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How to make your social videos even more effective

Facebook and Instagram videos are great for raising brand awareness through storytelling. They can drive engagement and boost shares. Do you want your Facebook and Instagram videos to connect with your audience?

Videos on Facebook and Instagram are usually much shorter than on YouTube — less than one minute compared to over five minutes. That calls for a different approach to optimizing them, from their structure down to their content

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Facebook Versus YouTube Versus Instagram

On YouTube, people usually go for specific videos, whereas on Facebook they find videos in their feed. Most videos on Facebook are concept-oriented rather than “how to” or “talking head” videos.
You won’t be seeing in-video links to other videos on Facebook. Also, Facebook videos don’t usually have the long shelf life of YouTube videos.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that over 65% of Facebook video views are on mobile devices. Many people keep enjoying YouTube on their computers, where the larger screen can improve the video experience. What this means is that you can’t take your usual web videos and put them on Facebook. Well, you can, but you won’t be seeing great results.

There are also some small but important differences between Facebook and Instagram videos. While Facebook videos have a minimum width of 400px, Instagram videos require at least 600px to be displayed in the feed.

Instagram videos cannot be longer than 60 seconds, while Facebook videos can be as long as 240 minutes. Also, Facebook has a 125-character limitation, whereas Instagram allows for up to 2200 characters.

Despite the differences, Facebook and Instagram have similar video formats and requirements. That means that you can optimize your video for both platforms at the same time.

Whether it’s Facebook or Instagram, it’s quality that matters most of all. No amount of video optimization can make a video shine if it’s not well-made and engaging to begin with.

Facebook users alone watch over 100 million hours of video every day, so there is a lot of video content out there. You have to make yours stand out.

Here are the most effective ways to optimize your video for Facebook and Instagram.

Grab attention fast

Don’t start your video slow, and don’t give your audience time to lose interest. Make your video count right from the start. You can do this with rich visual elements that command attention. Or you can start with a hook — a question, a fact, or a statement that your audience can’t help being curious about.

The first three seconds of the video are the most important for grabbing attention, as storytelling for social video is different from the passive storytelling of TV narratives. What’s more, if your video isn’t seen for at least three seconds, you won’t record a view. An active video story arc is your best bet. Start with an eye-catching visual followed by subtle branding cues, which you audience can readily identify — the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

Include a big reveal to make the video more rewarding. You can then follow that up with the rest of your narrative, making sure your video stays engaging until the end

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Choose an eye-grabbing thumbnail

Given the sheer amount of video content out there, a catchy thumbnail can often make the difference between a video that gets seen and one that doesn’t. People spend 2.6 more time on pages with video. But there are no hard and fast rules about choosing thumbnails.

Sometimes the first frame of the video makes for a good thumbnail. At other times, you’ll find that the last frames highlight the product and what the video is all about. The important thing here is to choose the frame with care, and not just use the random frame the uploader generates.

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Make your video work without sound

Native videos on Facebook and Instagram autoplay without sound. Most people don’t turn the sound on even if it’s available — 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound.

Think about it for a moment. You’re commuting to work, relaxing on a park bench, or checking your content feed during the break at work. You scroll through photos and other content. You read descriptions and captions that catch your eye. Then a video starts playing. If it has sound, it would feel a bit like someone calling out loud over the quiet.

And if you don’t have your headphones on, it would be even worse, as it could bother the other people around you. So, starting with the script, envision Facebook and Instagram videos without sound. Get your message across using visuals, text, and captions instead.

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Keep your video short

Video engagement on Facebook and Instagram tends to drop as the length of the video increases. Most of the time, the shorter the video, the better.

The optimal video length to drive engagement, shares, and brand awareness on Facebook is one minute, according to HubSpot. On Instagram, it’s 30 seconds, but videos who get the most comments are no longer than 26 seconds.

Aim for a video that’s no longer than two minutes. You can also go for videos that are just a few seconds long, especially for video ads.

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Choose the right call to action

Use the built-in feature in the video uploader to add a call to action to all your videos, whether they are ads or part of your content marketing. But don’t use only “Shop Now” or “Learn More”.

Try other calls to action, too, like “Sign Up” or “Watch More”. Calls to action on your Facebook and Instagram videos can boost social engagement. Finally, don’t forget to upload your video straight to Facebook and Instagram.

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Don’t just share your videos from YouTube, Vimeo, or other video sites. Only native videos auto-play on Facebook or become part of your gallery page. What’s more, native videos are easier to find and generate more engagement.

If you aren’t sure how to effectively optimize a video for Facebook and Instagram, it always pays to find help. Video marketing experts like Slon Media has the skills and expertise to successfully manage and boost your video marketing on both social platforms.

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