Are you sharing your videos on Facebook the right way?
Create less, promote more.
That phrase coined by content marketer Salma Jafri causes anyone with a commitment to good content to cringe--I completely understand that feeling. BUT, it also has a lot of wisdom to it.
Maybe it's not that you should be creating less, but instead that you need to realize for every piece of content you create, you have to commit a significant amount of time to get it into your audiences' hands.
You're producing this content for a reason, whether that be to ask for donations for a good cause, raise money for your business idea, or sell your product. If people aren't seeing it, they can't do what you want them to do, and video's super ridiculous awesome conversion power is wasted.
So let me ask you something...
Would you ever record someone reading an article on camera and post it as a video? Would you copy and paste article text into InDesign or Canva, add a background and a border and call it an infographic? Of course not!
Most content producers know that each medium has different benefits, best uses, and requirements.
For example, an infographic works best when you have lots of stats or a workflow to visualize. And video works best when you have compelling visuals, need to build trust with an audience, or want to interact live.
So, we produce our content right, only to make a big mistake that severely limits our reach, engagement and conversions. We post the video to our site and share that link on every single one of our social platforms, usually with the exact same text teaser and thumbnail.
But not all social platforms treat video the same way.
In fact, it’s almost stunning when you start drilling down how different each platform is! So, why would you treat each social platform the same way and waste the potential of your video?
So I give you my first post in a series of posts that will teach you how each social platform treats video, and how to make the most of it. This week? Facebook!
In January 2016 alone, there were more than 9.1 million videos uploaded directly to Facebook by 1.7 million different creators, generating more than 212 billion views. More than a year ago, users were uploading more video hours to Facebook than YouTube.
All these stats are crazy impressive, especially if you consider that Facebook wasn’t even a destination for watching videos just a couple short years ago.
If you’re ready to post your videos directly to Facebook, or simply do it more effectively, be sure to follow these simple rules.
1. Upload your videos natively.
To get to where they are today, Facebook has made it posting original videos natively very worthwhile. Here are three reasons you should absolutely be posting your videos directly to Facebook (in addition to YouTube).
Videos uploaded directly to Facebook will automatically start playing in your friends’ and followers’ newsfeeds (unless they’ve disabled it in “Settings”). For a platform that has become the place to post still photos, the extra activity can be extra-appealing by comparison.
Increased Organic Reach
Video has an organic reach of 8.7 percent, according to a study by Socialbakers, compared to 3.7 percent for photos. That means for every 100 fans, almost 9 of them will see a video post, while only 4 of them would see a photo post.
They Look Good
Sharing a YouTube link on Facebook isn't pretty.
These days, Facebook is making it straight up suck to post videos directly from YouTube. Say you share a link to a video hosted on YouTube. On your timeline, it will appear as a small thumbnail with a tiny “play” icon (which already sucks), but when that link shows up on your friends’ newsfeeds, it gets even worse—the play icon is gone entirely.
To combat this, some YouTube loyalists started uploading screenshots of the video and providing the link. But even then, you’re missing out on the autoplay benefit bestowed on native Facebook videos.
2. Post content people want
Like any other platform, there are specific types of people Facebook users are more inclined to watch. Of the most watched Facebook video creators, there are some trends in the types of videos being produced, liked and shared.
Three of the top 10 most watched Facebook video creators were Buzzfeed channels, which often feature “listicle” videos and short tutorials. Other popular creators focused on news, food and anything/everything funny.
3. Keep it short.
Even though Facebook will allow you to upload videos up to an hour long, that doesn’t mean you should. You want people to make it to the end, so they can take you up on your awesome call-to-action.
Most videos do NOT need to be longer than 2 minutes. If yours is, you’re probably trying to cover too much. Pick one thing. Take the second idea you’re trying to talk about and make another video, if you want. Do what you can to keep your video short.
4. Use an active and eye-catching clip first.
You might have static video shots or even still photos in your video, but that first shot should absolutely catch your viewers’ eyes so they realize it’s a video and are more likely to turn on the audio and engage with your content.
5. Add a descriptive title slide.
Visuals can be extremely compelling and emotion, but audio drives your story forward. Even if you have an awesome intro clip, consider adding a short text slide with a description, or often, the first sentence of my video (which should usually be pretty illustrative of the video, anyway).
I do this first because I want people to have an idea of why they should want to watch my video and secondly, so they don’t miss out on important information from the start.
6. Follow the rules.
Facebook is pretty generous in video types and lengths it will support, but here are the quick details:
- File requirements: Facebook supports almost all video file types, but recommends mp4
- Maximum length/size: 60 minutes, or 2.3 GB
- Supported aspect ratios: horizontal, square and vertical videos
7. Don’t forget the text.
Just because you’re going visual means text goes out the window.
Be sure to include a text teaser with your video post to intrigue people to turn on the audio and engage with your video.
This is also a great place to tag people and brands who helped create your video, starred in it or are in some way relevant to it.
8. Choose a custom thumbnail.
Even though Facebook’s autoplay feature might seem to make thumbnails less important, thumbnails are still vital for reaching people who (for data-saving reasons) may have turned off the autoplay function, or people who want to look at ALL of the videos you’ve posted.
Facebook videos can also be embedded on sites now, so there you have it. Three reasons you still need to take the time to choose a custom thumbnail.
9. Utilize Facebook’s call-to-action feature
Seriously. You’d be crazy not to. Video is one of the highest converting mediums. People who watch a video are often looking for “what next?” So, what do you want them to do? Share? Visit? Donate? Buy?
To do this effectively, not only do you have to define your goals for your video from the outset, but you also have to anticipate the frame of mind your audience will be in after watching your video.
For example, if you post an emotional video about children who lack access to clean water, what will your audience be most likely to do? Buy a branded t-shirt for the campaign? Donate money to make a difference? Spread the word? Put yourself in their shoes when you’re choosing that call to action.
On this same page, also title your video using important keywords and relevant tags.
10. Choose a video to feature.
Despite space online being essentially free, prime real estate is still hard to come by. Facebook allows users to feature a video in the lefthand sidebar of their page, along with other vital business information.
Take advantage of this by featuring your most popular video, newest video, or “About Us” video. Regardless of what you want to promote, don’t let this space go to waste.
11) Pay attention to the right numbers.
Facebook considers a “view” when someone has the video on screen for at least 3 seconds, and does not require that the person turn on the audio. YouTube “views,” on the other hand, are estimated to count only after about 30 seconds.
With those numbers in mind, it’s important that you don’t see the difference in views and assume Facebook rules and YouTube drools. Beyond those views, calculate what percentage of “viewers” actually engaged with your content. That will be a much more valuable measurement!
Facebook also offers some other valuable metrics, like 30-second views (how many people watched your video for 30 seconds—or to the end, if your video was less than 30 seconds long) and autoplay versus click-to-play comparisons to show you how many of those viewers actually clicked on your video to watch it.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Maybe you're spending $3,000 for a professional to produce your video, only to get 200 views. Maybe you're putting your own heart and soul into your work to see it go nowhere.
Maybe it's your video, but maybe it's your promotion strategy.
You can't post the exact same link and teaser on every social platform and expect them to work equally in your favor. You have to do some of the hard work yourself. Your job doesn't end when you hit publish. In most cases, that's only the beginning.
About The Author
Hey, I'm Sarah!
I love teaching online business bosses to create better content and incorporate cool tech and tools into their content marketing machine so they can get better results (more traffic, more customers, more money) in less time. After all, isn't that what content marketing is for?