In a previous post, I explained the importance of authors creating video content, but before you rush off to create that content, there are some guidelines or best practices you’ll want to follow in order to achieve success. Each social media platform has their idiosyncrasies when it comes to video content. You’ll want to understand these before you upload.
Video for Facebook
85% of video views occur without sound
When it comes to Facebook videos, it is crucial to remember that a high percentage of video views will occur without sound. That’s due to the autoplay feature that Facebook enables for native video uploads. That means you need to be creating video content that can still be informative and engaging without sound, or you need to ensure you have subtitles in place so that people can follow along.
People use Facebook for news/current events
This can help to guide you on the type of content you’ll want to create. How can you position a video to be informative or newsworthy? Are you about to launch a book? Are you running a giveaway? Have you recently reached a milestone in your publishing career. What is happening in your world, or the world of your books or characters or business, that you can share?
Native video outperforms shared content
Whenever possible upload the video file to Facebook directly. In a study conducted by Search Engine Journal on videos uploaded directly to Facebook vs. Youtube videos shared via a link, it was found that native Facebook videos achieved much higher engagement rates. They achieved an average of 2x as many views and likes, 3x as many shares and 7x as many comments as videos shared via a link.
Live video is highly engaging
According to Facebook, videos that are live are watched for 3x as long as videos that aren’t live.
The great thing about live video is that not only are engagement rates high during the broadcast, but you also have a piece of video content you can repurpose and share again later.
Facebook video is almost certainly the most important video platform for authors. Chances are you will already have a following or at least a presence on Facebook so adding video to your arsenal is a great way to build upon this existing platform. If you don’t have an existing following on Facebook, you need to start building one. With 1.2 billion users, you can guarantee there are thousands of people on Facebook who would love to read what you write.
Video for Twitter
News based format similar to Facebook
Again Twitter is used by people to get an understanding of what is happening in their world both big and small. Think of content that fits this use case to achieve high engagement.
Native video outperforms shared content
Similar to Facebook it’s important that video content for Twitter is uploaded directly to Twitter either through the inbuilt video feature or via the upload option. This will result in more views and engagement and ultimately better results than sending people to another site to view the content.
140 second time limit for uploads
When uploading a pre-recorded video to Twitter, users are faced with a 140 second time limit. This doesn’t apply to videos recorded within the Twitter mobile app. So, if you’re looking at creating video content that's longer form, such as a book launch or an interview, you’ll need to do so via the Twitter app itself.
Video for Snapchat
Real-time videos - not highly polished content
Snapchat is a platform that thrives on videos and images that capture a moment in time. The content that performs best is content that looks like it was recorded in the spur of the moment and unscripted. If you’re comfortable ad-libbing, this could be a great platform through which you can share your unique personality.
Chunks of information published as a story
All of these individual pieces of content in both video and image format can be added to what Snapchat refers to as a story. Users can view your story throughout the day and are shown the next piece of content they haven’t yet viewed.
Snapchat is a great storytelling platform if you use a bit of creativity. You could use it to show different times of the day, how your writing process is structured, preparing for a launch event, or something more personal. The idea is that these short insights form part of the larger narrative of the day.
Up to 60 seconds per video (broken into 10-second bites)
Snapchat restricts content to 10-second clips, although a recently released feature allows Snapchat users to record six back-to-back 10-second clips without interruption. These videos are still delivered to viewers in 10-second individual bites, but it makes it easier for you to create longer form content such as a book review or book preview.
High volume / frequency > production quality
Based on the design of this platform, content is king. The frequency with which you engage with your audience is more important than production quality of the videos. Keep it raw and unedited. Use Snapchat to show a more personal side and save the highly refined and structured video for Facebook.
Two methods of sharing, Stories (similar to Snapchat) and Newsfeed (similar to Facebook)
Instagram gives us two ways to share content. Either through the newsfeed, which gets posted for everyone to see, for all time. Or inside Instagram stories which makes them available for just 24 hours. The best strategy with these two options is to treat the stories function much like you would Snapchat, and keep more polished content on Newsfeed as you would on Facebook.
Most video views occur without sound
In the same regard as Facebook, this is something you will need to consider. Is the content visually appealing and attractive enough to capture and sustain people's attention without subtitles? Is the message going to be lost if the audio is not available? If this is the case, then make sure you have subtitles on your videos, particularly the videos posted to your Newsfeed.
People use Instagram for inspiration and to learn new skills
Instagram is a great platform for sharing aspirational content. Content that inspires viewers to take action. You could record how-to videos showing people how you plan stories with mind maps on whiteboards or newsprint. You could share a video of your favorite reading location at sunset. If you design your book covers, you could show a time-lapse video of your cover design. Think outside the box, share content that inspires action.