Using Video on Facebook to Market Your Art

Using Video on Facebook to Market Your Art


using video on Facebook to Market Your Art


A guide to getting started with video on Facebook 


I know, this week I had planned to show you all you need to know about setting up a Facebook Business Page, but a few people asked if I thought using video on Facebook was a good idea. The other reason is that I'm still struggling with a pesky chest infection and this post was written pre-being laid up on the couch and feeling sorry for myself. So is video on Facebook a good idea?


There are no two ways about it, Facebook loves video and so do its users. These days we can produce on a phone what a decade ago was seen as cutting edge in Hollywood. 


According to some of the statistics more than 45% of people who watch video on Facebook or YouTube do so for more than an hour each week, and those users retain around 95% of the contents message compared with around 10% if a post is text or image only. Let that sink in for a moment…


When it comes to marketing your art on Facebook, if you're not using video then you're missing out on some relatively easy marketing. Yes is the answer to the question, using video is the best idea ever. 


Some of the key factors for people not using video whenever I speak to various clients and friends are the restraints they have around time, resources, and budget. Video can take time, it can also take up huge chunks of budget, but there are ways of producing something halfway decent, scrub that, even almost Hollywood decent, without breaking the bank or having to gain a degree or two in film production. 


Whilst you might not be winning any BAFTA’s or Oscars for the best produced film, take a look at what's already broadcast on Facebook and what you will find is that many of the videos that go viral aren't produced in the studio with a team of movie makers or huge budgets, they're videos that resonate with an audience and tell a story or capture an event and they're made by ordinary folk like you and me. 


It's not just pre-recorded video that does well on Facebook, Facebook Live is one of the platforms most recent success stories. It has changed the way users consume video and has had a profound effect on the way broadcasters share what is going on in a single moment. It has disrupted the way news is being consumed and we can't seem to get enough of it. 


Facebook Live has not only been adopted by the big players, it has been embraced. Back in 2016, there was a 330% increase in Facebook Live videos being broadcast between January and May, and it has continued to grow ever since. Now everyone is broadcasting live streams, not just the media companies, many are using it to promote everything from music careers to urban and consumer journalism. 


It's little wonder as a live stream can generate just over 130% more organic reach than static content such as photos, and we know that more and more businesses are engaging in video than ever before.  The reason is that they know video is what their audience wants. So why don't we use it to market our art?


I mentioned time and resources earlier and those are two of the barriers, but we are artists and we much prefer sitting in the studio with a canvas than worrying about marketing. The reality is that in today's art world, independent artists have to market their own work and to compete with the rest of the social-media eco-system, marketing means that we need to stay on trend, it just so happens that current trend is video. In short we probably need to find a little time. 


First off, there is no need to go out and purchase a load of new equipment. If you have a smartphone with a camera you're already set to populate your timeline with some video. Forget pre-recorded video with fancy fonts and jazzy fades for a moment, Facebook Live is where we’re heading for now. 


I know, I hate being filmed and I dislike being photographed too, but some of my best Facebook Live posts have been of the scenery in front on me and I didn't even speak. Some of you will remember a few occasions when I've stayed over in London and I took you all for a walk through Covent Garden and over to Piccadilly Circus. I think I probably had around fifty followers at the time, yet the last one I filmed got around 300 views during and immediately after I shot the footage. 


People were interested in seeing a new part of the world as it was at that moment in time, but there are so many other things that you can do with Facebook Live video. You're an artist so get creative. 


We know that art buyers love to connect with artists, so why not film yourself working on a piece of artwork, or show people around your studio. You could talk about the tools that you like using and if you then join an affiliate program such as the one run through Amazon, you can provide links to those tools and if someone decides to buy one through your link, you'll get a small percentage of the sale from Amazon. If you get really good at reviewing products there's always the chance that you will get samples sent to you for free so that you can review them. If you do though, make sure you review them honestly, good companies like constructive feedback. 


Affiliate marketing can earn you a little extra and I know a number of people who rely on affiliate marketing to provide a sole source of income. You need to put the hours and the work in to rely on it as your total income stream, but why not just sign up for an account and use it with Facebook live to talk about things that other people might want to buy. Even a small return periodically is better than nothing at all and over time it can add up. Just ensure you are broadcasting live via your business page on Facebook so that you don't run foul of the rules, and make sure you tell people that any links are affiliate links. It's not over difficult to set up an account and once you've provided bank details, the rest is down to you. 



producing social media video with basic equipment


Preparing to go live…


Spontaneously going live will surprise your audience but only if they're logged on to Facebook at the time. They can of course view the live stream later and sometimes you have no choice other than to go live at a particular moment. Stumble across an event while you are out and about and you will want to broadcast it there and then, but if you're planning something like filming your work in progress or holding a Q&A session, giving people notice is essential. 


Think for a moment how TV listings are publicised, often weeks in advance. If you're planning a live event then you can create a little buzz around it even if it's just a few days or a day before. 


Maybe you want to set the foundations for a tutorial you will be giving, in which case letting people know what they'll need in advance will make it far more engaging and interactive. If you want to show people how you paint something, encouraging them to have a go with you and for them to post the results in the comments will guarantee some engagement, but only if you have an audience. 


Or it might be that you will be launching a new piece of artwork. It doesn't matter that the launch isn't in a gallery, it could be in the middle of the local park, in the garden, or on the beach if the weathers kind. Think outside the box when broadcasting live video because you want your video to stand out. So do something different from the way everyone else is broadcasting. 


You might want to prepare a few graphics or even pay to boost a post that advertises that you will be going live before the event. It doesn't have to be anything sophisticated as long as it clearly indicates the time and the date and gives people an idea of what they're going to get from watching you go live. I know a few people who generate huge email lists from doing just this so that they can get an early notification of when the next event is taking place. 


Q&As work really well as do interviews using video. If the video is pre-planned you will have a little time to run through it in front of friends or you could just video yourself a few times to get used to appearing on camera. Once you go live it will look way more polished than doing something on the hoof. 


There has been a bit of a craze recently with live streams offering static polls which update whenever someone likes or loves to cast a vote either way. Don't be tempted to do this because what's happening with these posts is that the likes and loves indicate relevance to the Facebook algorithm, the broadcasters page is up ranked by the algorithm and it is a bit of a con. Facebook have worked out what has been happening and the algorithm has become smarter. The result is that if you're going live, you're going live, and those poll feeds have little relevance now, the algorithm can figure those feeds out by all accounts. 


So you plan to go live and it's great that you can do all of this using just a smartphone, but if you find that engagement is increasing each time you go live, you might want to consider some of the more professional options. Just don't invest in extra equipment or software until you become familiar with live feeds and find out if it is working for you. 


Equipment 


If you want to move to the next level with Facebook Live it might be worth investing in a couple of items. Many modern smartphones are capable of filming in 4K, but for Facebook Live, 4K is overkill and no one will benefit from those kinds of resolutions in a live feed anyway. 


The official supported resolutions and formats are:

  • Recommended max bit rate is 4000 Kbps (4 mbps).
  • Max: 720p (1280 x 720) resolution, at 30 frames per second.
  • An I-frame (keyframe) must be sent at least every 2 seconds throughout the stream.
  • Titles must have fewer than 255 characters or the stream will fail.
  • H264 encoded video and AAC encoded audio only.

The technical aspects are handled by Facebook and your device for the most part, but you'll see why 4k as a resolution option is overkill, it's not supported. To do so would require much more bandwidth and when you rely on 4G LTE if you're out and about, you will be struggling to stream without horrendous amounts of buffering.  Also, most people don't have a 4K smartphone display, in fact only a few screens of this resolution exist on smartphones. 


If you are using your phone always try to shoot in landscape mode. It will make absolutely no difference to the live feed orientation as feeds are boxed, but when it comes to saving that video to your device the saved video will be in landscape orientation and is much easier to repurpose if you want to upload it anywhere else. To make your stream steadier, invest in a low cost phone grip to start with. I use a GorillaPod for stability, but I picked up a complete set of various grips, harnesses and a tripod for my GoPro for about £18 UK from Amazon, it was delivered the next day, and some of the items work with my phone too. 


gorillapod and tripods for mobile cell phones


Software 


If you want to live stream from desktop you're going to need a business page, and whereas at one time only page admins could live stream, you can now designate ‘Live Contributors’. This is ideal if a collective of artists decided to contribute to a shared business page with each one making a contribution to the pages content. 


We will cut away for a moment while I cover that last point, if you know other artists who are struggling for time to update and create engaging content on Facebook Pages, why not collaborate and share the load. It's certainly doable just so long as you both have a common strategy. Who knows what it might grow into, two brains are better than one they say. 


Back to the applications, Telescopes Live Streaming studio is one of the best known of those applications and it is used by many media companies to produce engaging and interactive live feeds. With Telescope you are able to run polls and have those polls running alongside the stream,  you can also overlay custom graphics. Think something like the NBC logo on their live streams, they're using this application when they do this. 


I recently covered analytics using Insights, for now though Facebook Live insights are for celebrities, journalists, politicians, and highly followed figures with over 5,000 followers, a number us mere mortals can only dream of for now. Who knows though, you could if you get to grips with live become the next media influencer on Facebook. Monetisation becomes easier at this point. 


When it comes to upping the quality of the video itself, if your live feeds take off you might want to consider buying a separate camera that is designed for this very task. When you move to a dedicated camera not only will the colour pop, the contrast will become better defined but you will be able to get away with lower lighting levels, and your audio is going to get an upgrade too. 


At this point you're not restricted to shaky handheld video and you have the ability to set up multiple cameras and switch between them. However with some cameras such as the Mevo there are a few steps you need to take in order to set a multi-camera system up, for the most part though this is unnecessary, one will do just fine.  


One of the best external cameras available currently is the Mevo which offers truly professional production quality in a small and portable unit. Now this camera offers the ability to film in 4K on to an SD card, but also this unit is capable of streaming 1080p, although you're only going to get 720p output to the stream on Facebook. It's good to know there's a few future proof options and options for using it outside of Facebook too. 


Currently you'll need to purchase online if you are in the UK, but in the US and Canada they are available in a range of retail stores. I have set up a couple of Mevo cameras for clients and it is one of the easiest set up processes of all of the current batch of cameras. As yet I haven't made the purchase for myself, but it's definitely on my wish list, in fact it is on my must have now wish list. 


Results are really good and accessories such as a stand and power pack are available. Whilst it is not the cheapest option on the market, if you can monetise your live feeds in some way I wouldn't think twice about going for one of these. It takes a lot to impress me in the way of technology and this little unit really doesn't disappoint. It is made by Livestream, so you know this is going to work flawlessly with Facebook Live. You can find out more here


So now we have a Facebook live video in the bag and the potential to monetise it too, now we can move on to some other ideas for creating great video content. 


Pre-Recorded Video


If you're not ready to go live but you are ready to give your current engagement a boost by using video, you literally have hundreds of options to create something which looks professional. 


Go native! I mentioned this not too long ago in another article, going native is going to build your engagement much more quickly than uploading video non-natively. Native video is video which is uploaded directly to the platform, in this case Facebook. 


Providing a link to video on another site such as YouTube is not native and your video reach will be reduced. Uploading directly to your post on Facebook though is native and the algorithm loves it when you do this. If you have a YouTube channel, and especially if you're monetising that channel, you can upload perhaps the first in a series of videos to Facebook, and direct a call to action to direct viewers to the rest of the series on YouTube. 


There's another upside too, if you have native video it becomes easier to repurpose for other social media platforms and websites. If you upload on say Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, ideally you need three separate videos, each in the recommended resolution and screen ratio. 


Now here's one of the most surprising things I've found out over the past twelve months or so, and that is that aspect ratio makes a difference. I was a hardcore 1080p 16:9 aspect ratio aficionado for  a long time, until I realised that this was doing more harm than good. It's now hip to be square. 


1:1 or square videos significantly outperform landscape videos. If you think about it makes sense because most of us watch video on mobile devices. When you see video presented by the large media outlets they're almost always in 1:1 square aspect ratio because 1:1 is easier to view across all mobile devices. 


Whenever square video appears in your newsfeed you will also notice that compared to landscape videos, the square video format takes up much more screen real estate. Essentially they present in a larger post which helps when it comes to getting noticed. If you don't want to go square, try portrait aspects too, they also appear to be larger than landscape videos on news feeds. 


So that's the aspect ratio sorted, what about the sound? Here's where things get a little complicated. Sound is often vital when using Facebook Live, but in reality it's not that vital when it comes to pre-recorded video. Research suggests that in fact as much as 85% of video on mobile presented through Facebook is viewed without sound. 


The reason that sound becomes complicated is when we apply soundtracks to our video for commercial purposes. If you upload a commercial video to a platform such as YouTube, the review process will kick in and your video will be removed unless you can prove that you have the rights to use the soundtrack or effects. 


The good news is that you can download public domain sounds, effects, and music, and utilise these in your videos. There are lots of websites and services which provide access to public domain sounds, but make sure that they are clear about usage and whether or not attribution needs to be made. 


You now have sound but that doesn't get around the simple fact that 85% of your potential viewers are playing your video without sound. You now need to consider how your message will get through to those watching in silence. 


Adding captions to your videos is the best way to make sure your message is still heard even if there is no sound. The good news here is that adding captions to video is extremely easy these days. 


I remember when adding any text to video would need some very expensive equipment and a whole heap of time. Today we can add it with an app or software program, or even a basic text editor in Windows. 


Anything I get commissioned to work on commercially is usually produced using Adobe Premiere with After Effects, but this isn't necessarily a quick way to produce text on video. More often than not, time will be against you and you need something really quick. Also if your not familiar with Adobe the learning curve is steep and it's not a cheap package either. Try as I might though, there's just no way I can ditch my Creative Cloud subscription, I've tried but noting touches Adobe for the work I need to do. 


You can upload videos with a sub rip caption SRT file to Facebook. This essentially means that you can add a basic subtitle file which will then play in synch with your video. If you want to do this and have the means to prepare an SRT file, just upload your video as normal, then go back and edit it, add your SRT file, and click on apply and save it. 


However, depending on how the SRT file has been encoded will determine how successfully it applies. I've had instances when clients have asked me to take a look at their video and nine times out of ten whenever there is a problem, it's down to the way the SRT file has been created, or the naming convention is wrong, often adding a .txt extension after the .srt extension. However, once you have had a go at creating an SRT in a text editor, it is the sleekest option and you can translate it into other languages too. 


There is another option too, and that is to use Facebook's auto generate feature to provide captions. Their system uses voice detection technology to listen to the video and apply captions to it automatically. This will only work when uploading via your business page video ads, and you also have the option as a page admin to make changes to the captions. Currently this only seems to work with Facebook video ads, but some have suggested that it is being rolled out much more broadly. If this does get rolled out it will be a complete game changer. 


If sound is important in your video then adding a visual cue to let people know to turn on the sound is something else that you should consider doing. However, bear in mind that relying on sound will put those who are for example hard of hearing at a disadvantage. 


If you're not into creating an SRT file then you have many other options to provide an overlay of text onto your video. There are hundreds of options but not all of them will give you good results. 


There's one thing you must never do if your goal is to present a professional image, and that is to publish a watermark from the free piece of software you used to create the video with. If there is a watermark it should say your name, your company, or anything related to you only. Leaving a watermark on a video from the software just doesn't look good. It's also likely that you will have breached the terms of use for the software too if you are using it for commercial presentations and haven't paid to use it for commercial purposes. 


If you use a video app more often than not it costs less than a few dollars for an in-app purchase to remove the watermark, it's still less expensive than the Adobe option, and until you become more confident in producing video it will serve a purpose before you go to something like Creative Cloud. 



Adobe Spark app for iOS


Talking of the Adobe option, you don't have to go full on Premiere Pro to use Adobe tools. Adobe Spark Video is a great even awesome little tool that will get you started, and there is an option to remove the watermark. It's free, and you can connect to your free or paid Creative Cloud account. The only downside is that it is only available for iPhone and iPad or via the web. You can view more details here.  Spark Post which is part of the same family is absolutely the shining star when it comes to creating static images with text. I use it every week on this blog, so that's a high recommendation from me and it saves a heap of time. 


Other contenders include the obvious choices like iMovie for iOS and Mac. However if you have an iOS device and need a lot more oomph, then Pinnacle Studio and Pinnacle Studio Pro both for iPad are serious contenders for the best mobile video editing software title. You can read more here.  


Going back to Adobe and useful if you have either an iOS or Android device is Premiere Clip. You can also add custom branding and if you do have Premiere on desktop you can synch across Creative Cloud. It's available on the App Store or Google Play, you can read more here


Apperto’s Videorama is another great little iOS app and will suit most people's needs for creating video on their mobile device. In app purchases will provide additional sound effects and music packs, and there's an inexpensive option to remove the watermark. You can find out more here. I like the quickness of this one and the simplicity, if you need something in a hurry this is as good as anything for simple video. 


If you are working on Windows or Mac and don't want the expense of a full featured video editor, then Shotcut is an Open Source cross platform video editor which is free. This is the one I often recommend to clients who don't want to go down more expensive routes, and I recommend this one because it's also one of the easier full featured video editors available. 


For those who know about using LUTs when preparing video, Shotcut now supports those too and it produces up to 4K video without too much system overhead. You're still going to need a reasonably powerful PC or MAC to get the best performance, but as this is a free option which is also well supported by users and offers forums for help, whatever you have saved on buying a commercial editor can go towards buying some more RAM for your PC. You can find out more here


Of course you can always just upload your footage natively from your mobile device and not worry at all about adding in any text or other images. However at some point you will notice an increase in engagement from posting quality video and will want to up the game a bit. 


I will be covering some of the other nuances of video creation in an upcoming post and I will go through adding in things like your own logo or watermark, and we will also discuss the details around using intro animations, drops, and graphics. It's simpler than you think. 


There's also the option of using some of the social media platforms tools for creating video too. There are in built filters on most platforms including Facebook but there are also stand alone apps which can be downloaded. Instagram’s Hyperlapse and Boomerang apps will allow you to create video which will work on Facebook too. 


Not too many of us have officially verified accounts but if you are one of the lucky ones and you do, and have access to Facebook Mentions, the platform will be releasing a video app specifically for creators and influencers this year. It looks promising and it's a way of making sure the big names in media get on board with the platforms future plans for video. That's a telling sign that they have the confidence that video will become the ultimate way to engage on the platform. It's another sign that we have to prepare a strategy for ourselves now too. 


We now have a video…


We now have the tools we need to produce a video regardless of your starting budget, but where we go from here is what will make the biggest impact on your reach. 


First of all we need to measure the existing reach on your business page, and I showed you how to do that in my previous article which you can find here


You'll remember we spoke about the video tab within Insights and this is where you can look at your baseline metrics from videos you previously uploaded. At this time you'll only get to see the metrics for your pre-recorded and uploaded video rather than Facebook Live. If you want the metrics for live you're going to have to become a highly followed figure or become known by Facebook as an influencer. Remember the rule of followers is to never buy them. 


You have added captions and your video is in the square aspect ratio, but let's consider what else you have or haven't included in your video. 


First off does your video capture everyone's attention in the first three-seconds? If not then your engagement is going to be low. Three-seconds is about the maximum time you have to grab anyone's attention and make them want to click play or continue viewing. 


If your video is short you need to get to the action quite quickly and without padding it out. If your video tells a story or introduces a story, you need a beginning, a middle, and an end, and if you are using the video for marketing you need a call to action CTA.  


I discussed calls to action in a previous article and if people are engaging more with video, you might as well let the video do a little extra work. Calls to action in video can happen in two ways. One way is to use video ads which will cost, but the benefit of this is that your call to action is clickable. Want someone to visit your website, all they have to do with a video ad is click on the link and they are taken wherever you want. 


The cheap and second way to do it is less reliable, but then it's not costing you money so that's the trade off. This way involves either telling people audibly what you need them to do, or providing text on screen telling them what you want them to do. There is another option and that is to both tell people audibly and show people with text. 


If you're not going for a paid video ad you could also provide a link to your CTA within your post which will be clickable. Showing your CTA at the halfway point of your video will generate the best results. Many people will start watching and become distracted or will move on before the video has finished, so placing your CTA halfway through means more people are likely to see it, but leave your CTA on screen for those who finished watching too. 


Grabbing people's attention whenever you upload a video is something else that can be fine tuned. Most videos will be set to auto play but auto play itself isn't without issues. Many people turn it off because they don't want to use up mobile data, or they turn auto play with sound off because they don't want anyone hearing the video at 3am or at work. 


There are certain conditions that have to be met before auto play will start even if you have it turned on, things like the amount of available bandwidth play a factor, so if the video doesn't auto play for whatever reason, how do you make sure the thumbnail image attracts people and invites them to click on play? 


Change the image entirely. You can replace your thumbnail with an image from elsewhere in the video or you can even upload a separate thumbnail that never appears in the video. Once your video has been uploaded you can go to the edit settings, edit video, and then click on the thumbnail section, upload your thumbnail from your photo library and click on save. This means that they will see an introduction screen telling them what the video is before they commit to hitting play. 


Now when the video is seen as a static image without auto playing, you will see your custom thumbnail instead of some random scene. 


This is particularly useful if you are uploading works in progress as you will be able to provide some details on the image about the work, or where to buy it. Try to maintain the 20% rule as in the text on the thumbnail should take up no more than 20% of the screen real estate. 


No padding it out 


If your video has ten seconds of informative content never be tempted to pad it out and have another 10-seconds of non-informative content at either end. I can fall asleep in less than 10-seconds if I find something that boring, and if I can't fall asleep I can certainly skip the video, my guess is that others can and will too. 


Focus on the main point of your video. If there is a need for more than one point consider breaking the video up into chapters or even better, create another video. There's good reason for this and that is if you want people to share your video, they're more likely to if the point of it is obvious. 


Ideally you need to be able to describe what your video is about in just one sentence. If people end up having to write a dissertation whenever they share it to explain everything it's less likely to get shared widely. 


With a clear objective of the video in hand, you might be tempted to draw in viewers using sensationalist titles. We've all come across titles that misrepresent what the video or post is about and as the algorithm gets smarter, its ability to detect click-bait is getting smarter too. The result is that your hard work will then be down ranked by the algorithm and you won't get the reach you are looking for. Keep that up and it will also affect what you upload in the future too. 


Whilst we’re on the subject of click-bait, many people believe that using hashtags is one way to increase reach. This was true at one time and depending on the social media platform you are posting on, there's still a place for hashtags. It's just that whilst Facebook supports the use of hashtags, it doesn't necessarily mean that engagement will increase as a result. A better way to make your post appear in Facebook search is to give the video a title. You can add one in the edit video options. 


I see this a lot in my groups with some posts having more hashtags than the content of the post itself. Firstly if you use hashtags you need to research the right ones to use. Adding in hashtags that have no relevance to the post will down rank the post, and secondly, adding in that many hashtags gives the appearance of the post being spammy. On Instagram and Twitter hashtags are useful, on Facebook, not so much. If you must use them pick a maximum of six tags, and make sure they're relevant, but on Facebook they're really not that useful. I did a few experiments with Facebook hashtags a few months ago, post reach went down. 


Tagging other Pages


Tagging is either annoying or useful. I never quite figured out why so many people tag themselves and sixty-six others in a marketing post, or a photo of something that is totally irrelevant to sixty-five of those people. However, tagging can have its uses when it is used properly. 


If the video is a collaboration between a number of individuals then tagging is essentially a great way to collectively benefit. If you want to make an organisation or another page aware of your video, then it can be useful here too. But never tag just for the purpose of increasing reach or because you think by adding in someone's name they will be inclined to buy the product. We can all see what you did, so please try to keep your post relevant and no shameless tagging. 


While we are on the subject of people…


You will remember from my article about using Facebook Insights that I told you about how you can get to know your audience, well now’s the time to put everything you learned to the test. 


When you upload a video on your business page (told you business pages were relevant), you have the ability to target your video to a particular audience. If you have a CTA within the video then this is going to be more than useful. 


Relevance is a key metric that the algorithm looks for in any post when deciding the who, what, where, and when, to display your post. Audience targeting can help to refine the relevance of the video as long as you know your Insights data. 


When you upload a video on your business page you have options to target specific groups of people. I know for example that I have a group of collectors in the Mid-West of the USA, and I know the age group of those collectors because I have the data from Insights backed up with what I already knew about my market. So for me to upload a work in progress I will want to make sure that my target group definitely see it. 


My preferred audience is an option, and this let's you select a group of people based on their interests and the pages they have previously liked. Now if I know that my collectors are generally female (mine are a mix of male, female, and custom, with one group slightly higher), and are aged between X years old and Y years old, I can set this preference within the audience restrictions. 


Assuming you have understood your market, these are now the people who will see your video. Anyone else who visits your page will also see it too, but as we know, very few people ever revisit a page once they have clicked on like page. They will then be relying on Facebook showing them your posts. The downside is that some followers might never get to see your posts because posts from others are more relevant and targeted to them, meaning that you need to up your targeting game to reach those lost people who like you, follow you, but never see you. 


You can play around with posting video to see what does and doesn't work, and you can play with the text that appears in your post which describes the video. There seems to be an indication that only short amounts of text are required if you're posting a video. 


You can go back to Insights once your video has had time to mature and reach people, and it is here where you will be able to find out how many views your video had, but more importantly, the average watch time. A high number of views but only for the first three or four seconds of a one minute video would indicate that people didn't like what they watched and your first three seconds didn't make an impact or encourage them to keep watching. 


The 10 second watch time metric is also a good indicator, and if you find that many people are clicking away at just over 10 seconds in, this will give you a better idea of where and when to include your CTA, but if they watch it until the end or three quarters through every time, it means your video is engaging. Remember that you will find the video metrics within Insights, under the video tab. 


Supporting Post


I mentioned adding in a description as a post along with your video and that shorter descriptions might work better. I tried an experiment last week by publishing a post on my blog (without video but with a link to this site) and noticed that just after 400 words the post became truncated and I would need to click on read more to get the full post. How many of us have the time to click on read more for every post that appears on our timeline? If there is a video we would be more inclined to click the video than read more. 


So I edited the post and checked back around three hours later. There was a jump in the number of people seeing the post. Now this could be coincidental, but when I originally published the link Facebook wanted me to pay to boost the post as it often does, what it said though was that “your post could reach more people with less text”, or something to that effect, but essentially it was indicating to me that I should reduce the amount of text. Whilst I didn't pay to boost the post, I did make the change and saw a huge difference. 


You might want to experiment with post length a little more than I did, but be aware that there are some upper limits on Facebook for posts. Here they are because I know you want to know!


Status Updates - 63,206 characters 


Comments - 8,000 characters


Short posts do better than longer posts. Having said that, many artists posts are actually too short, especially when accompanying a photo of a new piece of art. Yes, my pet hate, 24x30 oil $300 falls into this category. You need to get the balance right but providing context to posts, especially photo and video posts, is important. 


How short is short? A lengthy scout around the internet and Facebook forums and developer pages seems to suggest that 40-characters gets the most engagement, but anywhere between 40-80 characters are going to give you better engagement. That's not a lot of words at all and less than Twitter, so you will need to be realistic. Perhaps this is why we see so many drama posts saying nothing other than, “OMG look what happened”. These posts always get a billion comments usually saying “oh no, you ok hun?” With the reply, “inbox me and I'll tell you”. Oh such drama! Stop it, I can't sleep as it is worrying about everyone. 


Once you have what you want to say in the post, rewatch your video a couple of times. Spelling mistakes slip in and the grammar police are rampant on Facebook, and they're not afraid of calling you out. Last week I noticed a post that really blew my mind, the difference between they're, their, and there, only this time “theiy’re”, I kid you not. Something else to contend with, I'm only just at the point where I figured out “WTF”, which is Welcome To Facebook” apparently. 


Tips on what to include…


You have everything you need except any idea about what to film or what to write to go along with the video. Worry not, I scratched my head for over an hour to come up with these ideas for you. 


Post Description 


Sum up your video in a sentence or at the very least keep it as brief as you can, and keep the title relevant. Along with the post you might want to add in a call to action, provide a link to your website, add a quote from the video, give an idea of how long the video lasts, or provide a checklist of required tools if you have created a ‘how to’ video. 


Never write just one post and never post your video only once. Videos are one of the greatest sources of evergreen content you will have at your disposal. What you need to think about is a long-term multi-platform content strategy. Change it, remix it, shake it up and post it somewhere else too. In time, do it all over again. 


Tailor your posts so that they fit with each social media platform. On Facebook your posts ideally need to be engaging stories, on Twitter they need to be brief. LinkedIn needs to show an air of professionalism, (arguably they should all show professionalism), and you can be more wordy on Google+. 


Instagram relies on visuals but also hashtags, and I honestly have no clue at all what that Snapchat thing is about, but my daughter is a Snapchat expert who I will convince to write a post one day.


Experiment with post length because short posts might not provide enough content or context to make the post engaging. Use short posts intermittently between longer posts, add in a few videos and this strategy will really transform your timeline and increase your engagement. 


You could also provide links to your website in the post itself, and if you have the right plugin on your website or blog, you can even embed your Facebook videos directly on your site. That's a great way to reuse content and it saves people leaving your site to visit Facebook. 


You can ask questions in your post to go with the video, this not only reinforces learning from the video, but if the video goes on to answer the questions you have been asked, it also reinforces the idea that you have presented a problem with a solution. This tactic has been used for years in the marketing world, sell a solution to an everyday problem and the money will roll in, or so they say. 


When you post relevant copy along with a custom thumbnail your posts will really pop and will be more engaging. You could use this method to drive more traffic to your website too, providing part one on Facebook and part two on your website will build up cross site links, and this has the effect of increasing your SERP (Search Engine Page Results) rankings. 


Video content ideas…


As soon as you decide to go ahead and create a video you will inevitably meet that dreadful thing called artists block at some point. Here are a few ideas which I've noticed other artists who use video well often do. 


  • Work in progress videos generate some buzz ahead of completing a work and you can use this opportunity to also generate some pre-sales. 
  • A tour of your studio is a great way to show people just how messy/tidy organised/unorganised you are. It also gives the artwork a birthplace, people who then buy your work will know where it came from and in the future, these kinds of videos can help with provenance. 
  • If you have mastered a particular painting skill or know how to use Photoshop, take people through a few tips and tricks. How to videos are some of the most searched for videos on social media. 
  • Write down some of the questions you have been asked about creating your art in the past and provide a Q&A. This is a great way of building engagement and builds up that all important connection with potential art buyers. 
  • Talk about your inspirations as an artist and if you are somewhat of an expert on any particular artist, why not talk about them and point out what inspires you in some of the artists work. 
  • Showcase five or six of your favourite works, and maybe talk about the mediums used and what kind of frame they would look best in. If you are a print on demand site artist, this could really drive your accessory commission. 
  • Give people a tour of your hometown. It's surprising that many artists are known around the world for their work, yet the artists next door neighbour might not have a clue. Hometown videos can really drive local engagement.
  • If you're a photographer why not show people some basic principles of photography. Your work then becomes aspirational. 


Live Stream ideas…


Live streams are currently getting high engagement levels on Facebook so don't miss this opportunity. If you're not ready to go in front of the camera, go behind it. Here are a few live stream ideas you can try. 

  • Live stream from your latest exhibition or gallery event. 
  • Go for a walk through your hometown and point out any landmarks and places of interest 
  • Live Q&As always do well, and you can get live interaction with viewers asking questions from their timeline. 
  • Walk through creating a painting, if your finished piece has the wow factor, someone might engage with you to purchase it there and then. 

Once your live feed is over it will be uploaded to your page automatically so that people can go back and view it later. If you are using software such as Telescope you will be able to make sure your videos are branded too. 


What is interesting is that by using Facebook Live you can drive engagement with your previous non-live videos too. If you broadcast from your Facebook business page there's a chance that during the live feed you will also pick up a few new followers along the way. 


If you already have video posts on your page make sure you select the best one and make it a featured video. Go to the video tab on your page and once this is selected you will be given the option of making any particular video the featured video. This means that it will be the video which will feature more prominently, and you can change it as often as you want. 


Get Creative!


You should now have at least the basics to get you started with your new video content strategy, all that's left to do is get creative! 


You will need to make time to produce video, unfortunately there's no easy way around this if the intention is to produce it yourself. You could have a series of professional videos made for you but the downside is that creating videos can be an expensive business depending on what you want. The video I produced for my Facebook page showcasing this post was purposely made in less than five minutes, just to give you an idea of something than can be quickly thrown together. It's not going to win an award, but the message is there. 


I plan to create some generic videos in the future which you will be able to use within your own posts free of charge, best of all I will be giving you some advice around customising them for your own timeline. 


There are media companies who will produce some outstanding footage for you, or they will use stock video footage and add in captions or text. If you plan on going down this route, make sure you go to a reputable video producer. That way you will be assured that they're not using copyrighted images and sounds, and they're more likely to offer you support when deciding what you need. Remember that the cheapest media companies often add-on extras such as providing different aspect ratios and resolutions, and they will often add-on charges for static graphics and fonts meaning they become just as expensive as everyone else. 


My advice is to give it a go yourself first. There is plenty of support online and if you want someone to provide you with some feedback, you can use Facebook or get in touch with me. Whilst I can't promise to get to every video, I will try my best!


Ultimately you have to ask yourself just how much more engagement you want. Video as I said earlier takes time to produce, but once it's done, it's done and more often than not you can reuse it or repurpose it for reuse later on. Once you have a video strategy it becomes so much easier and you'll discover the quick wins along the way. 


The most important take away from all this is that video is big now, but in the future it will be even bigger. Video is expected these days and is completely overtaking static posts in terms of reach, so the question really is can you afford not to give it a go?


About M.A


Mark A. Taylor is a British artist who primarily works with digital mediums but still loves to paint in his studio with acrylics, watercolour, and oil. His work is sold around the world and in more than 150 retail locations across the USA and Canada. You can buy Mark’s work here.  All of his works are available on a wide range of print mediums and other products and all come with a 30-day money back guarantee. 


Alternatively, visit any branch of Framing and Art Centre, Deck the Walls, or The Great Frame Up and place an order there. If you own an ACanvas art system, you can also stream Mark’s artwork as part of your subscription. 


You can follow Mark on Facebook here, and on Twitter @beechhouseart 


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