Using images and video on social media
As I’ve noted in previous posts, we’ve been working quite hard on our Instagram and YouTube presence over the past few weeks, to the extent that the former has now become one of our most important communications tools (more so than Facebook). To that end, I thought I’d write a quick post listing some of the key tools I use to produce images and videos on these platforms.
Snapseed (iOS/Android/Windows) – Used to edit images before posting to Instagram, Snapseed is a phenomenally powerful tool that has loads of photo editing options. Options include lens blur (with circular and linear tilt shift options), auto-fix, enhance image details, HDR enhancement, seletive editing, vignette, vintage filters, retrolux filters, frames, black and white and text (amongst many others). Generally speaking, I stick with auto-fix, details (you can enhance structure which can be quite effective if you don’t go overboard with the enhancement), vintage (the first filter option is quite nice), text (there are loads of options here) and maybe lens blur or add a bit of saturation (depending on the image). I’ve found it invaluable when creating images for Instagram and it’s far superior to anything else I’ve tried.iMovie (iOS) – Ok, I know this is iOS specific, but it is excellent. I’ve used this a lot to create videos over the course of the summer and have gradually discovered more and more things that can be done with it. It’s a fantastic editing tool and I’ve been able to use it to create videos that I didn’t think were possible before I started investigating it. My current favourite thing? That you can separate out the audio from the pictures and do what you want with it. For example, I shot a short video at the weekend where I recorded some live music then separated the audio, shortened the original clip, then added clips so that the live music played across all the clips (see below). One of the ways in which I’ve used it over the summer is to take some of the longer videos we had created for us over the summer by our intern, and chop them up into <1 bite-sized clips that we can use on Instagram (see my previous post for more on this). Whilst it was a little fiddly, generally speaking it was pretty easy to turn a 3 or 4 minute video into a short, nicely packaged clip.
In iMovie you can shorten clips, speed them up, slow them down, mute them, add filters, add a voiceover, split a clip into smaller parts, add theme music (although you will mostly use one of three tunes), add sound effects (applause at the end of your clip anyone?), and loads more besides. I’ve found it pretty easy to use, but I’ve definitely learnt more about the different functions the more I have played around with it. If you haven’t got an iOS device of your own, seek one out in your library (or university). If you want to go for it with video, iMovie is a great way of producing great quality video really quickly.
Spark Video (iOS) – I’ve referenced this tool before, but it is particularly good at helping you to construct little story board type videos that you can then upload to YouTube, Vimeo* et al. Used in conjunction with iMovie, you can produce some pretty good results. I had a good bit of practice using this following our holiday over the summer where I put together a little video package of our trip (it was our joint 40th birthday present so it seemed worth making some sort of video clip type thing to keep and looking back on).
Spark Camera (iOS) – Confusingly, there is another app called Spark (I’d imagine that won’t be the case for long). I use this one for filters on videos from time to time. Whilst there are a few good filters on iMovie, there are even more on Spark. Generally speaking I’ll put a short clip in Spark, apply a filter, save it then add it to iMovie to stitch together with other clips (which will all have the same filter applied to them, unless there is a good reason not to). You can also use Spark to create short videos of multiple clips too, but the editing is not as sophisticated or as flexible as iMovie so I don’t tend to use it for this purpose.
Repost (iOS/Android) – Unlike the other tools, Repost isn’t so much about creation as sharing. Repost is a great tool for Instagram as it pretty much does what it says on the tin, it enables you to repost Instagram photos posted by others. We’ve started using this a lot more recently to share photos posted by staff and students on Instagram, always ensuring we ask permission first. Not only has this been a great way of keeping the account ticking over with images, it is also a great way to interact with staff and students. Of the images we have reposted so far in the past week or two, we have received 22, 25 and 34 likes (by and large we generally get “likes” in the teens). Of course, nothing close to the kind of likes University of Glasgow library get, but I think their use of the repost tool has been really effective in driving awareness of the account and encouraging people to connect (also, that the stream isn’t just photos of the library, but a strong variety of images).
General stuff – We’ve noticed a real increase in Instagram followers over the past few weeks. Of course a batch of new students helps, but we’ve been very focused on reaching out with our posts. So as well as reposting, we look to like images that are location tagged for either campus (we have two) as well as keeping an eye out for particular hashtags used by students/other departments and then adding those to our posts when we post an image.
We’ve also noticed Instagram has had a real impact on Facebook. Whereas we used to get very low views of things posted on Facebook, we now find that we get three figure views almost without fail. The reason? Posting images from Instagram to Facebook. We try to make sure that everything we post to Facebook is now image based rather than text based, this has certainly made a big difference and I’d definitely recommend making your Facebook Pages very image orientated if you want to drive views and engagement.
* All of our video content is on YouTube, but I personally use (and prefer) Vimeo. I particularly like it for for the ability to password protect videos and we use it a lot to host family videos that we can then share with family overseas. You get around 500mb of space per week for a free account, 5gb for the Plus option and 20gb for Pro.