Splashy video ads are charging onto the Facebook welcome page giving brands with the cash a new means to market on the social network, but that is far from the only way for companies to grab attention. Taking advantage of tools that already exist to post marketing ads within the news feed and margins can get the Facebook crowd clicking to see more — if handled correctly.
Part of the strategy is creating videos that directly target specific demographics of users, says John Wayne Zimmerman, founder of Social Experts in St. Charles, Illinois. “The shotgun approach to marketing doesn’t work,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business or big corporation.” He and other experts in social media marketing and branding offered the following tips for making video more effective on Facebook.
- Pin videos at the top of the business’s Facebook page. That keeps videos from being pushed down as new content is posted and ensures that visitors will always see those clips first thing.
- Personalizing videos for the target audience can boost interest. If the content leads off with a message that speaks to moms, for example, asking how their day is going, that type of language can readily get the audience’s attention.
- Take advantage the Power Editor to create video ads. The Power Editor is a somewhat hidden part of Facebook that lets businesses create and post ads in the news feed and the right-hand margin of users’ pages and do so at reasonable prices, Zimmerman says. Type “Power Editor” in the search box to find it. The tool has been available for about one year, has seen little promotion from Facebook, and is a bit clunky, but Zimmerman says his firm has paid rates as low as 33 cents per click through it compared with industry averages that start at about 70 cents per click.
- Striving for perfection is not necessary in the beginning. Getting that first video finished and loaded onto Facebook should not get held up by agonizing over every detail. The quality of the content will improve with practice. Waiting too long, Zimmerman says, to try a new technology often leads to people just giving up.
Thinking through the impression that video content give the audience is also important, says Ricardo Casas, CEO of Fahrenheit Marketing in Austin, Texas. Negative publicity, despite of what some say, is not always good regardless of the increased exposure. Here are some Facebook marketing tips he recommends to stay in the good graces of the audience:
- Offering viewers content that educates can hold their attention. Social media channels are entertaining by nature; people typically do not turn to Facebook for deep decision-making. Content that entertains as well as informs can be well-received, he says.
- More videos can be better than fewer. People are highly inclined to watch video rather than read text to consume information. While it is important to measure audience engagement with content and avoid saturation, it can be effective to err on the side of creating more videos.
- Setting apart links to video content can mitigate the risk of inconveniencing viewers. Video pitches on Facebook may rankle the noses of folks who just want to check their friends’ status updates. One way to ease potential irritation is to offer links upfront that let users choose to see more content.
- Potentially polarizing content must be presented with care. Incendiary points of views can alienate potential clients. Videos about politically charged topics might get shared aggressively across Facebook without even paying to promote them. However, content that supports a political agenda risks earning the sympathy of some along with the hatred of others.
Developing an organic understanding of what the public cares about is crucial, according to Marton Varo, Jr., CEO at business video producer Brandefy in Santa Monica, California. He offers this advice:
- Create content that a dedicated fanbase wants to see. Facebook is a way to speak directly to those who know and like companies and their products. The venue should be treated as a members only area, giving repeat visitors something to look forward to. Posting video that is meant for general consumption can disappoint or distance these people.
- Consistency with the release of new videos is important. If a Facebook video series starts off with one new release per week, fans will become accustomed to this frequency. Such a pace may be too much to handle for some. Marketers might consider releasing a new video every other week and creating polls to see if fans want to see more (or less) original content and what the frequency should be.
- Videos should communicate messages as if in-person with fans and clients. Begging fans to share videos or to follow the brand on other platforms can become nettlesome if overdone. At the beginning of videos some content creators bombard viewers with demands they share the clip with friends. That can become annoying before viewers even get to the real meat of the message.
- Providing content that viewers can use rather than focusing on “the sell” can increase engagement. Facebook users will share videos and talk up a brand without being asked if the content and video quality are great.
- The news feed shoulders some of the burden to promote videos. Facebook’s sorting algorithm is largely influenced by social engagement — i.e., how much a piece of content is being engaged and interacted with. The best way to get videos to the top of people’s pages is to (subtly) encourage the video be “Liked” and commented on. The more Likes and comments (and shares) a video gets, the higher Facebook will rank it and place it on the page.
- Topical videos should have organic context with the brand or product. It would not make sense for a company that sells premium pet food to all of a sudden start posting self-made videos about the Syrian conflict. Keep videos relevant to the brand.
- Video ads will be a big part of the Facebook ecosystem. The key will be refining their integration (but that is Facebook’s problem to solve). Because these ads will have to be short and sweet, quality and brevity of content is going to be more important than ever. Think Vine and Instagram videos when considering creating video ads. The goal of these video ads will be for people to click through to a business’s page where they can learn more.
How Facebook users respond to the new video ads on the welcome page is an unknown and Casas is a bit leery. “Often times people check Facebook when they are at work,” he says. Such commercials, which probably play audio as well, could be a distraction in the office. “It would seem intrusive to have video automatically play there,” he says.
Facebook image via Shutterstock.