A photo of a person recording a selfie video.


Video editing for social media: 5 tips to follow.

Whether you’re an influencer, a social media marketer, or just looking to add some variety to your feed — discover how to plan out and edit incredible content.

From video marketing to capturing personal moments, good editing is a game changer.

  • Plan and storyboard before you shoot videos to help your content shine.
  • Hook your audience with things like attention-grabbing intros and snappy transitions.
  • Edit your social media videos in outside programs like Premiere Pro to make them stand out from the crowd.

How can I be a better social media video editor?

There’s no silver bullet for social media success — but professional videographer Lisa Bolden has some recommendations for how you can make your own videos shine.

1. Have a clear concept.

Before you edit your video — better yet, before you film it — take some time to think about what type of video you’re trying to make. “The more refined your concept is, the better your viewership will be,” Bolden says. “Having a goal or a destination for your video will help it find the right audience.”


Whether you’re trying to shoot lifestyle content for an Instagram story or YouTube videos where you teach viewers how to cook, study up on other videos in the same genre to see how they’re edited. This will give you a roadmap to work from when you’re ready to edit.

2. Think small.

“Your dimensions shrink a lot when you’re shooting for a vertical audience watching on their phones,” Bolden explains. “You always have to be thinking about what composition and action you can fit into a 9-by-6 frame.”


Keep in mind that different social media platforms require different aspect ratios or video frame size. If you shot your music video in the standard (wide rectangle) 16:9 aspect ratio, it’ll look great on YouTube. But if you want to post it as an Instagram video, you’ll need to reframe it using a video editing app like Adobe Premiere Pro to make it look its best in a narrower 1:1 (square shape) or 9:16 aspect ratio (tall rectangle).

An example of two videos and a picture on social media.

3. Cut to the chase.

“Most people’s attention span is about three seconds when they’re deciding if they want to watch your video or not,” Bolden says. “As an editor, you have to be conscious of that. Make sure the intro to your video has something interesting happening and gets to the point quickly before they lose interest.”


Don’t be afraid to borrow from the middle of your video to grab viewers’ attention up front. Most social media ads and promo videos start with quick cuts of their most exciting moments before the start of the video proper. For example, an ad showing how well a cleaning product removes a carpet stain might start with a quick shot of the stain being partially removed before it cuts back to the beginning of the cleaning process. This encourages viewers to stick around to see a satisfying shot of the stain being completely wiped away.

4. Use engaging transitions.

“It’s really fun to brainstorm and storyboard transitions, because the whole idea is you’re doing one solid movement between two shots,” Bolden says. “For example, say I’m filming a car driving down the street, and as it passes by me I pan quickly, the shot blurs and distorts, and then it cuts to a different car coming from the other side. Good video transitions are all about fluid movement and keeping your background and scene the same.”


Video editing apps make it easy to add a transition between two scenes. For example, in Premiere Pro you can preview a wide variety of different transitions in the Effects panel, and then drag and drop your favorite into your editing timeline to add it to your video.

5. Keep it professional.

Some simple quality control can help your video stand out from the crowd. “It’s really eye-catching when people can see that something is high quality, has good sound, and the colors are vibrant,” Bolden says. “You can tell when someone isn’t just using the video templates from the app.”   


Adobe Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro

What are the best video editing apps for social media?

You don’t need to be a professional social media video maker to look beyond the simple video editing tools built into TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. More versatile video editing apps support higher-quality video and offer powerful features you can use to customize your creative vision.

Adobe Premiere Pro

“For me, editing videos in Premiere Pro for my social media posts, then exporting them and uploading them to the social media app, is such a huge game changer,” Bolden says. “The content looks clean, I’m able to finesse the sound, color scape, and aspect ratio…I just have a lot more freedom as an editor.”

A photo of a person recording a selfie video on the couch in their living room.

Professional video editors have used Adobe Premiere Pro to edit film hits like Gone Girl and Deadpool, but it also offers a fairly intuitive workflow with built-in tutorials for beginners. This app is perfect for:


  • Timeline editing 
    Lay out all your video clips on a timeline where you can trim them down to their most social media–worthy moments and drag and drop them into your preferred order.
  • Sound synchronization
    Record a voiceover to add some narration, or mix your audio levels so the background music in your video doesn’t drown out the audio.
  • Color editing
    Color correct your videos, adjust color grading to enhance the mood, or download and install look-up tables (or LUTs) that act as filters, or preset color adjustments, to give your feed a compelling color scape.
  • Motion graphics templates
    Use the Essential Graphics panel to enhance your video with animated graphics, titles, and lower thirds.

Cinematic visual effects and motion graphics.

Adobe After Effects

Adobe Affer Effects

Adobe After Effects

Whether your video needs an infographic or an alien spaceship, After Effects gives you the tools to create and add eye-popping motion graphics to your video content. While Premiere Pro is the better app for editing and touching up a video, it integrates seamlessly with After Effects so you can cut your video using Premiere Pro, then spice it up with video effects in After Effects.


Use After Effects for:


  • Animation 
    Use vector graphics, rasters, and rotoscoping to catch viewers’ attention with colorful 2D and 3D animations.
  • Visual effects
    Design and create your own visual effects, or isolate people and objects from your video and import them into an entirely new background.
  • Motion titles 
    From kinetic typography to movie-style opening credits, animated text layers make your favorite fonts look even fancier.


Whether you’re creating video ads as part of a small business marketing strategy or trying to launch your own YouTube channel, tightly edited videos are the best way to build an audience.

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