Video Marketing and Social Media Tips

Videos make a lasting impression. We live in a visual, media-rich world. Marketing via video continues to rise. Experts say 86% of all content will be in video format by 2022. Let’s look at current trends first, then move on to how writers can dip their toes into video marketing without suffering a panic attack. BTW, if you missed John’s clear and concise post about Zoom, be sure to check it out.

Video Trends

Instagram and Facebook Stories allow users to share short-form, vertical videos that disappear after 24 hours. Instagram Stories have 500 million active daily users. I know! That number shocked me, too.

Stories should be informal, relaxed, and allow viewers a quick snapshot of your day or a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your world.

Optimize for Mobile Users

There’s a higher demand for vertical videos that fit on mobile screens. Why? Because 75% of users watch videos on their phones and vertical fits better than horizontal.


Try to keep marketing videos to under two minutes. The shorter the video the greater chance of viewers watching till the end. This “rule” can change according to platform. On Facebook, if you run over, I wouldn’t worry about too much unless it’s an ad. Ads should be kept as short as possible. On Twitter and Instagram, keep it bite-sized.

Live Video

Eighty percent (80%) of shoppers say they’d rather watch a live video than read a blog post. Shoppers age 18-34 watch live content daily.

Optimize for Hearing Impaired

Add captions for the hearing impaired. This tip will also add clarity if the speaker has an accent. Plus, some viewers prefer to watch video with the sound off.


As far as SEO — Search Engine Optimization — goes, YouTube tops the list. To give you some idea of why, YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine. With this in mind, I created a nonfiction book trailer, uploaded it to YouTube, and shared the video across social media.

As you can see, I didn’t include captions like I should have. Yet, after I posted this video, the book rose to #1 New Release, proving (at least, to me) we can veer away from these “rules” and still be effective.

Writers & Social Media

Whether we like it or not, social media is a must for writers. With fewer book retailers, the discoverability of books depends on the author’s online footprint. Regardless of genre, it’s a fact that social media buzz directly impacts sales. More than 40% of book recommendations come from word-of-mouth, which often originates online.

Whenever a fellow writer asks me for help with social media, my top tip is to be yourself. Be genuine. Social media should be fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself, people will notice.

Always conduct yourself as a professional, but don’t hide the real you while doing it. There’s so much garbage and negativity on social media. As writers, we need to rise above it and not get swept up in a pissing match over political views or coronavirus facts vs. misinformation. If we’re not careful, our opinions on certain subject matters can and will hurt our writing career. Non-writers view us as neutral, and we need to live up to that standard.

You might say: Gee, we’re not even allowed to have an opinion? Of course, we are. What we don’t need to do is broadcast it all over social media. Same goes for complaining about rejection letters, querying, writing, marketing, books we didn’t enjoy, critiques, fellow writers, etc., etc., etc. Use social media as if the whole world is watching, because the whole world IS watching.

The follow-up question I most often receive is, “Be genuine, got it. But how do I let readers know the real me?”

The answer is simple. Share your joys, your passion, your excitement. For example, I recently shared a video of my first reaction to opening the box of PRETTY EVIL NEW ENGLAND paperbacks. I broke almost all the “rules” stated above here, too, but my Facebook audience didn’t care. They loved being included.

Your turn, TKZers! What are some ways you’ve used video marketing?

Join the giveaway for a chance to win the paperback of Pretty Evil New England: True Stories of Violent Vixens and Murderous Matriarchs. Winner will be notified via email and announced in my November 2, 2020 post. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

20 thoughts on “Video Marketing and Social Media Tips

  1. Great post, Sue. It was/is a terrific way to start a Monday morning. Those videos are delightfully creepy! Thanks!

    • Thank you, Joe! Before writing this post, I had no idea Stories were so popular. I’d viewed them as “one more thing I should probably look into.” The amount of viewers blew me away.

    • I love that, too, Priscilla. What if you videoed a bite-sized piece of your walk for Stories? Might be nice way to soft market, a peek at “a day in the life of an author.” Or “here’s where my inspiration stems from.”

  2. Sue, congratulations! The paperback looks beautiful. The wonderfully eerie illustrations and old photos really added to the reading experience.

    TKZers, I was lucky to receive a sneak peek at the ARC. What a gripping book! Highly recommended for crime dogs!

    Months ago, I played around making a video but got sidetracked. You reminded me I should get back to that…gee, thanks, Sue, I needed another project.

    Can you explain how to add captions? Maybe you’ll write another blog post to walk us through the process?

    • Thank you, Debbie! xoxo Captions are super easy. If you create the video in YouTube or iMovie, or upload a phone video to YouTube, just click “add captions” button. Then just type your text.

      Right? Like we need more projects to fill our day.

  3. Excellent post, Sue. The numbers for FB Stories blew me away–in part because they never made any sense to me. Now, I’m re-thinking that.

    So, regarding the videos you shared–the trailer and the unpacking–did you post them to FB and Twitter, or to a YouTube channel. Here’s why I ask: I have a YouTube channel, but it’s about writing and the publishing business, and I’ve always hesitated to directly hawk my book there for fear of pushing people away.

    • I never understood Stories, either, John, until I researched to write this post.

      I posted those videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, but. your YouTube channel is a lot different than mine. Where your channel is devoted to teaching writers (admirable, btw), mine revolves around serial killers. So, my books fit with the channel’s overall theme.

      That said, since you’re teaching writing, I don’t see why you can’t leverage that same audience for your books. Add a book marketing video and see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised. Worse that’ll happen is the video might not get as many views as your others. If anyone unsubscribes, then they don’t appreciate all the hours you’ve invested in helping them. Good riddance. My 2c.

  4. Great post, Sue. Your new book looks mesmerizing — good luck with it.

    I tend to *not* watch videos on social media. It’s just a time thing. There’s so much information, so little time. Maybe it’s time for me to rethink that. Besides, the evidence you present means I should at least put my two-minute book trailer out on instagram to see what effect it would have.

    Btw, my favorite fall activity is running. The weather in Memphis is delightful in the autumn.

    Thanks for the info!

    • Kay, the only places I watch videos online are Facebook and Instagram. Same reason. Time-constraints. Which is why the numbers blew me away. I never watch Stories. Maybe the 500M are younger viewers?

      Anything outdoors in the crisp Autumn air I’m a fan of. Can’t run, though, too much pounding on my feet.

  5. Sorry, Sue. I’m two days late to this post party. Part of it was negotiating terms with a new podcast pardner. Also, I locked myself out of the shack with a 5G router upgrade hooked to a 2G computer. But I’m back online… back online.

    Love your trailer and book box opening! You truly come across as yourself and that’s terrific although you pronounce “part” wrong. Like, the right way is “pert, eh”.

  6. Pingback: Top Picks Thursday! For Writers and Readers 10-22-2020 | The Author Chronicles

Comments are closed.