A guide to getting the most out of your social media video content

Published Jan 25, 2018 | Written by Jeremy Knight

Video content has become an essential tool in every inbound marketer’s toolkit.

Yet when you’re distributing video on social media, you can’t get away with a catch-all approach. Social media platforms have unique personalities and user-bases, which should be reflected in your marketing tactics.

If you get the tone wrong on social, the message of your video campaign will fall on deaf ears. Research shows that online, people react negatively to interruptive marketing which bears no relevance to them.

And it's true. Nothing makes me hit close faster than a mistimed ad.

So, here's a quick guide to social media video and how you can tailor content to each platform:


Facebook is first and foremost a space for sharing thoughts, feelings and memories with your friends or family.

For this reason, video performs best, especially when it's amusing or emotionally stirring.

It's these qualities that make video content highly viral. Studies have shown that we are more likely to share things bring us value, or that we feel helps to define us.

Optimising your video so that it works with or without sound emboldens your message. A whopping 85 percent of videos are viewed on Facebook without sound.

Facebook has some simple and easy to find video metrics.

The first 3 seconds, including autoplay, counts as a “view”. The 10-second-view metric (97 percent completion rate for shorter videos), is a good indication of how well you have persuaded viewers to stick around after autoplay. Pack the first seconds with interest and value and you can increase your viewership.

Square videos perform exceptionally well on social media. A square format takes up 78 percent more real estate on a person’s mobile newsfeed than landscape video, making square videos much harder to miss. And, if you intend to use a 1:1 aspect ratio, it’s crucial that your film production crew knows in advance. This can have an impact on how they frame each shot the way.

If you want to make your message more digestible, how about opting for tect overlays? These are especially easier for people casually scrolling through their feed. Concise captions and strong imagery will make even the smallest interactions more meaningful.

In addition, compelling headlines have been proven to attract viewers, especially on Facebook Live sessions. Facebook research showed that captioned video ads were watched an average of 12 percent longer than un-captioned ads.


Youtube remains the world’s largest video search engine. There is simply so much to be seen. It’s a fantastic opportunity to put your brand in front of buyer personas making relevant search queries.

Viewers head to Youtube to learn and be entertained. It's a place of discovery.

Often, a visit will spur from a specific question, with the viewer inevitably falling down a rabbit hole of related or interesting content. The more accurate, relevant and detailed your video description is, the more likely you are to appear as a viewer’s ‘next step’.

It can be difficult to stand out in a saturated online space, that is why your video thumbnail should pop visually and give a clear indication of what viewers can expect.

However, image isn’t everything. You may be surprised to know that on Youtube, views are driven almost as much by text as by image. The simple act of writing a caption and subtitle can increase viewer interest by as much a 40 percent

Video content performs well on search engines. In fact, their click-rate outperforms written content.

It makes sense to optimise your video using keywords. This will improve the likelihood of your video appearing as an answer to your prospect’s search queries.

Using long and short-tail keywords in your title, metadata and tags will boost your search rankings and help direct searchers to your video content.

Youtube is capable of streaming high-resolution video: 720p or 1080p HD. Both have an aspect ratio 16:9, so youtube may be the best social platform for you if you have a strong story to tell or simply want to stick to a more cinematic format.

As with other platforms, the first 3-10 seconds are pivotal: in this case because 20-25 percent of viewers will watch less than 10 seconds before moving on.


Twitter is all about personal opinion and quick-fire discussion. Therefore it’s no surprise that videos opening with people onscreen are twice as likely to be viewed. The message here: humanise your videos.

A good story arc can also increase viewership on Twitter. Content that aims to entertain enjoys a 15 percent higher share rate.

You can expect people to want to join in the conversation because this platform represents a highly communal space. Twitter video performs best when it triggers conversation.

On this social media platform, you’ll have to keep it short: the maximum video length is 140 seconds (file size up to 512mb).


When your buyer personas think of Snapchat, they think of user-generated content.

That is why roughly shot, authentic, on-the-fly footage resonates most strongly. This is a much better space for office tomfoolery, sneak previews and general behind-the-scenes recording.

Snapchat users engage with content that looks and feels native and video plays immediately, so record your footage vertically.

Snapchat has an episodic feel to it that is good for keeping up relations. Furthermore, with snaps being deleted after 24 hours a sense of urgency is created amongst your audience.

Like on other video sharing platforms, first impressions matter. On Snapchat, 28 percent of viewers will drop off after one snap.

And for veiwers who prefer to watch without sound, there's the option to add text and drawings to cover the info-gaps that dialogue would have filled.

Snapchat has a range of special effects that can be applied to enhance your video. These allow you to get creative with face-mapping, face-swapping, and motion filters. You can experiment with slow motion and reverse playbacks.

There is also a unique geo-filter, which comes in handy if you have local events to promote.

This is a good place to provide fun, lighthearted content.


Instagram hosts an array of attractive and inspiring images. The appeal of this platform is its artistic nature.

You can use Instagram Stories to dive behind-the-scenes and show your audience how, where and why your photos were created. Instagram offers users two content streams: a permanent picture gallery and an ongoing 'story'.

Beauty is the driving force, but it is also good practice to optimise your captions & hashtags. Posts with one hashtag or more boast a noticeable increase in engagement and impressions.

Hashtag searches can be used to target specific customers and join conversations, and you can also tag users or link to external websites, making your business account easily discoverable on Instagram.

No matter where you decide to post your social media video content, your production will benefit if you think of the end platform before you begin your shoot.

If you understand why your buyer persona is using a specific channel, you will be able to more accurately tailor your video to suit their interests and expectations.

New Call-to-action

Published by Jeremy Knight January 25, 2018
Jeremy Knight