5 Quick Tips for Social Video Content

A hand holding a smartphone to shoot a video
A hand holding a smartphone to shoot a video

Video content marketing and advertising have quickly become a mainstay for social media managers, and it’s easy to figure out why — video drives more engagement than any other content type across social platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. In fact, social media platforms dedicated to video, such as YouTube and TikTok, are thriving. Across the globe, YouTube has over 2 billion monthly active users, while TikTok has 800 million monthly active users. With the odds in their favor, more and more social media marketers are looking towards video as the next frontier.

In this article, we introduce how marketers should use social media video marketing for their business:

Introducing Video for Social Media

Social media video marketing allows brands to include a rich bed of information in a relatively short period of time, with eye-catching visuals to boot. It’s no wonder that social media users are attracted to video content above anything else. 

They don't have to be lengthy either — videos on Instagram Stories have to be under 15 seconds in length, while videos posted on TikTok are kept under a minute long. Marketers can tailor their content based on the requirements and restrictions of the social platforms they’re active on. Generally, three types of video formats exist:

  • Short-form content (<1 minute long): This includes any type of video content short enough to grab your audience’s attention, but long enough to get your point across. Think Instagram and Facebook Stories, TikTok videos, teasers, or short advertisements.
  • Long-form content: These include videos that are slightly longer in length — think explainers, animated infographics, product demos, or reviews. 
  • Live: Think live event coverage or special kickoffs to announce new products and promotions. Live videos allow audiences to interact directly with the host and brand and is a great way for brands to humanize their content.

Top tip: don’t restrict yourself to videos of a certain length! The same explainer can easily be cut into 15-second snippets for Instagram Stories, a 6-second bumper ad on YouTube, and a one-minute video for your social feed. 

Understanding Social Platforms for Video Marketing

YouTube

An example of a YouTube video on Meltwater's YouTube account showcasing company culture

YouTube, an incumbent in the social video sphere, has a foothold in over 100 countries. In addition, it’s also the second largest search engine on the Internet. This makes YouTube marketing a no-brainer for brands looking to create regular video content. Here are a few key features marketers should take note of:

Video length restrictions:

15 minutes maximum for regular users, verified accounts can upload videos longer than 15 minutes. 

Video formats:

  • native videos
  • YouTube Live

Top features:

  • YouTube Cards: Polls, donation cards, and more encourage interaction and point your audience back to your channel, other videos, or your website. 
  • Personalization functions: Create channel trailers for new viewers, featured videos, and even set videos within playlists to play automatically. This helps you to attract new viewers and target regular viewers with new content.
  • Video creation tools: Apart from being able to upload videos, YouTube also allows creators to add watermarks and end cards to their videos, and offers a free simple editing tool and music library for users. 

LinkedIn

An example of a LinkedIn video post by Meltwater showcasing snippets of a Zoom discussion between 5 users

LinkedIn is the second most used social media platform by B2B and B2C marketers worldwide. The social platform has its own video marketing offerings, namely native videos and video ads. 

Here are a few key features marketers should take note of:

Video length restrictions:

  • 3 seconds – 10 mins in length (autoplayed without sound) for native videos
  • 3 seconds – 30 mins in length for video ads

Video formats:

  • native videos
  • LinkedIn video ads

Top features:

  • Text and stickers — just like Facebook or Instagram!: Through LinkedIn on mobile, users can record videos, add text, filters, and stickers, then post the video in-app. 
  • Closed captioning: LinkedIn’s new closed captioning feature allows users to add captions to their videos, optimizing the ‘no-sound’ experience. 
  • Video metrics: LinkedIn video ads are analyzed for metrics such as their estimated cost-per-view, views at 25, 50 and 70% completion, and full-screen plays. These metrics are accessible from LinkedIn’s campaign manager.

Facebook

An example of a Facebook video post by Meltwater highlighting a thought leader panel discussion in Chicago

Facebook is the top social platform used by both B2B and B2C marketers. Its popularity also means that the company is constantly adapting how it pushes out content to users. Accompanying its consistent brand updates are changes to its video distribution algorithm that affect videos in the News Feed, Facebook Watch and ‘More Videos’ tab. These factors include:

  • Loyalty and intent: Repeat viewership is valued when surfacing videos to users in the News Feed
  • Video and viewing duration: Marketers looking to use Facebook for video content should ensure that videos are at least a minute long 
  • Originality: Facebook will continue to limit distribution for repurposed content and demote video content involved in sharing schemes (sensationalist, superficial, and engagement-driven content). 

Here are a few key features marketers should take note of:

Video length restrictions:

  • up to 240 minutes for native video content
  • up to 30 minutes for 360 videos
  • individual ad length restrictions vary

Video formats:

  • native videos
  • 360 videos
  • video ads (carousel, in-stream, Facebook Stories)
  • Instant Experience videos (moving elements on a product page)
  • Facebook Live

Top features:

  • Interactive video: Facebook supports various interactive video formats such as 360 videos and Facebook Live. 360 videos create a unique viewing experience for mobile-first audiences, while Facebook Live encourages engagement and interaction between fans and brands.
  • New video bulk features: Facebook has begun to offer more advanced playlist features such as ‘Series’, which allows episodic content to be better grouped. The platform has also introduced a Videos tab on all pages to enable audiences to upgrade their video notifications and browse through playlists. These features support Facebook’s repeat viewership algorithm and help push new content to loyal audiences.  
  • Gamification: Facebook allows for polling and gamification features that can be used to create live trivia shows. This introduces a competitive element to the interactions between users or between users and brands.

Instagram

An example of an Instagram Story video within Meltwater's Highlights showcasing a presentation at FUTR 2019

Instagram, too, has expanded its video content capabilities over the years. The platform now includes feed video content, Instagram Stories with a lifespan of 24 hours, and longer-form video content through IGTV. The Instagram algorithm prioritizes the types of content a user engages with the most — meaning that if you spend more time watching videos, you get more video content on your feed. In addition, Instagram Stories prioritizes your relationships with other users when deciding their ranking on your feed. 

Here are a few key features marketers should take note of:

Video length restrictions:

  • up to 15 seconds for Instagram Stories
  • 1 minute for feed posts and IGTV previews
  • 60 minutes for a live video
  • up to 15 minutes (upload from mobile) or 60 minutes (upload from web) for IGTV videos.

Video formats:

  • in-feed videos
  • Instagram Live
  • Instagram Stories
  • IGTV

Top features:

  • Instagram Stories: arguably Instagram’s most popular video offering, Instagram Stories allows brands and users to post vlog-style content complete with text, gifs, stickers, and other interactive elements. Users can also save and group their previous Stories in a highlight on their profile page. 
  • IGTV: IGTV supports longer-form, episodic content that can also be promoted on a brand’s feed. 
  • Internal sharing and posting capabilities: Instagram allows users to share posts, videos, and stories from other accounts on their own Stories, provided that these users have enabled the corresponding privacy settings. This encourages interaction between users and brands, especially when it comes to showcasing user-generated content (UGC). 

Twitter

An example of the same video of a thought leader panel discussion in Chicago being used in a tweet

Tweets need not only be text-based. Twitter supports Tweet Videos, live videos, and video ads as well. Here are a few key features marketers should take note of:

Video length restrictions:

up to 2 minutes and 20 seconds 

Video formats:

  • in-stream videos
  • live videos
  • video ads

Top features:

  • Live video: Live videos on Twitter can be viewed from Moments, the Explore tab, trends, or tweets from an account that has gone live. In addition, live programs can be viewed on global Periscopes on Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV. Xbox and Android TV users are also able to view them.
  • Video Website Cards: Much like YouTube, cards drive mobile users from a tweet to a website. 
  • GIFs: Brands on Twitter can make full use of the platform’s format to showcase both their tweet copy and a short, catchy GIF. Twitter autoplays videos under 60 seconds, which makes GIFs a great accompaniment to traditional text.

TikTok

A submission for Uniqlo's campaign, #UTPlayYourWorld on TikTok

TikTok has been THE platform for viral videos of late. The platform is especially popular with Gen Z, and in 2019, the app’s downloads surpassed Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. The platform’s unique roster of sound effects, filters, songs, and interaction tools makes it the perfect platform for UGC to thrive. While brands may not be compelled to create content themselves, marketers have found ways to capitalize on UGC for their campaigns. 

Here are a few key features marketers should take note of:

Video length restrictions:

up to 60 seconds in length when recorded in-app 

Video formats:

feed posts and ads

Top features:

  • Hashtag Challenges: Almost all TikTok videos are hashtagged for greater exposure. Unique brand hashtags are therefore the dominant ad format on TikTok. Users submit videos tagged with a particular campaign hashtag to participate in branded contests.
  • In-Feed Ads and Brand Takeovers: Ad functions that serve users a brand advertisement either while the user is scrolling or when the app is launched. These ads can lead to a brand’s landing page or hashtag challenge.
  • Feed posts: Much like Instagram, TikTok utilizes a vlog-like style which can be appealing for brands looking to reach out to a younger crowd. Brands that cultivate a strong TikTok presence tap on the casual nature of videos on the app. By remaining largely unedited, these videos convey a sense of authenticity that cannot be gained through a fiercely curated Instagram feed. 

In a nutshell

When considering which platforms to use, it is important for marketers to consider the difference in intent between users on each platform. On YouTube, for example, users are likely to enter the platform with the intention of watching longer-form content. In addition, users are likely to be watching these videos on a larger screen and with the right audio equipment. 

On more mobile-based platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, on the other hand, videos that include text or captions are likely to be viewed more frequently as on-the-go users often watch videos without the accompanying audio. Videos should also be shorter in length to cater to these audiences.

On platforms such as LinkedIn, viewers are likely to be professionals within or interested in your industry, and may thus be more likely to seek out formal or informative industry-related content.

What content should you post?

Now that you are familiar with the various platforms that support social media video marketing, you should consider the types of content you can create. Generally, video content falls into the following buckets:

  • Brand videos
  • Video infographics or explainers
  • Interviews
  • Product demonstrations
  • Product reviews
  • Video advertisements

However, there are several types of content that should also be considered specifically for social media: 

  • Live streams: Allowing brands to cover events or new product launches while interacting with users
  • Shoppable videos: Linking video content directly to a product page to drive conversions
  • Interactive video content: Introducing 360 or episodic content where users are able to explore a narrative or choose from alternative outcomes
  • Virtual or Augmented Reality videos: Experimenting with filters, games, or more immersive video experiences
  • Vlogs: Showing behind-the-scenes footage or showcasing new products
  • UGC: Introducing challenges, giveaways, or simply reposting product reviews and featuring prominent users and influencers. 

Spoilt for choice? Here’s our guide to video content ideas you should consider for your business.

Creating content for the right audience

Marketers must keep the marketing funnel in mind when considering what content to create. After all, only pushing out content with a strong call-to-action may alienate users that are just trying to learn more about your products. Social media video marketing is all about creating the right content for the right audience. Here's what you should know:

Awareness (TOFU):

Create fun, short-form content that introduces your brand and products. You can also include educational content that showcases how your product is used or how it addresses a certain pain point. Link your content to more in-depth product information to direct users further down the funnel.

a woman stands in front of a neon 'Open' sign, introducing the use of Mailchimp as the next step for businesses in operation

Consideration (MOFU):

Differentiate yourself from your competitors by fully showcasing your product. Now that users know who you are, pique their interest with explainers and product demonstrations that feature your perks. Link your content to your website or product page.

Mailchimp's video compares the measurement of social media ROI with and without Mailchimp's software: Left: A graph in green showing ROI reporting, Right: a black hole

Purchase (BOFU):

Reduce any further pain points by introducing FAQs and how-tos to offer assistance when your customers need it. Include demonstrations on how your product can be set up and feature additional resources. Try to keep them engaged by providing value-added content such as webinar snippets and covering related industry events. 

A woman in red introduces how to create Instagram ads on Mailchimp's platform

Tips for Posting on Social Media

Keep your content short & sweet

It can be tempting to create an epic, feature-length video dissertation on the topic of your choosing. However, the average attention span has dropped dramatically in recent years. Unless your content is incredibly compelling and to the point, you’re not going to be able to command the attention of most social media visitors for more than a few minutes.

In addition, you need to make the first few seconds of your video count! If you’re not showing something interesting in the first few moments, you’ve already lost most of your audience. Try to include the top draw for potential customers early on or identify the main point of the video to ensure that the right viewers stick around.

You shouldn’t skimp on your accompanying description text — this is a golden opportunity for you to capture the attention of a larger audience. This is especially important if the main point of your video isn’t immediately apparent. 

In addition, always optimize your video for search by including relevant keywords in your video title, description, and video tags, if any. Include accompanying captions and transcripts whenever possible. 

Your thumbnail is also important — ensure that it is eye-catching and well-designed, as this often affects whether or not your audience will click on it. In addition, pay attention to any text restrictions for thumbnails on your social network of choice. For example, Facebook limits thumbnail text to 20%, including logos and UI.

Consider the ‘no-sound’ experience

As mobile usage often occurs in public areas, many users now have their sound off by default. When you’re editing your video for social media, it’s important to consider the ‘no-sound’ experience.

Ask yourself:

  • Does your video still make sense without the accompanying audio?
  • Does it capture interest without relevant audio cues?
  • Are there ways to communicate the same information that do not rely on audio?
  • Are subtitles or other on-screen visual cues as possibility?

Upload Natively If Possible

As the race for social video content domination kicks into high gear, it has become increasingly important to upload your video natively whenever possible. This means that instead of uploading your videos on one social media platform and sharing it across your various social channels, you should upload the video directly on each of these networks.

You may have noticed that when you post a link on Facebook to a video that’s located on YouTube, it no longer displays in the larger inline video view that it once did. Likewise with links to YouTube from Twitter. 

As individual social networks attempt to gain more of the video market, they are less likely to support and surface video content which is hosted on a competing platform. This can be frustrating as it involves a bit of extra work, but by uploading a video to each platform individually, you increase the chances of your content being seen, viewed, and shared by the users on that platform.

Include a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

It’s important to remember that while posting content for content’s sake is fun, every piece of content should help to contribute to your organization’s goals. Before creating any content, it’s important to understand:

  • What does the viewer get out of this content?
  • What action do I want the viewer to do as a result?
  • What do I want to get out of this as an individual / business / organization?

From there, it should be fairly straight-forward to create a clear CTA. Want more subscribers? Make sure to ask viewers to click subscribe at the end of every video. Want more suggestions on what your viewers would like you to cover in future videos? Ask them to post a comment! Simply asking for what you want can go a long way towards encouraging more social interaction and subsequent growth.

What’s Next?

Every great social or video marketing strategy needs to demonstrate great results. With Meltwater’s social media management tool, you can not only plan and publish your content and engage with customers in real-time, but also measure your performance with critical insights and a comprehensive view of top-performing content at the click of a button. 

With insights at your fingertips, you’re all set to create the next viral video! Want to know more? We unpack the tricks to creating engaging viral content that delivers real-world business value here.