With Facebook doubling down on video—in particular live video—by awarding them more organic impressions, many marketers have made the switch to using movies to get their message across. But when it comes to making a film and promoting it on social, there are some Facebook video best practices that marketers should employ.
After producing hundreds of videos for Rackspace, I’ve picked up several best practices for filming and promoting videos on Facebook—here’s some of my best practices to help out digital marketers.
Promoting Videos on Facebook
This is probably the topic that most people need help with and there is one major key: while you can post your video organically on your Facebook page, you should only promote a “dark post” that you create in Ad Manager/Business manager. The reason why? Facebook currently allows you to put a call-to-action (CTA) button only on the dark post.
To illustrate what I’m talking about, here is a video ad that I made for my side project. This is the organic option:
And here is what the video looks like when you have paid media behind it—notice two things. First the button on the post that allows people easily to “Shop Now” for the item. You have the ability to designate the button with different CTA options, such as Learn more.
Secondly, at the end of the video there is another option for the CTA to show up to direct people to your website. Yes, the number of viewers who make it through the entire video is extremely low, however, those are exactly the people that I want to make it easy to click through.
This is mind boggling to me and creates quite a conundrum for social marketers, especially those who work for a boss/organization who doesn’t understand the importance of paid social. By only allowing a CTA button on a dark post the marketer is left with two choices:
- I can promote the dark post and get a high click through rate (CTR) to my website. However, I won’t have any of those “views” on my public Facebook page, which may look like my video performed poorly.
- I can promote the organic post and drive up the number of visible “views” on our page. However, I won’t have the luxury of a button to drive people to my website.
This is such a damning thing—if I pay to get 100,000 views by golly I want my Facebook fans and anyone dropping by the page (including executives) to see that “100k views” number. It’s exciting to see a number like that and easy to get caught up in this vanity metric. I mean heck, the savvy reader will notice that I even put a little bit of paid dollars behind that organically posted video. Even though I know it’s better to promote a dark post, I want my visitors to see that the video on my Facebook page had a lot of views.
But if you and your leadership team is secure enough to not worry about having the number of views to seen publicly on the page, you always want to go with option two. This is whether you are using a Views or Conversions marketing objective—give the user the ability and option to click through to your website. Having that CTA is killer at driving traffic to your site; the difference between website viewers from a promoted dark video post and a promoted organic video post is striking.
Create video Captions
One of the most inexpensive things that you can do to shore up your video is to add captions. Think about it: how do you want videos that show up on your mobile phone? Most people, especially those killing time on a conference call, bus or bathroom stall, are going to “read” videos. In other words, they’re watching them without sound and reading the captions. If the video is particularly good, they might re-watch it.
This seems counterintuitive—isn’t sound part of the viewing experience? But I was shocked when I examined my own behavior. Since Facebook defaults automatic video playback with the sound off, I noticed that in the majority of cases I was “reading” the video while watching it. You can spend a huge budget to film your video, but if you don’t have captions, no one is going to hear what you’re saying.
And don’t try to do it yourself—for just $1/minute of film you can get your entire film transcribed and captions by Rev.com. I can’t recommend those guys enough. They are like 98 to 99% accurate. A simple review of the video with the transcript and you’ll be able to correct any errors quickly.
Lead with Something Compelling
Do you know what constitutes a view on Facebook? Three seconds. THREE SECONDS! WITHOUT AUDIO! So, for the love of all that’s sacred, do not lead with your logo. Most people are going to bounce quickly—there’s a cat story over there and a political one over here—so your best bet to cut through the clutter is to lead with something good. Catch people’s attention.
You have two choices: (1) something visually compelling or (2) a sizzling quote. It’s hard for most corporate videos to get something striking to the eye, so you’re most likely going to have to find that quote that sparks the imagination. Lead with that and then through a title card in if you have to.
This video has my favorite sizzle line of anything I’ve ever done. “Jazz, is the universal language.” It’s not just a profound statement, it’s also the way in which BJ Le Gras spoke it. Side note: I’d kill to have the intonation and pacing like BJ.