Long form, short form, ephemeral, as long as it’s video, social media will gobble it up – depending on the audience that is, and the platform.

Someone said that it’s not people that make the world go ‘round, it’s actually stories that make the world go ‘round. What keeps social media going is the stories that people tell the world and the conversations they have with one another.

But not all social media platforms are created equal. Each has their own audience, language, and usage. For marketers, brands, or businesses to succeed in their video marketing efforts, they must know which video content or stories work on each platform.

We’ll tackle six of them in this article. Ready? Let’s go!

1. Facebook

Facebook in the City

Facebook is a social media colossus casually strolling along social video avenue and steamrolling over the competition – including the other giant, YouTube.

According to Quintly:

  • Facebook native videos get 10x more shares than YouTube.
  • More than 10 billion videos are being watched on Facebook daily.
  • Facebook has 8.4x more impact than any other social channels.

Add to that, Mashable reports’ numbers:

  • While YouTube’s watch time has grown over a year by 60% a year, Facebook’s has doubled from four to eight billion within six months in 2015.

Trying to figure out what stories to share on Facebook is like looking for a pin in that proverbial haystack.

So, let’s start with the (viral) most popular video topics on Facebook as per Buzzsumo. What are people actually watching?

Food Videos

Everybody eats and loves food, but for cooking and recipe videos to top Facebook’s list of videos with the most interaction per topic, it has to have social appeal. “It’s not just how to make the recipe, how to chop the onion,” says Buzzfeed’s Tasty GM Ashley McCollum to FastCompany, “It gives you a reason to reach out to your friend. It allows you to connect with another person.”

This 45-second video by Tasty on how to make a cheese stuffed pizza pretzel attests to that fact. It had 37 million views, 650,000 likes, and 750 shares within 24 hours:

DIY Videos

Let’s also take a look at Facebook’s most popular video of all-time. This video by Blossom, a page offering millennial moms ingenious solutions to common home organization problems has 333 million views:

Animal Videos

It doesn’t matter what people feel, when they see an animal video, they simply have to watch it all the way through. “The key to creating content that people can use to escape is to make it meaningful. That’s what people are hungry for,” says The Dodo (one of the most popular animal publisher on Facebook) creator Izzie Lerer.

Here’s one of Dodo’s most viewed animal videos:

So, what should your video’s agenda be on Facebook?

Raise Awareness on Facebook

With more than two billion users worldwide, and over eight billion video views per day, Facebook is the perfect launching pad for businesses. With data on what people are watching or what stories are resonating with audiences, it’s up to businesses to come up with a solid marketing strategy and video objectives to anchor their social videos on.

Newswhip has some analytics-backed up tips on how to make top videos on Facebook:

  1. Find the emotional elements.
  2. Make a how-to.
  3. If you have an interesting story to tell, go long.
  4. Find the connection.
  5. Break down the hard news into relatable stories.

Impactbnd also shared a list of clever Facebook campaigns that have successfully racked up engagements and shares.

One of the most popular campaigns on Facebook to date is the Ice Bucket Challenge. This campaign is to raise awareness for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease, which challenged people to dump ice water over their heads and have their friends and family do the same. Done with a marketing budget of $0, it raised $220 million from influencers and regular folks alike.

Here’s a compilation the Ice Bucket Challenge tech giant CEOs edition:

Facebook Live

Facebook is also looking ahead, as live streaming expands. Facebook Live pushes live videos on top of the newsfeed to encourage more views, reactions, conversations, and engagements. Who can forget the Chewbacca mom live video that fetched over 160 million views?

Publishers and brands are already into live streaming game, what with a minimum equipment of a smartphone and Internet connection, delivering valuable information and offerings to audiences has never been this convenient and effective. Just look at what Starbucks made people do for their Pumpkin Spice Latte launch:

2. YouTube

YouTube Mobile Phone

YouTube has become synonymous to videos as it hosts all sorts of video content from music videos, movie trailers, and video blogs to advertisements, sports, and video game commentaries. It’s also the second largest search engine next to Google with more than 10 years worth of content, and boasts of:

So, if you’re a marketer, where do you even begin in identifying the stories or content to share on YouTube?

But first, some YouTube video features:

  • Short-form videos – Videos under 10 minutes long.
  • Long-form videos  – Videos over 10 minutes long.
  • Live streaming/Live 360 and VR 180Live broadcasting feature with VR 180 and 360-degree support.
  • Red – YouTube Red is a paid membership option, available in United States, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Korea. It provides ad-free video and music experience on YouTube. It contains original shows perhaps in preparation to take on Netflix.

Be Engaging on YouTube

What type of videos should be produced on YouTube? That’s a hard question to answer! But let’s start with listing down the most popular types of video on YouTube:

  • Product Reviews – Video helps persuade 73% of people to purchase and 62% watch product reviews before buying. What’s more, 52% of people are more likely to buy after watching a YouTube product review, and that includes unboxing and walkarounds. Here’s an example of a product review from one of YouTube’s most popular “unboxer” who has 9.6 million subscribers. This unboxing video has 4.6 million views:

  • How-Tos – In 2015, searches for how-to videos went up by 70%. This is the age of information but it seems like humankind still needs guidance on the simplest things in life or maybe they’re just curious. In 2017, the most searched how-to questions in Google are “how to tie a tie” followed by “how to kiss”. In video, it’s “how to make slime”. Here’s an example with 29 million views:

  • Vlogs – Video blogs are mostly unscripted, free-flowing video diaries of people. The popular ones are user-generated, meaning, not produced by brands but by social media influencers. YouTube’s number one vlogger to date is Felix Arvid Ulf or PewDiePie who has 50 million subscribers. What is he vlogging about? Video games. This one has 79.9 million views:


What do all those video types have in common? They’re all engaging. Entertaining!

You can have “generate more traffic” as a video marketing goal, but remember that success in social video marketing lies in providing the target audience with real value, like solutions to their problems or pain points. Note that boredom counts as a pain point. That’s why in YouTube, while giving the audience what they need, never ever forget what they want, too.

Utilize YouTube analytics to gain insights on how your video is doing on the platform. Google BrandLab has some tips on building a YouTube content strategy that you might want to check out.

You can also take a look at the list of top YouTube channels and personalities to get an idea as to just how complicated relationships between YouTube stars and their followers can be.

Here are some more practical success tips from Think with Google:

How to be successful on YouTube:

  • Be authentic.
  • Be relevant.
  • It doesn’t have to be glossy.
  • Collaborate with others.
  • Listen to your audience.
  • Don’t expect engagement, ask for it.
  • Be regular and reliable.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn Logo

LinkedIn came in very late in the video marketing game, but that hardly matters because unlike other social video platforms, it has a ready-made target audience. LinkedIn is exclusively for professionals. It also boasts of C-suites and VIPs.

So, what stories are best featured on LinkedIn video?

But first, a short LinkedIn native video intro:

  • Auto plays on mute.
  • Allows three seconds to 10-minute long videos.
  • No live stream.
  • No subtitling or auto-captioning.
  • Available to members only, not companies.

There are also two ways to share videos on LinkedIn:

  1. Add to your personal profile.
  2. Share to followers on the company page.

Showcase Expertise on LinkedIn

LinkedIn users head to the platform to learn something new, converse, network, and find solutions to their business or professional problems.

What should businesses put in their video content?

  • Project highlights (finished and in progress).
  • Company highlights.
  • Announcements and teasers.
  • Product demos.
  • Educational and how-tos.
  • Job openings.
  • Video resumes (for employment seekers).

LinkedIn native video best practices:

  • Show people what you’re seeing.
  • Make sure your sound is clear.
  • Keep the camera steady.
  • Keep video length within 30 seconds to 5 minutes long.
  • Avoid overly produced or self-promotional videos.

4. Twitter

Twitter Icon

Twitter video is growing and brands are noticing. Why? Because Twitter video increases awareness by 61% and recall by 276% . And according to their data, the number one reason people come to their platform is to “discover something new and interesting”, which also makes them number one in terms of people “coming across video”.

But first, Twitter’s 3 video types:

  1. Native Video – These are two minutes and two seconds-long videos shot and uploaded on Twitter. They play automatically on mute, but sounds can be enabled. With native video, brands can take their time and create polished videos. They can tell their brand story, which can be a challenge as Twitter is all about short and sweet, or they can do what Warby Parker and Food Network did with native video:
  1. Live Video (with Periscope)

Periscope is an-app extension used for live video, much like Snapchat and Instagram Live. It’s perfect for Twitter as it’s all about real-time content. Brands can use it for live broadcasts, ambush interviews, or short updates and announcements, like this one by Red Bull:

  1. GIFs – These are moving images usually edited from videos. On Twitter, a lot of GIFs are comedic in nature and are instant engagers. Users use it as memes or exaggerated reactions to happenings and events – which on Twitter change by the second, simultaneously. Brands can use GIFs in many ways, as summaries, teasers, promos, and more. Here’s Diet Coke being witty and smart talking about Taylor Swift and her songs without even mentioning her:

Be Spontaneous on Twitter

Twitter is the place to be for breaking news and trends, which people consume on their phones. On it, content must always be fresh and smart. To succeed in Twitter, complete thoughts must be fitted into 280 characters (formerly 140). Remember that this platform was made famous by its brevity and hashtags. So, together with really fun videos, brands must also utilize their copywriting skills. Don’t forget to use emojis, too, which can convey so much more meaning and emotions than texts.

Here’s Spotify being cute by getting the number streamed artist on their platform to give an update:


5.  Snapchat

Snapchat Mobile

Just because Snapchat is the most millennial and gen Z of all social media platforms doesn’t mean brands can’t use it for marketing, albeit very subtly. You know how anti-everything these groups can be. And how they hate advertising. So, what can brands do?

Engage, tell stories, and be a part of their community.

More than half of Snapchat users in the U.S. are under 24. Worldwide, the number to 200 million and they watch more than 10 billion videos a day – and counting. Another interesting demographic according to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel is that 70% of Snapchat users are women. What do these numbers tell you? That your target is young, female, and global.

What should be top of mind when producing videos on Snapchat?  

But first, some Snapchat lingo:

  • Snaps: These are photos or 10-second long videos (which can now be 6 segments longer) you send to one or more of your friends, which disappear after being opened, and can only be replayed once.
  • Stories: These are a collection of your and your friends’ photos and videos, which disappear within 24 hours, but you may replay as many times as you like within 24 hours.
  • Geofilter: These are filters based on your location.
  • Snap Lenses: These are filters that allow you to add animated effects as you take snaps.

Maximize Exposure on Snapchat

One thing to remember about Snapchat is it’s a fun app and that its fun lies in its ephemeral quality. Ephemeral content’s appeal lies in its vanishing or self-destruct act, which forces users to hone their snapping skills. In Snapchat, users share just a brief little something about themselves and not with everyone. It’s an exclusive glimpse of how their day has gone.

Brands can do the same. They can use Snapchat as a teaser for an upcoming launch or a short live broadcast of an event. They can also use it for recruitment and even to run contests and campaigns.

Check this very emotional World Wildlife Fund #LastSelfie campaign for endangered species:

Sujan Patel, co-founder of Content Marketer, appearing on MSNBC shared three Snapchat ideas for small businesses to take advantage of:

  • Announcements and New Product Introductions Brands can give their followers a first and exclusive behind-the-scenes look of a product shoot before ad’s official release.
  • Exclusive Deals and Expiring Coupons Launch – Businesses can offer their followers exclusive freebies in exchange for sending them a snap with the product for a limited time.
  • Engaging and Compelling Stories – An exercise in creativity, companies can craft intriguing micro stories on just about anything to spark conversations.

Entrepreneur came up with a list of brands that are killing it on Snapchat. Here’s a super simple but overly Snapchat story from Taco Bell:

You know why else the younger set loves Snapchat? Sponsored lenses:

Here are some tips on how to improve your Snapchat stories:

  • Tease ‘Em – Make an intriguing opener.
  • Tell a Story – Craft a narrative that will draw out your audience emotions.
  • Add Text and Play with Filters – Make it easy and fun for viewers. Ensure that the screen is as active and helpful as possible.

6. Instagram

Instagram Mobile

The rise and rise of Instagram in the past two years, growing its users to 800 million can be attributed to, “A lot of luck, a lot of opportunity and a lot of hard work,” according to its CEO Kevin Systrom.

In the US, 70.7% of businesses use Instagram – which is probably the reason why 7 of 10 hashtags on it are branded. It also helped that Instagram created a space for businesses, which boasts of more than 25 million profiles worldwide.

What’s Instagram’s appeal? It’s an enabler just like other social media giants. Instagram gave ordinary folks with a smartphone to produce professional-looking images right there at the palm of their hand – and instantly share them, too.

For brands, it’s the perfect platform to inspire people and help them discover more of what they care about. Instagram is so effective for brands that 65% of its top performing posts featured products.

Instagram Stories

As video is taking over the Internet, Instagram jumped right into the ephemeral content game (albeit in a controversial way) with Instagram Story and actually succeeded.

Check this Lowe’s thinking outside the box even with the smallest of spaces clip and guess which platform it… snapped:


Here are more brands that know how to craft engaging Instagram stories:



GoPro Instagram
Image Credit

Instagram Live

Instagram Live not only lets users broadcast live, it also allows for a guest to come on. This is a perfect platform for conversations and interviews, as well as for product launches, demos, backstage tours, vlogging, and more.

Here’s Maybelline featuring Gigi Hadid on Instagram Live and IG video, which has more than 200,000 views and tons of engagement:


Be Relevant on Instagram

What stories should brands share on Instagram? Well, what’s relevant to your market or audience?

Remember, former US President Barack Obama is on Instagram, as well as mega millennial celebrities like the Biebs and TayTay. Don’t forget world-changing influencers such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, plus the biggest brands in the whole world are on Instagram. But, it also has your community plumbers in there, local artists, musicians, you name it, they’re on Instagram.

What stories should be featured on Instagram? If you’re a restaurant owner, you can give your followers a glimpse of how a dish is prepared. If you have sports teams, you can give the fans a sneak peek of the teams’ training sessions. Fashion brands can show followers how to mix and match outfits. There’s so much variety in terms of stories to share to followers. It all just depends on the audience’s interests, wants, and needs.

So, how to use Instagram Stories to promote your business? Here are some helpful tips from Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg co-founder Neil Patel:

  • Build Anticipation – Build up the hype for people to keep coming back to drive traffic. A great example is Ralph Lauren’s “The Guests are on the Way” during New York’s Fashion Week.
  • Storytell – Produce a well-thought-out video with a solid narrative relative to the brand. Nike creates some of the most beautiful 60-second videos on IG: https://www.instagram.com/nike/
  • Showcase What You’re DoingBuffer uses stories to discuss their latest blog posts, give their community behind the scenes look and share social media stats. They recommend brands to produce how-tos, discounts and coupons, promos, lists and countdowns, take-over announcements and more.

In addition:

  • Play an aggressive hashtag game – Research related hashtags, the competitor’s hashtags, and third-party hashtag discovery tools. As for the number of hashtags, watch how the influencers do it and experiment. Keep your eyes peeled on trending topics related to your brand and jump on it.

In summary: What Stories Should You Share on Social Media

Different social video platforms have different purposes, features, and audiences. After mapping out the marketing strategy, businesses can proceed to the identification of video goals per marketing funnel, and then figure out the best social video platform that would carry their story and message across.

Here’s a quick rundown of what content works best per social video platform:

  • Raise awareness on Facebook.
  • Be engaging on YouTube.
  • Showcase expertise on LinkedIn.
  • Be spontaneous on Twitter.
  • Maximize exposure on Snapchat.
  • Be relevant on Instagram.

New call-to-action