Facebook video is an extremely effective form of marketing today. But, let’s immediately stress on one important thing- Facebook video can have an effect only if you make it according to the tips that are furnished below. If you apply them, you can create a very effective campaign, specially, with short Facebook videos.
Facebook video has extremely specific rules for directing style. If you expect us to tell you the famous “it must be short, quick, it is the web…” story, no, we already know that and we are sure you know it, too, and it refers to YouTube directing. We will talk about some, truly, new ‘rules of the game’.
A small digression is probably necessary. In general, business marketing on Facebook and running a successful Business Page is a project that needs to be well planned and requires a good understanding of this social network. One of the more important goals of the campaign is to generate traffic to your website that is built to present your services/products to people online. There are several ways to do that, i.e. platforms, for which you do not need the programming knowledge. Just pay attention to the flexibility of website builders in the sense that not everyone is equally specialized for all purposes.
Let’s go in order. For starters, the most important principle is this:
People on Facebook ‘Don’t’ Have a Sound
Your clip must be a ‘silent movie’. Most people today watch Facebook on mobile phones while in a cafe, on the street, at work, at class, among friends… In such situations, they usually watch Facebook videos without sound and even if they turn up the volume to the end, they are often in some noisy environment and will not hear a thing.
Even when sitting in a quiet and peaceful room, people will often not play a sound so as not to disturb the others around them. Statistics say that about 85% of people watch Facebook videos with sound off, and the question is what do with the other 15 %, who turn the sound on.
Of course, in order not to take us literally, you can and should have the sound in clips – whether it is music or voice, it does not matter. It is important that the complete message of the clip must be equally understandable for those who have and those who do not have sound. How to achieve this?
Text over video. Subtitles. Call it what you will. For Facebook, video subtitles are absolutely crucial and most important. You tell your story with the help of text that stands over the frames all the time. These subtitles must be significantly larger than the classic subtitles used for movies. They are free to take up one-third of the screen, if necessary. Why? Because they have to be seen clearly on small devices.
The only moment when you should deviate from the large text and put the classic ‘small’ subtitles is if you have a person talking about something in a part of the video. Then you have to put classic movie subtitles because that is one stereotype that people are used to – everything else would be strange to them.
So, you tell a story by changing frames every few seconds, with each frame having its own subtitle, that tells the current part of the story. This story has to flow, to be interesting (that is a matter of your creativity), and would really mean a lot to have a good director and/or copywriter.
But one thing is extremely important when it comes to subtitles:
In the First Few Seconds of the Video…
…there must be an interesting sentence all the time that will interest people to look to the end and that will target the right audience. This has the same function as the headline in a web article – to attract attention. Why? Because the Facebook video has autoplay the moment someone scrolls to it.
When people scroll through the News Feed, they get to your video, and then your video, which they see just as some random video, starts. At that moment, it is critically crucial that they see an interesting message on the screen in capital letters because of which they will want to watch the video to the end. You cannot put that message under a clip in a description or in a title because no one is looking at it. It has to be over the video, in the first few seconds. If you do not have this sentence at the beginning, most people will skip it because for them you are just ‘some video out there’. A few seconds of their attention is stolen and they do not understand what the clip is about – bye, bye. They scroll down.
The easiest way to make the clips we are talking about is to take advantage of some ready-made clips you have on YouTube. We recommend that you do the editing in programs like Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas, Final Cut, and you can even do it on some simpler platforms, such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. All you need is the ability to cut clips and put text over. You can find ultra-short tutorials for each of these programs on the Internet.
Another important thing is that you can upload a thumbnail of the video for people who do not have autoplay. The same rule applies here, too – an interesting sentence that will interest people to press ‘play’ (it is easiest to use a shot from the beginning of the video).
One of the essential differences between Facebook videos and those on YouTube is the square format. Unlike the previous ones, this is not a rule that you have to follow 100 % but it is always good if you can pack your video in a square format. Why? Because people would not have to turn the phone 90 degrees to watch a square video, as is the case with the 16:9 format.
So, we come back to human laziness and a shallow focus on networks. When the video is square, then the phone stays in the same position, and the user experience is better. Yes, even such a banal thing as: “Oh, now I have to turn the phone over to watch this video in full screen” affects the percentage of people who will watch it.
Another thing that makes the square format good is that you can then put this video on Instagram in its native format. Given that Instagram allows video for up to 60 seconds, if you opt for a square format, set its resolution to 1080 × 1080 pixels because it will fit nicely in screens with Full HD resolution. Export the clip as H264 (mp4) format in that resolution and post it on Facebook.
Aesthetics, Design, and Typography
Use clean, white fonts as a base. You can use fonts of other colors to emphasize keywords in the text, as this contributes to easier readability (yellow, fluo green, fluo blue…). Caps lock over video is generally better to read but this is not the rule. Also, it is best to use a non-serif font.
You will often find yourself in a situation where the white text does not look good because the video in the background has white shades. In that case, try to avoid the classic shadows, the drop shadow effect, because it is considered the worst, amateur solution in design.
Strong and pronounced shadows on the letters will automatically make the whole clip look dirty and amateurish. The letters may be legible but the aesthetic effect is weak. Why? Because people collect visual stereotypes from nature. Strong shadows can be found in nature only in some wrecked rooms with poor lighting, low-budget taverns, in old sheds, and places where there are these point-like sources of light. Expensive restaurants, hotels, shopping malls… they all have diffused light sources, and such shadows cannot be found in them.
To solve the problem of white text on the whitish video, make a special layer between the text and the video in which you can put a semi-transparent black color, which will fix the contrast. In this way, there will be no weak drop shadow effect, but a much nicer, diffuse shadow. You can also do this by setting a simple drop shadow effect on the letters to scatter in a similar way (huge size and low opacity).
Another solution would be to move the text to a part of the clip where the shades are darker and to start choosing clips that have a darker or clearer part because of this. The third way would be to put black stripes under the text, or strips in some colors.
Oh yes, one more important thing: Never stretch the font on one axis only. If you need a ‘narrow’ font to have more text, get a font that looks like this at the beginning (it is a condensed version of fonts). If you stretch the font along only one axis, it is considered the biggest ‘crime’ in aesthetics. As for the choice of the font itself, if you do not understand the design, as a first-aid remember that you cannot go wrong if you use top rated Google fonts. Google them.
Text Wrapping in Subtitles + Inserting Photos Into Video
There are certain rules for how the text in the subtitles is wrapped, and every serious world television knows these rules. They are based on psychology, linguistics, and many other sciences. In order not to wander, the BBC has an online guide where it explained all these rules – how to extend long sentences, ideal length, wrapping, etc.
If you do not have adequate video material for all parts of your story, you can insert photos somewhere. If you insert them, remember that photos in video production must always move, they must not be static whatsoever. This is another stereotype from documentary film directing. You can drag them from left to right, or zoom in slowly.
Good examples of using the tips we mentioned in the article are the Now This page, which was the first to start making news clips like this. Now Mashable and many others are doing so, too. Or, see the SoFlo page. They use Facebook video in one of the best possible ways.
And What About the Video That Has a Link to Facebook?
If, while reading this text, you asked yourself: “Why would not I put this video outside of Facebook and put a link to Facebook?” the answer is one word: autoplay. Many people try to promote the video by putting it on their websites, and then share the link to that page on Facebook – all that because then they can have traffic to their sites and charge for it. This, unfortunately, is not realistic to work.
If there is anything you could learn from this article is that even the smallest details on Facebook itself can affect viewership, such as a square video that does not have to rotate. The video on Facebook starts immediately. The video on your site loads for a few seconds, and then it has to be clicked again… simply, it is not realistic to expect that from people.
Now, Go and Tell Your Story
You have seen examples, you have understood why each of these rules is used. Now you only need to present what you offer through a short video story, i.e. through so-called video storytelling.
Write a script and sentences, edit a short clip, post it on Facebook. Then you may also boost it and show it to the various target groups. If you do everything right, success is guaranteed.
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The content marketing team at Vidooly publishes articles and blogs on current and relevant online video industry related news.