Facebook video best practices: what you need to know to grow your video presence
You might be reading this post with some reservations. With the current state of the world and volatile spotlight on social media platforms regarding privacy and other issues, I can understand the icky feeling you may have when it comes to the idea of using Facebook at all.
I’m right there with you— hear me out.
Over 1 billion active users log on to Facebook daily. Additionally, 74% of high-income earners (users making more than $75k annually), are using Facebook (which is more than LinkedIn).
Dig even deeper and 48.5% of B2B decision-makers say they use Facebook for research when they’re making a buying decision. Some buying decisions are even happening within the platform itself with 18.3% of US adults buying making a purchase through Facebook last year.
Going off the headlines, Facebook deserves that feeling you’re likely associating with it, but the business case for Facebook is pretty strong.
You might be asking yourself right now, I get that I should be using Facebook for my business, but why do I have to use Facebook video?
You need to be using Facebook video because statistically, it has proven to be more engaging than any other type of post. In fact, video posts receive 135% more reach than photos and on average, video posts on Facebook have a 59% greater engagement rate than other post types. If your audience is active on Facebook, video is likely the most effective way to reach them.
This article will not focus on Facebook advertising. If that is what you’re looking for, I’d recommend checking out this list of articles on our website. As always, we’ve got you covered *winky face.*
What video should you post on Facebook?
Facebook is making a concerted effort to only show genuine, honest content to the feeds of its users. That means content that ishelpful and informative to your audience; not salesy or self-promotional.
Facebook video is not the place for your sales pitch. You should post to Facebook when your goal is to help and educate your audience or humanize your brand.
An example of creating educational content for their customers is IMPACT client, Acculevel a foundation repair company in Indiana. They share video posts about services they offer as solutions for common foundation problems.
Additionally, a way to humanize your company online is sharing your culture with your audience. Use stories to share the day-to-day of your team and show off your company personality.
Now that you understand the impact Facebook video could have on your video marketing strategy, I’m going to dive into the best practices to help optimize the strategy that will allow you to make you the most visible to your audience,
1. Post consistently
There is a perception that posting frequently on social media is the key to success with the platforms. And while it is important to post frequently, it’s more important to your audience that you’re posting consistently rather than frequently.
If you’re posting consistently, audiences have a reason to actually follow and frequent your profile. They have a reason to stay and engaged and the most engaged someone stays with your brand the more likely you’ll be to be top of mind when it comes to make a purchase.
Consistent posting also signals to the platform that your page is active and will reward you with more reach and exposure.
If you’re wondering when is a good time and day to post, reviewing your page insights will give you an idea of when your audience is online and what times of day they’re spending time on your content.
2. Have a compelling, custom thumbnail
If you’re going to put the content out there, you want to give it the best possible chance to be clicked on, and that starts with the thumbnail.
A good thumbnail provides context for what the video is about and grabs the viewer’s eye. Best practices include:
- Giving context with supporting text
- Using contrast and bold colors to create visual hierarchy
- Using a photo of a face
- Keeping your style consistent across your channel
The example below is a list episode from Tasty’s video series, Edible History.
As the viewer, you can clearly identify what each episode is about and find what you like simply by looking at the thumbnails.
The white text on the red background is easy to read and the images set the tone for what to expect when watching the video.
The host, Hannah, on the thumbnail is making a goofy face that signifies that these are going to be fun, lighthearted videos that not only educate you on the history of classic dishes, but also entertaining.
By setting expectations with a custom thumbnail, you’ll be more likely to attract your ideal customers to watch your content.
In this video, Howfinity walks you through the process of uploading a custom thumbnail to your Facebook video post.
3. Always add captions
85% of people view Facebook videos with the sound off. Add in audiences with hearing impairments, if you’re not adding captions to your video, your message is likely being missed by a large portion of your audience.
In Creator Studio, you can automatically generate captions to a video you upload, but we uploading a custom .srt file to ensure that your captions are 100 percent accurate.
There are a number of software options you can use to make the process of transcribing your video easy and thus, making the process of generating captions more efficient.
Check out the ToolTorial video from IMPACT below about Quicc:
Captions also allow search engines to crawl your content to discern what the video is about. Make sure any keywords or keyword phrases are included in your captions.
4. Optimize the post description
The description also plays the role of informing the algorithm on what this video actually about. Because the algorithm doesn’t watch your video, it must rely on the textual content you provide to tell it what your content is about and what search terms it’s relevant to appear for.
That means the title of the video, the description, the tags you use,and any hashtags must be key search terms to ensure you’re appearing for people who are looking for content like yours.
When you log on to Facebook’s Creator Studio and you choose “upload a video,” you’ll be prompted with a screen similar to what you’ll see below.
In the boxes, title, description, and tags, you’ll fill that information with words that describe what your video is about.
This is a particular shot of the backend of the video upload to Creator Studio where you’ll be able to add all the textual elements to your video post.
When choosing tags for your video, you can only choose eight per upload. Be specific and only include the most relevant keywords and phrases that embody what your video is about.
Now to see some descriptions in action. REI’s series, Miranda in the Wild shares camping tips from the host Miranda who educates her viewers in a fun way about camping gear.
This video about camping gear is interactive and educational. It invites people to comment and tells you exactly what the video is about without being a sales pitch.
Notice in the description includes searchable terms like ‘best camping or backpacking gear.’ While this content is presented in a fun way, it also is highly searchable, clearly describing the type of product you can expect to be reviewed in this video.
This video, posted by the Bacon Beatdown is an announcement for the date of their annual fitness competition in 2021. The post along with announcing the critical details of the event includes hashtags that are relevant to the competition. Hashtags can be helpful to appear in relevant searches for your content, but they should be used sparingly. Use specific hashtags that actually mean something to your post.
For example, #motivationmonday is popular general hashtag, but the event used #thebaconbeatdown instead to appear in any search where someone is looking for that hashtag. And to ensure that Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t mark the post as clickbait.
5. Use vertical video whenever possible
Have you ever watched a video on your phone and it didn’t look like the video fit correctly on your screen? Or you notice some of the shots are getting cut off in certain areas of the video? You’re not the only one who has experienced this.
In 2020, it was reported that more than 90% of the Facebook’s users are using their mobile device to visit the platform with more than 70% of users exclusively using mobile to use Facebook. That’s why the platform’s algorithm favors vertical video.
For your Facebook video strategy, it would be helpful to use vertical video as much as possible to optimize your viewing experience and friction-free for audiences.
The example below is an example from the brand Tarte Cosmetics.
This video is a selfie-style demo of one of their products. The video is shot in vertical, optimizing it for mobile viewing and also resonating with the audience as a video they may take or make themselves. If you were a customer, at a cosmetic store, and you were interested in trying their brand, you can easily see a product demo of exactly what you’re shopping for on your smartphone.
Need more guidance on when to use vertical video and do it well? This video explains some best practices: explains the best practices of when to use vertical and when to use horizontal video.
6. Optimize your video length
Audience retention is one of the data points that the algorithm focuses on as a metric of trust. Concentrate on generating material that speaks directly to your fanbase and holds their attention for the entire video.
If your video isn’t being watched a majority all the way to the end of the video, the Facebook algorithm will not see it as trustworthy and it will not get the reach you were hoping for when you posted it.
What does this mean for your Facebook video content? Well, you’ve got to keep people watching.
In order to make sure someone sticks through the duration of the video, there must be a clear story and purpose to the content you’re publishing. For guidelines on how to structure your videos, The Video 6 is a great place to start.
Facebook recommends posting three-minute or longer videos that ‘inspire viewers to watch all the way to the end, however, that can vary on your audience and subject matter.
How will you know if your video is being watched all the way through? There are a couple ways you can determine the effectiveness of your Facebook videos using tools in their platform.
To find these analytics, first navigate to Facebook’s Creator Studio.
From there, click “Loyalty Insights” followed by “How long people are watching.”
This will give you a better picture of how your video content is performing as a whole.
This image pulled from this article on understanding Facebook video shows the breakdown in Creator Studio of a page’s overall view duration for all of their video content.
From this summary, you can learn about how long your audience is sticking around for a video and where, generally they’re dropping off. Using this information, you can make more informed decisions about how you’re creating your content.
Looking at the example above, 45% of users are falling off of video content in general after the first three seconds. Armed with this information, you could focus on making sure the first three seconds of your video give Facebook users a reason to stick around and identify that your video is the right fit for them.
On a single video level, head to “post performance,” and review what the audience retention is of that specific video as illustrated in the image below.
Image from Understanding Video Distribution on Facebook
This information tells you where the audience is “falling off” during the video.
This creator can use this data to infer how to change this video to increase the audience retention by doing a number of things that could include taking a segment out of the video that doesn’t connect with users and that’s why they’re not watching all the way through.
By looking at the data of how much an audience is viewing your content, you can better understand what’s working and what’s not working in your content.
This information will not only help you optimize your existing content, but inform how you strategize your new content to retain more of your audience from the beginning.
Keep this Facebook’s Video Best Practice Checklists in your toolbox as a reminder of the recommendations for video publishing best practices. Check it frequently to make sure if the platform has updated recommendations, your content doesn’t get penalized for not following the new standard.
8. Go live!
Live video entered the game in 2016 and since then, it has been taking the social media world by storm.
On Facebook, live video receives six times more engagement than a traditional video post.
Use Facebook’s live video to directly engage with your fans in real-time. Answer their questions in the comments, and react to and encourage their interactions with each other. Use this strategy to humanize your business and give your customers and prospects a taste of what they can expect if they choose to do business with you, thus further interacting with you.
A great example of a company that frequently uses live video as part of their strategy is the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA). As the host to numerous youth baseball and softball tournaments (and more), throughout the year, the company uses Facebook Live to broadcast events like the All American Games that features youth athletes from across the country.
By broadcasting their games on Facebook Live (visit their Facebook page to check them out), friends and family of the athletes who cannot be in Florida to witness events in person can watch the game complete with play-by-play and color commentary.
This live Facebook broadcast not only allows friends and family to tune in, it gives the athletes a big-league feeling when they can watch the game back and gives the organization plenty of content for people to visit their page to watch.
Your company may not have an intuitive event like a live baseball game to broadcast, but Facebook Lives gives you the opportunity to connect with prospects in a genuine way through an interview, class, tutorial, etc.
🔎Related: 14 Ways Your Business Can Successfully Use Live-Streaming Video
Put your Facebook video strategy into action
After reading this article, I hope you feel excited about using Facebook video. You may also feel a little overwhelmed and be thinking this is just another element of my strategy that I need to keep track of. Don’t be afraid to invest in publishing tools to help you keep track of all your video and content publishing efforts.
I would also encourage anyone using Facebook video to experiment with different types of content. If you haven’t tried posting to stories yet, this is a great opportunity to show off the culture of your business or to follow one of your employees as they interact with you customers.
Once you’ve established a consistent cadence of posting, and you have an understanding of what types of videos resonate with your audience, level up your Facebook video game by setting up your Ad Manager and create campaigns that target lookalike audiences to show your content to more Facebook users who could be a good fit for your business.
At the end of the day, this is a platform that not only gives you the opportunity to show your customers that you care about educating them, it’s also an opportunity to humanize your business.
If you haven’t started with social media marketing, IMPACT+ is here for you. Check out the course, Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing to kick start your social media marketing initiative.
Wondering where to begin?