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In a post to the company’s business-focused blog, Twitter revealed this week that Tweets including videos generate 10-times the engagement compared to posts without video.  

Most importantly, the pot highlights the fact that you don’t need a Hollywood-sized budget or cutting-edge cameras and microphone to attract this level of engagement. You just need an average smartphone. 

“Your phone is a fully capable multimedia studio in your pocket, giving you everything you need to create compelling content on the go.”

To help get you started, the company also provided a few ideas to spark your creative side. 

GIF It Up

Using existing GIFs you’ve found around the internet can be a tempting way to connect with your audience and show your pop-culture savviness. Instead, however, Twitter recommends creating your own, original GIFs.

Creating GIFs is also easier to do than most people realize. There are countless apps available for Android devices to help you create GIFs, but iOS users have it even easier. The iPhone’s Photos app includes a built-in GIF mode which can convert any video into a GIF. 

If you need more motivation to start using GIFs more often, Twitter also says tweets with GIFs generate up to 55% more engagement than those without. 

Record Your Screen

Another feature included in most phones is the ability to record your own screen and turn it into content. 

This is especially useful for more technical how-to’s or guides, though you can also find ways to show off your online shopping process, highlight your products, or easily turn a photo slideshow into a video. 

Use Stop Motion

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On the note of image-based slideshows, another type of video content you can easily create with your phone is a short stop motion video. 

If you aren’t familiar with the term, stop motion is the very foundation for all animation. The process simply includes taking a series of photos and playing them quickly enough to show action or movement. 

On your phone, the process is typically as easy as taking a photo, moving your position or the object you are photographing slightly, and taking another photo. Then, repeat. .

You can use these ideas to get started making stop motion videos to share:

  • Move the camera around the object
  • Keep the camera on a tripod and move the object instead
  • Add details to the object like drawings or text
  • Take the object apart to show how the parts fit together

For more tips on creating videos, check out Twitter’s best practices for videos.

After the smash success of Stories on Instagram, the social platform is testing new features aimed at increasing engagement. Most notably, the company introducing more open-ended question features that let viewers interact more with the Stories they watch.

Currently, Instagram users have been able to include basic polls in their Stories with multiple-choice answer options. The only other way to interact with people sharing Stories was to message them directly.

Now, the company is testing expanding the feature by allowing Instagram users to share and respond to complex questions without having to DM. The goal is to make Stories a better tool to generate actual conversations between creators or brands, and their followers.

While the feature has been spotted by numerous people and Instagram has confirmed the test with reporters, little else is known – such as when it might be available to the wider public.

The move is just the latest effort by Instagram to emphasize video on their platform and capitalize on the success of Stories, which now draw more viewers than Snapchat’s total user base. The company recently launched an even larger video platform, IGTV, which allows users to create and share long-form video content.

During the announcement of IGTV, CEO Kevin Systrom laid out the company’s desire to emphasize video content and how it saw its place in the social ecosystem.

“On Instagram, people are watching 60 percent more video than they did just last year,” said Systrom. “An entirely new category of video now exists, and it’s being made by creators. Teens may be watching less TV, but they’re watching more creators online … That makes Instagram one of the largest and most engaged audiences anywhere in the world.”

Instagram Banner

Instagram’s carousel feature for ads has been popular with brands as a great way to highlight their products and tell a story in their ads, and now it is coming to everyone.

Instagram announced this week it will be sharing the slideshow-like carousel ads to organic posts with all users, as well as expanding the number of photos or videos that can be shared at a time.

The feature is expected to roll out to all users on iOS and Android devices in the coming weeks. When it does, both advertisers and everyday users will be able to choose up to 10 photos and videos to include in a single post. Users can then swipe through the content to see more.

instagram-carousels

Regular users will be able to sort the photos or videos in their carousel manually, choosing the best way to tell their story. Advertisers will have this option, as well as the choice to let Instagram sort the content based on performance.

While the carousel format allows users to include several pieces of content in a single post, it does have some limitations. Most specifically, carousel posts do not allow for landscape photos or vertical videos. Instead, all photos or videos included can only be in Instagram’s traditional square frame.

Instagram is also labeling carousel posts to help make them easier to recognize in your feed. Similar to video posts, all carousel posts will include an icon next to the posts’ thumbnails.