Don’t Rely On Sound In Video Content


Recently I was scrolling through Facebook and happened upon a strange video of a man painting a canvas yellow, holding his head oddly close to the brush as he painted. After watching the video for a while I decided to turn the sound on, and was shocked to find that the man was screaming into the paint. Without sound the video made no sense, with sound it made more sense (at least in terms of why his face was so close to the canvas). There’s two lessons to be learned from this: the first is that sound can play a huge part in videos and the second is that videos that depend on sound can miss out on an audience due to that dependence on sound. (check this video out here ) Videos that rely on sound are suffering on social media, due to that reliance.

Video is the latest craze in social media. Video content has the best ROI, and is being introduced and improved on many social platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. But just making video content isn’t enough, if your video content depends on the audience listening as well as watching you’re in for a big surprise. 85% of Facebook video content is watched without the sound on. This isn’t due to an active deaf community on Facebook, it’s due to our modern relationship to technology.

Consider that most users are mobile users, 56.6%, access Facebook on a mobile device rather than a computer, and 75% of video views on Facebook come from mobile devices. This indicates that many are checking Facebook while out and about living their lives. Whether you’re on the bus or waiting in line at the bank, checking Facebook is a great way to entertain yourself. Watching a video with sound requires either headphones or annoying everyone around you. And even when users are wearing headphones it would mean turning off whatever they’re already listening to to listen to a video. Most users are not willing to turn sound on. And since Facebook videos start playing (without sound) automatically being able to grab and hold onto your audience’s attention without sound can make a huge difference in the success of your content.

Watching videos without sound has become so common that captioning a video “turn sound on for this” for videos that need sound is growing trend, like the scream-painting video. Media outlets like Mic use videos with text on-screen paired with background music, so the video can communicate its message without sound but with sound turned on, you have the added treat of complimentary music.

Planning for soundless viewing can actually be a blessing. No need to record voice narration with expensive sound equipment in a perfectly quiet room. Instead, great video content can be created with beautiful visuals and a little typing.

I’m going to end this post with a few tips for soundless videos: First, make sure the visuals are interesting, attention grabbing images with easy to read fonts to help grab and keep the audience’s attention. Then, remember to be short and sweet a long video is likely to lose viewers part way through so try and get your message across without wasting your audience’s time with unrelated information or visuals. And of course, remember to keep the quality as high as you can get it.

*In February 2017 Facebook announced they would slowly roll out facebook videos automatically playing with sound, this feature will gradually roll out over the course of 2017. Have videos in your news feed begun playing with sound? Let me know in the comments!

Why Timing Matters On Social Media


Most social media users don’t worry about optimal timing, they simply post when they want to. This may mean posting images to Facebook or Instagram right after taking the picture or tweeting an idea as soon as it pops in their head. Sometimes to save data, users wait to post until they have Wi-Fi. For most social media users this is fine because most users are using social media for fun, but if you’re using social media to promote yourself, your business or anything else, optimal timing is very important.

The truth is most of your audience won’t see what you post on social media. This is partly due to algorithms and partially due to the sheer volume of posts on social media and messaging platforms. Algorithms curate our newsfeeds on sites like Facebook to make sure our newsfeeds stay interesting to us. These algorithms consider source and engagement to decide what will be relevant to who and engagement immediately after posting helps determine the relevancy of your posts. On platforms like Twitter, a fresh post has a lifespan of roughly 20 minutes before it’s pushed lower and lower in newsfeeds as thousands of new posts are tweeted. By posting at unpopular, non-optimal times you risk your posts not being seen.

Posting at optimal times basically means posting when your content is most likely to be seen by the right eyes. For example, if you’re promoting a cookbook on social media, posting at 3am means your post is unlikely to be seen by your audience as most people aren’t on Instagram at that hour looking for recipe ideas. Posting when your target audience may be commuting to work, eating their lunch, or any other time your target audience may be scrolling through their Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook newsfeeds would get your post much more attention, hopefully more engagement, and maybe even a few cookbook sales.

Planning when to post and how often also helps in creating a strong strategy. If you know you want to tweet five times every Thursday and pre-plan when and what those tweets will be it’s more likely that you will follow through and that your effort will have maximum effect.

Of course, the best times to post for each platform can vary, as does frequency of posting. For example the times when most of your followers are on Twitter may not be the same as when your Instagram followers are online. Different platforms attract slightly different audiences and are used differently so it’s important to look at peak posting times for each platform.

So how do you find your best times to post? Start by thinking about when you use social media. Do you scroll through Instagram on your lunch break? Do you check out Twitter while waiting to pick up your kids after school? When you use social media can be a good indicator of when your audience is using theirs. (Of course you should also consider time zones, as your 3pm isn’t the same as everyone else’s.)

There are also lots of tools to help determine the best time to post. Facebook Insights provides lots of information on when your followers are on Facebook, and tools like Buffer provide optimal timing suggestions. There is also a bit of trial and error when finding your best posting times. Maybe posting at 3:15 is better than 3:00. Also consider times to avoid posting, like when post people are asleep or on major holidays when many people are busy with family celebrations.

I’ll leave you with this: If nobody sees your tweet, was it worth the time and effort you put into creating it?