October 22, 2019

4 Types of Social Video (And When to Use Them)

Likeable Team

Every piece of content your brand posts on social media should either educate, entertain, or inspire. And more often than not, you’ll need more than a few seconds of attention to do so. Enter social video. 54 percent of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support, proving that the appetite for video is there. Not only does video give the audience what they want, but it also gives brands the results they’re looking for—95 percent of a message is retained when received through video, compared to only 10 percent when read via text.

Here’s a crash course on the four most common types of social video and when to use them.

1. Microvideos

We define microvideos as any video content under one minute, ranging from six-second looping videos (GIFs) to 45-second recipe videos. Because social platforms were built for mobile use, and short-form content is very mobile friendly, this is the most common type of social video.

Microvideos are great for:

  • Promos and deals
  • Announcements and reveals
  • Giveaways and contests
  • Tutorials and how-tos
  • Capturing attention to drive traffic
  • Conveying a message that’s too complicated for an image

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2. Stories

In 2013, Snapchat invented Stories, a unique format that strings together disappearing photos and videos to create longer narratives. True to the platform, this content is usually unpolished, fun, and real. In 2016, Instagram launched its own Stories feature, which is all but a carbon copy. Because Instagram was able to tap into its existing user base, it experienced even more explosive growth than Snapchat did. Instagram Stories hit 100 million monthly users in just two months, and two years later, its user base has doubled that of Snapchat’s.

Stories are great for:

  • Going behind the scenes
  • Event coverage
  • Employee or influencer takeovers
  • Sharing user-generated content (UGC)
  • Audience engagement (polls/questions)


3. Long-Form Videos

We define “long-form” as any video over one minute. Amidst the rise of online streaming services like Netflix and HBO Go, longer, professionally produced content is becoming more common. The social networks want or need a piece of that pie, and have all launched their own versions of streaming services. Facebook has Facebook Watch, YouTube has YouTube Originals, and Instagram has IGTV.

Long-form videos are great for:

  • Documentary-style interviews
  • Q&As
  • Scripted series
  • Telling complex stories that take time to build or unpack
  • Featuring authentic stories

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4. Live Video

It’s no secret that live streaming has become incredibly popular among millions of users on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. It provides a unique opportunity for brands to be less “corporate” and more authentic. However, there are a few risks. It’s LIVE. If you’re planning to stream a live video, make sure you test your equipment and internet strength beforehand, and always go in with an emergency plan.

Live video is great for:

  • Event coverage
  • Q&As
  • Audience engagement
  • Giveaways that reward participants

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Because these videos serve such different purposes, a robust social media plan ideally includes a healthy mix of all of them. No matter what your message is, incorporating video will strengthen it while building brand love.


Want to learn more about social video and develop a strategy tailored to your brand? Check out our Smarter Social™ training product for in-house teams.

Tags: Best Practices, Content Marketing, Creative, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube

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