Video is the top performing content type across all social platforms, which has lead to Facebook, in particular, putting increased emphasis on video content.
The most obvious push here has been via their dedicated video platform, Facebook Watch, but in order to boost the performance of Watch content, Facebook has also updated its News Feed algorithm to give priority to episodic-type video content which users return to, and videos that inspire interaction and conversation, helping to boost platform engagement.
Really, if you’re looking to maximize your Facebook performance, you need to be considering video content – and if you are looking to tap into the Facebook video trend, The Social Network has provided a new listing of best practices, based on the best performing video publishers, to help ensure you’re on the right video track.
Here are some of Facebook’s key video performance tips.
1. “Create Habitual and Loyal Viewership”
Obviously, for Facebook Watch to be a success, Facebook needs people coming back to watch content more often. Given this (and as noted), Facebook’s algorithm will favor video creators who are able to build a steady, returning audience.
“The more people come back to watch your content - whether it be week-after-week or episode-to-episode in a catch-up session - the better the distribution of your content is likely to be. We take into account how frequently viewers return to watch your content and how many you retain on a weekly basis.”
Consistency has always been key for creators – the best YouTubers upload on a set schedule, so their fans know when to expect new content.
It’s not possible for everyone to create a regular video schedule, but it is worth considering when you upload, and working to maintain a regular, repeatable process to help fans tune in – and boost your reach as a result.
2. “Respond to comments and questions”
This is a fairly obvious one, given Facebook is working to encourage engagement, but if you’re not actively seeking to engage – and be ‘social’ on social media – then you’re missing out on more opportunities to connect.
“Spending a few minutes to respond to comments and questions can turn a casual viewer into a loyal fan. Viewer comments are also an excellent way to get ideas for new episodes and themes.”
This goes for all Facebook content, but as Facebook notes, it can be particularly helpful to inspire repeat viewership, and boost your fan and community base.
3. “Share the link to your content on all of your properties and social channels”
Another fairly obvious one, but also one that’s easily overlooked. Yes, Facebook has the most users by a big margin, but if you want to ensure maximum reach and response, you should also be looking to tap into all other distribution avenues to draw viewers across.
E-mail lists, tweets, LinkedIn groups – wherever you have a presence, it’s worth noting that you’re broadcasting regularly on Facebook, and providing links so fans can tune in.
4. “Consider how people might use Facebook search to find your video content.”
While it’s not Google, Facebook does facilitate more than two billion searches per day. Given this, if you want to maximize the chances of your Facebook video content being found, you need to also consider search habits on The Social Network.
“Write comprehensive descriptions for each of your posts. Ensure your page name and video titles include the name or brand that's best known to your fans.”
5. Be Aware of Facebook’s Guidelines
Another key consideration here is Facebook’s guidelines around authentic interactions and behaviors.
“We want to promote authentic engagement and meaningful interactions in a way that is consistent with our Integrity Guidelines. As such, you should seek to grow and engage with your followers while avoiding engagement baiting.”
So what do you need to avoid in this regard that would qualify as “engagement baiting”?
- Avoid asking viewers to respond in specific ways - Specifically instructing viewers to “like”, “tag”, or “share” may result in your content being flagged for engagement baiting.
- When asking for feedback in the description and comments, use questions that allow for a wide range of responses - Questions that have predefined answers — e.g. “What's your birth month?” — are more likely to be flagged as baiting.
- Give conversation-starters, not instructions - Instead of telling viewers exactly what to say or how to say it, invite them to share their thoughts, general feedback, and questions.
Such tactics have long been used to boost content sharing, and they may work to a degree, but as Facebook notes, you run the risk of penalization – and that can extend beyond a single post, demoting future Page post reach as well.
In addition to this, Facebook has also included a range of notes on video monetization best practices and when to include ad breaks, and optimal timing for video content (as a general rule, Facebook notes that “higher-quality videos tend to capture viewers' attention for at least one minute”, while those interested in inserting ad breaks should ensure their videos are at least three minutes long”).
You can read the full Facebook post, with more in-depth insights on ad breaks and monetization, here.