Video for Social Media (part 2 of 3)


This is the second installment of our three blog series on video for social media. For this series of blogs, I’m joined by Jennifer Radke, CEO of the National Institute for Social Media (NISM). Jennifer’s organization helps social media managers develop the skills and knowledge necessary for success in social media marketing.

The content of your social media videos should entertain, educate, or inspire your audience. Great content will help engage your audience, get them to follow your brand and potentially recommend you or share your content.

back-view-of-a-young-white-man-video-editor-2021SMVIDEO LENGTH AND FREQUENCY

Social media videos should generally be :20 to :90 seconds, but it depends on platform, audience and topic.

Jennifer: The best practice is still short video for social media. Facebook and Twitter suggests one to three minutes is a sweet spot. But it depends a little bit on the overall content strategy. For example, our content strategy includes things like educating our community. One of the ways we do that specifically through content on Instagram is through Reels, which is a short video. And we do that once or twice per week, but those are not high production, high touch. They're super short, 15 to maybe 30 seconds, and they have heavy text. So it might be an image or a person, but there's mostly text bubbles coming up because that's the current trend in Reels. Where I wouldn't recommend the same, for LinkedIn or a Facebook. Those can be a little bit longer, a little bit more in-depth and a little less frequent.”


If you’re just starting out, experiment with different types of videos to see what works best for your business and your audience. Video types include: Demo videos, interviews, animations, events and testimonials. Create a campaign or series of videos based on:

  • How to or product use ideas
  • Visual tours of departments
  • Service areas or capabilities
  • Client of the month – make a customer the hero of your story
  • Employee of the month
  • FAQs of your customers
  • Segments on company history

Jennifer: “For social, content like Q & A sessions with key staff and faculty or interviews with other folks like users or customers. One thing that’s super popular on social is new product reveals. Videos that show behind the scenes, tutorials or demos. How does that product actually work in a kitchen? Or what does it look like on the counter? Those are things that people can really relate to in their lives. Those are big.”


It’s really important to grab their attention and draw them in the first five seconds. You may only have a few seconds to catch their attention so they’ll watch the whole video. Hook them in with a question. The intro to the video should also be clear what it’s about. Quick pace, jump cuts are ok, graphic embellishments are good. Remember to entertain, educate or inspire your audience.

Use emotion and humor in your videos. As much as possible, tell a story with a beginning, middle and an end (with a point or payoff). Many stories -- and blockbuster movies like Star Wars -- have similar journey/story flow like this:

  • Hook – get them interested in the video
  • Set up/problem/backstory - the issue/problem your service/product solves
  • Journey – series of events, challenges, steps to resolve
  • Climax - peak of the events in journey
  • Resolution
  • Next step – call to action

Keep the content flowing fast and breezy. Social media videos are not meant for deep dives on heavy details. Always keep the audience in mind, what interests them and what doesn’t.

Jennifer: What's that next step? Who are you selling to? Why do they care? Where are they online and what motivates them to buy from you? Those pieces have to be audience first.”


To make your videos as effective as possible, give your audience a specific direction or action to take at the end of the video. It could be a link to another one of your videos, a landing page, contact us, etc. Always ask your viewers to share, like and follow your channel.

Jennifer: “Be clear about what you want them to do. People don't want to have to think very hard.”

Stayed tuned for our next installment in this series on Video for Social Media, where we’ll discuss posting and measuring the success of your social media videos.

For more on developing video content in general, check out our blog: Tips and Tools for Developing Video Content.

Mastcom ( is here to help you build your video asset library and give your videos style, purpose and direction. For help with social media management, follow the National Institute for Social Media on social media (NISM).


Tim has been in the media production industry since his days as a U.S. Navy shipboard news anchor in the 1980s. Tim has a BA in Visual Communication from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He has been President of Mastcom since 2002.