Expert Tips for Optimizing Your Videos for Social Media
Video content is a vital component of social media marketing. If you want your videos to boost engagement and generate conversions, you need to make sure that your content is optimized for the unique characteristics and features of social media – both in general, as well as for each platform in particular.
The following tips are important to keep in mind when creating a video for any social media platform:
Marketing shouldn’t be hard.
- Capture attention right away, and keep the video as short as possible: You’re working with mere seconds of attention span. Hook your viewers and make it easy for them to watch all the way through.
- Expect viewers to watch without sound: Many people are scrolling through their feeds on the go or at work, and they don’t want everyone around them to hear what they’re watching. 85% of video views take place with the sound off! If you want your audience to understand your video, add captions or text, or design your video to be understood perfectly without sound.
- Optimize for mobile viewing: More and more, people are using social media on their phones instead of their desktops. Make sure your video is easy to watch on mobile, and pay particular attention to the legibility of the text.
- Choose the right thumbnail: On most social media platforms, you can choose a still image that will represent your video. Choose wisely! Use a frame from the video that represents the content well, or — if the platform allows — create and upload a custom thumbnail.
Now let’s take a look at various social media platforms and explore how to ensure that your video will make the most of each platform’s unique features.
Videos on your Instagram Feed can be anywhere between 3 and 60 seconds long. One important thing to remember about them is that they play on a loop — and immediately begin playing without sound when they appear on the feed.
That means the viewer may miss hearing the first few seconds before they turn on the sound. Therefore, unlike in many other cases, Instagram Feed videos are best when they don’t have a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end. You want your viewer to be able to start watching at any point and immediately understand what’s going on. You also want the end to transition smoothly back to the beginning, so that it’s not too jarring when the video loops.
Boomerang videos are great for this because the beginning is the same at the end: there’s no jarring transition when the video loops. Time-lapse videos also work well for this because they’re interesting to watch at any point, and it’s especially interesting to watch them start over — so the loop becomes a feature instead of a bug. Here’s some time-lapse inspiration from @freckledfuchsia:
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Experimenting with colorful collages and color layering with semi-transparent ink! 🌈 Here’s a little process video showing how I go about making a simple collage using organic + geometric shapes. I’m having a blast! . . . #freckledfuchsia #timelapsevideo #timelapseart #colorfulcollages #colorfulcollage #geometricshapes #peopleofprint #womenwhoprint #blockprinting #handmadestamps #colorsandshapes #doitfortheprocess #collages #collageart #printmaking #processvideo #colorlayering #printmakersofinstagram #mycreativeprocess #organicshapes #organicshapestudy
Instagram Story videos can be up to 15 seconds long, so they need to be especially short and sweet.
Stories are made to be viewed on the smartphone, and that means vertical mode is king. You can upload videos of different orientations, but they won’t show up as well.
Check out this blog for Instagram Story video ideas.
TikTok videos can be up to 60 seconds long. The ideal TikTok video is fun and spontaneous, and makes good use of all the special effects and music you can add to the video.
Like Instagram Stories, TikTok is designed to be viewed on a smartphone, and while the platform does support horizontal video, vertical mode is best for this platform.
Check out this blog for insights on how to get your brand started on TikTok.
Your biggest challenge when it comes to uploading content to your FB page is figuring out how to get it to show up in your followers’ feeds. For this reason, the most important thing to know about optimizing videos for sharing on your FB page is that you should upload them directly to Facebook rather than link to YouTube or another platform. The Facebook feed algorithm favors videos that have been uploaded directly to the platform, so this will boost their performance.
Other points to keep in mind for optimizing this kind of video are the more general ones mentioned above: keep mobile in mind, add captions, create an amazing hook that will make your viewers want to keep watching, and make sure the text is legible.
By the way, an easy way to add captions to your Facebook video is to upload the video to YouTube first and use the automatic caption generation feature, then download the captions file as an SRT and upload to Facebook along with your video. Note that when uploading captions for a FB video, the file needs to be named filename.en_US (for US English). You can edit the name after uploading so you can remember which video it belongs to.
Optimizing video for Facebook ads is similar to optimizing video for the feed. Note that there are lots of different types of ads with different specifications, so make sure your video is the right size and orientation for the type of ad you’re running.
Check out How to Create Your First Facebook Ad to Boost Your Business Page for a step by step guide.
YouTube videos can be of any length, but as always, the shorter the better. They are usually watched in horizontal mode, so landscape-oriented videos work best for this platform.
Because YouTube is used as more of a search engine than a social sharing app, optimizing your videos for YouTube means more than just creating a great, watchable video: it means search optimization.
That is, pay particular attention to your copy and metadata: the title of your video, its description, search categories, and keywords. Choosing a compelling thumbnail is also key here, because that’s what people will be seeing first as they scroll through a list of results, and you want their eyes to be drawn to your video.
You can add videos to your LinkedIn feed in two ways: embed videos from another platform, or upload them directly to LinkedIn. Like with Facebook, uploading directly to LinkedIn is ideal, because native videos autoplay in the feed, while embedded videos need to be clicked to start playing.
This may not seem like a big difference, but it’s crucial: people’s eyes are naturally drawn to movement, and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to passively continue watching your video.
Another thing to keep in mind about LinkedIn is that as of 2019, 58% of users are accessing it via their mobile phones. To put that in perspective, the percentage of users who access Facebook via mobile is 96%, and that figure stands at 80% for Twitter. That means that while you should still be keeping mobile access in mind when you design your LinkedIn videos, there is more of an emphasis on desktop use for this platform.
Pro Tip: No matter which type of video you’re creating, use our Ultimate Guide to Ideal Video Size for Every Social Platform as a resource for video dimensions and sizing.
1. Make sure your video is optimized for social media in general: is it mobile-friendly? Can it be understood with the sound off? Is it short and to the point, and is the most important information first?
2. Before you upload to each separate social media platform, consider whether the video needs to be adjusted to fit that platform better. Does it need to be trimmed in terms of size or length? Is the content ideal for this platform?
3. If your video needs some tweaks, use an app like Boosted to make the necessary adjustments.