Creating one video to repurpose for use on Facebook and Instagram can save you time and money and maximise the reach for your content. Read on for tips on how to plan your video for use across both platforms.

Why invest in video

Video feels like a big investment when you’ve got limited resources, so why do it?

“I see video as a megatrend,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, (2017). Love him or hate him he’s right about this. 

  • 1200% more shares are generated by video content
  • 100 million hours of video are watched each day on Facebook and they have announced that they are prioritising services that will improve viewer experience on the platform
  • Marketers who used video grew their revenue 49% faster than those not using video
  • After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online
Think about where you want to use the video before creating it

We don’t all have the budget or time to create a separate video for each social platform. If you have limited resources think about where you want to share your video before creation. If you have a similar audience across Instagram and Facebook or audiences that have similar needs, this can be a smart strategy.

  • Who is your audience on each platform? Choose content that speaks to the audiences across multiple platforms.
  • Think about what works well on each platform style and pick one that will sit well on each. 
Which orientation should I film in?

Viewers hold their mobile in portrait orientation 94% of the time, so lead with a portrait strategy.

On Instagram you can show your video in portrait on stories and on IGTV. Videos on the grid need to be square in order for your grid thumbnail to look good i.e. nothing to be cropped. Although videos are often in landscape mode on Facebook, a square format can also be used.

To create one video to repurpose on multiple platforms we recommend that you:

  1. Plan your video to be viewed in portrait e.g. using a portrait orientation on your phone or planning the video subject to allow for cropping to portrait and to square.
  2. Outline why your audience should keep watching in the first 3 seconds. What is the value to them?
  3. Keep your most attention grabbing, action-inducing message to the first 10 seconds.
  4. Aim for a maximum length of 60s per video. IGTV allows longer videos, but that first 60 seconds will post to your grid and be needed to entice viewers to click through to IGTV. Facebook videos of between 60-90s also perform the best.
  5. Use captions on all video
Go square

Square works well on both Facebook and Instagram. Studies have shown that square format videos e.g. 1:1 get the most engagement across both platforms. In fact, it costs 7.5% less to get someone to engage with square video on Facebook and 33% less on Instagram. So when creating video that will work well as posts or as ads stick to a square.

Most users access social platforms on their mobile and scroll vertically to view content. Square videos take up more real estate in the feed e.g. their vertical drop is longer and they use up more of the screen and hook viewers.

So if you’ve only got time to produce one video to share everywhere, go square. 

How to crop a video to a square

You can edit your video on iMovie direct on your phone and use an app such as Crop Video Square to trim to a square on your phone, directly.

Alternatively, paid tools such as Wondershare Filmora are great for basic editing and allow you to select the format you want to create when uploading your video.

Timing

Each platform has different maximum lengths for video. Whatever the platform, use the first three seconds to entice your viewer to watch more as viewers drop off significantly after this.

What to include in the first three seconds

  • Highlight the value your viewer will get if they keep watching
  • Sum up your content before going into detail e.g. use a trailer

Facebook and Instagram posts

Stick to a 60s maximum for your video posts. Viewers are scrolling through fast and don’t have time to get engrossed. Instagram posts are limited to 60s and Facebook engagement drops off rapidly after a minute. 

IGTV

On IGTV, where people expect to invest in watching, 3-5 minutes is the maximum to aim for in order to add value and keep your audience’s attention.

Facebook and Instagram Ads

For a successful Facebook or Instagram advertising strategy you might get better results with a specifically planned video. You can however repurpose an existing video if you’ve planned with this in mind before creation. 

For video ads Facebook recommends you stick to 15 seconds to share your message to maximise your completion rate.

Instagram 

Viewers on Instagram view video in a portrait or vertical format on IGTV and in stories. However videos on the grid need to be square to ensure the video thumbnail looks great on your grid.

Stories

If you are filming directly for stories use a portrait set up e.g. hold your phone as you would to make a call. This ensures that nothing is cropped and that your content fills the screen.

  • Each story is 15s so a longer video will split into segments when uploading. You can then add stickers, text etc to each story. segment before upload.
  • You can cut a longer video into short segments to use in your story strategy over time. This can either work to drive traffic to the longer video or simply to create multiple interactions with your audience over time.
  • You can share a video post to your stories, asking them to click to view to drive viewers to your grid for more engagement.

IGTV

IGTV has nestled quietly in the background on Instagram but will be a huge opportunity going forward. 

Instagram now posts a 1 minute highlight to your grid when you load a video to IGTV. This shows in viewers’ newsfeeds, with a button to see more. Using preview opportunity will get more eyes on your IGTV video content!

On uploading to IGTV you must choose to post a preview on your grid:

The Grid

Videos on the grid are the exception. The video thumbnail that is visible on your grid looks best when planned as a square. Plan your IGTV or story video first then crop to a square.

The maximum length for a grid post is 60s. Either plan a one minute video in the first place or split your original video into smaller 60s sections using a tool such as iMovie. This allows you to repurpose your original video into multiple posts.

Remember to select a good thumbnail that works well on your grid. This can be done on upload.

How to create a IGTV video to work on your grid too

IGTV videos should be portrait, but the highlight that posts to your grid will show as a square. 

How to plan your IGTV video to work as a square highlight on your grid:

  • Centre the main subject of the video vertically in the portrait view. If you are videoing yourself, sit further back from the camera than you would normally and allow some ‘croppable’ space above and below your head and shoulder view. 
  • Don’t overlay text that you want on your grid, including subtitles, in the upper or lower quarters of your video.
  • Plan your video around the central square portion of your portrait view.
  • Consider a cover photo that works well when cropped square.
Captions and subtitles

85% of videos are watched without sound, so captions are essential. 

To add subtitles and captions to your social media videos check out these two recommended methods.

More tips on video marketing for social media

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