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When creating social specific content for platforms like facebook, instagram, twitter and snapchat - we have to think about the platform as much as the content. Is our audience more likely to watch a short video cut on instagram or on twitter? Should we add text and/or music? Do we include audio from the interview or assume they'll prefer to read a quote? 

Every audience is different and social specific content can make your social feeds more interesting while helping you promote a story in multiple ways on different platforms. There are tools that can help, so this month we tried a few web based programs to see what's out there and how it works. 

1.) Lumen5

Lumen5 is a straightfoward video creation tool that adds text and music easily. I was able to build a short piece slide by slide and Lumen5 puts it all together in the end. I also had the option of adding branding presets like preferred colors, font and logo for the outro. By setting this, all the social content you create is easily and consistently branded. The one downside of this tool is that there isn't a voiceover feature, so you have to use text and music with your images. If you want to use a voiceover, look at other tool options. 



2.) Biteable 

A nice animation based creation tool with a lot of templates involving text and movement. I was able to upload clips (under 30 seconds only) and then add text and music based on templates provided. I found that using this particular tool to make a text based promotion was easier than using original video content from our project. You can pick what you want to do such as "promote" or "share" and then templates will be suggested, or you can start from scratch and see all the options at once. 


3.) Ripl

Ripl a social specific tool that lets you build beyond the traditional horizonal frame. I really liked that you can build in square form for platforms like instagram and vertical rectangles for platforms like snapchat. It also has a neat feature that allows you to schedule your posts straight from the tool by connecting your social platforms and it will provide analytics from those posts. If your newsroom doesn't pay for analytics from another source, this might be a useful feature that will get you some idea of the interactions on your social specific content built with this tool. 


4.) Magisto

Magisto was initially really easy to use, it took me step by step through building a video by uploading clips, adding music, naming the video and previewing the final product. I really liked the music library where you can sort by the feeling of the music you're looking for because picking music can be hard based on just a title name. I was also given the option of linking my google account to pull any photo or videos I had stored there straight into my magisto project, so if you work in google files this could be a big perk for you. Magisto was more aggressive than the other tools about asking for my money, reminding me often that I could upgrade to get more options. This is a necessary evil when using free tools but it intruded often enough in my experience that it got a little tiring.

The biggest hurdle for me with Magisto was that it was hard to know what the final video would look like when I picked a particular "editing style" which is their type of theme/templates. I had to go all the way to the end of the process through picking music and loading a full preview to see what it looked like and then I had to go back two steps to change it if I didn't like how it looked. It was hard to gauge what the final product would look like before I was completely done and it often looked drastically different than I expected. That said, there is a nice stock library and they provide the ability to produce this content for square, horizontal and vertical platforms - allowing you to make your piece for whatever social platform you're aiming for. 



5.) WeVideo 

WeVideo was surprisingly awesome. It provides a lot of the options you find in iMovie, but in a web based tool with tons of useful text templates included. There is a basic video timeline where you can line up text over visuals, resize visuals, fade in and out audio, add music and more. It provides all the basic video building options you need to create customized social content or even short but full video stories if you want to take it a step further. It allows more flexiblity and creativity than the other tools but this also means it's a bit more work to get to that final product. This is a great tool for someone who has basic video editing abilities and wants a little more control over every aspect of the social specific cut they're creating. 

These are just a few of many tools we found available to create this kind of social content. What tools do you love? I'd love to hear suggestions on what newsrooms should be trying and what works well for you and your web team! 

Kat Duncan  
Interim Director of Innovation


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