Video is King on Social Media

Video might be the most important type of content on social media today. The majority of people have a quality camera in their pocket at all times (whether an iPhone, Android, etc.) allowing videos to be taken of anything and everything. Because of this, every major social media platform is making adjustments to cater to video. With Snapchat, you can send funny videos to friends that disappear after viewing. And Instagram has followed suit with its newest “Story” feature. And on Facebook, the majority of posts include a video of a cat or recipe. I just scrolled through my Facebook feed and within the top 5 posts I saw a “how to” video about making deviled eggs with bacon, a video of two fluffy dogs running through the snow, and a video featuring a new Harry Potter cruise (clearly these videos say a lot about me and my interests).

With the rise of video, it’s important to understand the different types of videos that are appropriate on each major social media platform.

Let’s start with Facebook…

Almost any video can be successful on Facebook. A silly cat video shot on an iPhone is just as likely to go viral as a professionally shot video about a veteran returning home to surprise his family. There isn’t a magic recipe that will make your video go viral on Facebook, but there are a few steps you can take that will help increase engagement. In the past few months, Facebook has adjusted its platform and algorithm to continue to advance video content. In order to get the most engagement on a video on Facebook, the video needs to be embedded. Facebook and Google aren’t friends, meaning that posting a link to a YouTube video isn’t going to garner much attention on Facebook. In fact, Facebook actively limits views on any post that takes viewers out of the Facebook platform. Another way to increase views on your Facebook videos is to add captions. According to, “85% of views of Facebook videos are without sound.” And lastly, try using Facebook Live. Facebook is desperate to compete with Snapchat and similar platforms so they promote Live videos like crazy. A Facebook Live video will get on average 6 times as many views as a video embedded in a post.

Next up, Instagram…

Instagram videos, whether in a post or as a story, tend to be shorter and more personalized. Think of these videos more as clips or previews to a longer video. Some videos that do well as posts on Instagram include sports highlights, short workout compilations, and funny animal videos. Many celebrities and bloggers use the story feature to shoot selfie videos talking directly to their audience. Kevin Hart often takes selfie videos talking about his latest workout or promoting his next stand-up show. Kristen Bell often posts selfie videos on her story talking about life as a mom. These personalized videos are great because they make viewers feel like they are a part of the blogger/celeb’s inner circle.

As far as Twitter goes...

Twitter hasn’t really figured out video yet. While you can embed videos into a Twitter post, I don’t think that video content is king on Twitter. I’d worry less about video when it comes to this platform.

And lastly, Snapchat…

In my opinion, Snapchat is more of a personal tool than a branding tool. I also think that Snapchat is on its way out, so I’m not going to waste time discussing it.

The most important thing to remember about video is PURPOSE. Your video needs to have a purposeful value-add for the viewer. This purpose could be humor, emotional, informational, etc. If you want people to take time to view your video, then be intentional about how you want someone to feel when they view your video. If you can evoke emotion, then you are on your way to becoming a viral success.

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