Tips for Adding Visuals to Your Social Media

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Video is HOT right now! Like, on fire. Use of video has been on the rise over the past several years and continues to grow. According to research from Cisco, “82 percent of all global consumer internet traffic will come from video by 2020”.

There are many ways to use video in business, Including explainer videos, promotional videos, and testimonial videos. One of the most popular ways to use video, however, is on social media — especially Facebook.  But what does it take to be successful with social media videos? What logistical items should you keep in mind when posting a video on your company’s Facebook page?

Background: Why use video on Facebook?

Facebook is the king of all social media platforms. But, because there is so much content published on Facebook each and every day, the competition is fierce. Up 200 percent from 2015, Facebook serves 8 billion views per day and people watch 100 million hours of video per day. It’s hard to get in front of your audience among so much clutter. As a result, some changes to the algorithm have taken place over the past couple of years, which have left marketers scrambling to receive the reach they once enjoyed for free.

People love watching videos. Considering that 1.18 billion people use Facebook daily, this creates an unprecedented opportunity for marketers to get their video content in front of potential customers.

In 2016, Facebook announced a company-wide push to become “video first”. CEO Mark Zuckerberg provided his reasoning: “People are creating and sharing more video, and we think it’s pretty clear that video is only going to become more important.” As a result of this commitment, the Facebook algorithm currently rewards the highest visibility to video posts (including live video, but we won’t cover that in this post).

In Spring of 2017, Hubspot published an article titled The Decline of Organic Facebook Reach & How to Outsmart the Algorithm. In it, the author noted, “videos on Facebook are engaging and make visitors more likely to stop, watch, and maybe even unmute when they spot them in the News Feed. Use videos with captions, animations, and engaging visuals to draw in Facebook users’ attention.” Posts that get a lot of interaction earn higher visibility; video can help to get the engagement that is necessary for successful posts on Facebook.

Here’s Why Marketers Are Obsessed with Facebook Video

So why are advertisers going gaga over Facebook video advertising?

1. World-Class Targeting

Facebook knows more about its users than any other advertising platform on earth. Everything a user has ever liked, clicked, watched, or interacted with is utilized to create an incredibly detailed personal profile.

For example, Facebook knows your U.S. political affiliation. Don’t believe me? Go to Privacy Shortcuts > More Settings > Ads > Ads Settings > Manage preferences > Visit Ad Preferences > Top Interests, go to “More” > Lifestyle and Culture > Scroll down to US Politics. Did Facebook peg you correctly? Browse through the other audiences Facebook has placed you in. What do you think? Pretty accurate?

Adjusting your Facebook ad Preferences can dramatically change which ads Facebook serves you.

As an advertiser, you can take advantage of this incredibly detailed and accurate Facebook targeting to serve your video content to the exact right audience. Target only your relevant potential customers and don’t pay money unless they watch your advertisement.

Click here to go to WordStream’s awesome infographic about Facebook ad targeting.

2. Facebook is a Discovery Platform

Everyone knows that you go to YouTube to search for a video. Makes sense. YouTube is a search-based platform, meaning people type in what they’re looking for. Search implies intent, like you actually know what you’re looking for (or at least have a general idea).

Facebook, however, is a discovery-based platform. People are in a different frame of mind when they use Facebook. In most cases, people aren’t looking for anything in particular, so they are potentially more receptive to your video. If your video is relevant to the target audience (and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be!) there is an even greater likelihood it will get viewed.

3. Video Delivery

Targeted video is great when trying to reach all those potential customers who aren’t yet aware of your brand. According to video statistics released by Adobe, “shoppers who view video are 1.81 times more likely to purchase than non-viewers.” Video is eye-catching, memorable, and an easy way for non-customers to get introduced to your product.

No need to bring traffic to your website to watch your product video; instead, show potential customers your video directly in their Facebook news feed. For example, here at TechSmith, we have completely changed how we serve up tutorial content.

Prior to Facebook video advertising, here at TechSmith we hosted all tutorial content solely on our website and YouTube. You needed to either seek it out on our site or search for it on YouTube. Now, we serve helpful tutorials directly into target customers’ Facebook newsfeeds. In the course of one month, we’ve served over 66k tutorials to 10k unique individuals on Facebook. Many of those viewers are folks who would never seek out a product tutorial on their own, but they end up watching because it’s convenient and they then want to learn more.

The Social Media Video Experimental Campaign

Because of this, at TechSmith, we recently made a decision to start using video more on our social media channels. Our current video campaign is a tactic of our content strategy, with a goal of driving traffic to our blog. Each week, we use TechSmith Camtasia to re-purpose two upcoming blog posts, by summarizing them to re-create the article as a video. We share the videos on social media (and also embed them in the blog post), and when people click through the video, they’re taken to the TechSmith blog. If they don’t click, but they view the video, we’re happy with that too.

As with anything new, we made some mistakes. But, we’ve been using social media video for awhile now, so we’ve been able to iron out some of the kinks and have developed some best practices.

Here are three things you must consider when you promote your video on Facebook.

1. Consider what sort of sound will be used in your video.

Captions or subtitles are something that you should consider using in all of your videos. If you aren’t already doing this, though, you’ll definitely want to include them in any videos you share on Facebook. Many people will view the video from a mobile device, and many will view your video without sound. If the meaning is lost by viewing the video without audio, it’s very likely that the meaning will be lost altogether.

To upload video captions in Facebook, you’ll need to use an .srt file. Facebook has a very particular naming scheme for .srt files, so be sure to name your file correctly, or you will not be able to upload. These can be created in a text editor, such as Notepad, although most video editors, like Camtasia, can create captions and export an .srt file.

To save time, we often upload our videos to YouTube, and use the auto-captioning functionality. You can make any necessary corrections, then download the .srt file (and rename it) for use on Facebook.

Consider whether you’ll only offer captions in English, or if you’d like to offer them in multiple languages. If you need to have the same video shared to different audiences in different languages, you’ll need to create unique posts, and also create unique .srt files for each language.

In our current blog video campaign, we’ve opted not to use captions or .srt files, because instead, we use text throughout the video to tell the story. Currently, we only produce these videos in English. We include soft music, which neither adds nor detracts from the content, whether you view with or without audio turned on. Below is an example.

2. Don’t forget about your thumbnail!

The video thumbnail is important. It’s what your video looks like when it’s not playing, and it’s easy to overlook. Some people might have their Facebook account set up so that videos do not automatically play, so in these circumstances, it’s super important to have an enticing thumbnail in place. It will also act as the preview of the video after the post has been long forgotten.

After you post a video, it will end up in the Videos tab of the Facebook page. You can sort your videos to create playlists, if you’d like, which is a good way to organize this content, and often where you’ll really notice nice-looking thumbnails (or lack of).

Did you know that text cannot cover more than 20 percent of an ad’s image when you pay to promote a post on Facebook? This is something you’ll definitely want to remember when you select or upload a thumbnail. Facebook has recently updated this policy, so it is now technically possible, but not recommended–you’ll receive less or no delivery at all. Due to this advertising policy, you’ll want to give careful consideration when you designate your video thumbnail, or you’ll risk getting a fun message from Facebook, telling you your ad(s) are disapproved.

If you are unsure what 20 percent text might look like when overlaid on an image, the Facebook Grid Image Checker Tool is helpful.

Facebook will assign a default thumbnail–the platform provides 10 options for you to choose from. You can upload a different image to use as a thumbnail, though, if you prefer.

3. Set a goal and/or clear call-to-action for your video.

To truly  reap the benefits that video has to offer when it comes to Facebook visibility, focus on quality over quantity. Don’t increase your number of or frequency of posts, but rather, increase the effectiveness of your posts.

Regardless of what your goal or call to action is, make sure you have one. We like to aim for a “share” call to action, but we may tweak that over time. We invite viewers to share the video in the last frame. Overall, what we really want is to drive traffic to our blog, and encouraging people to share the post supports that goal.

Facebook offers a variety of buttons for page posts, all which would be suitable to select as a call to action button, and may help you come up with an idea of what to use.

It’s hard to say what will be the next big thing in social media. But, for now, let’s embrace, and ride this video train for as long as we can!

Video Marketing on Social Media: 5 Ways To Maximize Your Efficiency

So you want to start using video to increase awareness of what you do, generate more leads, and increase sales. Great choice. I’m going to show you five video tips for repurposing your video to help you maximize the use of your recording time so you can reach the most viewers with the least amount of time.

1. Always Engage for the Platform

If it’s on YouTube, do YouTube things. If it’s on Facebook, do Facebook things. You want to respect the platform, respect the users, and “show them you know them” by engaging their way on the platform. Facebook viewers tend to watch videos more passively; so edited videos need to be shorter (20 seconds to a minute long). The audience is more diverse in age so you can really zero in on the niche of your choice. In other words, you can reach out to young moms with one video and then reach out to teens in another, etc. Cater the video toward the different target audiences that would be interested in your product. There is not always a one-size-fits all video and Facebook is a great way to reach many because there are so many more choices. YouTube viewers on the other hand, are searching for video so they are willing to watch longer. That audience tends to max out at middle age. Knowing that, you can cater your audience to that more limited demographic.

2. Start with Facebook Live

Start with a Facebook live event. 20% of all videos viewed on Facebook are LIVE videos. Viewers watch Facebook live videos 3x longer than pre-recorded videos and engage with comments 10x more.

Facebook Live is where you can answer a question like “How to write a mission statement for your business” or “What’s the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement” if you are a business coach. It doesn’t require any fancy equipment either. Just speak into the camera using a mobile device or webcam. I broadcast from my webcam twice a week for my The Business of Video Podcast. Jot down topics and times on a pad and paper while you are live streaming so you can easily find the good parts when you’re done. Or watch it afterward if that’s not possible, and record the topics and times then.

While pre-recorded videos on Facebook are best kept short, Facebook Live is a great place to explore long form content and give you enough time to talk out your ideas. Viewers on Facebook will engage with your content for a maximum of a couple of minutes and that’s ok.

Use that time to flesh out your ideas, restate your ideas if you messed them up earlier and really search for good pieces of content that you can later repurpose on YouTube.

3. Repurposing for YouTube

Now that you have the video stored on Facebook, you have an HD quality video file that can be downloaded directly from Facebook and imported in Camtasia for simple editing.

Using Camtasia and the notes from the Facebook Live, you can search for those areas that would work great as standalone videos. Then, cut them out of the video and save them for later.

So, for example, if your Facebook Live was something like “How to Launch an Advertising Campaign,” you may want to pull out one segment where you discuss “Choosing your Target Audience,” then create that segment as a standalone video.

After you segment the clip, create a custom introduction and a custom ending. You can pre-record these really quickly using the screen recorder in Camtasia. Add the intro at the beginning of the timeline and the outro toward the end.

Using this technique, ideally, your Facebook Live could turn into three or more videos for YouTube, each with it’s own intro and outro, giving you not just a video, but a growing YouTube channel.

4. Don’t Forget iTunes

Podcasting is a powerful tool to deeply engage with your audience members. But the most important reason to engage with podcasting is because podcast listeners are a whole different group of people. Audible learners don’t engage in as much video but they are on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher, and they are looking for podcasts in your niche.

After your Facebook Live is over you can export only the audio and upload to an RSS feed (we use Libsyn). Use Camtasia to make edits or even add simple audio bumpers to make it sound like a podcast.

Perhaps you want to have shorter podcasts. No problem! Simply export the audio from the 3 smaller YouTube videos. Now instead of one long podcast, you have 3 smaller podcasts. Here’s how our friends at Everything Tesla do it.

5. Memeify

A meme is a square image or video that usually has a humorous or ironic message. Memes are short-form content and highly shareable memes are great for sharing on Facebook, Instagram, Stories, and other image and video viewing sites around the web.

65-percent of Facebook video views are coming from mobile, and a square video uses more of the mobile screen than a standard rectangle video.

Similarly, Animoto reports that square videos are shared 22% more on social media. Square videos are really easy to produce in Camtasia so it doesn’t take much time at all.

First, change video project settings to 1080×1080.

Next, pull your square video clip into the document. Then add a text annotation above, possibly with captions, your logo, or additional text down below.

*NOTE: This upload is designed for mobile viewers on Instagram and Facebook. When you view the video on desktop it won’t look the same.

Follow these 5 tips and you’ll be able to repurpose your video content all across the web. You’ll also be more efficient in your video marketing which will lower your production costs.

Using Facebook Live as your starting point and filtering the video down through YouTube, iTunes, and Instagram will meet the needs of more audiences on four platforms in less time. This will give you more time to answer those questions, messages, and contacts who are interested in your products or services.

So You Just Facebook All Day? Here’s how you can use screenshots for social media marketing

One of our favorite tools for the job is the screenshot. Screenshots fit into all aspects of social media marketing (including proving you really DO work) from content creation, capturing customer feedback, to showing campaign results of your hard work! Here are just a few ways I’ve found them to be helpful.

Content creation

Screenshots are invaluable when it comes to content creation. You can grab images from the web, re-purpose customer content, or combine images to make the perfect visual element for your social posts.

It’s also important to make sure your images are sized right for each social network; I created a custom fixed region preset in Snagit which allows me to capture images in the right size from the start! For example, I have created a preset for Twitter share images. I assigned a hotkey so I know when I press CTRL + T I’m going to get a capture box exactly the size needed for a Twitter share image! No unexpected cropping!

Content feedback

Screenshots are a great way to give quick, clear feedback. When drafting social content our team regularly uses screenshots to share our ideas or suggest changes and edits. This eliminates a lot of back and forth communications.

How-tos

When responding to customers through our social channels, it’s often much faster to show rather than tell. I take a quick screenshot to show people how and where to access certain settings within a product.

Customer feedback

Screenshots are a great way to capture customer interactions to share internally. This is especially true if you’re using a tool that not everyone has access to. For example, we use Sprout Social to manage our social media accounts and not everyone has a login. We can easily grab the conversation history and send it off to our marketing team to follow up on a customer story, or just give the product team an example of how people are using a specific feature and how they like (or do not like) it!

How to Post Animated GIFs on Social Media Networks

We’ve all been there; You have the perfect animated GIF ready to post, but it shows up as a static image. Understanding how animated GIFs behave differently on each social media network can take some trial and error for social media marketers. Don’t worry about figuring it out though, we did the research for you so you’re not surprised next time a GIF doesn’t auto play like you intended.

Facebook

Facebook does not support uploading a GIF directly but you can upload it to a site like Giphy, Screencast.com, your website, or blog and paste the URL into your Facebook post (make sure the URL ends in .gif). The GIF will not animate in the compose view but will animate once posted.

To get the correct link from Screencast.com, paste the shortened Screencast link into your browser’s address bar and hit Enter. Then when the GIF loads, click the GIF. The URL in the address bar will be replaced with one ending in .gif. That’s the one to paste into your Facebook post!

At first, Facebook only supported animated GIFs posted from personal accounts but now brands with Facebook pages can get in on the action, too. Just keep in mind if you’re creating your own animated GIF you’ll need to keep the file size under 8MB for use on Facebook.

Twitter

Twitter supports animated GIFs directly by upload. Animated GIFs can be up to 5MB when uploaded from mobile, and up to 15MB from the web. Twitter also recently launched an integrated GIF library, allowing you to search for a topic and insert a GIF right from the compose box!

Instagram

Instagram does not support importing animated GIFs, but you can post the MP4 video and it will auto-play and loop, just like an animated GIF.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn does not support animated GIFs at all; that includes status updates as well as profiles. You can convert a GIF to MP4 and post it that way but it will have a play button and will not loop.

LinkedIn post

 

Animated GIFs are a great way to grab attention on any social media platform, as long as you know how to properly use them. They can also be super helpful to use at work too- here’s a post to inspire you- 11 Ways to Use GIFs at Work Right Now.

Have you used social media video before, either on Facebook or another network? We’d love to hear about your experience, or any questions or thoughts you have. Send us a message, tweet, or comment on Twitter or Facebook!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.