For most small businesses, the key focal point of any content marketing strategy has traditionally been written content – whether it’s blog content, whitepapers or case studies. The problem, however, is that big social media companies like Facebook are now putting increasing pressure on businesses to emphasize video and de-emphasize traditional written content.
It all starts with the Facebook algorithm
In many ways, this pressure has occurred so subtly that you might not have even noticed it. It all started with tweaks to the Facebook algorithm, which began to prioritize visual imagery and videos over written content. So companies began producing beautiful infographics designed to look good on social media. They began posting photos with captions or inspirational messages that would be shared on Facebook. And they began posting YouTube clips.
Then, Facebook tweaked the algorithm again, to favor “native video” (i.e. video produced using Facebook) as well as “live” video. This again led to a change in content being produced by brands and small businesses – instead of embedding YouTube or Vimeo videos, they began to create video content with platforms like Facebook Live. Moreover, since Facebook appeared to favor longer-form video content, that meant that relatively scripted Facebook Live shows became popular as a way of connecting with fans and customers.
The pivot to video
And this so-called “pivot to video” is happening everywhere you look. Some of the most popular media outlets out there – MTV News, Sports Illustrated, The Huffington Post, Fox Sports and Vice – have all pivoted to video. They are firing teams of writers, de-emphasizing written content, and producing more and more content that Facebook “likes.” The big picture view is that Facebook wants people to produce original, 30-minute video shows that can become part of a Facebook TV programming schedule, and it needs all content producers to be on the same page.
It’s impossible to overstate the role of Facebook in this. Any move made by Facebook is going to have ripple effects with brands and publishers. That’s because any company or brand will only produce content that people are going to interact with via Facebook. That makes sense, right? Why would you spend time, energy and dollars producing content that’s dead on arrival?
Video engagement is way up
The numbers bear this out. According to a new survey from BuzzSumo, Facebook engagement is way down for anything that is not video. Since January 2017, the average engagement on Facebook posts from brands and publishers is down 20%. Video is holding steady, while the primary loss in engagement is coming from written content and visual content. During that same time period, the average video post received two times as much engagement as all other posts.
Put it all together and the message is clear: video is taking over the Web. The really smart companies out there have already internalized this message; they are now in the process of making all the necessary changes. In short, the pivot to video is in full swing.
The art of the authentic business video
As a result, video – and especially live video – needs to become part of your company’s content marketing strategy. If you want engagement, and if you want your posts to be viewed via Facebook organically, you need to be thinking in terms of video.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be slick, over-produced video content. What people want today on the Internet is empathy, transparency and authenticity. You have permission to be yourself in a business video. In fact, the more personality and authenticity that you can inject into the video, the better it will do on social media – and specifically, on Facebook.