3 common Facebook Video mistakes — and what to do instead

By now you’ve probably heard how video is the long reigning king of Facebook content. Despite cries of #FakeNews in media far and wide, fervor for video on Facebook has not slowed down. As of 2015, Facebook video saw over 8 billion views each day, and as of 2017, 44% of small- and medium-size business marketers planned on spending money to promote Facebook video content. (Sprout Social)

So how can you snag some of those eyeballs for your organization? We’ve seen a number of mistakes made with Facebook video — here are 3 of the most common mistakes as well as 3 simple tips to help your Facebook videos stand out from the crowd.

Facebook Video mistake #1: Forgetting that what happens on Facebook stays on Facebook

Are you sharing links to YouTube or your blog instead of posting video directly on Facebook? That’s a big no-no if you want to maximize the number of people viewing your content.

😳Confession time: We have totally done this too. Oops!

Facebook Video tip #1: Post original video content natively on Facebook

Videos that are uploaded directly to Facebook have one critical advantage: They automatically play right there in the Facebook News Feed. People are much less likely to click off of Facebook to visit yours or another external website, so make sure your video is playable right in the app to maximize its impact. Some have seen as much as 86% greater reach with native Facebook video over YouTube links.

Facebook Video Mistake #2: We can’t hear you

No really, most people can’t hear your video. That’s because 85% of Facebook users are viewing your content with the sound turned off. Maybe they’re scrolling through their phone while waiting for the train or sneaking a peek in class or a meeting (they’re 5 times more likely to watch on their phone than on desktop). Either way, you want to make sure your video’s message is still heard — even in silence. Don’t rely on sound to get your message across.

Facebook Video Tip #2: Always caption your content

The equation is simple: Your content will do better (and be prioritized higher) with subtitles! Facebook is optimized for video that includes closed captioning since their videos autoplay in the News Feed without sound. It’s also the responsible thing to do for accessibility.

Bonus Tip #2.5

Have a YouTube account? Did you know you can upload your videos onto YouTube and use their caption tool to create and download subtitles?

How to create .en_US.srt subtitles for your Facebook Video:

  1. Upload your video onto YouTube
  2. Find it in Video Manager and click to edit the video
  3. In the top menu (currently on Info & Settings), find Subtitles/CC. Click to add new subtitles or closed captioning.
    • If you have have the transcript handy, select the option to Transcribe and auto-sync. Upload the transcript.
    • If you do not have a transcript, select Create new subtitles or CC and create the transcript manually.
    • If YouTube has auto-generated subtitles, you may also click on these to edit them under published subtitles
  4. Review, add, and/or edit subtitles
    • Play the video and add or edit the corresponding text in the left-hand column
    • Adjust the length and start/stop of each subtitle as needed by pulling the sections shorter or longer along the timing bar
    • Add new subtitles or break up existing ones by selecting it and hitting the + button to add a new subtitle or delete it
    • Be sure to correct wording, spelling, and timing errors as well as run-on sentences, punctuation, and proper nouns
    • Try to limit text to 1 or 2 lines
  5. Save the subtitles and hit Publish
  6. Once the subtitles are published, select it under Published on the Subtitles/CC menu page
  7. Confirm the subtitles you selected are correct, and select the Actions button. Click to download the .srt file to your computer.
  8. Once it has downloaded, rename the file to filename.en_US.srt (e.g. adwordsCC.en_US.srt). This is super important, as Facebook will only recognize CC files in this specific format.
  9. Upload the video onto Facebook. Once uploaded, click to edit video and select Subtitles and Captions (CC). Select your language as English, and then upload to add the caption file.
  10. Hit Save, and your video should now have captions!

If you want to take it one step further, overlay text throughout your video to emphasize important points. Think of these as bold headlines for your video.

Need some inspiration? Check out attn’s Facebook page for some text-y videos. To capture their mobile viewers’ attention, they also make their videos square and use more music than narration.

Facebook Video Mistake #3: TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch)

Do your videos start with a bang or a bust? On average, you have around 16 seconds to grab and hold your viewer’s attention on Facebook (and likely, much less time). You absolutely must wow and hook them, and fast. Shorter videos also tend to outperform longer ones.

Facebook Video Tip #3: Keep it short, simple, and fabulous

Jump right into the video content to grab your audience’s attention. Lead with faces and engaging imagery. If you need to incorporate branding or graphics, use them later on in the video to maximize the attention spans of your audience in those precious first few seconds.

Try to convey as much as you can in the shortest amount of time possible. Remember to be succinct and speak like a real human being.

If you follow these 3 simple tips for Facebook video, you should be ramping up those eyeballs in no time.

Want to go one step further with your social strategy? Check out our ultimate guide to Facebook fundraising do’s and don’ts.