With each passing day, it becomes more and more important to understand how your brand can harness the power of storytelling with social video. The growth rate of Facebook video views, shares and engagement are exponential, reaching a whopping 8 billion views per day in late 2015. Major publishers are already playing the game – they know that video is a major part of Facebook’s future as an engagement platform. As Emily Bell put it – Facebook is eating the world, and while this raises some concerns, there are many opportunities unfolding.
To help you keep abreast of “what’s working now”, Empower has compiled a few tips, gleaned from current client work, to help you get the most out of Facebook video for your brand or organisation.
- Shorter is better
Videos that are one minute and under have the most engagement and shares. Front-load – see point 2 – and grab the viewer’s attention, but don’t expect them to watch for long. Videos for Facebook need to be cut bespoke from longer form video created for elsewhere, eg: YouTube, your website or events.
Here are the lengths some of the big Facebook video names work to.
Empower observe the first 10 seconds to be crucial to ensure people watch for longer.
Some great examples effective, engaging Facebook videos under one minute from organisations like the UNHCR & Buzzfeed:
- “Front load” your videos
High-impact up front – Facebook has said that the first 3 seconds of a video create brand impact (think of the videos you see when scrolling through the newsfeed). This means making the opening few frames immediately engaging – trigger emotion, curiosity, or share something unique and valuable. Consider adding a logo up front to create a visual brand impact for the user, or a watermark logo throughout nestled in a corner.
Facebook found with Nielsen that up to 47% of the value in a video campaign was delivered in the first three seconds, while up to 74% of the value was delivered in the first ten.)
- Create a video brand look
Create a recognised Facebook-video visual style for your viewer to recognise – like AJ+ or Buzzfeed Tasty. Unifying colours, subtitles, style, titles etc, will help your videos look professional, raise quality, be a signpost to the viewer, and a great brand vehicle.
Some great examples of organisations with a strong video brand style on Facebook include AJ+, NowThis & The Guardian.
We’ve included a few examples of strong visual branding below:
- Enjoy the silence
70-90% of Facebook viewers are watching without sound. Use subtitles throughout and overlay copy to set the scene and draw your audience in. The best videos can be played with or without sound.
Don’t forget to think mobile first – can the subtitles be easily viewed on mobile? Does the video work silently? Would this be engaging if you were watching it on your commute or sofa at home – competing with a second screen?
And you still need high-quality sound and a soundtrack. Context-setting music to help the viewer easily find the emotion of the video – whether that be suspenseful, sad, happy or pleasantly-interesting.
- Don’t forget a call-to-action
Make sure the video has a call-to-action at the end of the video prompting them to “sign up” or “follow” Many users share videos and people will like it, but not go and follow the Facebook page.
Tell your users what you want them to do after this video: Like? Share? Comment? Click through to a landing page?
- Add tags and add it to a playlist
Organise your videos if you’re uploading several to a page. If your Facebook page has multiple videos, be sure to arrange them into playlists and set a featured video, much like you would with a YouTube Channel.
Facebook video search is coming, meaning your categorisation of your videos could be driving future search traffic.
- Go native and optimise
Your video must be uploaded natively, YouTube or other external links will not get the reach of a native upload. Make sure the format of the video is optimised for Facebook. High quality video guidelines for Facebook are here: https://www.facebook.com/help/124738474272230.
- They’re square
People don’t want to have to rotate their phones to watch clips anymore – they’re lazy. With video consumed in square formats on Instagram, Vine and Snapchat, the consumer will expect the same from your short Facebook video.
- Talking heads are out!
Perhaps the most important tip of all: Talking heads are out. If your video of talking heads didn’t receive the kind of engagement you wanted on other platforms, it might be because the footage just isn’t that interesting. For short, effective clips that prompt an emotion or a call-to-action or a share, people want stunning visuals, a succinct story, action-based visuals. If you do need to use “talking heads” footage, be sure to splice it with clear subtitles to help the viewer know what is being said if they don’t have enough sound. To get an idea of what does well on Facebook video, you can try a tool like Spike to see what’s trending.
- Go live
Facebook Live is not a beginners video format, but offers many opportunities, great authenticity, and media are seizing on it:
“Live is all about interruption — sometimes annoying, sometimes welcome, always attention-grabbing. Media companies say they have been shocked by the amount of interest in their Live experiments, including a flurry of earnest comments and questions for live streamers.” – New York Times on Facebook live and how effective it is & how responsive the audience can be .
Remember it’s in your toolbox if you have a celebrity or expert do a Q&A, at / creating an interesting event, consider a live stream. Live 360 video and virtual reality, these formats are coming around the corner and will soon be filling our newsfeeds.
Empower regularly produce, consult on and distribute social video for Facebook and other platforms. Talk to us about social video.