Weekly Wisdom with Dom O'Neill: How To Generate More Engagement from Your Videos

Dom O‘Neill

Oct 08, 20196 min read
How To Generate More Engagement from Your Videos
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Modified Transcript

Hey folks, I am Dom O'Neill. You are watching this Weekly Wisdom video from SEMrush. In today's video, you will find out how we made little changes to our video strategy to make a huge difference in the engagement on our videos via social media. Engagement on videos is massively powerful at the moment. It is how you get seen by new people, but it is also how you build relationships with your current clients and your potential clients. Having more engagement in your videos is really, really important, especially if you are using social media strategy to market and sell products and services from your business. Let's look at some tips that work.

Comment on Others' Content

Tip number one, even before you pick up the camera, this one is massive. Especially on a platform like LinkedIn, where it is very much about building business relationships and commenting on other people's posts.

Before you film, before you edit, before you post yourself, you have got to make sure that you are commenting on other people's posts. If you do that, it will then draw people back to your platform. It will draw people back to your posts, and you will get a lot more engagement because you are building a community, and you are building respect with people in your connections.

Also, the algorithm will work for you, and platforms like LinkedIn will start showing your content to more people if they see that you are a good engager — if you are bringing the party to the platform as it were. Commenting on other people's posts is massively important even before you do anything else.

Don't Be Shy

My next tip is, ask your audience what they want. I see so many videos where the person is maybe unconfident about being on video, or they haven't had a plan for what the video is about, and therefore, at the end of it, there is no call to action. There is no ask for anything.

Now I am not saying that every video needs to be a sales video. I think that would be really bad because it is like when you go to in-person networking events, there is always that person who is just sell, sell, sell and you don't want to be stuck in a corner with them. And it is the same with video. If all of your videos are sell, sell, sell, a handful of people may continue to like them, but on the whole, they will be a bit of a turnoff.

Call to Action

We need to not just have sales videos; we have to have other videos as well. But even videos that are more educational or entertainment-based need some kind of call to action. Even if it is "comment below", "get in touch",or "please like and share." Call to actions really help engagement. If you are not asking for people to engage, there is a good chance that people won't engage. As simple as that sounds, asking for engagement on your posts underneath your videos and in your videos is really important.

Make Your Filming Process Easy

We are talking obviously about filming, and we need to know what to film on; that is one of the most asked questions that I get asked, "What should I be filming on?"

The beauty of filming on the smartphone is that it is usually in your pocket all the time, and so if you decide "Right, this would make an awesome video," pull out the smartphone, and you can get filming. If it is a phone that is relatively new, like from the past two years — if it is iPhone 6 or newer or one of the new Samsungs or Huaweis, the lens will be really, really good. The sound might not be, but we can talk about sound in a minute.

Film on the smartphone, edit on the smartphone, distribute on the smartphone. That way, you only need one device for all of your video needs. And as long as it is a relatively new camera within the last two years, the lens will be very good.

Make Sure You are Heard Above the Noise — Get a Good Mic

Even today, smartphone cameras don't have great sound. They are okay, don't get me wrong. If you are in a quiet room, the mic on an iPhone, for example, will probably do an okay job. The issue with smartphone mics is they are what is called is omnidirectional — they pick up all of the sounds. (Video 4:22) I am standing this distance from the microphone, my voice is as easy to hear as the guy who is drilling behind me, the gentleman having a chat over there, and the bus at the bus stop over there. And the problem is that I will start being drowned out if I am only using the sound on my smartphone.

Lapel Mic

What I do is I use a lapel microphone. They are usually round about £70. I can plug that into my smartphone using an adapter, with an iPhone, and my mouth and my voice are much closer to the microphone. This is not omnidirectional; it is a very directional microphone. It has a small pickup area, so anything further is less important for the microphone. It picks up whatever is closest to it, which is my voice, not the bus behind, not the guy drilling, not the gentleman chatting.

Well-Known Locations and Events

Outside locations can give a little bit more interest to your videos, which will, of course, make them more engaging. And the beauty of filming at a well-known location, is people who don't know me, who are based in Edinburgh, where I am today, might well get into the video, and I have had this before. They get in touch, saying, "Hey Dom, you are in Edinburgh. Awesome." And so it is just a little bit of an icebreaker with other people in that city who may not know you, but they know of a connection of yours on social media. They see you are in Edinburgh; they go, "Hey, I didn't know you were local."


Filming outside is great not only for engagement but also for lighting. Lighting is a very important point, and it is something that people find quite difficult. Lighting is not something that we all do on a day to day basis. But when people start, I say to them, "Well, don't spend too much money until you can prove that video is bringing in money, and then you can reinvest that."

Lighting can be extremely expensive and extremely time-consuming. I recommend to all my clients that they film outside. Natural lighting is really good lighting, and it is very cheap lighting. The morning and the afternoon are great times for lighting. The issue with midday is sometimes, especially in the summer sun, rays can be beating down on you, and you stand there squinting because there is so much light. Also, sunglasses are not good; the eyes are the entrance to the soul. People will trust you less if you are wearing sunglasses. It is an interesting fact. It is a psychological thing.

And you don't want to be in darkness. People are like, "Oh, I will just not bother. I just film in the office. It is a little bit dark, but who cares?" Well, Hollywood has taught us that the bad guys hang out in the darkness — that we don't want to be in the darkness. We don't want to be in the shadows because subconsciously, our mind is less trusting of people in the shadows. Filming in good light, natural light, a consistent light is all we need. We want to make sure we are not hanging out in the shadows, not hanging out in the darkness. 


  • Before you start filming, make sure you are engaging with others first. This behavior will aid in having others engage back with us. Especially if we are on something like LinkedIn. This strategy is really important.
  • We need to remember to ask and use call to actions. If we want people to engage, ask for engagement, do not be shy.
  • It is easy to film on the smartphone because we have it with us all the time. It is always there. We can just pull it out of our pocket, start filming, start editing on the smartphone, and start distributing from the smartphone. It all happens on one device. It makes life so much easier. It makes workflow so much faster.
  • It is best to have a mic for smartphone videos, but you don't have to spend a fortune. A small microphone is good enough; less than $100 to plug into your camera means that the most important sounds are being heard, and you are not drowned out by your background.
  • Film in natural light in the morning or afternoon when the light is nicest, and it is not too damaging to our eyes. We don't ever want to film with sunglasses.

All of those things will really, really help you get more engagement from your videos and social media. What are your video marketing tips? Share them in the comments below. 

Author Photo
Dom O‘NeillDom started his career working for major UK broadcasters in TV and Radio where he learned to create content on shows such as Match of the Day, Weakest Link, Lazytown Extra and Mrs Browns Boys. This mix of genres gave Dom a wide range of experiences in content creation techniques, video workflow management, storytelling styles and audience incites. Dom now runs Vlogify LTD where him and his team work with businesses to help them generate more turnover using Video Strategy.
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