A Facebook Update That’s Actually Worth Celebrating

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Typically, when Facebook announces an update, it generally involves an algorithm change that sends marketers into a panic or a timeline update that will take the 35+ crowd months to understand. However, a recent update made by the social network behemoth is actually cause for rejoicing, at least for social media specialists and marketers looking to add more visual elements to their content development.

Recently, Facebook added auto play video to their news feeds, allowing videos uploaded from a user to be embedded into friends’ news feeds and instantly played when the video is central on a screen. In short, users can now directly influence their followers with one of the most enriched forms of visual content. And with videos now automatically playing, it is much easier to catch someone’s attention without the fear of them scrolling over content and not clicking play.

With this new update, there are really two things marketers need to keep in mind.

1. How will this affect where/how you upload video?

Auto play does not apply to every video displayed on a timeline; for instance, embedded YouTube videos will still need to be clicked on in order to view – which is a good thing. Having every cat video, music video, or “chubby kid screaming” video play automatically on your news feed would be overkill and would most likely lead to an increase in strokes nationwide. But with this distinction, how will you discern what medium to upload a video to? Short, “catchy” videos that are meant to spur attention have a new friend in auto play, while longer, more info-based clips still have a place on embedded YouTube players.

2. In what new ways will you create video?

With auto play, the need for quick, to the minute clips from events, office quirks, and more is growing rapidly. With that being said, the question isn’t whether or not you’ll use this new Facebook feature to your advantage, it’s how you’ll use it. Obviously, simply recording a video and uploading it to Facebook is an easy way to post snappy video content; however, there’s another option that could be even more feasible.

Last week, I provided live event support for an outside winter event in the area. Live tweeting, occasional Facebook updating, and Instagraming were all a part of my chilly evening. To test out the new auto play features, I began recording short videos on my iPhone via Instagram to share on Facebook. With Facebook’s new Instagram features that allow instant embedding of photos and videos from the social network, this relationship is becoming a match made in heaven. With Instagram video, you are able to create short little videos, recording and pausing to create a “promotional” feel with different shots of events (I went from inside tents to outside of the tents to develop an overall “here’s everything that’s happening” video). And now, with the instant embedding and auto play in Facebook, that video can be shared directly into your Facebook followers’ timelines and will begin playing automatically, creating an unbelievably easing and effective way to show great video content.

Verdict on my use of this process: it was a major success.

So how will you use these new Facebook features to your business’s advantage? We’re in a visual age, and understanding the tools around you can help maximize your content’s effectiveness on all social media platforms.

- AH
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