CPIO Presents

Social Media Video Best Practices

Stay tuned here for class postings.

This training was developed specifically with these principles in mind:
  • Our citizens have become used to high-quality video product from the City, and we want to maintain that.
  • We want you to have the freedom and confidence to post videos to social media.
  • We want you to be effective on social media, and video is an important tool across all platforms.
  • We don’t want to overwhelm our followers with too many live posts OR too many videos OR low-quality videos. That’s how we all lose followers and devalue our collective brand.
There are simple things that done wrong, or not at all, will lose your message AND followers. Creating good social media videos is critical to all our purposes, and here's why:
  •  Video on social media generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
  • 62% of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of a brand that publishes poor-quality video.
  •  Video quality is the most important factor for 67% of viewers when watching a livestream broadcast.
Source: Livestream and New York Magazine Survey

Class Outline

Section 1: Social Media Theory

This section covers the basic principles of creating and posting videos specifically for social media. Here, you'll learn statistics about how video is consumed and valued on social media, how you can determine whether video is the right call, recommendations for length of videos, and some applications you can use to record and edit these videos.

Section 2: Going Live

This section goes through the best practices and trends of posting live videos to Facebook and Twitter, including statistics, recommended content, and other considerations before you take on this beast. 

Section 3: Equipment

Here, we go through several kits you can use to elevate your video production. We have a kit for every need and budget!


The following guidelines were developed through research and first-hand experience, but they are just that: Guidelines. These tips and best practices are not written in stone, and while this advice has been vetted against industry standard and other public information officers, there are always going to be exceptions to the advice laid out below.
These are the standards CPIO will apply when considering cross posting videos to our main sites from other departments, but are not intended to force you to adhere to them strictly.
There is a separate effort to update the City's social media policy and guidelines. This training will be included in the guidelines as a way to help public information officers across the City better share their stories, but there are no consequences to not following these tips.
Additionally, this is meant as a basic training on social media video. For additional, specific training -- like how to use the equipment or edit video -- please contact your CPIO consultant to schedule a separate training.

Section 1: Social Media Theory

Should I shoot that?

  1. Is it in motion?
  2. Is it interesting?
  3. Do you have audio needs (and corresponding equipment)?
  4. Do you need (and have) stabilizing equipment?
If the answer to ANY of these above questions is NO -- then producing a video probably isn't the answer. Exceptions exist, especially if it's footage of something interesting happening right in front of you that doesn't require sound, like this.
The flow chart below takes you through these considerations (hint: click the photo for the full document).

Video composition checklist


  • Use vertical and horizontal -- base your choice on the subject of the video
  • Use rule of 3rds
  • Work within the space
  • Shoot at eye level
  • End with a call to action
  • Practice. You can post so only you see the footage.
See below for two examples of good composition.


  • Shoot into the light
  • Cut off heads
  • Allow a video with bad audio
  • Be far away from your subject
  • Post too many videos
  • Zoom (unless you have the right equipment)

Good example of composition.
Good example of composition.


Private industry standard for social media video duration is as follows:
  • 70% of your videos should be 6 to 15 SECONDS
  • 20% can be 15 to 30 SECONDS
  • 10% can be longer than 30 seconds
Source: Spredfast Social Media Conference, 2017

When to post

This sheet is based on research from three social media companies.
Generally speaking, the noon to 1 p.m. hour during the week is best for Twitter and Facebook -- but don't forget to check your department's scheduled posts. Don't want people to miss out on something because of too many posts!

Other considerations

  • Engage ATXN if you plan on using your video anywhere other than social media (ie YouTube). If you're just shooting with your phone, the quality won't be good enough for actual broadcast.
  • YouTube now has a function that lets you premiere your videos to a live audience prior to posting the whole video. If you're interested in this, reach out to ATXN.
  • Post videos directly to Facebook, rather than using a third party like YouTube. Native video uploads to Facebook have a 10x higher reach compared to shared YouTube links.
  • Twitter lets you post up to 2 minutes of video -- but it should VERY RARELY go that long. See the Duration notes above.
  • Also note: The specs for video on Twitter are different from Facebook and YouTube. If you're going to produce a video and share it to the different platforms, review this information about the requirements first.
  • Closed captioning: This is becoming critical, especially because most people have their sound off when perusing social media (meaning the sound likely will be off when they see your social media videos). There are several ways to add/edit subtitles on your videos. If you'd like training on that, please contact any of the committee members (listed at the bottom of this site).
  • Language Access: Just a quick reminder that we are committed to doing a better job of reaching people who don't speak English as a first or primary language. Please keep them in mind while you produce videos, and work with the Language Access coordinator in CPIO to develop a plan for your department and/or initiative.

Editing software

  • iMovie
  • Adobe Spark and Premiere
  • FinalCutX
  • Apple Clips
  • VivaVideo

Section 2: Going Live

By the numbers

Going live, specifically on Facebook and Twitter, is a critically important to having your message seen. Don't believe us? Check out these statistics: 
  • Daily watch time for Facebook live broadcasts has grown by more than 4x.
  •  Facebook live videos are watched 3x longer than videos that aren’t live anymore.
  • Compelling content is the primary motivator for live online viewing.
  •  1 in every 5 Facebook videos is a live broadcast.
  •  Users comment on Facebook live videos at 10x the rate of regular videos.
Source: Livestream and New York Magazine Survey

To go live, or not to go live: That's always the question.

LIVE content

  • Breaking news
  • Special event coverage
  • Series/shows
  • Community Engagement
  • Behind the scenes/How to
  • Interviews
  • Tributes/Announcements
  • Pop Culture/Trends
  • Humor
  • Performances/Live

Community engagement

Special event

Other traps to run your live idea through

Frequency: Once a week is probably the most you want to go live, so choose wisely.
Duration: Five to 30 minutes is industry standard. It's hard to keep the audience engaged, and the show going, for much longer than that.
Consistency: Weekly is ideal, but understandably unrealistic for a lot of us. Point is: Pick a schedule and stick to it.


  • Make sure you have a good internet connection (at least three bars). Test your Facebook Live feed and connection before going live by posting only to yourself. This will help make sure the internet connection, video, and audio equipment are working properly.
  • Disable phone calls and other notifications (Do Not Disturb).
  • Enable horizontal lock.
  • Use a tripod. Your arms are a poor substitute and may fall off after extended use.
  • Put a good deal of thought into your location. If you can, do it outside (meaning you have the proper equipment). However, audio usually is better than inside a closed, static studio.
  • Another note on location: Make sure you know what's going on in the background. Pro tip: Sensitive information on white boards or funeral homes in the background are BAD ideas.
  • Prepare your sources, to the extent you can. Make sure they know what questions you've prepared; how the show will go; and provide them some guidelines on what to wear. Advise them not to dress in white, red, or green and to go with muted, solid colors.
  • Monitor your live feed for engagement opportunities. Trello boards and iPads provide an easy way to do this.
  • Finish your broadcast with a call to action, if possible.
  • Advertise in advance of your show. Good practice is to start the promotion at least a month before, and ramp up as the show comes closer.
  • Make sure you tag people/organizations who are featured in the show or are involved in some way.
  • If you want the Facebook Live video to live off of Facebook (aka YouTube), it will take better equipment. Contact ATXN with any of these needs.
  • To go live on Twitter, you have to use an app called Periscope. Before you do, go through Section 2 of these guidelines. The most recent statistics show Periscope has 1.9 million daily active users, and 1 percent of internet users between 16 and 64 years of age use it.
Even if you have all of this, things can still go wrong. (And sometimes, it's for the better!)

Sharing strategies

  • Sharing: Easiest. Talk to CPIO consultant and media team to share to main pages.
  • Crossposting: Takes more coordination, but allows video to live on all pages
  • Tagging: Make sure you tag the right accounts (lots of parodies and bots these days)
  • Facebook algorithm: Make sure you stay up to date on what types of content will get you better play.

Analytics checklist

How do you know your social media videos are working?
  • Track FB Live Video stats
  • Check Feedback
  • Experiment with:
    • Content
    • Equipment and FB Live
    • Style (guerrilla versus clean)
    • Time of day
    • Frequency
    • Audience insights/demographics

Section 3: Equipment

Once you have the equipment you want, please reach out to our team (names below). We are offering a one-hour, hands on training session to help you use your new equipment.

Kit 1: iPhone Kit

Resources: One person minimum
Everyone should have at least this.
Without iPhone purchase/data plan: $168-262
With iPhone plan: $750 initial investment + $60/month data plan
Social media video productions
Facebook Live
Standard 1x1 interviews




Headphone Jack Adapter (example)
Microphones (example 1) (example 2)
Patch cable (example 1)
Phone (example)
Data plan (example)
(alternatively, you can connect to WiFi or hotspot)
OSMO (example). NOTE: Not great for audio.

Option 1

Option 2

Example: iPhone + OSMO

Kit 1: Option 1
Kit 2: Option 2
Kit 1: Example

Kit 2: iPad Kit

Resources: One to two people minimum
Pros: Won't get calls; Cheap data plans; Fewer retention concerns
$800 initial investment
$30/month data plan
Social media video productions
Facebook Live
Standard 1x1 interviews
Talk shows
Event recording
Walk and talks

Tablet mini (WiFi + Cellular) (example)
Data plan (example)
iOgrapher Case (example)
Tripod (example)
Video Mic (example 1) (example 2) (example 3)
Patch cable (example)
Input/output cables (example)
Earbuds (example)
Adapter (example)

Set up


Kit 3: MEVO

Resources: One to two people minimum
$1,000 initial investment (does not include iPhone/iPad purchases)
Social media video productions
Facebook Live
Standard 1x1 interviews
Talk shows
Event recording

Mevo kit (example) NOTE: Requires iPhone or iPad
USB Audio Interface (example)
Tripod (example)
Video Mic (example 1) (example 2) NOTE: Buy 2.
Adapter cable (example) NOTE: Buy 3.
Earbuds (example)

Set up


Kit 3: Example

The Fellowship of Social Media Video

Christian Bruncsak, ATXN
Abraham Gonzalez, ATXN
Aly Van Dyke, marketing consultant
James Williams, ATXN