3 Psychology Hacks for Better Facebook Video Results


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If you search “Facebook video tips for engagement,” Google returns over 13 million results. The list is even longer when searching for video tools that garner engagement. Following the rise of video on social media, it can be challenging to pin down the how of successful Facebook videos, even though we know they can be a useful tool for brands and agencies.

With this in mind, I asked three industry leaders to share how they define success with Facebook video, and increase views and engagement on their own video content. The experts include my client Jason Hsiao, Chief Video Officer and Co-Founder of online video creation tool Animoto; Sue Bryce, Business Owner, Portrait Photographer, and Educator at Sue Bryce Portrait and Sue Bryce Education; and Brian Peters, Digital Marketing Strategist at social media management tool, Buffer.

Each shared their perspective on effective storytelling and results-oriented video creation for Facebook. I asked these experts for tangible insider advice: the tips, psychological tricks and online tools that have allowed each to develop successful campaigns. Here’s what they had to say.

1. “Save the best for first,” -Jason Hsiao, Animoto

Much like the wealth of video tips on Google, there is an overwhelming amount of video content on Facebook. So much so, that most of it ends up being lost or ignored in the Facebook News Feed abyss. So, how do you make sure your viewers actively watch and engage with your video content instead of just scrolling by? Jason Hsiao, the co-founder / Chief Video Officer of one of my favorite social marketing tools, Animoto, says it’s as easy as saving the best for first. “This is not a movie-going audience,” Hsiao explains, “you can’t promise that they’ll be there until the end of your video.”

Instant gratification is rarely far out of reach, and our attention spans are getting shorter by generation. To that end, a key psychological hack required to generate views on a Facebook video is starting off strong. On social media, the first few seconds of your video are a prime and valuable opportunity to catch users’ attention. Be intentional about the opening clip of your Facebook video to captivate viewers and encourage your audience to watch through to the end. Back in 2005, neuroscientists at UCLA and Caltech discovered that we are hardwired to respond to faces. Similarly, Hsiao claims videos that feature real people garner a much more significant response on Facebook.

“This is not a movie-going audience,” Hsiao explains, “you can’t promise that they’ll be there until the end of your video.”

Hsiao also lauds National Geographic for creating Facebook video content that regularly begins with their strongest piece of content. In this attention-grabbing Facebook video, National Geographic pairs a strong image with an informative, and bold statement. Make sure you’re not saving the best for last, because amplifying engagement and views is about hooking viewers from the get-go.

How to put it into practice:

  • Start with the punchline: Place your most engaging statistic, inspirational quote, surprising fact at the start of your video.
  • Draw viewers in with results: Note how this beauty brand starts their how-to video with the finished product as the very first clip.
  • Showcase real people: Don’t be afraid to start with a customer feature, or behind-the-scenes content to get folks engaging with your Facebook video.

2. “One of the first things I do is ask a question,” -Sue Bryce, master photographer

The information gap theory suggests offering only a bit of information can pique viewer curiosity, in turn allowing you to grip your audience. Starting with a question takes this even further, as it invites folks into the conversation, and keeps your video from being a passive experience for the viewer. Giving viewers something to discern within the first few seconds of a video is an effective way to amplify engagement on Facebook. Sue Bryce suggests including a question to hook your audience, and providing an answer to keep them watching.

Furthermore, with Facebook’s News Feed algorithm shift now favoring posts that receive engagement in the form of comments, likes and shares, it’s imperative to create video content that encourages users to engage with your video, and with each other. Sharing useful Facebook video content that aims to educate users allows for further questions and comments, and amplified engagement overall. “All good marketing answers an objection that people would have around your product and/or service,” Bryce adds.

Pose your question as a setup for the video, and use the video itself to answer that question, and inform your audience. Business Insider often draws viewers in with educational video content on Facebook. This simple video poses the question, “How much butter flavoring and oil is in microwave popcorn?” The text-based video garnered impressive engagement for Business Insider – 1.4 million views to be exact. Since, most viewers are consuming video content with sound off, incorporating text makes for a thumb-stopping Facebook video.

With Facebook now favoring posts that receive engagement in the form of comments, likes and shares, it’s imperative to create video content that encourages users to engage with your video, and with each other.

How to put it into practice:

  • Take a targeted approach: If the question is relevant to your audience, they will engage with your content. For instance, if you’re creating video for a gym the question should be related to health, nutrition, or fitness. (“How often do you exercise?” or “What are your favorite health foods?”)
  • Educate your audience: Imagine what might stop a customer from purchasing your product, pose a question around this, and answer it. For instance, “Why should I pay for a personal trainer?”
  • Go bold, but stay concise: It may sound like a no-brainer, but make sure your text is clear and direct. Some video editing tools make it easy to move text around and resize. This Business Workshop video on Sue Bryce’s Facebook page, for instance, shares a clear message with text and copy that is easy to read and straightforward.

3. “Take a piece of the human condition and convey it through video,” -Brian Peters, Buffer

Employing the power of storytelling can boost your views and engagement by fostering a human connection that encourages viewers to take action. To maximize success with your video content, make sure that you’re telling a story that is universally relevant and relatable.“…Things like birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, and conflict,” says Peters. That being said, no discussion of the psychology behind Facebook video success is complete without addressing the clear winner in engagement online — square video.

Although phones and cameras do not have the capability to shoot in 1:1 (AKA square) aspect ratio, some video editing tools, like the aforementioned Animoto, make it easy to convert videos to square format. “I love using Animoto to quickly drag and drop video assets, photos, and logos into the editor which automatically sizes the video to a 1:1 ratio,” Brian Peters explains. At Social Sidekick this user-friendly app wins out hands down, helping us easily create multiple marketing videos for various platforms without spending hours in the editing room.

How to put it into practice:

  • Get creative: This simple video hack will ensure you’re shooting for 1:1 aspect ratio.
  • Budget your time: Use pre-built, square storyboards that employ storytelling techniques to get more views and engagement on Facebook. Then, spend some time engaging with your followers in the comment section!
  • Fill the frame: Don’t be afraid to zoom in and get up close to your subject. Make sure the viewer can see your video content.

Right now, engagement and views on Facebook video are a driving factor to success in the social media landscape. For your next video campaign, try incorporating these psychological hacks into your video creation process and let us know how it goes!

About Cassie Galasetti

Cassie is the co-founder of Social Sidekick Media, Branding & PR. She has over fifteen years of experience in the entertainment, PR and media fields in New York, New Jersey and Los Angeles. Cassie has secured media coverage for her clients on TODAY Show, Good Morning America, New York Times, On-Air with Ryan Seacrest, USA Today, The Weather Channel, Yahoo! Beauty, Prevention, Fox News, Bustle and more.Connect @socialsidekick2 @cass822s.