eilhard and released under Creative CommonsWould you like to increase your Facebook likes and help your news brand make a bigger impact?

Video is an ideal way of achieving this, and the iPhone is a handy tool for the job.

It enables you to record, download, edit and post simple yet effective video pieces directly to your Facebook page.

The following tips have been road-tested and are shared here to help you achieve the best results.

Image by Holger Eilhard and released under Creative Commons

1: Choose your location carefully

This is dictated by the story you want to tell. The main tip is to keep the location relevant to the subject.

If you're developing a behind the scenes piece you can film the story behind the story, for example the setting up of the main television event. This could be the rehearsal/run through on the studio set during down-time.

If the piece is looking ahead to an event with your reporter you could shoot it in the video edit suite. If it is about a new singing talent you could consider filming in their dressing room as they go through a final practice.

By filming behind the scenes in a relevant location you will create a sense of intimacy which adds value to the main piece and will make those following you on your Facebook page feel included in the production process and feel closer to the programme.

2: Think picture

Shot compostition is critical. Special attention needs to be given to framing. Always remember the rule of thirds, depth, posture and background.

The rule of thirds is a tried and tested photographic technique which places your subject in the area of the screen to which the eye is naturally drawn.

Backgrounds need special attention because you don't want anything which will distract attention from your main subject and what they are saying.

When shooting for your Facebook page consider asking your subject to look straight into the camera. This reinforces the intimacy of the page and creates a stronger connection with the audience.

3: Checking for the right sound

Make sure you are in control of any background noise. If you have too much it could drown out your subject and lower your viewer experience. If you have too little the final product could be lacking in atmosphere.

The iPhone is good for recording sound a few feet away from your subject. This means you don't need to have a special microphone. But the greater the ambient sound the closer you need to be to your subject.

4: Getting the best lighting

Natural light is best. If you are shooting indoors and during the day you can get away without adding light. If you are filming where there is not much light try to position your subject near an artificial light source.

Be aware of the effect this can create. If the resulting film is too moody it may not best reflect the feel of your programme page.

5: A steady hand

After you've selected the video record mode, and you are happy with the points set out above, press record.

Try to keep a steady posture. Pressing your arms into the side of your body may help steady your iPhone, which in turn may help steady your shot. It doesn't have to be production perfect, but you will want to avoid distracting movement.

6: Editing on the iPhone

It is best to record the piece-to-camera paying attention to duration (see below).

The iPhone has trimming handles which enable you to top and tail (mark and edit the beginning and end of the piece) only. Once you've recorded your clip, go to your camera icon - the store where the iphone keeps all recordings and photos. Click on the recording you have just made and it will come up with trimming handles.

Place a finger at the start. It will turn yellow and you can now drag the handle to where you want the footage to start. Do the same with the end trimming handle. Once you have selected your clip, touch the trim menu. You will then need to select "Save as New Clip."

The iPhone then shows a progress bar at the bottom of the screen called trimming video. Watch the trimmed video. If you are happy with it you now have the options of emailing it, sending it to YouTube or messaging it. If you are not happy, bin it and start again.

Persevere with the trimming handles, the more you do the better you will become.

7: The best length

The maximum duration for a quick turnaround is 30". Once you've chosen the segment of the recording you want to use you can email this to yourself and save it to your desktop.

8. Uploading to Facebook

From Facebook you can upload this video straight to your page. Write your posting first before you upload. If your duration is too long you will need to download it directly to your computer, edit it and then save to your folder before you upload. This can be time consuming.

9. Cross-trailing

Try to build a buzz of excitement around your videos. Tell your Twitter followers that there's a Facebook posting with video. Tell them why they should watch it.

If your subject is a celebrity tell their Facebook page holders to link to your page and to give your video a mention. Consider sending them stills to add to their promo posting. This will boost the Facebook likes for both parties.

10. The benefit of video

As stated in point seven, 30" is a good length. Facebook viewers don't really want any more unless it is a proper production piece.

Facebook videos have a limited shelf-life but are well worth doing because Facebook itself likes postings with videos. And postings with video beat postings which have stills, which in turn are more popular than those with links only.

Lalita TaylorLalita Taylor is a journalist who has extensive multi platform experience – spanning 20+ years – mainly at the BBC. She currently looks after BBC Breakfast’s social media. She has been a launch journalist for two BBC websites working primarily to increase viewer engagement. She is recognised as a creative innovator and enjoys deploying technology to achieve results.

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