Saturday, September 24, 2016
Digital Natives Need Social Media Training Just Like Everyone Else
Today’s college students are digital natives. An 18-year-old entering her college freshman year this fall was around six years old when Facebook was released and around eight years old when the world met Twitter. Because college students can barely remember a time before social media, many are beaming with confidence about their social media savvy. But comfort and confidence with social media alone doesn’t make one ready to handle a brand’s Snapchat account.
Indeed, the digital native as social media expert fallacy is real. Just ask the interns so often blamed for social media gaffes.
In a recent study co-authored with Emily Kinsky, Karen Freberg, Carolyn Kim, andWilliam Ward, students completed Hootsuite Academy training as part of a social media class at one of five universities.
At the start of the semester, and prior to taking the training, we asked students “What is your comfort level on social media?”
We asked that same question after the students finished most or all of the course and had earned Hootsuite Certification.
While the average score went up a little, some students were more confident at the start of the semester than after taking the course and completing the certification.
It appears these students were facing somewhat of a social media paradox. Despite being digital natives, it seems some students may have been uncomfortable in the realization of how much they didn’t know.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A false sense of confidence does no one any good. What I’m sure most employers would say they want are social media workers who are confident because they have gained the appropriate education and preparation.
And the only way we prepare students to become truly confident leaders in the social media profession is by committing to social media as part of the curriculum.
In fact, what we found for many participants in our study is that the social media education experience gave them specific reasons to be confident. In talking to students following completion of most or all of the course and after they had earned their Hootsuite Certification, many reported how their experience boosted their understanding of the professional application of social media tools, concepts, and strategies. This knowledge helped empower the students to be leaders in their jobs and internships.
That type of confidence, when coupled with education and preparation, can produce results that benefit the student and the employer.
For example, student Gisselle Kohoyda, who worked as a social media coordinator at SwimSam, told us: “Most people are afraid to pass off such a large portion of their company to a 23-year-old kid with an Instagram account, but after I elaborated my formal training and my experience, they are almost relieved to be passing off a piece of their business, especially to someone who actually knows what they are doing and has a very concise plan on scheduling that will benefit them.”
Another student, Nicole Gabriel, told us that before she joined the nonprofit she’s working at, there was no cohesive approach to posting to the organization’s Facebook and Twitter feed. This, she said, resulted in “a confusing wall and news feed that didn’t mesh well together.”
As a result of her education and training, she was able to shift social media management to Hootsuite to produce a more effective social media posting schedule.
This is the type of confidence we want our students to gain—confidence that comes from education, training, and experience.
Yes, our students are digital natives. But, for those of us teaching in communication and related fields, we can’t take that fact for granted by failing to make social media education a robust part of the curriculum. When it comes to the professional use of social media, today’s college students still have a lot to learn.
With the right education and training, digital natives can become true social media experts.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Monday, September 19, 2016
Are you creating video ads for Facebook?
Wondering how you can make stronger video ads?
Whether you’re working with promoted video posts or videos uploaded as ads, paying attention to the details can improve the impact of your content.
In this article, you’ll discover nine ways to improve your Facebook video ads.
Why Video Ads?
While video gets three times the engagement of other content, it’s largely underutilized. According to a Buffer study, of the seven Facebook posts that brands share per week, 80% are links, 19% are photos, and less than 1% are videos.
Because video ads get so much visibility, marketers not only need to publish them more, but also do them better. In the Internet Trends Report 2016, Mary Meeker states that many online ads are ineffective, especially videos. “If there’s ever been a call to arms to create better ads, this is it,” she says.
Remember, only a video created as a Facebook ad can include the link to a call to action.
#1: Focus on Quality From the First Frame
Since videos on the desktop and mobile news feed autoplay, you have 3 seconds to convince users to watch your video. You don’t need a long intro or animated logo. You want to engage people immediately.
Fitness expert Natalie Jill created a 43-second montage that captures the audience’s attention in the first few frames. Sound is optional (since it’s background music), and there is minimal text. She’s promoting a 30-day series of fitness videos, and this video is indicative of what users get when they opt in.
Get your viewers invested in your content immediately. Show who you are and what you do visually, concisely, and from the get-go.
#2: Include a Compelling Offer
There’s no point in doing an ad if there’s no compelling offer for your call to action.
In this video for EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey entices employers with a solution to their company’s gossip problem. What business owner wouldn’t click?
Create an offer your target audience can’t resist. Then be clear and succinct with the text. Don’t forget to track the links using UTM codes or another system so you know whether your video is effective.
#3: Show Your Personality
Video gives your audience a glimpse into who you are, so show them!
Les Brown is a motivational speaker who has embraced video ads. He has an inviting profile picture and is fun on camera. People feel like they’re guests at his personal party. He also talks in the first person in the video description, speaking directly to his audience.
When you record your video, be excited and enthusiastic about your topic. It will show through and engage your viewers.
#4: Add Captions to Your Videos
As previously mentioned, Facebook autoplays videos in the news feed. Add captions so your videos can be consumed with the sound off.
Facebook adds captions to your video ads automatically. Just click Add Captions when you’re ready to promote them.
However, if you upload your video as an organic wall post, you need to add the captions yourself. One way to get the text for your video is to use a transcription service such as Rev.com.
Alternatively, you can upload your file to YouTube and get an SRT (SubRip Text) file. Because the process is automated (and not 100% accurate), you’ll need to read and edit the transcription.
To get YouTube captions, upload your video to YouTube. Depending on the length of your video, you may need to wait a bit for the captions to auto-populate. Once they’re ready, go to the video player and click the CC icon in the list of tools under your video.
This takes you to the Subtitles & CC section. Select the default language.
On the next screen, click the Edit button. Play the video and click on the sections of captioning you need to revise.
Click in any caption segment to replay any part of the video. You can choose to automatically pause the video when typing. When you’re finished editing, click the Publish Edits button to save your work.
Next, download your file. Click on the new captions language to the right of your video (not the one listed as Automatic). On the next screen, look for the Actions drop-down menu at the top of the Captions section, and select .srt under Download.
Rename the file per Facebook’s syntax: “filename.en_US.srt” (“en” is the two-letter language code and “US” is the two-letter country code.)
Now, go to your Facebook video and click the gray arrow at the top right of the post.Choose Edit Post, go to the Captions tab, and click Upload SRT file. Upload your fileand click Save.
Facebook’s news feed is designed to be viewed with the sound off. Make your videos understandable and graphically enhanced so users will be able to watch anything you post without the need to hear it.
Ideally, your videos should grab your audience’s attention within the first few seconds when watching with the sound off. They will then feel compelled to enable sound.
#5: Connect on a Personal Level
People make connections with people, not businesses. Create videos that show you’re relatable.
Flixel is a tool for creating cinemagraphs, which are living photos (Flixel animates a part of a video clip). The company’s video ad shares the story of how the tool got started and the names and faces behind the app. Plus it demonstrates how the tool works. By doing this, Flixel humanizes the brand and makes a personal connection with the audience.
Think about how you can tell your business’s story in an informal, yet authoritative, way. Plus look for creative ways you can both stand out in the news feed and relate more deeply with your audience, such as using cinemagraphs.
When you appear on camera, first and foremost, be yourself. Also, do the recording somewhere you feel comfortable, since that will make you feel relaxed and genuine too.
#6: Use Headlines to Create Curiosity
The viewer’s eye takes in the movement of the video, but a compelling headline is what makes it hit home.
Pique your viewers’ interest with a headline teaser so they can’t help but want to watch. Just be aware of Facebook’s newest news feed signal for reducing clickbait headlines.
Upside Travel captures the user with its header: “The Creator of Priceline Is About to Rock the World of Business Travel.” The implied exclusivity in the video (“Space is limited!”) also lends itself to a must-click scenario.
Take the time to think through your headlines. Write something engaging and informative, because it will grab viewers’ attention in the feed.
Ideally, split-test multiple headlines in your ads so you can see which headlines get the best response.
#7: Add Lower-Third Highlights
Text on video helps you highlight salient points.
When you include lower thirds on your videos, viewers can consume your video content and grab the high points without watching the whole video or reading a detailed description or related post. Although it’s called “lower thirds,” you can place the text anywhere on your video.
Use your favorite video editing program (even iMovie or Movie Maker) to add text to your videos. In the example above, I used ScreenFlow to add an overlay to one of my videos.
#8: Write an Informative Description
Part of being an expert is sharing lots of information.
Zhena Muzyka is the founder of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, and author of Life by the Cup. Her description in this example is an extensive supplement to her video. Zhena also includes testimonials and she repeats the call to action and link several times, much like in a sales page or email offer.
Don’t be shy about adding text to your video description. Say whatever you feel you need to supplement and support your video.
Some studies show that short narrative performs best for Facebook posts. I tend to write rather lengthy descriptions on my Facebook posts and over the years, my audience has come to know that my posts are informative in this way.
#9: Provide Value
If you’re doing a demo, make sure it’s understandable, so purchasers of your product know what to do from the start.
In this video, I go through what users need to do to review their Facebook pages after the recent page design update. Note: This is another example of an extensive description, as I highlight the salient points from the video in the text.
When showing your audience how to do something, include step-by-step instructions and be as clear as possible.
If you’re sharing your screen, be sure to record using a trusted screen capture tool. You could also broadcast via the Facebook Live API using a third-party tool such as Telestream Wirecast or OBS Studio, and share your screen. Then once the broadcast ends, turn your live video into an ad.
Another way to be valuable is to share other uses for your products or special tips. Your viewers will feel special for knowing about your insider hacks.
The examples above put multiple best practices in place.
This video from brain science expert John Assaraf actually has all of the elements, from engaging, authentic content to a detailed description. Plus, because his video has captions and lower thirds, his info is understandable for anyone who’s watching without audio. John also includes a compelling call to action and with Facebook’s video ad tool, he can include an actual CTA button.
The more best practices you’re able to incorporate into your video ads, the better. Take time to brainstorm ideas, record, and add the technical elements (captions, text graphics, etc.).
You never know which of your videos will take off, so any videos you share should be worthy of boosting. You don’t need to promote all of your video posts, but you should make sure they’re all positioned for success.