Earlier this year, Facebook’s algorithm changed — yet again. The social media mega-giant will now analyze the time spent on a given piece of content to determine how much information from the same publisher to show in Newsfeeds.
While this change certainly challenges the ability for Facebook pages to reach wider audiences, this presents an opportunity for shelters to experiment with video.
According to one study, Facebook videos:
- Reach 2.04 times more people compared to other types of posts
- Receive 2.38 times more likes
- Have 2.67 times more shares
- Gain 7.43 times more comments
The idea of venturing into video production often brings up worries about big production budgets, expensive equipment, and a lot of editing time. However, this is most certainly not the case from my experience. You can create quality videos that both delight and engage your audience with few up-front costs.
1. Script. This sounds obvious (and it is), but having either a word-for-word script or basic storyboard laid out before you shout “action!” will help streamline both your shooting and editing process.I am a fan of typing up a quick script. This helps you to refine your message and experiment with wordplay, imagery, and emotional impact.
2. Camera. Here at the Humane Society of Broward County, we get double-duty out of our DSLR camera and capture both video and still images with it. If you have a video camcorder – great! If you simply have a smartphone, that’s fine, too. No matter what device you use, make sure it captures colorful, clear, and steady video. If that means you have to adjust the lighting/composition of the shot or buy a small tripod for steadier shooting, it’s worth doing.
3. Editing program. Adobe Premiere and Final Cut both work well, but of course, neither of these are free. Thankfully, Apple computers come with iMovie installed, so that will work for Mac users. For Windows users, Google offers free video editing software and you will find no shortage of editing options.Keep in mind — when looking for a video editing program look for the following:
- The ability to import a variety of media (music, video, photos, etc.)
- Basic editing commands (cut, layering tracks, color editing, etc.)
- Bonus: “Special effects” (transitions, text overlays, etc.)
4. Microphone. If you are lucky enough to have a recording-quality microphone on hand, this will really help to give your video a professional sound and feel. However, if you don’t have a mic available, nearly all smartphones these days have voice recording programs built right in. I have used “Voice Memos” on my iPhone for years, and the audio quality is suitable for social media. (Here are some options for Android and Samsung users as well.) No matter which device you use, make sure you record your audio with as little background noise as possible. Sure, it’s okay to get dogs barking in the background if you’re featuring a shelter animal. However, if you’re recording a voice over narration for a fundraising video, record your audio in a quiet room, speak slowly, and make sure to enunciate clearly.
5. Royalty-free music. This could be my years in the music industry speaking, but every engaging video needs some sort of musical element – even as simple as background music! A soundtrack can really amp-up the emotional impact of a video and drive the message home.However, I strongly advise you against dragging a song from iTunes into your video project. Most video-sharing platforms, especially Facebook and YouTube, have the ability to recognize copyrighted material from within videos and ban them from being seen. (Not to mention that doing this could land you in some legal hot water.) So, how do you get around this without breaking the bank? Free royalty-free or public domain music.This music is either not protected by copyright or is licensed in a way that you can use it without having to pay the composer/artist for every time that you use it.Google “free royalty-free music” or “public domain music downloads” and you will find quite a few resources at your disposal. I personally like purple-planet.com and freemusicpublicdomain.com.
+ .5 (Optional, Bonus) — Photoshop or another image editing platform. While this one is not required, having Photoshop or another image-editing program really does help you to enhance your videos.
With these tips, you’ll be able to stay on top of Facebook’s algorithm changes, and help your social media content be seen by your followers. Let the platform do the work for you, and get your message out. For inspiration, check out what we’re doing at the Humane Society of Broward County on Facebook.
The opinions and advice expressed within this article are the opinions of the author, and not of SAWA or its affiliates.