In the past, social media was about quick posts. Usually with words, rather than pictures. It was limited to a few characters and there wasn’t much in the way of visuals.
Over the last few years, images and, more specifically, video has taken over as the main content across all social media.
YouTube started just over 10 years ago, and in that time the amount of content has risen exponentially. 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day!!
Facebook is flooded with videos. You know, those little vignettes of people making cookies, or smart ways of working, Instagram developed IGTV to better serve the mobile video community; and has recently allowed landscape videos too.
Snapchat, Twitter and all the other social media services now almost depend on video content. Content that will keep you looking at their site for longer.
This has led to an increase in other services to help creators make video content that is specific for the platforms.
There’s Headliner - a site to enable short, intro style videos, with waveforms and captions for promoting the ‘feature length’ version. Wave does the same thing.
Lumen 5 is a service that takes images and text and allows you to create short marketing videos, to deliver a strong, visual message.
All of these can be created in various resolutions to match the platform. And in all cases, they are free to use; well, the basic offering anyway.
I’m going to focus on Lumen5. I’ve used it a few times, and made some simple videos to promote my online security training. I also used it to promote me for a LinkedIn post.
Let’s start with the basics.
First of all, it uses machine learning to create the videos. Either by entering a link to an article or blog post, or pasting text into Lumen5; it will then begin to build you video.
You can even set up an RSS feed, so it automatically creates templates when a there’s something new to get.
Using AI, Lumen5 will then create videos, with each scene dynamically determined based on the amount of text in each segment.
The text on screen is place intelligently, so as not to obscure the main parts of the image.
Through machine learning, important keywords are highlighted within each sentence.
Lumen5 offers a media library with thousands of images, video and music; to help give your content the right mood.
You can even add your own brand options, and upload your company logo to display at the end or throughout the video.
Then there are the video formats. With a range of resolutions available, using presets for various social media platforms.
It’s very easy to get started.
Once you’ve created your account; which is free - I’ll explain the various different options later, you then need to create your video.
We’ll assume you have some text, in a document. Just copy it and paste into the relevant template on the screen and click ‘Go’
Lumen5 will get to work, and, depending on the length of the text will, in a few minutes, display the initial video.
On the left hand side of the screen you’ll see your text, and the highlights. In many cases, the entire script will be selected. Sometimes, it will have cleverly chosen the key elements.
On the right are the various scenes. The imagery has been selected based on the text in the section. Every one of these scenes is customisable, and if you don’t like the images you can change them.
Select the “Media” option on the left and you’ll have access to thousands of searchable images and videos and animated GIFs. Just pick one to replace the scene you’re on.
You can also upload your own images to use.
You can update the text, and if you click on the text in the vertical timeline, you have options to place it elsewhere and add or remove highlights.
It really is quite versatile.
Next, you need to add music (well, you don’t need to, but it’s highly desirable and will make your video more interesting).
Select the “Music” tab and choose from up to 3000 tracks.
Or you can upload your own to use.
Next up - choose the “Style”. You can define a preset that will be used in all videos, which means you will remain on-brand across all your videos.
Alternatively, select a theme to use.
The final stage is to choose the format - whether a facebook newsfeed, or story, Instagram post, story or IGTV; Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest or custom.
In all cases, it shows you the maximum duration allowed, which means you can make sure the video isn’t cut off at the wrong time.
Once you’ve done all this, and you’ve edited your scenes accordingly, you can preview the entire video to make sure it flows. Of course, you can preview throughout the process.
One further point; at the end of the video there is a fixed title card, where you can add information; and on the Free version, you will have some Lumen5 branding - it’s not too shabby, and since it’s free, you can’t really complain.
Once you’re happy, then click ‘Publish’ and let Lumen5 do it’s thing.
At 480p resolution, it won’t take too long; of course depending on the duration, but on higher resolutions, it could take a while.
That’s it - you can now post your video to the relevant platform.
So what about the cost. Because, this isn’t cheap if you need more than the free version (or you don’t want the branding).
For free, you get a standard media library, 3000 music tracks and theming. You can only make 5 videos per month, and the resolution is fixed at 480p.
To get unlimited access to 15 million photos and videos, a resolution of 720p and to remove Lumen5 branding, then that will cost $29 per month (or $228 per year). That’s the Starter plan.
The Premium plan adds 1080p, access to 2 million photos and videos from Shutterstock and Getty, plus you can choose fonts and colours.
That will set you back $588 per year (or $79 per month).
For Businesses, it’s $1788 per year. That’s everything in Premium plus 160 million photos and videos, and 180 assets from the marketplace each year, as well as uploading your brand’s font, music and a custom outro.
That really is for big business.
As you can see, it’s not a cheap option; but if you don’t mind the branding, the free option is perfectly acceptable.
It is quite intuitive to use; and the machine learning and AI that’s in use is always getting better.
I’ve created a video, based on the text for this podcast, which you can see on YouTube - I’ll post the link in the show notes.
So that’s Lumen5 - it’s fun to use, and overall quite quick to get to grips with and I recommend you take a look to see how you and your business could benefit.
It’s great for marketing, but also for getting over a message about absolutely anything.