January 21st, 2021

Using video effectively for social media

Posted by Tom Meldrum

It comes as no surprise that video on social media is a powerful tool to promote your brand, increase engagement and ultimately drive sales. Part of your content strategy, videos — when done correctly — should deliver information in a form that is long enough to keep your audience’s attention, but short enough to leave them wanting more.

As a medium to communicate with your audience, video has become an increasingly popular choice. Its effectiveness in engaging the viewer, paired with the number of tools now available to help create and share your content, make it a great and easy way to build existing customer relationships and create new ones.

Consider for a minute that YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine. If you’re trying to reach new audiences, it seems like a huge missed opportunity to not be on the platform that touts over 1 billion hours of watch time every day…

Don’t think either that video needs to be film-festival worthy to have an impact. Being authentic and showing your audience that there are real-life people behind the brand is becoming increasingly important in building a genuine customer relationship. Yes, you should set some standards and release everything in-line with your brand (which we can help with) but it doesn’t need to be a 4K, surround-sound masterpiece.

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So why is it that video has been overlooked by so many as a communication tool?

Sure it used to take a good amount of specialist equipment, expertise, time and some good old fashioned creativity to make something worth watching. However, this isn’t the case anymore (aside from creativity — it always helps to have some of that).

With social media platforms quite happily giving new video features a preference in their search algorithms and providing you with tools that make it easier than ever to create and share short-form videos, it’s an area many businesses can easily use to make some quick and easy gains.

Benefits of using video for social media

Video platforms and uses

With just about every social media platform out there having their own form of video sharing, and with many having multiple, it’s worth knowing which ones are suitable for you.

Don’t think that you need to be on every platform, in fact, that would probably be impossible — just use your existing platforms or put your effort into the one you think is most popular with your audience.


Owned by Google, YouTube is the largest video sharing site in the world. Videos here can be as long as you like, making it great for in-depth content. Building a successful YouTube page requires a large amount of work due to the competition on the platform. We recommend thinking of it as an alternative to a blog post. Your video content should act as a landing point that then directs people to your website or services.

Another benefit to YouTube is the ability to host videos which can be embedded in your website, creating a seamless viewing experience that won’t slow your site down.


The mainstay social media for many, Facebook has been rapidly growing their video capabilities in attempts to compete with YouTube. Facebook video is great for engaging your existing audience and has the potential to reach beyond it through their search and related videos algorithm.

Facebook Live & Instagram Live

Regardless of your strategy, going ‘live’ on either platform should be first approached with some preparation. Whilst these mediums provide a great way to communicate directly with your audience in the moment, the nature of being live means that if things go wrong then your audience will know about it. But then again, if rough around the edges is your brand’s thing, then you might choose to embrace it.


Similar in many ways to YouTube, Vimeo is a useful platform to embed videos on your website. Videos uploaded to Vimeo must pass stricter quality guidelines meaning the content there is generally of a higher quality. It also has features like a domain-restricted embed and the ability to replace a video but keep the URL — handy for SEO purposes. Vimeo is a great place for any professional videos you’ve commissioned.


The favourite social platform for many who are building a relationship with their audience. It is also perhaps the most difficult to master for the uninitiated — with a total of five ways for users to share video. We’ve highlighted these and their uses below:

– Feed post

The simplest way to share a video. Much like images, videos posted on your feed appear in your main grid and will autoplay when users scroll through their timeline. As these appear on your feed you’ll probably want to spend a bit more time making sure these look great. Feed videos can be up to 60 seconds.

The features on these platforms and their use cases are continually evolving. Don’t feel content needs to be restricted based on the platform, there are plenty of times these ‘rules’ have been broken to great success.


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– Stories

Stories are the place to share your images and videos as the story unfolds. These are supposed to be a representation of the story happening right now, so aren’t expected to be totally polished. Anything uploaded to your story disappears after 24 hours, although it can be preserved through the highlights feature.


This is the place to host longer-form content. IGTV can be shared to your feed and will also be found organically provided you use an effective discovery strategy. Think of these as a permanent and longer version of a story.

– Reels

Reels are Instagram’s answer to TikTok. Content here can be a maximum of 60 seconds and is often accompanied by filters, music and effects. Compared to standard posts Reels are more easily found through Instagram’s explore algorithm, so shareable funny or satisfying clips tend to work well here.


TikTok is the new kid on the block. Attracting a younger user base, this video sharing platform is a great place to share your creativity and humour. Videos don’t need to be limited to dances here; Washington Post has some good examples of content that is humorous and informative, and strategically positions themselves as a trusted source of news to a younger demographic.

@washingtonpost##DoublePlanet 🪐🪐♬ Fly Me To The Moon – Frank Sinatra

Creating a video

99% of the time a smartphone is more than enough to create a video suitable for social media. Editing and effects can often be done through the platform itself, or through any of numerous apps available on a phone.

If you want some more control, or to up the production value, some specialist equipment might be required. This is likely to consist of a camera, microphone and lighting. Drones are also a popular choice, especially tourism businesses in looking for a new perspective. If you have the idea but not the means to create it we’d recommend calling in some professional help.

Types of video for social media

If you’re struggling with some ideas on how to use video for your brand we’ve listed some to get you started:

Extra tips:

All of the content you produce and deliver to your audience, whether it’s your website copy or a social media video, should be carefully considered within a wider content strategy. We create content strategies that work for you and your brand. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

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