5 Ideas for Creative Facebook Videos

Who doesn’t like a great video? YouTube knows this better than anyone. From babies to cats, amazing physical feats to how to put on makeup, everyone seems to be seeking out and watching these videos.

facebookcover Patrick blogWho doesn’t like a great video? YouTube knows this better than anyone. From babies to cats, amazing physical feats to how to put on makeup, everyone seems to be seeking out and watching these videos.

Now Facebook has grabbed onto the video idea, but in a different manner — in your News Feed. So even if you are not looking, you’ll see video from your friends, advertisers and news outlets. And what’s really cool is they start to play when you get near them … but without sound. Then simply click on the video to hear the sound.

Most likely, you know this already. The question is have you USED video yet? Have you uploaded any videos? Do you have any to upload? This leads to random idea No. 1 …

1. Create a Video From Pictures

Okay, we’re not all videographers. Nor do we know a videographer. Or maybe can’t quite afford one now. So how can you take advantage of video on Facebook? Use a slide show!

Creating a video slide show is very simple. Choose “Share a photo or video” when you go to your page. Then choose “Create Slideshow” and have three to 10 photos ready for upload. Just remember one thing: They will be automatically cropped to a video size and proportion.

Next, you’ll choose the duration each photo stays on screen and if you want them to fade or cut from picture to picture. You can also rearrange the order of photos, too.

The last step: Add music. You can choose from selections Facebook has or upload your own. (Just remember, you must have rights to any music. No uploading your favorite Stones, Sting or Ed Sheeran songs.) The good news is there’s lots of “rights-free” music on the Internet.

Then all you do is hit “Create Video” and once it’s ready, Facebook emails you. Viola! You now have a video on Facebook.

You can use this for products, real estate, entertainment or just about anything where up to 10 photos will get your message across.

facebookslideshowvideo Patrick's post

This slideshow video created for Sleep Woodstock Motel was made from 10 photos and a Facebook music selection
This slideshow video created for Sleep Woodstock Motel was made from 10 photos and a Facebook music selection

2.  Add Text to the Beginning of Your Video

Wait, it’s a video. Why would I want to add text to it? The simple answer is there’s no sound unless someone clicks on the video. If you want them to get your message right from the start, add text. This could be the difference between zooming past it or actually clicking on it.

Camtasia used text in its video very effectively below.

camtasiawithcta Patrick post

3.  Use CTAs IN Newsfeed Videos

Make sure to add a call to action (CTA) to your Facebook video. Make it easy for the viewer by taking them to a Web page where they can learn more, watch more or even buy.

Examples for the CTAs include: Book Now, Learn More, Sign Up, Download, Watch More, Shop Now and as the MasterCard video below uses very effectively, Apply Now. Choose your CTA wisely as your selection can help or hurt your engagement and clickthrough rates.

mastercardblackcard_cta

4. Use the Cover Image ‘Watch Video’ CTA

Your cover image can become a powerful tool to feature a video. If you’re introducing a new product, promoting an upcoming event or featuring a new service, the Facebook CTA button on your cover image brings powerful attention to a video hosted on a micro-page or website.

HGTV teamed up with Ellen for a design challenge. The cover image CTA button takes viewers to the video on their website.

ellen-call-to-action-button

6 Video Presentation Tips to Elevate Your Online Marketing

The video you create is but one component of your online direct marketing campaign. Yes, the video is what viewers are driven to—it’s the vehicle that delivers your story. However, without lists, email and landing page copywriting and design, blog comments and posts, social media entries, pay-per-click ads, YouTube advertising, etc., your video

Online Video Marketing Deep Dive co-author Perry Alexander takes over this week while Gary is away.

The video you create is but one component of your online direct marketing campaign. Yes, the video is what viewers are driven to—it’s the vehicle that delivers your story. However, without lists, email and landing page copywriting and design, blog comments and posts, social media entries, pay-per-click ads, YouTube advertising, etc., your video stands little chance to be viewed.

Think of the parallel: We know that without the intentional series of steps to get our direct mail package into readers’ hands, opened and scanned long enough for them to catch the lead, there’s slim chance it’ll make any impact.

Just as the direct mail letter headline and lead must drive the reader to stick with it, so must the first few seconds of your video. Your video must create and instantly set the visual and auditory tone that will draw the viewer through those precious first few seconds and into your story.

My co-author and business colleague, Gary Hennerberg, is the master copywriter of our team and, as he says, I “make stuff look good.” I make sure the story isn’t overshadowed by lousy presentation or distractions, which can repel, or at least divert the reader. Let’s go through some of the ways to make your video command attention—during the first few seconds and beyond.

  1. Bad audio will douse viewers’ interest long before bad video will. Don’t rely on your on-camera mike or, worse, your computer mike. You’ve heard these videos—they sound like they were recorded in a barrel or a cave. Viewer’s interpretation: Your presentation was slapped together, therefore your product or service is, too, so why should I bother listening?
    The Deep Dive:
    If your camera has a mike input, use a lav mike (Gary and I each use a $25 Audio-Technica). If there’s no external mike input on your camera, use a digital voice recorder to record quality sound, either through its built-in mikes or plug the lav mike into it (we both use the same $100 Sony recorder). Then, in editing, sync the audio from both the camera and voice recorder, then mute the camera audio. The mechanics of this are tricky at first, but once you’ve done it a couple of times it becomes routine and your sound is crisp and clear.
  2. Bad video won’t help matters. A webcam video looks like, well, you used a webcam—even an HD webcam. Not only is the image soft, but exposure is usually off, color isn’t great, and what about all that stuff in the background behind you? The message struggles to get out. Again, it screams that your story doesn’t deserve the viewer’s consideration. It’s just a throwaway webcam production about a throwaway idea. What does your viewer do? Click away to something else after just a few seconds.
    The Deep Dive:
    You wouldn’t dream of tossing a half-baked direct mail piece out into the market, expecting it to convince your audience of the value of whatever you’re offering them, would you? Anything that distracts from the message must be stripped away so only the message is noticed. Same with video. Get a $100 Flip or Sony camera and a tripod, or even the latest iPhone. Better: spend $400 for an HD video camera for long-form videos. If your shots are under 5-10 minutes each, use your DSLR. (We use a $100 flip-type camera on Gary’s videos.)
  3. On-camera jitters? Maybe the prospect of speaking into a camera lens is frightening, or at least off-putting. Really, though, after several miserable attempts, you will improve. Evenutally you get to where you imagine you’re just talking with another person in the room, and your fear melts away.
    The Deep Dive:
    Your job is to tell the story. How? Reveal your personality and mastery. Build trust. The call-to-action will produce nothing for you until after that’s all been established. Consider being in front of the camera just long enough to introduce your premise, then moving into slides, charts, photos, graphics or other images that tell your story. That way, you don’t have to memorize a long script. You can refer to notes as you narrate what’s on screen. On-camera script reading is usually deadly, anyway. If you’re on screen for a quick 20-30 seconds, know your stuff. Roll through several takes until you’ve looked that monster in the eye (lens), and said your piece naturally, completely, and with relaxed authority. Now you have their attention and trust!
  4. Stock photos, stock footage, stock music, stock sound effects? You’ve seen the websites with stiff and trite stock photos. Somebody, please explain what that might ever accomplish, because we’ve all seen that picture a thousand times. Filler doesn’t move the story along. But, relevant graphics that work can emphasize a point quickly and vividly. An occasional “foley” sound effect can emphasize a point, just don’t overuse transition swooshes, or they’ll become distracting gimmicks.
    The Deep Dive:
    Map out your storyline. What images will support or clarify what you’re saying? Use images that are specific to your product, service, technique, timeliness, etc. Short of that, invest time finding stock images, footage, music or sounds. It’s all online, and for not much money. YouTube and Vimeo even offer stock music beds you can use at no cost. But be careful in your choices. Be brutal in editing. Anything that distracts or detracts from your story and message, leading to your call-to-action, must be cut.
  5. Go short or go long? Conventional wisdom, born out by YouTube analytics, is that video viewer falloff is precipitous after the first 30 seconds or less. So, does that mean we must never consider creating a 3-minute or, horrors, a 15-minute video? Perhaps. Remember, everything must serve to support the story. Do that right, and they’ll stay with you.
    The Deep Dive:
    Conventional wisdom has always warned us not to use long-form copy in letters. However, seasoned, successful copywriters know that a well-told story will hold interest across 2, 4, even 16 pages. Same with video. Don’t rush to push features, advantages, benefits. Find the relevant hook, then reveal, build and educate about the issue. Lead them to want—then crave—the answer to the quandary or dilemma you’re setting up. Now, the sales copy tastes like good soup.
  6. Editing is half the storytelling. Putting up an unedited video is like mailing the first draft of your letter. It’s probably loose, meandering, dulling to the senses. Resist, revise and remove whatever doesn’t move your story along!
    The Deep Dive:
    Video editing brings clarity and precision to your story. The pace and direction are honed so the viewer is drawn in and held through the call-to-action. It’s an interwoven dance of timing, splicing, movement, color, design, sound, mood and the ruthless removal of what’s not contributing. But, you need two things: A) the knack to know when it’s right and when it’s not and, B) mastery of a video editing program, so you can accomplish your vision.

There’s so much more to cover, but perhaps you’re getting a sense of how online video marketing requires many skills and decisions so familiar to the direct mail pro. Different tools … different vehicles … similar foundational concepts. As always, we invite your comments, criticism or questions.

Drop me an email, and we’ll get you the list of resources, brand names, part numbers and such of what we’ve found works in our ever-evolving video marketing tool chest: perry@acm-initiatives.com