In the early days of life online, the world was limited to text-only interactions. But the pace of technological advance has been staggering these past 30 years. Now, many of us have computers in the palm of our hands that are far superior to those early desktop units that screeched and screeched when connected to another computer via a landline phone.
Just a few years ago, watching a video online was frustrating, and posting a 30-second video required a heavy manual, a ritual sacrifice, and the luck of the gods. Well almost.
According to various studies, a plain text post now receives the least attention. For a post to be eye-catching, it must have at least one image attached to it. (A post no longer has to include text; it could be just a still image, or even a video clip, but we’ll get there in a few minutes.) That is why you can see a Facebook post on almost any subject, and an image of a pet, a sunset or a tree will be attached, something that has nothing to do with the subject of the message. If you can make a person stop and look at your photo, there is a chance that they will also read the text of your post.
The image you add to your post doesn’t have to be a photograph. It can be a graphic (perhaps a clip art image) with or without text on the image itself. It could also be all text, stylized in one or more interesting typefaces; you will often see the ones created for dating. Regardless of the type of image you attach, try to make it directly related to your post. If you advertise that your business now sells blue widgets, please post an image of a blue widget. Now accepting appointments for plumbing visits? Show your workers in their best uniforms by smiling as they get off a truck with your company logo on the side.
Between the still image and a full motion video is the “animated image”, often an image in GIF format (graphic interchange format). These are still images arranged in “loops” lasting a few seconds, where the subject is often funny and / or shocking. The use of GIF has changed dramatically in recent years, and you could write a full dissertation on its use in personal posts. For now, we’ll just say that Facebook considers GIFs to be a still image category and they are attached in the same way.
As I said a few minutes ago, your posts no longer need to include text. If you have what I call a standalone image, with an image, long text, and connection information, post it alone. FB also allows you to upload video clips, and the same goes for video posts. If you have raw footage that you’ve shot with your phone, you probably want to add text that explains the context of the video and add any comments you deem necessary. You can post a fully produced video, complete with an introduction, end credits, and background music. Producing video clips for your company is a completely different topic. I address that in another series of articles.
The only media type that FB does not currently allow in posts is standalone audio. So if you have an audio podcast or an audio recording of a book or article you have written, you will have to produce it into a video clip in order to upload it. Again, the details of this are beyond the scope of this article, but the “video” can be as simple as a single still image (or multiple images chained together) occupying the image track, while the video track is playing. Audio. You can find these types of videos on YouTube, often created by home enthusiasts for songs where there is no video recording of the artist.
Currently the maximum file size for a video uploaded to Facebook is 1.75GB, which in HD format is a runtime of around 45 minutes. However, you should keep video posts as short as possible. You’re boosting it with videos longer than 30 seconds. Only people who browse Facebook to ease boredom will watch videos longer than a minute, and you better have completely unique content that people believe will change their lives if you post a video with a runtime of more than 5 minutes.
Regardless of the means you use, any post you make on Facebook or elsewhere must have a specific intention – a set goal that you want to achieve. The message should be crafted using the principles of immediacy and scarcity where appropriate. Every time your post tries to sell, or asks a question, provide the reader with the contact information or link they need. In almost every post, you need to tell the reader exactly what you expect them to do once they have read the post, and provide them with the tools they need to do so.
The 11 best types of trade publications, from worst to best
11) Text Only Post – Long
10) Text-only posting: less than 25 words
9) Post text with unrelated still image
8) Publishing audio with still image
7) Post text with related still image
6) Autonomous image text publishing
5) Standalone image, no text
4) Post text with raw video clip
3) Full-length video clip (more than 5 min) fully produced
2) Medium production video clip (about 1 min)
1) Short video clip (30 seconds) fully produced