You may think your creative status updates, beautiful images or relevant links are getting you far on social media, but on Facebook, nothing compares to native video content. With recent updates to its app, Facebook Live and its newsfeed algorithm, Facebook CEO and creator Mark Zuckerberg is moving fast on his prediction that it won’t be long before “most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video”. In its efforts to increase engagement, duration on site and social sharing, Facebook is heavily investing in video content. And that means as a brand, organization or company, so should you.
most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video
You may have even noticed Facebook’s most recent app update — an entire icon on its bottom navigation specifically devoted to video content. The interface looks very similar to Instagram, with recently updated user profiles listed at the top, begging for you to tap and watch. Because a vast majority of internet users are already in this space, Facebook has gained a new edge and is telling the world, loud and clear, that it wants to be your source for video.
What About YouTube?
For years, brands have been flocking to YouTube to release video content. Google boasts that over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and it has historically been users’ go-to source for sports recaps, Tonight Show segments, viral videos and even original programming. But in recent months, Facebook has made some major advances toward the video giant. By elevating native videos (videos uploaded directly to Facebook, instead of providing a link from YouTube) in its almighty news feed algorithm, Facebook drawn its line in the sand. Earlier this year, Facebook has even taken on YouTube Live with its own version, Facebook Live, and again tweaked its algorithm to give preference to live videos and give users notifications when their friends streaming. With its recent and frequent live video enhancements, autoplay functionality, ad-free viewing and web embedding options, users have a lot of incentive to jump on the Facebook video bandwagon.
So, what does this mean for brands? Should they abandon YouTube altogether? Certainly not. As Alexa’s second most-viewed website in the world (Facebook is third, by the way), YouTube is obviously very much alive and well. The YouTube community isn’t going anywhere, and its infrastructure is too big to fail. However, in brands’ efforts to reach their communities more effectively, it’s vital to think about where people are spending their online hours. And increasingly, that’s on social media and mobile devices.
So, how can brands start developing content for an increasingly video-saturated Facebook experience? Here are a few rules of thumb, when thinking about Facebook-specific video content:
- Silence is Golden. At least, to start. When scrolling through your Facebook news feed, videos play automatically. And sound will not activate until users actively click or tap on the video itself. This means most people won’t hear the initial few seconds of your video. To remedy this, embrace the silence! Some companies begin their Facebook videos with a few seconds of text saying, “Tap to hear sound.” Others just edit the video in such a way that viewers won’t miss out on audio content at the very beginning, and save the good stuff for the end. Either way, think about ways you can edit your first few seconds for the eye, not the ear.
- Captions are King. Sometimes, viewers are in a space where they physically can’t hear audio or it would be socially awkward to do so (on the bus, at work, etc.). So, add text throughout your videos to provide context. If they choose to click on the video for the sounds, great! If they don’t, they shouldn’t be penalized for it. Try to transcribe the audio, including background sounds. If you can’t transcribe every word, highlight the most important points through text to make the content as clear as possible.
- Go Live! As stated earlier, Facebook elevates live video streams. So think strategically about the next time you can go live for your fans and followers. You could do an informal Q&A session, or a quick how-to. All live videos are archived, so you can always embed them on your website for later viewing or refer back to them after the stream is over. Comments abound during these sessions, so get ready to engage with your audience like never before.
No matter how you slice it, Facebook video is only growing. Use this platform as a new opportunity to spread your message and brand to new audiences. Think about ways to be funny, succinct, interesting and helpful. As Facebook video continues to gain ground, we will begin to see new and creative uses for this platform, so best to get started on the ground floor!