The MacGyver Method for Social Media Video | Part 1: Platforms

"MacGyver's persistence and the improvisational nature of
his plans make him difficult to thwart..."

As social media and communications professionals, our lives and professions are intrinsically linked to technology. And technology has a way of demanding persistence and improvision. The Internet connection is lost. The mic won't deliver sound. A fire alarm rings in the middle of your live broadcast. You tuck away in that corner because it is the only place the wi-fi is strong enough to send the photos.

We get it.

Sometimes (read: often) strategy planning and strategy implementation look very different once the circumstances of the environment are known.

Starting with strategy is critical. It helps define success and differentiate tools from toys and progress from activity. Here are basic components of a strategy:

  • Determine Objectives – What and Why
  • Define Your Audience - Who
  • Select Tools and Tactics – How and When
  • Identify Resources Required – Who and What
  • Develop a Measurement/Evaluation Plan

We rounded up our top tips to optimize video on primary platforms. Join us tomorrow for a guide on tips and tools for better video quality.


  1. Prevent duplicate content. Duplicative content can be penalized, primarily because those pieces are forced to compete for relevancy for similar search terms.
  2. Have a YouTube channel and playlist strategy. YouTube uses elements within a channel and playlist to provide recommended videos to users. By grouping relevant videos together, you can improve the time on your playlist and channels, thus improving your relevancy within YouTube’s algorithm.
  3. Focus on title and filename. Lead with the primary keyword you would like to rank for, followed by any modifiers and lastly a brand name. Using a similar structure and including relevant keywords in the filename of the uploaded video may also influence rankings.
    Example: “[Keyword]+[Derivative] – [Brand Name]” or “Acoustic Neuroma Treatment Options – Mayo Clinic”
  4. Write and optimize your video description. Use your primary keyword in the first sentence. Use the keyword one or two more times in the description. We usually aim for 150-200 words, if possible.
  5. Don’t forget meta tags. Meta data is an important part of the YouTube search algorithm. Start with the keyword and expand using various derivatives.
    Example: “acoustic neuroma, acoustic neuroma treatment, Mayo Clinic acoustic neuroma”
  6. Think customer experience first. Unlike search engine results, YouTube doesn’t consider backlinks as part of their algorithm, it puts more weight on user experience signals. So the quality and relevancy of your video makes a big difference. Beyond ranking, consider the path users take to engage with your brand beyond watching the video. Whether it’s asking them to take action within the video content, or using a URL in the description and pop-up cards, it’s important to help users take the next step. We recommend putting URLs after the first sentence so they are seen in the description preview.


  1. Content is king. If your video is not relevant and useful to your viewers, they will stop watching.
  2. Use interactive features to drive viewers to other content and to your website.
  3. Add closed captioning whenever possible. Do not rely only on YouTube’s auto-transcribe feature – you may need to manually transcribe, but it is worth it for SEO.
  4. Keywords matter, especially for video SEO. Before you upload a video, take the time to identify short- and long-tail keywords with tools like Google’s Keyword Planner.
  5. Dig into YouTube Analytics. This is a goldmine of information about where your viewers are watching and what keywords lead them to your content – both on YouTube and on websites where your content is embedded. It can tell you a lot about viewer behavior and content quality.


Facebook requires different size, orientation and duration for feed, cover, and live video. Adhere to this guide for easy video upload.

Feed Cover Live
.MP4 + .MOV .MP4 + .MOV --
1280 x 720  px or 1:1 (square) 820 x 462 px 1280 x 720 px
Max. 240 minutes 20-90 seconds Max 240 minutes
Max. 4GB Max. 4GB --


Twitter in-feed video content (left image) can be portrait or landscape.

  • Landscape recommended dimensions: 320 x 180 (256K bitrate), 640 x 360 (768K bitrate) and 1280 x 720 (2048K bitrate).
  • Portrait recommended dimensions: 240 x 240 (256K bitrate), 480 x 480 (768K bitrate) and 640 x 640 (1024K bitrate).

Periscope, Twitter's live streaming platform, best displays portrait video if using a phone and accepts portrait or landscape.


Cleveland Clinic's Instagram feed is filled with perfectly-sized, easy to view images that relate to the topic--a best practice on Instagram. Whether the image is viewed as in-stream content or on their page, the square graphics maximize readability and, therefore, have a higher chance of becoming scroll-stopping content.

Use this guide for size, dimension, and orientation of Instagram in-feed and Stories content.

Feed Stories
.MP4 + .MOV .MP4 + .MOV
Square: 600 by 600 pixels (1:1 aspect ratio) Vertical: 1080 by 1920 pixels
Max. 60 seconds Max. 15 seconds
Max. 4GB Max. 4GB
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The MacGyver Method for Social Media Video Part 1: Platforms #FireAlarmSystem #Twitter
The MacGyver Method for Social Media Video | Part 1: Platforms #MacGyver #Twitter #FireAlarmSystem
What on earth could McGyver teach us about social media? A lot, actually. #Instagram

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