When you think of video, one brand always comes to mind YouTube; the king of online video. But perhaps it’s time for a rethink. There’s now a serious challenger for that title, and it’s a familiar name; the mighty Facebook.
For the past few years, Facebook has been making huge and consistent strides in gaining market share in the video space. The sheer volume of YouTube usage keeps the company solidly in the ‘best in class’ position. But if your brand is looking for engagement, then it should be shifting much of its effort to Facebook. With 100 million hours of video watched daily, Facebook has established itself as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to video.
Facebook grew from around 50 per cent of video interactions to 80 per cent during 2014 and that was before live streaming was introduced. It actually surpassed YouTube in terms of total video posts by brands by the end of that year.
All additional analysis since that time confirms the trend. If you’re an individual with a vlog or a creative type, YouTube is probably still the best place to be. But if you’re a brand (especially B2B), then Facebook is the clear winner.
So, now what? Just follow the same old routine you had for YouTube, but in a different location? Unfortunately not, as Facebook marketing strategies are very different from YouTube, or Twitter, or any other social platform. So here are ten strategies that will help you create more engagement. You may also want to check out Facebook’s own advice.
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1. Upload videos directly to Facebook
Two things happen when you upload videos to Facebook. Firstly, they can auto-play in news feeds and have other cool options that you can control. Linked videos (such as those from YouTube) don’t autoplay, and if the user clicks on the link, the video loads in a new window instead of Facebook.
Secondly, since Facebook wants users to stay within their platform, native videos get preference. They also get a massive engagement boost compared to linked videos. This means that linking your existing YouTube or Vimeo videos won’t get you the engagement you’re looking for. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use the same videos…
2. Repurpose existing content
If you already have a video library on another platform, you can still post those videos to Facebook; simply upload them, don’t link them.
This will give you a head start on your Facebook video library, but make sure not to post videos that aren’t relevant, like seasonal ones. It’s also worth remembering that the viewing time on Facebook is shorter than that of YouTube, so choose your repurposed videos carefully. In fact, you can repurpose more than just videos.
For instance you add video to a podcast and upload it, or even read a previous blog post over images or a video. Also, you could also turn existing SlideShare or PowerPoint presentations into videos. There are a number of ways to leverage video when repurposing your old (but evergreen) content.
3. Got long videos? Make short versions and optimise the opening
Edit longer videos down to create a shorter version. For instance, a 20-minute video showing ‘How to do a project’ could be edited down to two minutes showing only the key steps.
Then, upload the short video to Facebook with a call to action link to either YouTube or a blog post with the long version. Give them a chunk of meat, but let them choose whether to have the entire meal, so to speak.
Remember, if you don’t grab the attention of your audience in the first three seconds you may never get it. A long, boring, drawn out opening will be scrolled past quickly. And whether or not you are using autoplay, you still need to choose the best frame possible for the still image of the video.
4. Create unique videos
Have you got the time and resources to create new content? Lucky you! Three things will make your videos more shareable; if they are inspiring, informative or entertaining. It goes without saying that informative posts do better when they’re also entertaining.
B2B brands have it tough. They can’t get away with simply posting delicious recipes or showing attractive models using their products, or at least they shouldn’t. But, what they can do is to offer a unique perspective on their product or service and show the team behind it. Remember that decision makers are still consumers.
These days, the user experience can sometimes prove to be more important than simply the product itself. Hence, interviews and exclusive access videos can help you win your clients over quicker. Give your audience access to information they wouldn’t otherwise have and show them the full potential of your product.
Scores of business have proven that concise, useful tips are effective. A 30 to 60 second video that shows your clients how to do something is bound to be a hit.
It also gives you another opportunity to lead your viewers to more in-depth information through a call to action. Think of the unconventional, but effective ways clients already use your product or service, or maybe the prominent features that come up often.
5. Don’t forget about your CTAs
Think of your Facebook videos as machines. If one part is left out or is poorly fitted, the machine won’t work efficiently.
There are lots of options that Facebook gives you for your video uploads; use them. One of the most important options is adding a call to action button at the end of the video ‘watch more’, ‘book now’ or ‘sign up’. Always use a CTA!
You need your thumbnails to be eye catching. Instead of using a still image from the video, you could upload a custom thumbnail. This helps in both the news feed and video library section. If you have other partners or collaborators associated with the video, tag their pages to help with organic reach. Just don’t tag others for the sake of tagging.
6. Invest in Facebook video ads
Is noone watching your uploaded video? You could give it a boost by making it a Facebook video ad. If your video is inspiring, funny or informative, you’ll probably get some organic shares, but a sponsored post can go much farther.
Often the the failure of a Facebook campaign can be traced back to a lack of investment. It’s challenging for posts to display organically on news feeds, because of the sheer volume of other content. By investing in Facebook video ads, you can also benefit from its meticulous targeting options that could help you reach new audiences.
7. Create video playlists
As your Facebook video library grows, you’ll want your fans to find content easily. You can help by organising your videos into playlists. They could be organised by topic, type, date or any other way that makes it simpler for viewers to navigate.
8. Take advantage of the Featured video
On your Facebook Page, you have the option to choose a feature video to display. It is an additional way to boost your page, particularly to new visitors.
Potential choices for this include explainer videos (for new or unique products/services), event promotions or even a personal message from your CEO. Remember that most of your fans probably spend more time on your newsfeed posts than your website.
9. Embed Facebook videos in your blog posts
Drive your website visitors to your Facebook page by embedding your videos in blog posts. This also makes it simpler for your visitors to interact with your post through likes and shares without leaving your website.
Facebook has made embedding easy. Simply click the options arrow in the corner of your video post and choose embed video, then copy and paste the code straight into your blog post.
10. Post. Analyse. Repeat.
So, how can you tell what videos will perform best? Well, unsurprisingly it all depends on the audience. For instance, we know that shorter videos perform better on Facebook, but how short is short?
Thankfully, Facebook provides all the metrics you need to discover what works best for your audience. You can see your reach, along with several other metrics, but the big one for this discussion is audience retention.
This will show at what point viewers lose interest in your video and stop watching. If you’re making 3-minute videos, but no-one ever watches past 30 seconds, you’re wasting a lot of time and resources. On the other hand, if your one minute videos are consistently watched through to the end, maybe you need to add another 30 seconds to see what happens.
Gavin Hammar is the founder of Sendible.