The 4 KEY Elements of Effective Social Media Videos

Written by Bridgette Weller Brown
on 14 Jun 2021

V ideo is one of the most effective ways to drive reach and engagement across multiple social media platforms.

With the introduction of TikTok, Reels, IGTV, and Facebook Watch, users are spending more time than ever before consuming video content, whether it be long-form or short-form.

So, how do you create unique video content that stands out from the crowd?

Man holding Sony video camera to camera

(READ: Why Use Hashtags On Facebook In 2021?)

Keep the Platform in Mind

When creating video content for social media, it’s important to remember which platform you’re making it for.

Each social media platform has a different audience, and it’s important to remember that a video that appeals to a millennial/Gen Z audience may not appeal to a Gen X audience.

It’s also important to keep in mind what video format works best for each platform. For example, when shooting an IGTV, your IGTV video dimensions should be 1080 x 1920 pixels or an aspect ratio of 9:16, compared to Facebook Watch 1280 x 720 or 16:9.

Keep in mind other information that could help your video be more well-received depending on the platform.

Video Length

Your audience may not give a lot of time to your video unless it captures their attention.

The most significant bits of your video should be right at the very beginning. Get your audience hooked, so they want to watch the rest of the video.

(READ: Create Scroll-Stopping Content For Social Media)

How long should your video be?

It depends on the platform.

An Instagram story can be 15 seconds, a Reel needs to be between 15 to 30 seconds, and an IGTV can be anywhere from 1 minute to an hour.

Facebook themselves recommend your videos be about 3 minutes long but can be anywhere from 5 seconds to 240 minutes.

YouTube is slightly more complicated. When your account is unverified, your video can be up to 15 minutes, whereas it can be up to 12 hours when verified. The shortest video length you can have (if you believe it) is just one second!

(READ: Social Listening: What, Why and How Ultimate Guide)

Video Graphics

Did you know that 70% of YouTube’s watch time comes from mobile devices?

Optimising your content for mobile is essential. Try to use simple video graphics that can be easily seen on mobile devices. Also, ensure that elements of your video are spaced out well enough to tell the difference between them.

The same applies to video thumbnails. Remember to keep the text within the borders of the thumbnail, so the timecode does not cut it off (see images below).


You don’t want to distract from the high-quality information your audience is interested in with poor audio quality.

People are more likely to hit the back button if you don’t have crisp and clear audio.
Audio matters. That’s why the first piece of equipment you should invest in (before a fancy camera or lighting equipment) is a decent microphone.

Even if you can’t afford one, there are little things you can do to improve your audio quality.
Be aware of the background noise that your microphone may be picking up. Do your best to avoid it.

85% of social media users scroll on these platforms with the sound off. Adding captions draws in these users and allows them to see what is being said in a video without hearing it.

When adding subtitles, you don’t need to type out every word yourself. Instagram and Facebook’s new auto-captions feature and other programs like Descript do the job for you!

(READ: What is a Hashtag? And How To Use Hashtags in 2020)

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