How to Tweet a Video the Right Way on Twitter

How to Tweet a Video the Right Way on Twitter

Once upon a time, social media was primarily a written forum. For instance, Twitter was mostly the 140 character limit, though there was an opportunity to add a link. However, Facebook has always allowed for more media on the platform, including photos and video that’s embedded when someone posts it.

However, video is slowly taking over the discussion, both with marketing and content in general. Now, as video becomes more important on newer social networks such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, you might want to begin using Twitter in the same way. Here are some suggestions for how to tweet a video on Twitter.

The Power of Twitter Video

Despite Twitter’s reputation as a primarily writing-focused platform, stats show that video is the most engaging content on Twitter: Tweets with video get 10X as much engagement as those which don’t have a video. In a world where engagement is so important, it’s no wonder that the prevalence of video Tweets is rising. Twitter is joining the video arms race!

Besides getting a lot of engagement, Tweets that have videos have some of the highest Retweet rates on the platform. In particular, they are 3X as likely to be retweeted than the ones with a GIF, and 6X more likely than the ones with pictures. In other words, people love to share video on Twitter. There’s something about it that’s truly special.

With that said, just Tweeting out the coolest new video might not be a good idea. Instead, choose something that’s mobile-friendly, because 93% of videos on Twitter are viewed from mobile devices. This means that they’re often viewed in vertical mode, though tablets are less likely to be held that way. Part of knowing how to tweet a video is understanding your audience, and formatting the video accordingly.

How Long Can a Twitter Video Be?

Like many other platforms, Twitter has strict criteria for videos shared on the platform. While they don’t apply to videos which are linked to in Tweets, they do apply to the ones which are embedded.

First, Twitter limits the length to 2 minutes and 20 seconds (= 140 seconds, paying homage to the original 140 character tweet limitation). This is obviously much longer than a TikTok video, but it’s also far shorter than the limit on many other video-capable platforms. And, to save space, Twitter dictates that the file size needs to be 512MB or less.

Twitter also is careful to police these policies. For instance, if you upload a longer video that goes over 512 MB, it seems you will be able to tweet it at first. However, you won’t be allowed to post after clicking Tweet. Instead, you will get an error and forwarded to a page about video requirements. On the other hand, if you upload a longer video that is under 512 MB, you will be able to trim it down to 2 minutes and 20 seconds before posting.

What does this mean in practice? Simply put, you won’t be able to use Twitter as a host for your long infomercial. However, you could use Twitter as an added distribution channel for shorter content. Maybe it will even go viral, if you do it right.

With that said, part of mastering how to tweet a video is gauging both length and file size. Length is a no-brainer, as almost all methods of recording video keep track of the length. In addition, video editing tools will let you trim things down to the right specifications.

How to Embed a Video in a Tweet

Now that you know why tweeting video is valuable, and what your limits are, let’s look at how you can embed these videos. Luckily, Twitter has made it really simple: create your tweet as you normally would and press the image icon. As you probably know, this is how you add all kinds of media. But, instead of uploading a photograph, simply upload a video file. After that, hit “tweet” as normal. If you have prerecorded video, this is the easiest answer to how to tweet a video.

However, this isn’t your only option for embedding video. In particular, if you are on the Twitter App on a smartphone you have the option of recording a video and then embedding it in your Tweet. This is similar to what’s done on TikTok and certain Facebook or YouTube functionalities. Of course, it also comes with some limitations. For instance, there aren’t as many editing functionalities as premade video. And, you’ll be using your phone’s cameras.

How to Tweet a YouTube Video

Of course, there may be situations when sharing a YouTube video is advantageous. Not only is there no law against reusing your own videos on multiple platforms, but Twitter is a great method of content distribution. Furthermore, if the YouTube video is your own, you will get much better engagement if you upload the video as a native Twitter video rather than sharing a link to a YouTube video. In this case, you’ll follow the process above, using the original file.

On the other hand, if you want to share it as a YouTube video, create a tweet and simply copy the link of the video you are watching from the browser tab into the tweet as if it were a normal link. Twitter will then post with a small thumbnail with a video play button. Pressing that button will allow you to see the entire YouTube video embedded inside the tweet without having to visit YouTube. It’s an easy answer to how to tweet a video, even with a lower engagement rate.

Because of the higher level of engagement with a native Twitter video, I only recommend using the second method in two situations. The first is when the video is too long or big for native Twitter videos and trimming it down isn’t practical. The second is when you’re curating someone else’s stuff and therefore don’t have the source file.

How to Embed Someone Else’s Video in Your Tweet

One of the great things about Twitter is the level to which people have conversations. As part of these conversations, people quote each other and sometimes share content from one person to the other. In fact, Twitter was one of the original places for posts to “go viral.” Plus, you may find these videos are a nice break from content creation. There are several ways to leverage this and share other people’s videos on Twitter.

Quote Tweet Option

Your first option is to literally quote another person’s Tweet. If you select “Quote Tweet” you can include their video in your tweet, but it will also include their entire tweet and text leading up to the video. On the other hand, you can still leave your own comment, adding to the thread. However, this isn’t the only option for curating video on Twitter.

If you don’t want to include someone’s Tweet and only want to share their video, how you do this depends on the device that you are using. And kudos to How-To Geek for sharing the hack and giving more details. You can find their article here.

Video Tweet from iPhone App

For people using the iPhone Twitter App, find the tweet with the video you want to share and press down on the video itself. You will then see the option to Tweet Video and that’s all you need to do! Twitter has made this process super easy. The only real drawback is that if you have an active Twitter feed then finding the original might be tricky. But this isn’t their fault.

Video Tweet from Android App

Users Tweeting on an Android or on the web will need to share the tweet differently. Look at the bottom righthand corner of the tweet and copy the link to the tweet. You then need to copy the link to your tweet and add /video/1 at the end. It’s a bit more complicated than the iPhone user process. At the same time, you still need to find the target tweet. Of course, that’s probably going to be easier on the web. Use a quality content curation tool, though, and you have help.

No matter what you use to Tweet, there are some pitfalls which can make the Tweet not look right or can even make it fail. In particular, make sure that there is no additional text such as “?s=20” or any other indicators after the 19 or so digit Twitter ID that follows “status/.” If you do that, then you won’t get a properly displayed video. Knowing how to tweet a video properly is important here.

With content becoming so important these days, it’s no wonder that people love to share the best of the best. However, with Twitter’s roots as a primarily text-based social media network, sharing video has come much more slowly here. For many, tweeting out a link to a cool video is considered to be enough. Unfortunately, this also means that readers of the tweet doesn’t get a preview of the video right away. Fortunately, by knowing how to tweet a video, you can change that.

If you’re looking for more help with your tweeting, check out these articles:

Hero photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.
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