How to improve your social media marketing for video

NZ Social Video

A practical guide to improving your social media marketing, plus examples of standout social video from real small businesses.

At a glance

  • Social video is on the rise – and small business owners should be across recent changes to key platforms.
  • Instagram and Facebook are prioritising vertical videos of set specifications and limited time length.
  • Use space wisely – and avoid placing any elements where they will be obscured by on-screen elements.
  • We’ve compiled examples of New Zealand small businesses producing top-notch video content for their social media platforms.

Small businesses are putting plans in place to thrive – and upping their marketing strategy, particularly social media marketing, is a key way of doing so. 

Seventeen per cent of small businesses planning to implement a new marketing strategy in the next 12 months*, which is an encouraging indication that getting marketing right could pay off in the long run. 

So how can you improve your social media video – and by extension, your marketing strategy – in 2022? Here’s a practical guide.

How social media platforms prioritise video 

For the uninitiated, social media can seem like a minefield of new platforms and updates. 

Facebook’s parent company is expanding into the metaverse. TikTok continues its mammoth rise while other platforms respond by creating space for short-form, full screen vertical video. Even YouTube, which has been the home of long-form video for a decade and a half, has introduced YouTube Shorts, its sub-60-second offering, to capitalise on the trend. 

Instagram is a prime example of this across-the-board transition to short video. Although traditional photo posts are here to stay, the company is heavily pushing its shorter video offering, announcing: 

  • The consolidation of all video formats, bringing together in-feed video, Reels and (now-defunct) IGTV content in a single place. 
  • The extension of the maximum video length from 60 to 90 seconds. 
  • New features such as Remix and Dual, which encourage users to play around with existing content and repost on their own channels. 

These changes have also been reflected over on Facebook, which has offered Reels in New Zealand since February 2022. 

So what does all of this mean? Video is here to stay, it’s central to successful social media marketing, and it presents an invaluable opportunity for small business owners to capitalise on a growing trend. 

Savvy small business owners who’ve made the most of social advertising over the past two to three years need to make some fast changes to maintain their results. 

Tips to improve social media marketing using video

Making the most of social video isn’t quite as simple as taking out your phone and hitting record (although hand-held video can certainly go a long way to foster a home-grown, down-to-earth feel to your content). 

Gone are the days when 1:1 photo posts – square images – dominated our Instagram feeds, but you’ll continue to see more and more video-led content from users and other small businesses. 

Correctly shooting and formatting your video is critical: 

  • Get your specs right. Reels asks for videos with specifications of 9:16 – the kind of footage made possible by holding your phone in portrait mode. 
  • Know when to stop recording. When we talk of ‘short’ video, we mean it – a limit of between three and 90 seconds is applied to all videos. 
  • Use space wisely. The most essential information, and certainly any text, should remain in the centre of the frame, not towards the top or bottom of the frame. 

This last point is particularly important. Users watch your Reels in fullscreen mode, which is designed to present a more immersive experience for the user on mobile – but it also means that elements such as page title, caption and buttons show up on top of the video itself at the top and the bottom of the frame. 

Think of an invisible 4:5 section in the middle of the 9:16 vertical frame – that’s where you’d look to put any text, stickers or polls to ensure those elements aren’t covered partly or fully by a layer of text. Your videos will also appear in your Reels grid with a portrait 4:5 preview, so you’ll need to create a cover frame to suit these specs.

Standout examples of small businesses on socials 

Sometimes, it’s most helpful to see examples of advice in action. 

We’ve compiled a bunch of small businesses hitting all the marks when it comes to producing engaging – and well-made – video content for socials. These are videos that illustrate the tips and guidelines outlined above – a real-life example for you to consider emulating in your own social content.

This Instagram Reel from boutique hair salon Sable showcases all the trademarks of an effective social video: a simple message, short length, and onscreen text that doesn’t stray towards the edge of the frame. 

Here’s an example of a well-made Reel for real results. Released by health and wellness business Arepa, this video has attracted more than 13,500 views at the time of publication, perhaps owing to its striking visuals and clean production design.


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A post shared by geo&j | Hair Repair Mask (@geoandj)

There’s more simple yet engaging messaging on show in this Reel from beauty and cosmetics business Geo&j, which also presents practical advice to viewers in accessible fashion.

Another tip for upping your social video game: lean into online trends. This video from skincare company Jeuneora riffs on a common TikTok and Reels meme to comedic effect – and has become one of the business’s most highly viewed videos. 

*RFi New Zealand SME Banking Council, May 2022

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