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Social app production tools

Videos can be produced using in-app video editing tools on Instagram Stories and TikTok. Find out more in this section.

TikTok and Instagram are great places to share your stories. But they also offer in-app production tools to shoot and edit videos with your smartphone.

These tools typically compress your video, so we don’t recommend using them if you need to download your work to edit it later, especially for TV – but they’re useful for filing stories on the go quickly.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are a method of sharing a single photo, or a series of photos, that display like a slideshow, in a vertical format. You can add text, art and stickers to each photo. Once shared, they are visible for 24 hours. You can download a Story to your camera gallery before it expires, or set it as a Highlight’ that sits at the top of your profile until you remove it.

Instagram Stories can be shared with individuals, groups of people, and if you want to make it a permanent post, you can ‘Share as Post’ to add it to your Instagram profile. You can also link your Instagram and Facebook accounts so your Instagram Stories can easily be posted to Facebook.

Some media outlets, like Australia’s ABC, have begun posting content by younger reporters to Instagram Stories, to connect more effectively with youth audiences.

Tamara Baluja is a social media journalist at CBC Canada, and has created this detailed webinar on how journalists can use Instagram Stories, including guidance on how to use the app, and the types of stories you can tell with it as a reporter.

This excellent guide from CNET is a text-based guide to making Instagram Stories, including sharing them to Facebook.

We also recommend this guide from Buffer

Instagram also has lots of features used by businesses, so if your job involves promoting your media outlet to paying subscribers, check out this Instagram Stories For Business guide from Later.

Because you can save each clip with your captions and stickers to your camera roll without posting it. This makes the app a very useful took for creating vertical video clips which can be edited together later in an app like VN or LumaFusion.


Reels was launched in 2020, as a direct competitor to TikTok. The app allows you to film multi-shot videos of up to 30 seconds in duration, and add captions, stickers, and music. Special effects include filters and speed-ramping. You can also insert videos and photos from your camera gallery. This step-by-step guide from Creative Bloq will get you started, and you can also watch this tutorial by US video journalist Logan Baker: 


This app has had an enormous impact on video storytelling in the past couple years, and has become increasingly popular with publishers and journalists. It has been used to great effect by reporters like the BBC’s Sophia Smith Galer, who explains in this Reuters Institute video how she used TikTok to make a documentary about the 2020 US elections. 

The app has encountered concerns over data privacy – which led to it being banned in India in 2020 – but it remains one of the world’s most popular apps for consuming social video, and comes with powerful video editing tools. We recommend this step-by-step guide from Buffer, and this tutorial by prominent TikTok user Rachel Pedersen:

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