When Gary Vaynerchuk says “get video content on LinkedIn”, people stand up and listen. But the question is, for a small producer, do LinkedIn videos work?
The results (for me) are in! Over the 100 videos, I achieved 83,541 video views, 1617 interactions (likes and other types), and 900 comments. I had 21 offline meetings (in person chats and skype conversations) and have grown my connections to 4,320 followers up from about 1000 from before my video experiment!
There is a huge difference between myself and ol’ Gary. I am a solo content producer and solopreneur. I do not have the power of a marketing team behind me. The videos that I produce consist of one man, a camera, as much creativity as I can muster up in between work tasks, and hours of video production.
It takes a lot of effort to push out content as often as I have over the past four months. I spent at least 2 hours a night editing and obviously, countless hours filming my daily activities and weaving in a narrative.
For that much effort, you’ll want to show that you’ve got real business results, right? Well, I’ve done the experiment for you!
Over the past 4 months, I have published over 100 LinkedIn videos and this was the result.
To be able to produce 100 videos I needed a format that would be engaging whilst also being simple to produce on my own, in no more than a couple of hours in the evening.
There were two things that I wanted the videos to be:
- Authentic – whatever that means! I wanted people to watch the videos and get a sense of who I am as a person. I can assure you that after the first few daily videos it’s very hard to keep up any pretense whatsoever – the real you comes out very quickly.
- Informative – I needed people to see value in the content that I produce. I would share my expertise and knowledge about topics that I am passionate about and also had plenty of practical experience.
I decided that I would make a vlog style of video and took inspiration from vlogging greats on YouTube such as Casey Neistat. It was a little bit of a risk as the videos on LinkedIn at the time were mainly single shot, pieces to camera. I wanted to bring a new level of authenticity to the video content on LinkedIn and was willing to carry around a camera with me everywhere I went to capture my movements throughout the day.
Each video contained one business message or communication tip and focused on my experience with that topic.
Time to produce the videos
Initially, I was editing my videos in SonyVegas Pro. This software has one of the most intuitive interfaces for amateur editors. It auto crossfades volume and video for you. You can just drag and drop to where you want the video to sit and away you go.
In the early days, it took me at least 2 hours to produce the videos. I had a template that I created for myself that had all of the audio filters that I regularly used. At the 20 video mark, or so, I had the editing down to under one hour, most of the time.
About 30 videos in, I felt the need to change to Adobe Premiere Pro. Two things stood out to me. Firstly, the ability to incorporate motion graphics templates that I had made in Adobe After Effects. And secondly, I wanted to learn how to use the editing software that most professional editors are using.
This took my editing time back up to two hours for a little while. But it soon came back down to under an hour once I had figure out how to do all of the common editing processes in the new software.
Overall, I have probably spent well over 180 – 200 hours editing videos -that’s 8.3 days – of my four-month experiment. But it’s not all done at one, so that’s OK!
Frequency and length
Initially, I posted a three to four-minute video every day. Yes, that’s right – every day. In hindsight, that was a bit insane and completely unsustainable.
I managed to do a daily video for about three weeks before I felt like I needed to let go of two of the days. I decided that for my own sanity and the ability to do produce videos for a long time, I would release a video only on weekdays.
For a professional, LinkedIn audience I feel like this is acceptable. While other business owners have told me that on other social media channels, like Instagram, if you miss out on the weekend traffic you are dead in the water!
Hindsight Tip: Mondays seemed to be the worst for engagement so I should have played about with a Saturday post a bit more…
This was my first video:
I was really excited about my new camera. It was summer so the lighting was excellent and I was ready to do something fun with it! The plan was to record the daily changes and flow and then do pieces to camera, regularly.
I was pleased with the format. It felt fun to watch and I had a lot of great feedback on the relaxed and conversational style of the videos.
During the course of producing the 100 videos, I changed a few things that, at the time, made it feel like they were closer to the videos that other people were making on LinkedIn.
I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing.
Maybe its the curse of wanting to “fit in” on the platform. Or seeing another person’s video that does really well making you think it’s the style that makes it more engaging.
I tried my best to stay away from trendy video formats bust couldn’t quite help but get swept along by some of them.
What I changed during the 100 videos
After 41 videos I changed to a square format. I think that it makes the video stand out more on mobile phones. Since you have to assume that most people will be viewing your content on a mobile phone, you have to go with a mobile-first approach. Square videos look better on a mobile phone. Guaranteed.
Youtube doesn’t deal well with square videos, but here’s the outcome from the square ratio change:
You’ll also notice that I started adding the topics at the very beginning of the video as a question or hook. This should, hopefully, get a person to click through or continue watching the video.
LinkedIn chooses the first frame of a video as it’s thumbnail. So without a hook and if your viewer has their auto play turned off, they’ll have no idea what your video is about.
At first, I would just overlay the question or topic over an opening sequence. I felt like this worked well but it wasn’t dynamic enough for me so I created my own motion graphics intro sequence that would grab the attention of someone as they are scrolling through their feed.
This is what the change in the hook looked like. I wanted it to be bright and attention grabbing. A simple animation allows the blue bars to leave the frame so that they don’t have to stay around for the rest of the video.
I added more motion graphics to my videos, such as a transition slide for the hook to main content, an outro animation as well as a “remember to like” slider.
I never used the slider because it felt too spammy! Content creators should earn the like, comments and shares through producing quality content…maybe that’s a bad thing.
These are the main changes I made during my 100 video series. I also saw a few things get worse during my time producing the videos. Whether it was laziness, time constraints or otherwise this is what I felt got worse.
What got worse in my videos
The one thing that fancy motion graphics will never cover up is a lack of narrative.
Churning out the content day after day can result in a few shortcuts being made. One of them was the amount of time I spent thinking about the narrative for the video.
For example, what the hook was and the problem I’d be solving specifically for my LinkedIn audience.
I think it’s something we all suffer from. Being aware of the slip in narrative has quality caused me to spend some time looking for topics that I think will resonate and not just “making it up” on the morning of the video.
That said, overall I am very pleased with the videos that I was able to produce over the last 3 – 4 months. I made a promise to myself to never let perfection get in the way of progress and I stand by that to this day!
Total number of views, comments, and likes
Okay, this is what you are all here for – the metrics. But please don’t get all caught up on the vanity metrics that social media makes us think are important. Algorithms change, preferred platforms change but what doesn’t change is the fact that there needs to be a return on the investment. In my case that was the time investment. In yours, you may have employed someone to create content for you.
This is the graph of the number of views over the 100 videos. To my dismay, and despite feeling like the number of views were increasing, they were not in any significant way.
The fourth video consisted of a free info product give away and the call to action was to say “YES” in the comments. This generated a huge amount of engagement and LinkedIn rewarded the video with a huge number of views.
The spikes you see in the graph is a common trait when you are creating a load of content quickly. Some topics resonated with the audience while others did not – I can learn from these topics and fine tune my videos for the next 100.
Broadly, there didn’t seem to be any topic that connected the most popular videos. What was shared between all of them was an authenticity from sharing what I was genuinely feeling or struggling with at the time.
Likes and Comments
Engagement on content is the gold standard of deciding how well posts and content are performing. Likes are the least valuable in the digital content world while comments and shares on the other end of the spectrum.
Vanity metrics are hard to ignore so here are the number of likes (orange) and comments (grey) that the videos gained.
We’ll tackle the likes result first. The largest like engagement is on video 24 where a friend and I rode Lime scooters around Adelaide to find out how many laps we could do. Silly but engaging, apparently.
The comment line is dominated by the video where I asked viewers to say YES in exchange for a free info product. So a huge spike would be expected. The second spike is a video about the day that I attended the South Australia Space forum.
You’ll notice on both traces that there seems to be an increase in the overall engagement at about the 73rd video mark.
I feel like that this bump is a real indication of the audience that I’m creating starting to become more invested in my videos and taking the time to comment on them. This form of engagement is the most valuable and can build much stronger relationships if you take the time to respond to each person.
Growth in connections
Before embarking on this endeavor I had about 1000 connections on LinkedIn. BTW, there is a difference between connections and followers on LinkedIn.
Connections are members who connected on LinkedIn because they know and trust each other. If you’re connected to someone, you will both be able to see each other’s shares and updates on your LinkedIn homepages. You can also send messages to your connections on LinkedIn.
Following someone on LinkedIn allows you to see the person’s posts and articles on your homepage without being connected to them. However, the person you’re following won’t see your posts. You can reach a larger audience by allowing others to follow your activity and read what you’re sharing on LinkedIn.
The number of connections grew to 4,319 – a 432% increase. Why is this important? Well, because of the network effect that LinkedIn is great for accelerating. With each new follower or connection, there’s added potential to be seen by their network if they like, comment or share the video.
Okay, so that’s the end of the vanity metrics that people often rely on when talking about social media. However, it doesn’t matter how many likes, comments or shares you get if these people will never become customers!
Even I have fallen into the trap of thinking that the like, views, etc are the be all and end all of the content creation space.
Sure, they can act as a good quick check in for how well everything is tracking but it is not what you would use to work if you are making progress!
There were a number of videos that resonated with my LinkedIn audience. These topics were:
- Male dominated networking events – how there’s always loads of men at the networking events that I attend.
- Life should be fun – Lime Scooter experiment with my friend to see how many laps of Adelaide I could do.
- You are more valuable than you think you are – transferable skills and how to get them recognized.
- Leaving academia my story and why I left. A personal story about the real reasons that I left academia.
- The struggle I’m facing right now… keeping the momentum up and turning interested people into customers.
- SA space forum – a review of the SA space forum that I attended.
So, the topics that resonated with my audience were less important than the tone or overall theme of the posts.
I have separated these out into four broad areas that I think my future posts should fall into.
The tone that seemed to get the most engagement
These are the four broad areas that I believe my most popular videos fall into.
- Asking for advice – The LinkedIn community is full of people willing to help! There are many people who take the time to help out with questions. I always chose things that I was genuinely struggling with and needed help with. Don’t use this as a way just to get comments and the vanity metrics up. If you are struggling with something others will be struggling too.
- Attending events – Being out and about at events, talking to people and getting them on camera is a great way to build up a reputation of someone at the center of their specialty. I let this slip a lot during the 100 videos. I will be trying to get to a least
- Empowering message – who doesn’t like a good old message that makes you feel like you can conquer the world. In the business world, with all its ups and downs, LinkedIn is a great place to remind people that they can do it!
- Real emotional struggles – the people on LinkedIn are people after all! Digging a little deeper and allowing yourself to be vulnerable has been a great way to connect on a personal level.
No matter what the topic or tone remember that people connect with people – so make sure that you are being yourself!
This is probably where the most value is when it comes to content marketing. Moving the online relationship to a phone call, an in-person meeting or Skype chat is where the effort to create videos really seems worth it.
Overall, I had 21 offline meetings since starting the video journey on LinkedIn. That’s 21 people who have taken time out of their day to talk about how we can help each other achieve more.
I’ve had meetings with people from around the world and even managed to meet up with people from interstate who have traveled to Adelaide.
Some of these meetings have been to talk about verbalize.science, video content and how I can help with social media and digital content creation. Whilst others have been the beginning of something really exciting…more details to come over the next months, I’m sure.
Other opportunities arising
Other opportunities to actually engage with people offline have come from invitations to present at symposiums and events.
I was really fortunate to have been invited to present at a UniSA symposium about promoting research and Altmetric. Here’s the testimonial video I produced after the event.
This video and the momentum I have built up has lead to a number of other invitations. The details of each presentation is being worked out and I’m just looking forward to providing value as I continue to grow relationships.
Will I continue to do it?
This is the biggest question that I have in my mind as I completed the 100 video milestone.
Producing 100 videos was a huge undertaking and I feel like a nice whole number of 100 is a nice place to leave it. However, I was told that 100 videos is where some saw their results really take off.
When ever I tackle a big question like this I always have to go back to why I am doing it.
For me, this process was part therapy, part growing an audience and partly to challenge myself. I have really enjoyed the process overall. I feel like with the information and data I have from these 100 videos I can really refine my core message and be as helpful as possible to my LinkedIn connections.
Do LinkedIn videos work? For me, YES, they do…
Keep creating my friends!