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By Shannon K. Murphy

Senior Content Manager at Brightcove

Best Practices in Social Video: Using Facebook for Business


Facebook is part of my daily life. Is it a part of yours? Facebook is where I go to check in on faraway friends as a flurry of interesting and amazing life events unfold: engagements, adoptions, excursions to Bali, and weight loss transformations. Even though we might not speak (er, text) everyday I can keep tabs on the people I care about on Facebook.

As marketers, we know that social networks are where audiences go to obtain news, information, and entertainment. After all, the chances of a person simply visiting just a homepage or blog are rare now. Audiences actually expect to be pushed to content through sophisticated algorithms, which take into account personalization and network recommendations. On Facebook, the consumption of information, particularly that of video is much more passive. Facebook currently averages 8 billion average daily video views, but we watch videos of nieces and nephews, bratty huskies, cats, and celebrities in carpool karaoke. So how can B2C and B2B businesses fight for attention?

While social video is a key aspect of building relationships on social media, on Facebook you have to be particularly sensitive to what you’re interrupting and keep this front of mind when developing your social media strategy. To interrupt without ire on Facebook, we need to produce innately shareable social video while optimizing this content for seamless consumption and interaction. We’d love to give you a few tips.

How to Tell Better Stories through Facebook Social Video

First, know your audience. Generally, Facebook has more traction with women, particularly in the 18 to 29 age range, followed closely by those aged 30 to 49. Education, income and location are varied with no identifiableadvantage for certain types of businesses here. Also, worth noting? Facebook is the favorite social network of Grandma and Grandpa. Internet users in the 50-64 age range, as well as 65+, are more active on Facebook than Twitter. (Keep in mind, getting more specific with your audience parameters is even more important if you plan to utilize both organic and paid social video. Read our post: How to Use Organic and Paid Social Video for More Marketing Impact).

Facebook User Demographics

As for the tone of your content, Facebook is overwhelmingly personal and thus engagement comes at a premium. A sense of community and mutual interest are vitally important. Local businesses thrive on Facebook; in fact, of small business owners and marketers who plan to spend money on social media in the next 12 months, two-thirds plan to promote video on Facebook, which is more than any other channel.

Consider the local news stories you actually stay up to watch. The firefighters who raised money to give fire victims Christmas after a tragedy. The blind dog and the deaf bunny who help each other navigate their farm. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not! These types of stories are uplifting, and show a perseverance of spirit. Or in simpler terms- they make us sad, and then they make us happy. These types of stories are shared and reshared continually on Facebook. It’s time to take your social video viewer on an emotional journey.

But what if you’re a  multinational corporation with a global reach. Can you crack the code? Yes. Now answer this question: How are you helping the community and championing the causes your audiences care about? It can be tough, but users need to invite you to be a part of their everyday by not only liking, but following your page. Legitimize your brand by actively participating in your audience network regularly and then create a conversation (using video) around the things your followers care about. Your business can champion a movement.

How to Optimize Social Video on Facebook

Upload Native Video

Video is winning in the Facebook news feed. Facebook video reaches approximately 22% of your fans, while an embedded Youtube video reaches only 13%. Photos have been slightly deprioritized, reaching only about 12% of your brand fans. Autoplay is only available for native video on Facebook and Twitter so, when we consider that native often gets a higher organic reach on these networks, it’s because content can freely flow. There is no click to engage as there would be, say, with video embed for YouTube or Vimeo.

Facebook Embedded Video Facebook Native Video

The difference between non-native and native video can be seen above.

Grab Attention and Keep It: Optimize for Facebook Autoplay

Three-seconds counts as a “play” in Facebook video metrics, which when paired with auto-play, can be concerning for businesses looking to measure video engagement.

How can you create a more engaging video and get audiences to watch past the three-second mark as they scroll through newsfeeds? Optimize your video lead-in. Waste no time. A compelling video intro is essentially the new thumbnail. We used to tell you that you needed to optimize your thumbnails but now you need to jump right in with interesting images and people right off the bat.

Your video should be interesting whether sound is on or off. Utilize all the elements that make video visually stimulating: flashes of motion, people in varied environments, color shifts, and unique camera angles.

As far as the ideal Facebook video length, consider that 40% of your audience will watch until the end of a 1 to 16 second long Facebook video. This number drops to 18% when video length increases to over 30 seconds. If it’s a match for your content, I’d advise you to master the 15 second video format, stat.

Lastly, if you’re utilizing both an organic and paid social video model, know this: Facebook video ads might not autoplay. There are a variety of factors that can impede this, including slow bandwidth on mobile phones. You’ll need to choose a thumbnail -- potentially one that has copy used on screen within it.

Facebook Video Characteristics

Go Beyond Moving Pictures, Utilize Copy Appropriately 

As a writer, I’d be remiss if I didn’t stress the importance of copy within your video marketing efforts. Some viewers disable autoplay in their feeds, and so you’ll need to solicit a click on your shared or promoted social video. Optimize the copy that surrounds the video by setting the stage for what the audience about to consume.

The intelligent use of copy with Facebook social video doesn’t stop there. Put words in your actual video. Most videos are consumed initially with sound off (some remain muted throughout the play) and words are part of an interesting video lead-in. Well-crafted copy gives the viewer instant relevance and understanding. Furthermore, words flashing across the screen add emphasis to your messaging. Take a look at the visual dynamism present in many video infographics and you’ll have a better idea of what I’m talking about. This technique can be used in a variety of video formats.

Create a Welcoming Space: Add a Video Greeting to Your Facebook Business Page

Unless a prospect knows you well, they’re often not going to visit your branded Facebook page. When they do arrive, steal a tip from your SEO manager. What were they searching for to get to this point and this place? Greet them with a video that speaks to these needs.

How to do it: Facebook admins can “pin” a video post to the top of the page. Of course, you can change this out every so often for promotions but do this sparingly, as this video greeting sets the tone for your Facebook business page and can leave a lasting impression with your visitor.

As you integrate video throughout your page, treat it as a website. What types of personas are visiting your page and what areas of content will be most interesting to them? Then answer these needs with video.

Facebook Welcome VideoNotice how integrates a video into the About section of their Facebook business page.

We say it again and again and again. Tell stories. Whether it’s light-hearted, sad, uplifting, or maybe even enraging, the most popular videos on Facebook are eliciting a reaction. No other medium speaks to raw emotion in the way that video does. Audiences on Facebook are looking for a personal connection and thus are the most natural consumers of your most thoughtful and creative stories. Optimizing for maximum visibility, use social video on Facebook to find advocates who will spread your story organically-- generating the type of buzz you crave from this marketing channel. It can be done with a company vision, audience insights, and social network know-how.