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The Types Of Social Media Video Content You Need To Spark Engagement On Each Major Platform

The Types Of Social Media Video Content You Need To Spark Engagement On Each Major Platform

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The competition on social media platforms is becoming fiercer every day…

Every startup, local business or Fortune 500 company is cranking out large volumes of social media content and fighting for your customers’ attention.

The algorithms are shifting too. Facebook is leading the way by devaluing the reach of text-based content in exchange for video. Instagram and LinkedIn are following.

So if you want to engage an audience on social media, it’s a pretty simple equation: start creating more video content.

Is it that easy? You just create a few videos and distribute them to each social platform?

Unfortunately it’s not quite that simple. The types of social media video content you should use will vary depending on the platform you are on.

So let’s take a look at each of the major social platforms and which type of video content performs the best.

Facebook and Instagram

Facebook and Instagram are two separate social media platforms for different purposes. But given they have the same parent company, it’s hard not to notice that they are becoming quite similar in many ways. That’s why we put them together here.

Both of these platforms have been optimized for mobile viewing, and are also heavily synchronized with each other in terms of their algorithms and styles.

Let’s look at the types of video content that perform well on these two platforms.

Square videos

Square videos outperform other types of video on Facebook and Instagram primarily because the majority of both platforms’ users are on mobile. Square videos occupy 78% more of your phone’s screen on the Facebook and Instagram mobile apps than horizontal videos do.

Research by Buffer found out that square videos outperform landscape and letterboxed videos by a landslide on Facebook.

View-baiting videos

By default, Facebook and Instagram autoplay videos on mute. Analytics-wise, those autoplays count as views, but they don’t give you any real result. Most people scroll past autoplay videos anyway.

That means that unless your video has a strong visual opening in the first 3 seconds, you’re likely to get low actual view counts. You can work around this by including captions and using an intriguing thumbnail – even without sound.

Facebook Live and Instagram Stories

Live videos change how your followers engage with your brand entirely. One of the most amazing features of Facebook Live is the ability to engage with your followers in real time with reactions and comments.

The current newsfeed algorithm on both platforms weighs live videos more heavily than other updates. By default, Facebook and Instagram also enable notifications for live videos that let your followers know every time you start a broadcast. It means whenever you have an important message or announcement for your followers, this is the best way to get it out there.

Stories are also an awesome feature to connect with your brand’s followers and friends in a more social way. You can share behind the scenes snapshots, unveil new products, or give a peek at the day-to-day life of your company.

Here’s NASA doing their environmental campaign through Instagram stories:

What makes stories a prominent tool to engage followers is how they’re located on top of your newsfeed (both on Facebook and Instagram) where they’re really hard to miss.

Instagram Stories bar.

Facebook Stories bar.


Twitter is notorious for being one of the hardest platforms for businesses to gain traction, even with every best practice implemented.

Visual content is a great tool for gaining traction on Twitter because similarly to any other platform, images and videos stand out in Twitter’s timeline.


Periscope is a live broadcasting platform linked to Twitter. This connection allows both the broadcaster and viewers to use clickable hashtags that links a broadcast to Twitter. Twitter also enables broadcast notifications by default to make it easier for you to share live and important updates directly to your followers right then and there.

Periscope notifications.

Animated GIFs

The ultimate value of animated GIFs for regular Twitter users is entertainment and how they can complement a tweet. The value of GIFs for businesses, however, is a bit more difficult to see.

When it comes to GIFs, the limit is your own imagination. Consider adding GIFs to your tweets and other social media updates because they are the visualization of internet trends and memes. Using proper GIFs for each occasion will show that your brand has a fun side and also keeps up with the latest trends on the Internet.

There have been many big brand Twitter accounts that have used GIFs to get attention on Twitter. Wendy’s is a great example.

Wendy’s using a GIF to enhance a tweet.


LinkedIn is the largest online platform for professionals and businesses from all around the world, with a total of 467 million users.

Consider spending some resources on growing your connections and reach through the platform, especially if you are a business-to-business (B2B) company. Out of 10 B2B marketers, 9 use LinkedIn as a primary platform to distribute their content, and that’s tough competition to beat.

Explainer videos

Making content such as an explainer video that presents your product, service, or company can improve your company’s presence on LinkedIn.

In addition, the majority of the content distributed on LinkedIn are articles. Using explainer videos as your featured content will help you stand out from the competition.

Wrapping up

It’s true that videos are an awesome type of compelling content that can be used on virtually any social media platform worth its salt.

But the significant difference between the user groups and technical set up on each platform, makes it difficult to generalize one type of video for all of them.

By reading this brief guide you will have a better idea of which types of social media video content you should use on each platform.

Guest Author: Jeff Yonata is 1/30 of the companionship called Breadnbeyond, an award winning explainer video production company. He shares what he knows about explainer videos with others—by explaining them! When he’s not knee-deep in the video marketing world, he spends his time playing The Witcher 3, at least for now.

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