The Anatomy of a Perfect Facebook Video
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to producing a video for social media. If you want it to have an impact, you’ll have to think about how audiences consume content across different social networks and then tailor your video for each one.
In this article, I’ll be discussing some of the things you’ll want to consider when producing a video for Facebook.
I’ve broken down the article into the following sections:
- Video types: what works best and why? Company Videos, live videos, explainer videos and more.
- A brief discussion on video duration.
- Recommendations on audiovisual resources and techniques.
- Optimizing for better reach and engagement.
- Timeline Videos vs. Story Videos, what’s the difference?
Video types: what works best and why?
There are all types of videos you can use to promote your brand throughout the web. Here are the ones that I find work best on Facebook.
Live Videos – Live video streams create engagement like no other type on this list. According to Facebook, Live Videos are watched 3x longer and commented on 10x more than videos that aren’t live. Product presentations, Q&As and seminars are just some of the things you can stream live. Think of the live format as a way of getting the audience to conspire with you as you share your journey with them. It’s an ideal way of both nurturing and maintaining a relationship with your customers.
Company Story Videos – A peek at what goes on behind the scenes of your company is a way of letting your customers know that your brand is more than just an abstraction. That there’s a community of enthusiastic individuals who are all working towards a common goal. It’s an opportunity to introduce your team and to share what your company’s culture and core values are all about.
Educational Videos – There is nothing better than finding a solution to a problem. Better yet is when that solution is packaged in an easily digestible format. Informative videos that help your audience understand concepts, problems and solutions will go a long way in building trust and loyalty. By becoming a reliable source of information, you are giving your customers a reason to keep coming back. In doing so, you are not only promoting your brand, you’re also creating positive associations to it. Don’t be surprised when these customers start viewing you as an authority in your field.
How-to-videos – Understanding the solution to a problem is one thing, but getting into the nitty gritty of it is quite another. How-to-videos allow you to do just that. No beating around the bush. Just a straightforward guide to solving a problem. A perfect way to connect the brand with a certain issue while generating brand awareness.
Explainer Video –Explainer Videos are great at introducing your offerings to the world in the most clear and succinct manner as possible. They create awareness and explain exactly what it is that your products and services offer. They also have the potential to be turned into an ad within Facebook, making them even more beneficial for brand owners.
A brief discussion on video duration.
How long your video should be is strictly dependent on the message you want to get across and the type of video you decide to use to do it. Facebook itself suggests that “video length is less important than telling a cohesive and concise story.” In my experience I have found that keeping it under the 2 minute mark not only forces me to keep the message both dynamic and simple, it also makes the video way more palatable to the viewer.
The key is understanding that social media audiences are an impatient bunch. Conveying your message with a nice swift video is a good way of harnessing their restless behavior. This is especially true of mobile users. According to Facebook, a recent study found “…that creating short videos of 15 seconds or less can significantly drive up video completions”. Think about that while tailoring your message to mobile audiences.
Recommendations on audiovisual resources and techniques.
Sure, you are on Facebook, but so is every other video producer on the web. This means it is your job to make your content stand out from the rest.
Remember, your content will not only play automatically, it will do so with the sound off. This leaves you with just the use of visuals and a few seconds before users scroll past your content. So you better start with the most compelling part of your video.
A clear shot of your brand and/or product is a good place to start, but be sure to use rich visuals with plenty of action to lure your audience in. Don’t be afraid to use unconventional camera angles and fancy editing like slow motion or time-lapse sequences.
Don’t overdo it. The story is what matters here. Going overboard with flashy imagery and choppy edits can make your video look unprofessional.
Text is king
Think about attaching memorable copy to go along with your visuals. It can assist you in getting to the heart of your message early on in the video.
Note that not every user will have the opportunity to turn up the volume, so be sure to use subtitles. It will broaden your reach by including those who won’t be able to listen to a voiceover narration (if there’s any) but who are still interested in watching the rest of your video.
Optimizing for greater reach and engagement.
There is only so much you can do during the production phase of your video. Getting your video in front of people’s eyes is an entirely different story.
Sure, it could very well be that your video takes off by virtue of its existence alone. If that’s the case then kudos to you. However, the likelihood of this happening without any kind of promotion is slim to none. Fortunately, there’s Facebook ads to give your video that initial push.
Not only will you be able to choose your audience, you will also be able to measure how they respond to your video. When it comes to measuring engagement, you want to rely on more than just assumptions. You want to use reliable data to inform you whether you ought to keep pursuing your initial plan. This means trying out variations in your videos and measuring whether these changes have an effect on views. Facebook provides just the right metrics:
- 3-Second Video Views
- Cost per 3-Second Video Views
- 10-Second Video Views
- Cost per 10-Second Video Views
- Amount Spent
- Video Watches at 25% / 50% / 75% / 95% / 100%
You should be able to gain all kinds of valuable insight from this data.
Imagine taking the metrics above and crossing it over to your audience’s demographic makeup. You’ll very quickly learn how each video performed against different segments in your audience. For example, you may find that flashier videos work best with younger viewers. Or maybe you will find that the opposite is true.
The lesson here is to listen to your data and to be inquisitive when it comes to identifying what works. Take note of your conclusions and apply them to future productions. Doing this on a regular basis will ensure your content remains both relevant and engaging.
Timeline videos vs. Story videos. What’s the difference?
Understanding the difference between these two types of publications will help dictate the kind of content you should use for each one.
Timeline publications are basically a collection of posts that help tell your story chronologically. It is found on the main page of your profile and it consists of photos, links, status updates and videos.
Stories are a recent form of publication which consist of short user-generated photo and video posts that can be viewed up to two times and disappear after 24 hours. Besides being Facebook’s answer to Snapchat’s surge in popularity, the idea behind Stories is to get users to go back to sharing original material rather than 3rd party content.
This should already give you an idea of how to take advantage of each type of presentation.
For example, using a Story video to give your followers an early sneak peak of an upcoming product release is a great way to create buzz around your brand. One way to do it is by releasing a series of short clips that lead up to a final reveal. You can use the fact that these videos are temporary to make it so that your audience won’t want to miss out on any exciting news.
Meanwhile, you can use Facebook’s Timeline for less spontaneous productions. Explainer and educational videos are the kind of robust content that is better suited for this type of publication, making them both more permanent and easily accessible for future reference.
A final word
Creating the right Facebook video really comes down to understanding your audience’s content consumption habits. Applying some of the recommendations in this article is a good starting point, but the real guide to success is in applying what you learn from your data. Behaviors and tastes change, which means your videos will have to adapt and change as well.
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