Video for Social Media: the Nuts and Bolts

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A Guide to Video For Social Media

As social media managers in 2019, it is a well-established fact that video performs the best on social media channels. If you post videos, people will watch it. In the hierarchy of content, video is king! However – planning, creating, and distributing video can be daunting if you haven’t yet nailed down a process. The question is – how do you make sure the video you create is reaching the maximum number of eyeballs?

Best practice does NOT allow for simply sharing your YouTube or Vimeo video’s link.

Before we talk about best practices for video, we need to take a quick detour and address why we don’t just share a link directly from YouTube or Vimeo.

The answer, dear reader, is . . . multifaceted. We always try and post video natively within each platform instead of sharing a link. The reason why is that each platform wants to keep users inside their platform. Any links that take users OFF their platform (and onto YouTube or other sites) are not their jam. Algorithms are more likely to prioritize content when it is utilizing the platform’s tools and features and keeping people engaged ON the platform.

Does this mean we never share an awesome YouTube video if it is unique, special, or significant for a brand? No – but when planning AHEAD, we always make sure to plan videos for upload directly onto the platforms.

Okay, now when we are planning campaigns and including video content, what is there to consider? SO MANY THINGS! I recently worked on distributing an important how-to video for a brand and set out loading the video natively on all their channels. I hadn’t done a cross-channel video load in quite a while and realized quickly that this was not going to be a quick 5-minute load job. I found that there are four big requirements to consider when loading videos natively across channels.

Four things to consider when loading videos to your social media channels:

  1. CAPTIONS. A survey of U.S. consumers found that 92% view videos with the sound off on mobile and 83% watch with sound off. Captions are very important!
  2. Length. How long is the runtime? Hot tip: users have VERY short attention spans.
  3. Aspect Ratio. Is the video vertical, square or horizontal?
  4. File Size. How many bits and bytes does the file take up? There are limits.

For each channel, there are specific requirements for all of the considerations above, because of course each channel has a specific set of functions and uses! I’ll break down the details below:

Video Content for Facebook

To load videos I like using Facebook Creator Studio to plan videos ahead of time.

Captions: If you do not have captions already included in your video, you can load your video into Creator Studio, and there is an option to auto-add captions. It is a very handy tool that Facebook provides! You can also add your own .srt file with captions if you’d like.

Length: There is no minimum video length, but the recommended minimum time is 2 minutes. The maximum length is 120 minutes long.

Aspect Ratio: Depends on what you’d like, there are no hard rules around this.

File Size: Varies depending on the video (live stream, loading in Creator Studio) but we recommend using .MOV or .MP4 file types and exporting them for a mobile view (most videos are seen on mobile devices)

Video Content for LinkedIn

Captions: No auto-transcribed captions. You can get captions written by a service like Rev, or you can do an auto-translate by loading your video on YouTube and using Google translate to get captions. You need to have an .srt file that you can load into Linkedin when you load your video OR you can have your video editor add captions in when they are editing it.

Length: Shortest allowed is 3 seconds, the longest a video can be is 10 minutes.

Aspect Ratio: Depends, we’d recommend doing a traditional horizontal/cinematic video view.

File Size: 8 MB

Video Content for Instagram

Captions: You must add captions during the editing process, there is no way to add an .srt file to a file upload in Creator Studio (you can use Creator Studio for Instagram too!)

Video Length For the Grid: When you are posting a video in the grid, it has to be less than 60 seconds.

Video Length For IGTV: When a video is longer, you can load it directly to IGTV. They have to be at LEAST 60 seconds, and less than 60 minutes.

Aspect Ratio: Videos on the grid are going to be square. IGTV’s can be vertical videos or horizontal aspect ratios. It depends on what you’d like to do.

File Size: 50 MB

Video Content for Twitter

Captions: You need to add captions in before you even load the video. Your video editor can do this.

Lengths: Videos have to be less than 2 minutes, 20 seconds.

Aspect Ratio: Horizontal aspect ratio looks best on a Twitter feed in our opinion!

File Size: 512 MB

Making the most of your video content on social media.

What does all this mean? Well, we already know this, but it is always best to create content specifically for different platforms. However, if you want to maximize the content, you are going to have to put extra work in.

You can’t slap up the same video for each platform, but it is worth the effort to put together a specific cut of each video for each channel! And don’t forget – put some ad money behind your videos! A little goes a long way!

Happy creating!

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