Social media video mistakes, avoid these to deliver powerful content
By Law Enforcement Social
May 24, 2021

Videos are key when it comes to social media. Since 2015, video integration across social media channels, especially Instagram, is the highest performing content in terms of engagement. 

Likely, your agency is already implementing as much video content as possible into your social media calendars. Still, we catch so many flaws from law enforcement agencies, and we want to fill you in. 

With the social media game constantly shifting, it’s essential to keep up with the latest tools and tactics to maximize not only engagement but credibility and professionalism.

There was once a time where social media was seen as just a “game,” but its progression over the years has made it a pivotal tool in media and marketing that you want to represent your agency as best as possible. 

From not adding video captions to choosing poor video thumbnails or posting the wrong video size/scale, there are many ways one can easily make a mistake, so we’re here to correct it and strengthen your social media visuality. 

Remember when creating video content to focus on quality, not quantity, and avoid these three social media video mistakes to elevate your agency’s social delivery. 

Where are the captions?

Integrating captions to any and every video you post on social media should be the standard from here on out. Optimizing your agency’s social media videos with captions will increase accessibility, not only for those who may be hard of hearing or possibly deaf but for people who view your video without sound. 

Did you know about 85 percent of videos on Facebook are watched without sound? You do not want to restrict your viewership; it’ll damage your engagement, reach, and viewership. Another point, notice when scrolling through your social media applications, videos start playing without clicking on them, but are muted…the captions serve as a tactic to interest a viewer and/or allow them to view the entire video in silence; which will increase your average view duration too.

“In order to capture your audience as they scroll through their feed, you need to optimize your social videos for sound-off viewing. One way to do this is by adding captions allowing your followers to experience the script and get a better sense of what’s happening while the content is muted. For instance, when you add closed caption files to your videos, the search engine bots that crawl the internet will index and weigh these files in your search results, providing you with a search engine optimization boost.”


We also want to point out that you can now optimize your Instagram Stories with captions! Anytime you shoot or upload a video onto your Story, upload the video, open your library and click on captions. BOOM! It’s that simple. 

Is that a thumbnail?

Is that the thumbnail they chose? Please tell me this isn’t the thumbnail they chose! Okay, we’re kidding. But please, select a thumbnail that best represents and is reflective of your video. 

We cannot express to you how often we’ve seen a thumbnail where a person’s face is cut off, the thumbnail is the sky, and everything in between…literally. Remember, if you are not happy with the look of any of the available thumbnail frames on your social media, you can always upload a still image. So, for example, if the video you are uploading is of a police department back-to-school backpack drive, you can snap a few photos at the event that encompasses your story and upload that photo as the thumbnail to your video. 

A thumbnail holds so much power today because, as we said, videos are the biggest source of published and engaged content across social media platforms, along with having the ability to determine whether or not the viewer is interested in the video-based off of the thumbnail. Of course, it works both ways; sometimes, the content may not be the most compelling, but having a solid and interesting thumbnail may generate a follower’s interest who may have been on the fence about viewing the whole video. 

“The video thumbnail is the first thing your audience sees when they look at your video. Think of it as your video’s CEO. It represents your video to your audience, just like a CEO represents her company to the world. When putting up a video, many companies use the generic thumbnail image, usually a frame somewhere in the middle of your video. Using a custom thumbnail, however, can increase your play rate by 34 percent.”


It’s also important to note that when choosing a thumbnail, select a thumbnail that isn’t significantly zoomed in because then on your homepage’s wall, it’s going to automatically zoom in even more if the video was shot in a landscape or portrait format. 

Grab their attention. Stop them from scrolling. Put a bit more time and effort into your thumbnails.

What size is that?

Okay, we’ve made it to the end, and the BIGGEST mistake we see on social media videos, not just law enforcement agencies, but across the board, is posting the wrong size videos on an Instagram wall, Story and Reel; along with wrong sizes on all other popular applications. We see it every day, where content is cut off due to sizing issues. 

Okay, let’s get right to it. As a law enforcement agency, you likely have much video content that is longer than one minute. Therefore you’d need to post to IGTV, which is where we see the most mistakes. Portrait size videos on IGTV will always be cut off, and with content cut off, a viewer is likely going to have a tough time following along and probably stop watching. So anytime you’re uploading a video to IGTV, be sure it’s shot in landscape. 

Also, it’s a bit less complicated on your general video feed, where videos are one minute or less. Videos posted on your wall can be shot in landscape, portrait, and square. 

“For Stories and IGTV, the ideal dimensions are 1080×1920 pixels: that is, 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels tall. Stories and IGTV were made to be viewed vertically on smartphones, so these dimensions will fill out the screen best and give your viewers optimum quality. The Feed is more flexible: you can use videos with an aspect ratio anywhere between 1.91:1 and 4:5, which gives you a wide range of options. The ideal dimensions for these aspect ratios are 1080×608 pixels and 1080×1350 pixels.”

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Our team is confident that these tips will help you deliver content and strengthen your current social media video marketing! Have fun!