With video set to account for 75% of consumer web traffic by 2020, there’s no denying that it’s worth marketers’ attention. It’s been challenging for strapped teams to produce and promote viable content in a scalable way, but recently various new players have made that easier—and social channels have taken note, introducing new features and giving increasing prominence to the way videos are shown on their platforms.

With each social channel comes a certain personality and principles that organizations should heed for greater success. While your overall communications strategy should be what’s driving content production, it’s important to develop all video through the lens of what makes sense for each platform and its audience (not as an afterthought).

Ultimately, people want to be entertained (or educated, in an entertaining way), organizations and brands want to connect meaningfully with supporters and consumers, and platforms want to increase time and depth on their sites, and of course—advertising dollars.

With that in mind, here are our tips for making the most of each channel.


Video content on Facebook has made great strides in the past year as the social media giant increases their efforts to keep users interacting within the platform. In fact, a recent study found that videos reach the most people organically on average.

Autoplay in the news feed was the first foray into making video a more prominent part of your Facebook experience. Recently we’ve seen the incorporation of video ads, “watch video” CTAs in the cover photos, and featured video and playlists on brand pages.

It’s hard to think of Facebook without videos now, so it’s up to brands and organizations to leverage these opportunities to keep their users engaged with meaningful video content.

What this means for you: It’s worth experimenting with Facebook native video, created specifically for and uploaded directly to Facebook.

  • Capture your audience quickly: a view is counted 3 seconds in, so make sure they actually want to keep watching after their view is counted since videos autoplay without sound.
  • Communicate visually: videos autoplay in the news feed without sound. Though data is not available on users who opt to turn sound on, we’d suspect the bulk of users choose not to.
  • YouTube data shows that audience retention drops, on average, every 15 seconds for the duration of your video. Given that users haven’t been primed for video consumption on Facebook to the same degree, we’d recommend keeping your video under 30 seconds for optimal retention.


Video hasn’t taken off in the way that it has on Facebook, or how it’s expected to take off on Twitter. Load times can feel prolonged; stalling occurs. The user waits patiently—until she doesn’t, and keeps scrolling. Video can be difficult to create for Instagram, where lifestyle is the name of the game. Content performs best when it is from a unique point of view, both literally and figuratively. For instance, posts with the tag #fromwhereistand have been uploaded over 1.3 million times. Many of those are sweeping land- or cityscapes, taken high above the ground; or they’re intimate corners, tucked away from the hustle of daily life. Exclusivity, beauty, and “wow” moments play well in this format.

What this means for you: Stay true to the platform. If Instagram is a visual curator of your brand, video is one expression of your point of view. It’s also important to consider the constraints of Instagram: it’s a square frame, you have 15 seconds to share a story, and the hook needs to be visible in the thumbnail.


Twitter has made a bevy of announcements in the past year, including introduction of mobile video. Twitter users will soon be able to capture, edit, and share 30-second videos that are recorded in the app or uploaded from their camera roll. This opens up many possibilities for organizations live tweeting events and makes planning for social coverage of live events that much more essential. There are also a host of related players joining the Twitter ecosystem:

Meerkat is a live video-streaming app for iOS that allows the user to share what’s going on around them. Streams can’t be watched once they’re over—this is ‘ephemeral’ video (think Snapchat). Users need a Twitter account to sign up, and all activity on Meerkat is linked to Twitter. When a user taps “stream” from the Meerkat home screen, a tweet is sent out on their Twitter handle. Get our full Meerkat rundown here.

Periscope is the Meerkat-like app that Twitter acquired in January. The key differences? Broadcasts from Periscope can be viewed after they end, the user can choose whether each broadcast will be public or private, and comments aren’t tweeted but remain in-app.

SnappyTV is a service for clipping, editing and sharing clips from live broadcasts in near real-time. Twitter acquired them last summer, but they are just starting to roll out the functionality to the first accounts.

What this means for you: Twitter continues to be the best platform for real-time, live events, so having a video plan in place is crucial:

  • Know what you can say and what you will not.
  • Anticipate moments and your responses to them (drafting multiple tweets/videos for different scenarios is never a bad idea).
  • Know who will be filming, writing, approving, posting, and monitoring in the moment.


It can be tempting for organizations to default to Vine when the need for real-time video arises. Don’t give into the temptation unless your video is full of humor and creativity. Types of videos that have gained traction include stop-motion animation, seamless #loops, subversive comedy, and creative process videos (how-tos & instructionals, behind-the-scenes). Six seconds is plenty of time to say and show what you’re trying to get across.

What this means for you: Stretch your organization’s creative muscle, and don’t be afraid to be funny (in a way that is true to your brand). If you can, consider investing in a professional content creator.


While YouTube has been instrumental in launching the careers of any number of creators, they’ve faced challenges in their efforts to monetize the platform themselves. This week, however, YouTube announced plans to roll out cards, an evolution of annotations. Cards feature larger, cleaner design, they work on mobile, and most notably, they don’t obstruct the video viewing experience. Users must click the “info” icon to see cards’ content.

YouTube is likely hoping to attract the lucrative advertiser market with this update, giving users a better experience than annotations—one that could generate more clicks. Content creators can choose from six types of cards: Merchandise, Fundraising, Video, Playlist, Associated Website and Fan Funding.

What this means for you: Every card could supplement your video roster, but not every video would benefit from a card. Think first of user needs and behavior before adding unnecessary cards. A few examples:
Does your video establish an emotional connection with your organization’s cause? Consider an Associated Website card, paired with a compelling CTA to drive email signups.
Are you interested in discovery, awareness or education about your organization? A Playlist card could benefit both you and your target audience.

Are you excited to give social video a shot? So are we! Hit us up with any questions. We’d love to chat.