February 5, 2024 Content Chat Recap: How to Use Video Content on LInkedIn for Personal Branding and Thought Leadership

A Content Chat header image featuring an array of flowers behind a text overlay that says today’s topic is how to use video content on LinkedIn for personal branding and thought leadership with guest Shane Shaps.

Video content is becoming integral to a successful content marketing strategy, especially for brands and thought leaders hoping to build a thriving social media community. For those new to video content or wanting to improve their strategy, however, there are several questions and challenges that must be overcome.

In this #ContentChat recap, Erika Heald is joined by Shane Shaps, an expert in social media strategy, reputation management, and creative blog writing, to discuss how to use video content on social media and in your content marketing for personal branding and thought leadership. They provide plenty of practical advice to help you start a video strategy, choose your ideal recording setup, and measure your results.

Watch the entire conversation on YouTube or read through the highlights below.

Q1: What does the social media landscape look like right now? Which channels do you find most valuable for brands or personal thought leadership?

Social media was used primarily for customer service needs in its early days. 

“When we started this business 15, almost 16, years ago, the purpose of social was really sort of like customer service. Non-stop all the time, people had a complaint or a problem or question, they’d come on social. – Shane Shaps

In recent years, brands have used social media more to tell their story. Not everything is a sales pitch. 

“Today, it’s much more, rather than being so reactive, it’s more proactive. Companies are putting out their story, they’re telling who they are, they’re talking about their brand, what kind of solution they offer. And not every piece of content is a sales piece of content. Typically, there is a call to action; they want their community to take some kind of action. But that action could be ‘share this with your friends’, it may not be ‘buy my product.” – Shane Shaps

“It’s much more into storytelling, which we really appreciate. That’s where we perform. The social and the conversation is really what’s most important.” – Shane Shaps

Video content is especially effective given algorithm changes and it helps put a face behind your brand.

“This is nothing new, but it continues in videos and Reels. Instagram specifically is prioritizing video content.” – Shane Shaps

“What we want to do is stop the scroll. And the best way to stop that scroll is with a person, not a product. And if that person is moving with video, even better.” – Shane Shaps

“For a while, there were a lot of people doing audio-only podcasts and other kinds of audio content. It feels like there are more folks doing video content like this, where we’re having a conversation. Instead of it just being an audio file that you’re going to download and listen to on your commute or at the gym, it feels like there’s more live stream video happening.” – Erika Heald

“What I always find fun is even when it’s just a quick video clip or a still image from that conversation, you can actually put a face with the name. Even if you already knew what that person looked like, you can see what they look like that day. It provides another level of authenticity to it.” – Shane Shaps

Brands need an owned content source like a blog. This gives them a place to point to and topics to expand on in their social content. 

“Long form content is back. For a long time, people were sort of like that goldfish mentality. If it’s longer than a tweet, I’m not processing it. People are digging in a little bit further now. They do want to be more educated on the topics that they’re reading about. So blog content is really important for that. If your website doesn’t currently have an active blog, that’s something to take a look at for several reasons. Notably, it helps you become the expert in your field. It gives you content that you own. From the social standpoint, it gives us different places on the website to link to, and that helps your SEO. By having fresh content on that website, you are able to further explain your thoughts and also link to different places from social.” – Shane Shaps

Twitter/X is no longer a valuable channel for many clients.

“We found that we were not getting engagement, we were not getting reach on Twitter. And so we pulled back on Twitter and reallocated that time into more video content on Instagram, we even picked up our activity on LInkedIn.” – Shane Shaps

“There might still be a place for enterprise companies to share their information on Twitter. My question continues to be ‘how do I know I’m talking to the real company?’ There’s still authentication questions there. And so I don’t trust it.” – Shane Shaps

“Especially now, when you can’t get the analytics support, when you can’t trust that a checkmark means that there’s actually a verified entity, it’s made it really hard to justify to clients spending more than a minimal amount of time.” – Erika Heald

LinkedIn is a great channel for engagement if you prioritize the person-to-person element.

“On Linkedin, we always have a company page. But we also tell our clients, LinkedIn is a person-to-person program. Having a company page for your small business is great, but the likelihood anyone’s gonna engage with you is pretty low. So we work with them, whether it’s training our client sales team to be active themselves or we actually take over for the public-facing people in the company.” – Shane Shaps

Q2: What foundational elements do you need to execute a successful social media strategy?

You need a strategy for social media. Document your objective, content topics, and brand voice. Then, decide a cadence that you can commit to for posting and engaging with your community on social media. 

“You have to start with a strategy. The first thing that we do is figure out your objective, your content buckets, your persona, [how does your brand sound], what are the words you can use, and what are the words you can’t use. All of that has to be determined along with the cadence that you intend to use for publishing before you can even dig in.” – Shane Shaps 

Dig into your existing and target audience demographics to find where you can best spend your time. 

“You have to take your current audience demographics and your target audience demographics to figure what social media platforms they usually engage on and where to put most of your time.” – Shane Shaps

Be ready to create video content if you want to get the best reach and engagement. 

“Prioritize long-form content in video. That’s not to say having carousels of photos of your products and services isn’t relevant. It absolutely is. Graphics also. But they’re not going to get the kind of reach you’re going to get from a video.” – Shane Shaps

Q3: Why is video content increasingly important for content marketing teams and aspiring thought leaders?

Video content helps you stop the scroll and makes your brand more relatable and authentic.

“Back to stopping the scroll, that movement of a person just in general is going to help you stop the scroll. I also think how can you really relay your thoughts if you’re not speaking it? If they can’t hear the intonation in your voice? It’s important.” – Shane Shaps

“I do these Monday Marketing Minutes, and this week, we’re focused on being real. That’s really important because your viewers, the people who are seeing you on social, want to feel like they get you, that they can relate to you. So if your makeup isn’t perfect and the lighting is not ideal, it’s okay. Because you look just like them. It makes you approachable.” – Shane Shaps

Q4: Do you need professional equipment or software to create videos for personal branding and thought leadership

You do not need an expensive filming setup.

“Do you need a whole production studio? No. If I’m scrolling through Instagram, I am less likely to stop on a video that looks overproduced with drone footage and B-roll than I am to stop on a one-minute talking head giving me their opinion on something.” – Shane Shaps

“The way our team shoots it is kind of DIY. We don’t have multiple cameras and all of this professional equipment. We’ve got equipment we bought off Amazon. You can buy it, too.” – Shane Shaps

Shane uses the Alix Earle light that clips onto your phone, and she recommends purchasing a Lavalier mic. 

“I’ve got the Alix Earle light that they advertise on TikTok all the time. It’s a great little light; it clips onto your phone. I have another light that’s like $5.” – Shane Shaps

“We have a [wireless] Lavalier mic that we use, so if we’re shooting [for] a client, we don’t have to have that cord swaying back and forth. It doesn’t make the client louder; it just makes their voice clearer in the video, so we do recommend some sort of microphone situation.” – Shane Shaps

Find natural lighting outside if possible. Just be conscious of how you use that lighting.

“You want to make sure that you’re not backlit; the sun isn’t right behind you. Or you’re not staring into the sun.” – Shane Shaps

Q5: What are some natural ways to start creating video content?

Plan your topics ahead of time and create a schedule that you’ll follow. 

“Start with a calendar. Come up with 10 or 20 topics, each could be about one minute, and just write them down.” – Shane Shaps

Film content at times and in locations that work best. You may film spontaneously because the setting and timing feel right, or you can plan and film on a specific day/time. 

“One day, your makeup may just look really good, so great time to shoot. One day, you’re sitting in the car and you haven’t pulled into the garage, yet the lighting is really good — shoot it then. It can be in the moment as long as you’re still going with a plan and a strategy.” – Shane Shaps

“As you do more of them, you’re going to start to know when those right times are to shoot and those great locations. For me, my office [has] natural lighting because I have a huge window in front of me. I put the desk here on purpose.” – Erika Heald

Q6: How can you evolve your video content strategy for social media?

Follow the product leaders and executives of your priority social networks or communities to stay ahead on platform changes.

“We follow all the accounts. We follow [Adam] Mosseri, for example, he’s the one that tells us what’s coming on Instagram. He tells us what [they’re] prioritizing.” – Shane Shaps

Your brand keywords should be consistent across your social media, website, and blog content. 

“Months ago, it was all about hashtags. And then we went to alt tags. And now we’re really focused on keywords. So keywords have to match up between social and blog content and website. So, we work hand-in-hand with the person handling SEO for any client. They’re giving us those keywords, and we’re partnering with them to see what keywords we need to bump up.” – Shane Shaps

Find ways to blend personal content with professional content.

“LinkedIn has definitely shifted since everything happened with Twitter. People are sharing a little bit more of a window into their personal life there. It’s not ‘look at my kids’ every single day, but it does get threaded through, and it is okay to be a little bit softer on there or not so ‘corporate.’ It can be fun, and you can relate to people as a person and not always just this professional person because that doesn’t really authentically represent me.” – Shane Shaps

Q7: What pitfalls should content marketing teams look out for when creating and sharing video content?

Remember that social media is rented land. Save your overproduced videos for your website. 

“We always tell our clients your overproduced, curated, beautiful, expensive video belongs on your website. Because you want to get your money out of that [and] you want people to view it over and over and over. And you own that website.” – Shane Shaps 

“Instagram, you don’t really own anything, Facebook also. All these social media platforms, it’s all rented space. You don’t want to spend too much time or money putting into those videos. Make them quick, make them authentic, get your point across.” – Shane Shaps

Reels are limited to 90 seconds. If you want to discuss something for longer on Instagram, you need to go live. 

“Reels have to be 90 seconds. Go live, you can talk as long as you want, if you want to go live. You might mess up, you probably want an index card to make sure you have some bullet points, and you don’t get lost in your thoughts, but going live eliminates the 90 seconds, and it will allow you to go longer.” – Shane Shaps

Be aware of your video surroundings and the potential symbolism of your content.

“Sometimes, when people are doing video content, they can inadvertently not be very careful about what’s in the background. Or they can not think about the symbolism they’re projecting with what they’re talking about versus their environment. And also look for things like your laundry, because it’s how frequently I’ve [seen laundry baskets in videos].” – Erika Heald

“Do your research. Know what you’re saying through your lens [and] how it’s going to be taken by someone else who’s maybe looking through a different lens. It’s really important to stop, take a breath, think about what you’re saying and how it’s going to be perceived, even if you don’t agree with that perception.” – Shane Shaps

And know when it’s appropriate to hold a piece of content for a different time, like if there is a viral trend or significant world news. 

“Sometimes you have really great content that just doesn’t land, because there’s something happening in the world that everyone’s excited about. If there’s some viral video that everyone is talking about or replicating or remixing, then your really great piece of content that’s not related could be drowned out. Even if you’re posting things or scheduling things through a platform, you need to check in and see what’s going on.” – Erika Heald

Q8: What tools do you recommend using to create, edit, and share video content?

Shane recommends CapCut and Basecamp.

“We use CapCut as one of the apps when we’re building videos. It’s a great tool, there’s a lot to it, even the free version has lots and lots of options. And CapCut has a really cool teleprompter tool, so if you’re not sure you’re going to remember all your points, you can type them in there, and you can actually sit and read it from your phone, into video.” – Shane Shaps

“We use Basecamp as our project manager. So, my Basecamp calendar has every theme of the week. I have a video, a graphic, a blog post, an e-newsletter all around that theme.” – Shane Shaps

Use the built-in tools that social media platforms offer.

“Take advantage of those tools. Back to Instagram, you want to add captions, sometimes you want to add some stickers or a graphic. You want to use Instagram’s tools. It will reward you for using its tools, and it will definitely help optimize it and get further reach, especially to people who don’t already follow you.” – Shane Shaps

Q9: Are there emerging social media channels that people should consider? 

Many emerging social media channels are still in their early days. It’s unclear which will emerge as the most popular. 

“The jury is still out on a lot of these. Everyone is trying to be the replacement for what Twitter was in its heyday. And it’s sad it’s gone. Threads, I’ve seen some good and some bad. Mastodon is really clunky and not easy to maneuver. I actually have not experimented on Bluesky.” – Shane Shaps

Claim your preferred username or handle on emerging social channels while you can, regardless of if you plan to invest in the channel. 

“It’s important that you grab up your name on those platforms [like Mastodon and Bluesky] so you have the option and somebody else doesn’t take them. It’s really easy to do on Threads, specifically.” – Shane Shaps

Q10: What expectations should You set regarding what video content can realistically achieve?

Video content takes time to perform, especially if you’re starting fresh. You will not generate immediate leads from video. 

“We’re very honest when we start with a client who has never done video. It’s going to take a minute. This is not a magic bullet. Just because you put a video out there does not mean you’re gonna have 100 new customers tomorrow; it just doesn’t work that way.” – Shane Shaps

“People will get discouraged when they put out their first video and are so excited about it, and no one cared. But it’s because the algorithm hasn’t learned yet that you have engaging video content. It takes time for you posting it and people engaging with it to teach the algorithm what kind of people are interested in your content.” – Erika Heald

Prepare to experiment over several months to find what video content performs best with your community.

“We need some trial and error. You need a few months, three to six months, of watching those videos to determine [if] this is what people in your audience like and what they’ll respond to. These are days and times that make sense. You can’t just throw spaghetti at the wall, but there is a little bit of that in the beginning to see what works.” – Shane Shaps

Use data to guide your strategy and make calculated bets on where and when to post video content. 

“If we’re taking over a client who had worked with another agency or they were doing their own social, we are checking that data to see here’s where they are doing really well, days and times. Let’s start there. Let’s bump it up from there and see if we can get more traction on that.” – Shane Shaps

Video content needs to align with your entire marketing strategy. 

“This is a long tail piece of marketing, and it has to work in conjunction with your other pieces of marketing: your SEO, your website, your PR, your paid ads. It all has to work together, if one piece is not functioning, the whole thing is going to kind of fall apart.” – Shane Shaps

Q11: How do you measure Video Content’s success?

Create your video content strategy around specific business goals to guide your measurement.

“It is important to make sure you’re looking at the right metrics to show if you’re actually meeting those business objectives. That also means you have to have decided beforehand, what is the piece of content’s job? What am I trying to do here? Am I trying to reach new people? Am I trying to get people to come and visit a physical location? What do I need them to do?” – Erika Heald

View count is an easy metric to follow. 

“The first thing you want to do is just look at your views. How many did you start with last week? And how many do you have this week? You can write that down manually, you don’t need insights to even tell you that.” – Shane Shaps

Look at engagement activity.

“Is somebody taking some kind of action on that video? They’re not just watching it, but are they liking it or commenting or sharing it or saving it? Saves have been the new thing we’re watching.” – Shane Shaps

“If there’s a call to action in it, that call to action [should be] happening. And that’s going to take some work with your SEO person. Instagram is not always a cause and effect with that kind of website traffic. It’s important that you’re looking at dates when things were posted and pieces of content. And then did it land? Can we attribute it to that piece of content?” – Shane Shaps

Assess if you are reaching new audiences that do not follow you. Consider a paid campaign or partner collaboration to reach new audiences. 

“The other thing we take seriously is reach, specifically on Instagram. We’re looking at not just how many people do we reach, but how many non-followers do we reach? If we’re only reaching the same people over and over, that might be great, they might be our core customer, but we want to get outside of that and get in front of new eyeballs. Sometimes that takes a paid campaign to make it happen, and sometimes it might take some collaboration with a bigger account.” – Shane Shaps

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