optimizing videos on facebook

7 Best Practices for Optimizing Videos on Facebook

If you didn’t already know that video is where it’s at on social, now you do, and you’re one step closer to winning at the game of content. With the landscape of digital constantly changing, there are plenty of new tools and tricks to keep on top of. That said, let’s dive right into our best practices for optimizing videos on Facebook.

1) Know your audience.

Before setting out to create great video content for your nonprofit, it’s important to think about your community members. This is where creating personas can come in handy. Ask yourself these questions before deciding on a topic and format:

  • How familiar is our audience with our organization’s mission?
  • What type of video will our audience respond best to?
  • How easy is this topic for our audience to digest?
  • What format will best communicate our message?

For Media Cause client A CALL TO MEN, many of our community members were new to the page and therefore new to the mission. We were also addressing a difficult topic of violence against women and toxic masculinity. Since a large portion of our audience was new and we needed to communicate a difficult topic, we set out to create an easily digestible, short-form video that explained the mission of A CALL TO MEN:


2) Keep it short.

Let’s face it: our attention spans are shorter than ever. News Feeds are crowded, and some people have just had it with their social feeds. So, how do you capture someone’s attention and keep it in under 2 minutes?

  • Start strong. Put selling points and impact statements toward the beginning of the video. According to a Facebook study, up to 47% of value should be provided in the first 3 seconds, and 74% in the first 10.  
  • Remain consistent. Provide value throughout the video.
  • Include a CTA. What should your audience do next after watching this video?


3) Always, always use native video. Always!

If you’re a seasoned nonprofit marketer, you know this already. Autoplay on Facebook is your best friend. Videos uploaded directly to Facebook play automatically in the News Feed and have 186% higher interaction than videos that are linked in a post. If you learn nothing else from this post, please remember this for your next socially optimized video.


4) Captions are paramount. Design for sound off.

Despite sound on being the new default for Facebook video, you need to operate under the assumption that most viewers will be watching your video without sound. Do you like getting your ears blasted by unexpected, auto-playing Facebook videos? Didn’t think so. Neither do 80% of people.

Whether it’s switching up your social video to include more text and images, or adding captions, you need to make sure your message can be understood regardless of context. Adding captions to your videos can increase engagement by 12% or more. Facebook now has its own captioning tool in-platform, which makes life super simple. If you’re unfamiliar with adding captions to Facebook videos, read on here.

Caveat: designing for sound-off doesn’t mean that your video shouldn’t have sound. If you’re creating a socially optimized video with text and images, make sure to include some great background music.


5) Know your best spokespeople.

… and track how their messages resonate with your community. Your most influential spokespeople don’t have to be celebrities. Think about who can most successfully communicate your organization’s mission to your audience.

With A CALL TO MEN, we had some big-name celebrity endorsements, including actor Matt McGorry and feminist activist Gloria Steinem. Get celebrities in your court and on camera and that’s all you need, right? Not quite!

You might recognize Matt McGorry from Orange is the New Black or How to Get Away With Murder. He’s also an outspoken feminist and activist. His video championing A CALL TO MEN’s mission generated the largest organic reach EVER on the page in the shortest amount of time. However, we found that the viewers were mostly female, and since we were trying to reach men, this was not our most successful post. But we see you, Matt McGorry!

We found that the most successful videos came from the real faces of the organization – the CEO and the Chief Development Officer. That’s how you know you’re doing something right – people react best to messages from your key stakeholders.


6) Don’t be afraid to experiment.

You may know your audience to a T, but it’s important to try out different video formats and see what your audience responds to best. With A CALL TO MEN, we tested the following:

We found that each video format played a different role in engaging with community members. While the short, native videos garnered the most views overall, Facebook Live had the longest engagement and most insightful comments and reactions. The text-heavy video was an effective way to communicate a complex message.

Experimentation can be intimidating, but there is always some guesswork involved when introducing new content to your community. When in doubt, try it out, then make decisions backed by data. Speaking of data…


7) A Reminder: Engagement > Reach

When deciding which video formats and topics to continue utilizing, it’s important to pay attention to engagement rather than reach. Here are some KPIs to look out for:

  • Unique video views
  • 10-second video views
  • Video average watch time
  • Reactions, comments & shares

The more engagement you get, the higher your reach will be naturally. We’re talking quality over quantity, here.


In Conclusion…

If you use videos that are optimized for social engagement, you can see staggering results almost immediately. Check out the growth A CALL TO MEN saw in just a 3 month period:

  • Page reach increased by 438%
  • Total engagement grew by 372%
  • Average engagement grew by 350%
  • Total video views grew by just under 8,000%

There’s more to content creation than just putting it out there on the web. Keep these best practices in mind before you share your next video on social and you’ll be an expert in no time. If you’d like to learn more about how Media Cause can support your organization’s social community growth, give us a shout. Let’s go!


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