While incorporating video into our social strategy has been a major plus, it has been a learning process. There’s nothing like a significant spike in audience engagement to tell you you’re on the right track - or that you’ve been missing the boat in the past. Don’t get me wrong, we are pleased with our results! Our organic audience reach skyrocketed to over 5,000, and our engagement levels were the highest they’ve ever been organically. For a company page with a little over 200 likes, I’d say that’s pretty decent!
But like any new communication strategy, there are a few things we wish we would have done differently. So we’re spilling the beans on what we’ve learned from using video on Facebook in hopes that you can pick up some tips and avoid some of our rookie mistakes.
1. Skip linking to YouTube, upload directly to Facebook
If you are currently using video for your business, you most likely have faced the decision of whether to use a Youtube link or to upload your video directly to Facebook. Well, due to our experience, we are in camp Facebook. Don’t be mistaken, if you have video content, you should certainly upload it to YouTube (and share it!). However, when it comes to posting on Facebook, it’s best to upload your video directly versus linking it to YouTube.
Videos uploaded directly to Facebook tend to generate more views than those linked to YouTube. Increased views is due in part (a big part) to the fact that when a video is uploaded to FB, it automatically will begin playing when a user scrolls past it in their newsfeed. By default, this catches people’s attention and increases views. Auto-play may seem sneaky, but it really is okay. (And if you personally hate videos automatically playing in your feed, you can change it in your settings.)
Another powerful benefit of using Facebook’s video tools is that you have access to more in-depth data on your viewer’s interaction and response to your video. You can see how many people viewed your video for 3-29 seconds, and who watched it for more than 30 seconds. You can also get a better picture of how long people are actually watching your video with the average view duration stat. These are all insights that are significantly helping us refine our approach to video.
At first, I didn’t love the idea of missing out of capturing views on YouTube. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that I was being convinced to use Youtube! Haha, I felt like turning my back on Youtube would hinder my ratings. And honestly, it has. We don’t have as many views on Youtube, but we have more views overall, so I guess that is what matters. Once I saw our results from our first video on Facebook and compared it to past videos we shared via a YouTube link; I was intrigued by the difference. For now, we are committed to uploading directly to Facebook, but we will be paying close attention to the analytics.
2. Keep your message short and sweet
Making our videos too lengthy was a mistake we regrettably made when creating our first two Beyond the Draft Series videos. We strategically (or so we thought) decided to dig deeper into specific topics to try and offer more value to our audience. With that goal in mind, we made each video between four and five minutes long. Since posting them, we have reviewed the analytics and found that there was a major drop in viewers after a minute or so. Yikes! That was a bit of a buzzkill considering the amount of thought that we put into each topic. But oh well, can’t win them all, right?
We get it. Everyone is busy, and if we’re trying to educate people, we better make it snappy! We should have put more weight on this in our planning sessions, but we will make the adjustments as we move forward with the rest of our videos.
So when it comes to planning your content, keep your message short and sweet. Stick to your points and opt for concise solutions versus long, elaborate explanations. Videos are certainly more of a sprint than a marathon. So if you want to retain your viewer’s attention for as long as possible, it’s best to keep your video between 30 seconds and two minutes.
3. Think twice before paying to promote
We’ve always felt a bit wishy-washy about sponsoring our posts, and I believe that it’s been the right choice for us to focus on our organic reach. While we chose not to pay to promote our videos, that doesn’t necessarily mean they wouldn’t have benefitted from doing so.
You see, when it comes to paying to promote your posts you must do so purposefully. Without a particular goal in mind, you end up mindlessly throwing money at a post that does little to grow your page, let alone your business.
Before coughing up your cash, ask yourself: is this ad going to grow my business? What is my ultimate goal in paying to promote this post? Does my post have a strong call-to-action that will help me accomplish my goal? If you’re struggling to find an answer, you may want to save your buckaroos for something of greater value.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of the share
While sharing your video on your company page is a no-brainer, don’t be afraid to reach out to others and ask them to share it too. Chances are they’d be more than happy to help out! Having local chambers and other Facebook groups share your video can help you reach a larger audience which boosts your organic reach. And let’s be real, you’re not creating these videos just for fun. You’re creating them so people WATCH them!
But don’t be hasty, be strategic about who you ask! Make sure your content is of value to that company/individual AND their following. Since our topics focus on helping small businesses owners perfect their communication and marketing strategies, it made sense to ask the local chambers to share our video content. It wouldn’t make much sense to reach out to a local restaurant to do the same.
In short, asking others to share your video needs to not only make sense, but it needs to be a win-win for both parties.
5. Involve your audience as much as possible
The best way to get others excited about your videos is to engage them in the process. This process is something I wish we would have spent more time on. After all, the best topic suggestions come from the people who are going to consume your content, right?
Ask your audience what questions (related to your business) or problems they are facing. This information can help direct you toward the type of content that matters to them. Strike up a conversation by posting a question related to your next video content and ask others to provide an answer in the comments below. Not only does it make your followers feel like their opinions are valued, but it encourages them to become invested in your project. People are more likely watch your video if they feel personally connected to it.
Have you experimented with video on Facebook yet? If so, what advice do you have for to anyone looking to get started? What other questions do you have about using video on Facebook? Comment below!
Need help figuring out what content to include in your videos or how to use video on Facebook? We offer a free 1-hour brainstorming session for new clients!