YouTube has forever been king of online video content, social or otherwise. But for anyone who hasn't noticed, there's now a serious challenger for that title: Facebook.
For the past few years, Facebook has been making huge and consistent strides in gaining market share in the video space. And although the sheer volume still happening at YouTube keeps them solidly in the "best in class" position overall, if you're a brand looking for engagement then you should be shifting much of your effort to Facebook. With more than 4 billion video streams daily, Facebook has established itself as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to video.
Even before the live streaming function and several other updates, Facebook grew from about half of all video interactions to around 80% of them throughout 2014 and actually surpassed YouTube in terms of total video posts by brands by the end of that year.
All additional analysis since that time confirms the same message: If you're an individual with a vlog or a creative type, your YouTube channel is probably still the best place to be; but if you're a brand, Facebook is the clear winner.
So now what? Just do the same thing you were doing with YouTube, but in a different location? Facebook marketing strategies are different from YouTube, or Twitter, or any other social platform. So here are 10 tips that will get you more engagement. You may also want to check out Facebook's own advice.
10 Facebook video marketing strategies for more engagement.
1. Upload natively
When videos are uploaded directly to Facebook, two things happen. First, they can autoplay in news feeds and have other cool options you can control. Linked videos (such as from YouTube) don't autoplay, and the video loads in a new window on the site it was linked from instead of on Facebook.
Facebook wants users to stay on Facebook, so native videos get preference. They also get massive engagement compared to linked videos. That means that linking your existing YouTube or Vimeo videos to Facebook is an unacceptable shortcut that won't get you the engagement you're looking for. That doesn't mean that you can't use the same videos, however...
(Sendible recently added the ability to upload videos natively to Facebook and Twitter, with YouTube coming soon.)
2. You can repurpose existing content
If you already have a video library on YouTube, Vimeo, or somewhere else, you can still post those videos to Facebook - just upload them, don't link them. That gives you a running start on your Facebook video library, but make sure you're not posting something seasonal that isn't relevant anymore. Also, consider that the viewing time on Facebook is shorter than that of YouTube and choose your repurposed videos carefully.
In fact, you can repurpose more than just videos. Add video to a podcast and upload it, or read a previous blog post over images or a video. Turn a SlideShare or powerpoint presentation into a video. There are a variety of ways to use video in repurposing old (but evergreen) content. Whether you're repurposing the old or creating new content, you need to do the following...
3. Optimize the opening and give the short version
You need to grab your audience's attention in the first three seconds or you may not get it at all, so make them worthwhile. A drawn out or boring beginning will be scrolled past quickly. If you're not using autoplay (or even if you are), you also want to choose the best frame possible for the still image of the video.
Edit longer videos down to give the short version. For instance, a 20-minute video showing how to do a project could be edited down to 2 minutes that only show the major steps. Then you could link them to the long version of the video or a blog post as a call to action. Give them a chunk of meat, but let them choose whether or not to have the entire meal.
4. Mind the details
Your Facebook videos are machines, and if one part is left out or poorly fitted the machine won't work efficiently. There are lots of options that Facebook gives you for your video uploads - use them. One option is adding a call to action button at the end of the video, like watch more, shop now, book now, sign up, or a number of others. Always use one of these.
You also want to make your thumbnails eye-catching, and one way to do that is to upload a custom thumbnail instead of using a still image from the video. This helps both in the newsfeed and in the video library section. If you have other parties involved or associated with the video, tag the people or pages to help with organic reach. Just don't be spammy about it.
5. Embed Facebook videos in your blog posts
Drive your website visitors to your Facebook page more by embedding your Facebook videos in blog posts there. This also makes it simple for your visitors to interact with your post by liking or sharing without leaving your website. Facebook has made this easy by simply clicking the options arrow in the corner of your video post and choosing embed video, then copying and pasting the code they give you into your blog post.
6. Facebook video ads
No-one's watching your uploaded video? Give it a boost by making it a Facebook video ad. If your video is inspiring or funny or informative you'll probably get some organic sharing anyway, but paying to make it a sponsored post can make it go that much farther. You also get the benefit of Facebook's meticulous targeting capabilities which could open your page up to a new group of fans.
7. Make your videos shareable
What makes a video sharable? The three things that people want from your videos are to be inspired, informed, or entertained. Those are things they're happy to pass on to others by sharing your posts. And it should go without saying that informative posts do better when they're also entertaining (or delicious).
One of the most effective types of video posts is a quick, useful tip. Scores of businesses have already proven this to be true. A 30-second to 1-minute video that quickly shows someone how to do or make something is almost surely to be a hit, and also gives you the opportunity to lead the viewers to more in-depth information through a call to action.
And if there is any way that you can include food in your video posts somehow, do it. Food and recipe-related video posts are far and away the most popular types, in general.
8. Gauge the right length
You need shorter videos on Facebook than on YouTube generally speaking, but how short is short? That question brings us back to the same old answer, which is: it depends on your audience. You should always be using a social media dashboard to determine which kind of posts work best for you anyway, but with videos, Facebook provides just the right metrics to see what length fits your audience.
You can see your reach, along with several other metrics, but the big one for this discussion is the audience retention. This will show at what point in the video people lose interest and stop watching. If you're making 3-minute videos but no one ever watches past 30 seconds, you're wasting a lot of time and resources making the other two and a half minutes. On the other hand, if your 1-minute videos are consistently watched through to the end, maybe you want to add another 30 seconds on and see what happens.
9. Use a Featured Video
On your Facebook Page, you'll have the option to choose a feature video to display. This could be an explainer video if you have a new or unique service or product, or it could be about an upcoming webinar or event. It could be a message from the CEO or a promotion that's currently going on. This is just an additional way to boost your page, even though the majority of your fans probably spend more time on your posts in their newsfeeds than they do on your page.
10. Create video playlists
As you add more and more videos to your Facebook video library, you'll want your fans to be able to easily find different content when they want to. You can organize your videos into playlists to make this easier. Playlists can be organized by topic, type, date, or any other way that makes it simpler to navigate and discover. Below are some playlists from The Guardian.
So there you have it, some great tips on creating Facebook video content people will consume, making it grab their attention, and leading them to further action. These can be refined as you go, to fit your own audience's feedback and optimize your Facebook video presence, but they should get you good results right out of the gate.
Did I miss an important tip that's worked well for you? Please let us know in the comments. Your tip might be the best one we've seen!