According to Forbes.com, about half of consumers report they watch 5+ social videos online a day. As a visual species, humans are hard-wired to find videos more memorable and more popular than any other type of content.
Video as a means of storytelling and advertising is no longer simply an option for food professionals — it is an absolute necessity. If you’re a culinary professional, chef, blogger, cooking teacher, and/or cookbook author, social video gives you the opportunity to market not only yourself, but also cookbooks, blogs, products and cooking classes.
And people love to watch cooking videos and tips. Digital marketer Hubspot reports that YouTube survey participants say they primarily watch videos in order to “relax and unwind.” The number #2 reason is “to learn something new.” That couldn’t be more perfect for culinary professionals.
Also, social videos attract those influencer marketing dollars. So if you aren’t doing social videos, you need to, and if you are already doing them, you probably need to do more.
Social videos are short-form videos crafted specifically to drive engagement and captivate viewers on social networks. Social networks that feature social videos include
- Facebook Live
- Instagram Reels
These videos can be live, streaming, or pre-recorded. Each network requires somewhat different approaches due to video length constraints.
The most popular length for a video on YouTube is 15 minutes. But a cooking demo that runs 5 minutes or longer on YouTube or IGTV doesn’t work on TikTok, which caps videos at 15 seconds. Each platform and the story dictate the length. However, the universal truth for social videos is that it is modern storytelling. If the content is tight and compelling, people will watch.
Here’s how to make tight, compelling social videos:
1. Engage your audience right from the start.
Tell them what you are going to do for them right from the top, even before you introduce yourself! Tease them with what’s to come. Instead of “Hi, I’m Virginia Willis,” start with “Want to know the three secrets of how to make tender, perfect biscuits? Hi, I am Virginia Willis.”
2. Tell a story.
Every story needs a beginning, middle, and an end. Tell viewers what you are going to do, do it, and tell them what you did. Having a roadmap to follow will keep your audience engaged.
Once you’ve engaged them, tell them the secret and recap at the end. Visually, that means teasing with a beauty dish at the top, showing the steps to make it, and then revealing the hero once again at the end. This process is the same for any and all length of videos.
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It’s all about buttermilk. Join me for a taste test of old-fashioned whey style buttermilk (like from @bannerbutteratl )as well as cultured buttermilk. Learn how to make buttermilk substitute and how buttermilk works in baking. Lots of recipes on the blog! #bonappetityall #virginiawillis #cookingwithvirginia #linkinbio
3. Practice and rehearse.
That food blogger who looks like a natural? That’s because she has practiced. Practice your intro. Practice your message points. Rehearse your actual segment. If you are cooking, set up a practice mise en place or even just “play act” your way through the segment. The key is knowing what you want to say long before the camera is running.
4. Build your tech toolbox.
Get started with a smartphone. Consumers are less and less worried about production values on social media and more concerned about content. You don’t have to have a ton of expensive equipment. One popular influencer I know taped his smartphone to his stove’s vent hood!
Determining the tools can be overwhelming. Having said that, you likely didn’t build your kitchen in one shopping trip. It’s the same with your tech toolbox. Build it piece by piece. Buy equipment that will last and you won’t have to replace it. A ring light and a tripod can take you far.
Here’s my most frequently used equipment (Disclosure: It’s an Amazon Affiliate storefront). B&H sells much of the same equipment for around the same price and cannot be beat for customer service. I’ve spent hours on the phone or chatting with them. You can tell them your budget and needs and they will direct you to what’s best for you.
5. End with a call to action.
Viewers want to know what is expected of them. Don’t miss the opportunity to further engage them. Tell them exactly what you want them to do, such as “Visit my website,” “Click on the link,” “Subscribe to my blog,” or “Buy my book.”
Social video is the easiest way to build a connection with your audience. With these 5 easy tips, you’ll build a brand your audience will know, like, and trust.
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Virginia Willis is a Food Network Kitchen host, James Beard award-winning cookbook author, influencer, and content creator. She is also the co-founder of Culinary Media Training with Emmy-nominated producer and James Beard award-winning cookbook author Cynthia Graubart. For more information about social videos and services, please visit Culinary Media Training.