Uploading and sharing links to videos

There are two ways to share videos to your social channels through Buffer. The first way is to upload your video within the composer and the second way is to share a link to the video. This guide provides an overview of how videos will appear and behave on each social network.

  Video Upload Video Link
Facebook
Instagram Technically possible but not recommended
X/Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
TikTok Not supported
Google business profiles Not supported Not supported
Mastodon
YouTube Shorts Not supported

📝 It's only possible to include one video per post at this time.

In this article:

  1. Video upload requirements
  2. Choosing thumbnails and titles
  3. How videos appear on Facebook
  4. How videos appear on Instagram and other Instagram specs
  5. How videos appear on X/Twitter
  6. How videos appear on LinkedIn
  7. How videos appear on Pinterest
  8. How videos appear on TikTok
  9. How videos appear on Mastodon

General video upload requirements

There are some specific guidelines for videos sent through Buffer to the various social networks. We'll give an overview here and then get more specific in each of the sections below.

  • File size: up to 1GB (100 MB for Instagram) (10GB for YouTube Shorts)


  • File format:
    • X/Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn: MP4, MOV, AVI, and M4V
    • TikTok: The video file formats accepted are MOV, MP4, or WEBM.
    • Instagram: MP4 and MOV
    • YouTube Shorts: .mov, .mp4, .mpg, .mpeg, .avi, .WebM

The video you upload will be converted to MP4 encoded with H264, and a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (HD). Larger files are likely to be compressed to ensure they can be posted to the social network, but quality loss should be minimal.

Unfortunately, we can't support Apple ProRes or raw camera formats like ARRI and RED or any videos encoded with HEVC at this time.

Why is my video taking a while to upload?

When a video file is uploaded, there are a few steps the file needs to go through, including checking the file to ensure it can be passed over through the API, having AWS (Amazon Web Services) transcode the file, and generating potential thumbnails. When generating thumbnails, we look for a different thumbnail every 15 seconds. This means that for a video that is 30 minutes long, we would try to generate at least 120 different images. This can be a key factor that affects the upload speed.

Depending on the file size, the length of the video, and the connection speed, each of these things could take different lengths of time and determine how long the overall process takes.

Choosing thumbnails and titles

Choosing a title for your video

For Facebook, once your video has finished uploading, you can edit the video title in the field below the video.

Buffer Publishing Video Title for Facebook

Choosing a thumbnail for your video

For Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, you can choose a thumbnail for your video. By default, the first frame of the video (0 seconds) will be used as the thumbnail. If you'd like to change your thumbnail, you'll follow these steps:

  1. Once your video has finished uploading, click Edit Thumbnail,
  2. Drag the slider to the position in the video you'd like to use as the cover/thumbnail image,
  3. Click Save.

GIF of changing a video thumbnail

⭐️ The option to choose a cover for your Instagram and Pinterest video is only available on our paid plans. Learn more about our plans and pricing here.

📝 Good-to-Knows

  • Thumbnails can only be edited for Pinterest posts, Instagram posts, and Instagram Reels. On all other channels, videos are played automatically.
  • The "Edit Thumbnail" button will not show up if your post is set to go through as a reminder or if you have Set Instagram Reminders for all posts turned on within your Buffer Instagram Settings.

How thumbnails and titles are used on each social network

Since videos appear and behave a little differently on each social network, the thumbnail and title you choose will only be used in certain places.

Facebook Videos in most places on Facebook play automatically so thumbnails are generally not used. Unfortunately, in places where a thumbnail is shown, Facebook does not use the thumbnail you have chosen in Buffer. However, the title you enter will be displayed at the top of the video post.
Instagram Videos on Instagram play automatically on the home screen feed, which means thumbnails are redundant in that location. Therefore, any custom thumbnail you choose will not be displayed there. However, the custom thumbnail will be used as the cover of your video on your Instagram profile grid.
X/Twitter Videos (whether within X's/Twitter's permitted file limits or not) do not play automatically. Unfortunately, X/Twitter does not use the thumbnail you have chosen in Buffer. However, the custom title will be used if the video is outside of X's/Twitter's permitted file limits, in which case the video will be displayed as a link to Buffer's video player.
LinkedIn Videos published on LinkedIn will appear natively and automatically play in the feed. LinkedIn currently does not support custom thumbnails.
Pinterest Videos on Pinterest will play automatically unless a user has set their preferences within Pinterest otherwise, so adding a thumbnail/cover image could be helpful. The title of the video will be shown at the bottom of the video in the feed.
TikTok Videos on TikTok will play automatically in the feed. You can select a frame from your video to use as the thumbnail on TikTok.
YouTube Shorts YouTube currently doesn't support custom thumbnails through Buffer.

How videos appear on Facebook

Video upload

Videos appear natively once published on Facebook. They play automatically in both the home feed and on the Page itself.

Video uploaded to Facebook - paused at 34 seconds

Due to API limitations, any video uploaded to Facebook with an aspect ratio of 9:16 will get published as a Reel.

Facebook Reel specifications

  • File type: .mp4
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels (recommended), minimum is 540 x 960 pixels
  • Frame rate: 24 to 60 frames per second
  • Duration: 3 to 90 seconds
  • Video and audio settings can be found here.

Video link

Your Facebook post will include a link preview. Users are able to click on the video link and will be taken to the video in a new browser tab.

YouTube link shared on Facebook

How videos appear on Instagram and other Instagram specs

Video upload

Videos appear natively once published on Instagram. They play automatically on the home screen feed but on your profile grid, the custom thumbnail you've chosen will be shown, and users can tap on it to play the video.

Instagram feed featuring a video of the Buffer Stories Creator and a post of mountains and clouds

Instagram post specifications

  • Video length: Between 3 and 60 seconds
  • Bitrate: Below 25Mbp
  • Frame rate: 23-60 FPS

If your video is not within this range when you upload it to the composer, you'll see a message letting you know. You'll need to adjust the video and then re-upload it.

Instagram Reels specifications

  • Video length: Between 3 seconds and 15 minutes
  • Bitrate: Below 25Mbps
  • Frame rate: 23-60 FPS
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 (not to exceed 1920px horizontally)

How to find the bitrate of your video

Windows:

  1. Right click the video file.
  2. Choose Properties.
  3. Click the Details tab.
  4. Under the "Video" section, you should see Total bitrate.

Mac:

  1. Open your video in Quicktime.
  2. From the "Window" menu, select Show Movie Inspector.
  3. From the Inspector, scroll down to the "Video Details" section.
  4. Here, you should see the Data Rate.

Tip: If you need to compress a video or change the bitrate, these tools have been helpful for customers. (Please note, these tools are not affiliated with Buffer).

Video link

Instagram does not currently support hyperlinks within captions. Therefore, if you include a link to a video within the composer, it will not be hyperlinked once published. Instead, it would be published as plain text. Users could copy and paste the link from the caption to a new browser window, which would take them to the video. Additionally, when scheduling a post for Instagram, you're required to upload either an image or a video. Therefore, after dropping the link into the composer, you'll still need to choose or upload an image to accompany it. For these reasons, this method is not commonly used. Instead, we would recommend using the upload option described above.

Instagram post with an image of the Buffer Stories Creator logo

How videos appear on X/Twitter

Video upload

Videos appear natively once published to X/Twitter, if they are within X's/Twitter’s permitted file limits of 512MB and between .5 seconds to 140 seconds long. Videos are not played automatically on either the timeline or the profile itself, so users will need to click on the video to play it.

Tweet with video attached

📝 Please note, an mp4 file that only contains audio cannot be shared to X/Twitter. The mp4 file must contain video. If you are looking to share an audio file to X/Twitter, the best alternative would be to host the audio file elsewhere online and link to it (instead of uploading it within the composer). X/Twitter would then generate an audio Twitter Card from the link.

📝 Longer videos for X Premium/Twitter Blue subscribers would only apply to posts published natively on X/Twitter.

Video link

Your post will be displayed as a video post. Users are able to click on the video link and it will be played within the post itself (i.e. as opposed to opening in a new tab or window).

Tweet with a link preview leading to youtube.com

How videos appear on LinkedIn

Video upload

Videos published through Buffer to LinkedIn will play automatically in a user's feed if they are within LinkedIn's limits of 75kb - 200MB and in MP4 format.

Video zooming in and out on a pair of grey sneakers posted to LinkedIn

Video link

Your post will include a link preview. TikTok videos will play automatically within the post itself, while YouTube videos will link out to YouTube.

LinkedIn post with a YouTube video preview

How videos appear on Pinterest

Video upload

Because Buffer supports video pins on Pinterest business and personal accounts, your video will play automatically as your followers scan through their feed. The exception to this would be if the follower changed their preferences within Pinterest to prevent automatic video play.

If your video plays automatically for a user, your thumbnail/cover image will display as a static image when the video ends. If the user has chosen not to have videos play automatically, your thumbnail/cover image will display in their feed before clicking to play the video.

There are a couple of other pieces to note around your Pinterest video uploads. First, videos can be between 4 seconds and 15 minutes in length. Also, Pinterest suggests using square videos (1:1), or vertical videos with the aspect rations of 2:3, 4:5, or 9:16.

Pinterest video pink leading to Buffer Stories Creator

Video link

When scheduling a post for Pinterest, you can choose to use your destination link (formerly known as source link) to point to any URL, including a URL that leads to a video. Whichever destination link you use, Pinterest does require that you upload either an image or a video to the post. Therefore, after dropping the link into the Destination link field, you'll still need to choose or upload an image to accompany it. Once published, your image or video pin will be displayed, and when users click on it, they will be sent to the destination link you included in the Destination link field when composing your post.

Pinterest pin with an image of the Stories Creator logo

How videos appear on TikTok

Video Upload

Your TikTok videos will play automatically in the feed. However, if you've selected a frame in Buffer using the Edit Thumbnail option, it will appear as the video's thumbnail on your profile.

TikTok video Requirements

Media type: Video only (TikTok posts cannot be created without a video attached)

Videos per post: One 

Length: Between 3 seconds and 10 minutes

Size: 1GB or less, and must have a minimum height and width each of 360px

Format: MOV, MP4, or WEBM

Frame rate: between 23 FPS and 60 FPS

📝 Good-to-Knows

  • To include any sound or caption in your video, you'd want to include those in the video file before uploading it to Buffer. If you'd like to create a video with the TikTok app, you can save the video to your device before uploading it to Buffer by first publishing it privately. This guide goes into more detail on the exact steps: How to Save TikTok Drafts to Your Phone.
  • Your description text has a maximum length of 150 characters.
  • The TikTok name that shows up in Buffer will be your display name and not the username that shows up in your URL.
  • The "Promote" feature in TikTok does not work when posting via Buffer. Therefore, to promote your posts, you would need to publish the post directly on TikTok.

LunaSneakers TikTok video

How videos appear on Mastodon

At this time, custom thumbnails are not supported for Mastodon. Additionally, videos will not be automatically played in the feed.

Videos per post: One 

Size: up to 40MB

Format: MP4, M4V, MOV, WebM

Frame rate: Video will be transcoded to H.264 MP4 with a maximum bitrate of 1300kbps and frame rate of 60fps

video of shoes in a circle that moves once the cursor hovers over it

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