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3 Tips for Masterful Facebook Videos (Plus a Little More!)

If you’ve noticed lately, video has become a bigger and bigger feature on Facebook. That’s because video grabs your attention better than images and certainly better than text. Your Facebook videos don’t need to be long and expensive productions; in fact, they often do better when they aren’t.

So what makes a video great? Or shareable? It’s pretty simple really… there are three things you need to do:

1. Inspire Viewers

This is a great place to get your viewers excited about the great work that you do or about the need for the organization/campaign. Video is the greatest way to tell a story and create the emotional involvement needed to engage people in a real way. This is also a great opportunity to give some advice or to challenge people to do what they can in their lives and their communities.

Even better is if you can challenge them through the message itself, like Will Smith does in this short clip. (But you don’t need celebrity status to be successful at it.)

2. Educate Your Audience

People love to learn new things, especially when it’s something fun, interesting and there isn’t a quiz at the end. What matters is that the user is learning something in a simple and relatable way. Surely you’ve seen the recipe videos floating around on Facebook; if not, you should—they are awesome! These videos are a great example of educational content that nonprofits should be creating and posting.

Watch this and think about a few things as we drool over this tasty video. Even though there’s sound in the video, there’s no need for it, as most people don’t listen to the sound because they watch the auto-play on Facebook. It’s quick, easy to follow and entertaining, with great subject matter (and nonprofits have truckloads of great subject matter).

3. Be Entertaining

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First, the first two seconds of the video need to capture the viewer’s attention.

Second, you need to upload it to Facebook, not drop in a link from YouTube. Why? Because of auto-play. A video uploaded to Facebook will auto-play so that the viewer doesn’t need to do anything.

Third, and we can’t stress this enough, tell a story. Stories are the most powerful way to connect with people. Just check out this video from BuzzFeed. They just showed up at an event (probably asked permission first) and started shooting. It tells a story; it’s entertaining and inspiring; and it teaches us a simple lesson: “Don’t stand up your grandpa.”

That’s it. Just keep it simple: inspire your audience, educate them and don’t be boring. Most of all, have fun.

Bonus Tips

Create a playlist

Playlists are an easy way to group videos that have a theme. Viewers will often binge on playlists until they get bored or run out of videos. Once you’ve created a few great videos, string them together with a playlist.

Boost it

Boosting a video is an awesome and often cheap way to make a splash on Facebook. Keep your goals in mind though. Boosting a video is great for awareness, reach and engagement, not conversions. Image posts are better if you want people to click through.

Use 360 video

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Two things we can say for sure. Nearly 90% of all videos on Facebook are viewed on mobile, and fans love being a part of the action. 360 video covers both. It gives the viewer an immersive experience and is strictly for mobile devices. For this one, you’ll need to buy a special camera (they’re as low as $400 and coming down). The uploads are often very easy with little to no processing required. Imagine taking your fans on a walk through the community that you serve, through the forest that you protect, or to visit the animals that you’ve saved. Now that’s awesome.

Watch the data

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Facebook allows you to see when people stop watching the video. There will always be a drop at the beginning because people are just scrolling by. But pay attention to big drops later in the video. If viewers drop off in the first few seconds, then the video wasn’t catchy enough. If they drop later, they may have gotten bored, gotten the point of the video, or seen the ending to the story and didn’t feel the need to continue. One more reason to learn how to tell great stories.