Facebook's actively encouraging its users to create more video content on its service, but creating compelling video content - whether live or pre-recorded - is perceived as a challenge by many business owners, especially SMBs, who typically lack marketing resources or access to agency talent.
Fortunately, Facebook has a tool called "Your Business Story" that lets SMBs create videos highlighting their unique selling propositions in a simple and effective way. The tool's easy to use, and the results - while hardly Hollywood-grade - are attractive enough to convey an effective message.
We did a quick test of "Your Business Story" to see how much time was required to crank out a simple "Business Story" video. Fifteen minutes after we started, the video was on our Page, performing as well - in fact better -- than much of the other content there.
Interested in doing the same? Just perform the following 6 steps:
Step 1: Visit yourbusinessstory.fb.com
Facebook will prompt you to log on if you're not logged on already. You need to be an authorized Administrator for a Facebook page in order to proceed further. If you're an Admin for more than one page, choose the page you want to create this business video for.
Step 2: Upload and/or choose your photos
Facebook "Business Story" videos are simple sequences that dissolve between images you upload. The tool lets you easily select and sequence your photos so that they provide the movement required to tell a story. If you haven't yet uploaded 8 photos, Facebook will prompt you to do so.
Confirm your photo selections and proceed to the next page.
Step 3: Briefly tell your story
Facebook only gives you 90 characters to express your business saga, so you'll need to think carefully about a short statement that describes your business. Your 90 character statement will appear after Facebook's canned text ("We're in the business of..."), so choose a statement that makes sense in this context. Once you're happy with this text, choose "Confirm Your Story."
Step 4: Choose your music
You're not going to find a lot of musical choices here, nor do you have any options to upload your own sound track. Your selections are limited to "rock", "synth", "electronica", and "percussion", and all of the offered tracks sound pretty innocuous (which was probably Facebook's intent). Still, they're pretty adequate, especially for SMBs who don't want to make profound statements.
Step 5: Agree with Facebook's terms
Facebook wants you to agree to some additional, boilerplate language beyond its standard TOS. These added terms grant it a worldwide, non-exclusive right to display your video around the world. Unless you have an objection to these terms, click "I Agree" and you're done.
Step 6: Wait about 10 minutes
Facebook processes these videos very quickly: our test video was live on the intended page within about 10 minutes. The video, when it appears, will be formatted in a square (1:1) aspect ratio - which is quickly becoming the standard aspect ratio for social video. You'll also notice that Facebook has added a gentle, Ken Burns-like "zoom out" effect to your image sequence.
What's not to like?
Facebook's Business video tool won't please you if your business requires sophisticated video effects or custom audio. But for many SMBs - especially those who want to cultivate a homegrown, "authentic" feel, the attractive, albeit low-tech results are probably more than adequate. Yes, the music is a tad cheesy, but no more so than what you'd hear over the PA of a typical retail store. Best of all - and it's an important consideration for budget-challenged SMBS - not a dime needs to be spent on production (provided that you have at least 8 good-looking photos). And equally important, you can be up and running in less than a quarter of an hour.