The Great Facebook Video Swindle (and why it’s OK)


Around the beginning of the year, Facebook declared video the new and future king of social media.

With Facebook Live, Facebook stories, and the rolling out of new publishing and advertising options for video-based content, Facebook drew a line in the sand saying, “If you want to reach people on social media, you have to publish videos…and lots of them.”

…but do you?

Despite all the pro-video propaganda, the analytics coming from the businesses and nonprofits I work with say “nope”, and I’m not the only one noticing that pictures with text and video still have similar reach, engagement, and results from advertising spending.

Some caveats here:

  1. My clients are local, small businesses serving a relatively small area in a very specific niche. For example, a sushi place in Bay City has a relatively low ceiling of potential reach and engagement because of its very specific demographic of potential customers (people who like sushi) in a very specific area (residents of Bay City or within a 10 mile radius).

  2. Because they’re small businesses, their ad spend is relatively limited compared to what the heavy-hitters are able to wield, and so while the numbers don’t favor video over picture/text, it is possible that you would start to see something different at a larger advertising scale.

What this means

If you don’t have the resources to produce video (time, talent, money) for your business - don’t worry. Facebook can still be a viable platform for you.

It also means that even though the analytics don’t back up Facebook’s statistical assertions, it may have nudged people towards a more effective way to connect.

Businesses should produce video-based content because its a fantastic way to make a human connection with the people you are trying to serve, not as a way to increase statistical data.

Video will always:

1) be more social than pictures/text
2) build stronger relationships, and
3) be a way to communicate “connecting with people is worth doing something well.”

I create video content for the businesses I work with not because Facebook will wavea magic wand over it, endowing it with cosmic reach and an existential level of engagement, but because it’s part of a great content marketing plan. Video adds a depth and variety that will stand out against a barrage of other platforms with pictures/text constantly screaming, “BUYMEBUYMEBUYMEBUYME".

Video also mimics how people get to know each and create relationships in the real world. Followers get to hear people speaking, see facial their expressions, and get an impression of what kind of people they are.

Produce video-based content because you want to build a loyal, rabid, and raving following…not because Facebook told you to.