Video is taking over digital media. By 2020, Cisco predicts that video will make up 82% of the content we consume online. Social video is no exception and, unsurprisingly, we watch a lot of it on Facebook!
In 2016, TechCrunch reported that we watch about 100 million hours of Facebook video every day. While The Atlantic challenged this number because of the way Facebook measures video views, we still watch an inordinate amount of video—and, no, not all of it features cats.
The challenge most marketers face is that 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound.
This brings up a pretty important question: How do you increase engagement for your videos and get more people to like, share, and comment? To really answer this question we need to understand the difference between social video and what we post to dedicated hosting platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.
Understanding social video
Watching video on social media is a very different experience compared with watching video on YouTube or another dedicated video hosting platform.
Social video is interruptive; it breaks the flow of what you are doing.
While scrolling through your Facebook feed, the video starts playing automatically (and silently) in the background. To make you pause in your scrolling tracks and hit that full screen button, something about it needs to capture your attention.
You only have a few precious frames to convey your message and capture your audience. If you don’t, your readers will just keep going until they spot one of the short delectable recipe videos by Buzzfeed’s Tasty or a cat making friends with a teacup pig—whichever comes first.
You need to avoid that at all costs and make the scroller stop and watch what you’ve got to offer instead. This means designing videos specifically for social media.
Great social media videos have a few things in common, such as:
● Demand your attention in the first few frames
● Work well when watched without sound
● Stay under 60 seconds
● Visually appeal and entertain
After you’ve created a video that’s perfect for social media consumption, there’s one last thing you can do to give it its best “shot” (pun intended).
This is where our secret weapon comes in…
It’s time to introduce the power of video subtitles.
What video subtitles can do for you
Adding subtitles to your Facebook videos helps the viewer understand the context of your video even when they can’t hear it.
This makes it easy to watch a video that captured your attention on the go, without rummaging for your headphones or finding a quiet place where you can switch on the sound without disturbing anyone.
Not all of us have the video editing chops to add subtitles to our videos. So, I’m going to walk you through a few easy and quick ways you can do it and radically improve the watchability of your social videos.
How to caption videos
There are a few different ways you can caption your Facebook videos.
1. Facebook’s own closed captions tool
In early 2017, Facebook finally began rolling out its own automatic captioning tool to its general user base. However, right now it’s only available in the U.S. The software uses voice recognition to suggest subtitles that you can look through and edit accordingly.
Adding subtitles to your video is pretty simple, and only involves a few steps:
1. Upload your video to your Facebook page
2. In the video editor mode, click on Generate
3. Review the subtitles snippet by snippet to make sure they are correct. The tool is entirely automated and relatively new so it still makes common errors.
While this tool is far from perfect, it is still a quick and easy way to add subtitles to your videos without ever leaving Facebook.
2. Adding video subtitles using YouTube
If you are up for a little more work, or if Facebook’s auto captioning feature isn’t yet available in your location, you can use YouTube’s video creator studio to add subtitles to your Facebook videos.
● Upload your video to YouTube and set it to private
● Under the video management section, select Subtitles and CC
● Choose Add subtitles and CC
● Select transcribe and auto sync. Now you can transcribe the subtitles yourself as you listen to the video. The video pauses while you write and resumes when you pause making it easy to transcribe the text seamlessly!
If you can’t use either Facebook or YouTube to add subtitles to your videos don’t worry, I’ve got your back!!
You can outsource the work to a transcription service or hire a freelance video editor to handle the work for you. Just make sure they send you the video using the Facebook SRT captions file. If you want the captions in U.S. English, the file name would look a little something like this: video-name.en_US.srt
To upload the file, go into your video editing dashboard, select add captions and then upload the SRT file.
How this helps engagement rates
So, why should you go through all this trouble?
When it comes to social media, engagement is more than a vanity metric.
Facebook’s organic reach keeps dropping and the social media space is getting increasingly crowded. At the same time, meaningfully engaging with your current and future customers is becoming more important than ever.
Video allows you to get your point across in a way few other media formats can manage. It combines the power of language with the intimacy that comes with being in the same digital room with someone. Video also allows you to use a combination of visual and audio cues to take your connection to the next level.
Adding subtitles to your videos allows users to watch them and engage with the videos in a lot of different situations. This opens your content up to a global audience, people riding public transport or watching a video in a library.
As digital marketers, it’s our job to make content more consumable for our audiences. By adding subtitles to your Facebook videos you are doing just that! You are laying the groundwork for engagement and boosting that SEO. It’s an investment worth making.
Why not use a robust tool to help you store and manage all your videos? MavSocial helps you save all your visual content, ready for you to post and share on social media. You can also load your cc/subtitles to MavSocial making it super easy to publish them with your video on YouTube and Facebook.