LIVE MESSAGE: Now Facebook Live has come of age

Late Saturday night just as I was going to bed somethingremarkable happened.

Shortly after midnight, my timeline was filled with people sharing live streams from US airports. Pop-up protests were taking place. People angry about a ban on people from hand-picked Muslim countries were making their voice heard.

As a former journalist and as someone is interested in the changing media landscape this was fascinating. Protest has made Facebook Live come of age just as protest in Iran eight years ago helped embed Twitter.

An unscientific snapshot at the time showed short clips and commentary on Twitter and live streaming on Facebook.

For previous generations the route for moving images was TV news. Now, protestors as well as online media were just filming what was going on. In this case, they look like they were using their own web-enabled devices rather than an outside broadcast truck.

This one stream from Rewire News recieved 1.2 million viewers within 24-hours. You can watch here:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Frewire.news%2Fvideos%2F10154990441261738%2F&show_text=0&width=560

The live experience is different

While the footage viewing back on Facebook Live above looks clean and straight forward the livestream on mobile was also showing a feisty battle in the comments box between those in support and those against. You can watch here:

Mainstream media picked-up the footage

Channel 4 news in the UK picked-up the footage and repackaged it in an edited short news video. You can see it here:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FChannel4News%2Fvideos%2F10154492207526939%2F&show_text=0&width=400

Ten thoughts

  1. It’s ephemeral. A day after the live footage was hard to track down on Facebook and on the Periscope Live. Once it’s gone, it’s pretty much gone.
  2.  Your smartphone is like an outside broadcast truck in your pocket. Live streaming is powerful and an instant way to beam pictures so long as you have a good WiFi connection.
  3. It can spread the word quickly. By plugging into the networks of social media the link with the video can be widely shared.
  4. The experience live and later is quite different. With live viewing you get the cascade of likes and comments. Looking back later once the broadcast is over you don’t.
  5. The role for mainstream media is as aggregaters. With dozens of streams and lengthy broadcasts the role of the journalist is to spot, share then aggregate and explain.
  6. The quality of the footage doesn’t matter... the value is to see what is happening at that particular moment in time.
  7. The echo chamber still exists. As widely shared as it is it is still likely to be shared within a network of like-minded people.
  8. The corporate comm, policy maker and emergency planner needs to keep man eye on what is going on. Live insight is needed to help shape decisions.
  9. There’s a lesson from history. Public mood turned against the Vietnam war after protests at Kent State University saw protestors killed. What happens next will be interesting to see.
  10. Crisis comms and emergency comms need to take account of Facebook Live – and Twitter’s Periscope in their forward planning. 

Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0.


TRAINER TALE: What a student’s Adidas advert can teach the public sector

There’s been a trend for story telling by video that packs an emotional punch.

The Polish Christmas commercial and the John Lewis advert are things I’ve blogged about.

There’s been a second trend of students making ads in the style of these. The lad who made the pastiche John Lewis ad which was so good it was taken for the real think springs to mind.

Another one has dropped into my timeline. It’s beautiful. It’s an old man in a home whose yearning to break free is awoken when he re-discovers his old trainers. You can see it here:

It’s lovely. It’s emotional. But stop. Adidas don’t need the extra help.

So much of what I do is in the public sector.

So, what story telling can be made of things in the public sector?

The child whose imagination comes to life through a trip to the library?

The widower who has discovered a new lease of life through a regular visit?

So many potential stories.

What stories could you tell if you tried harder? And communicated differently?


CONTENT TIPS: Six laws for content that works on the web… Ooo! Aaah! Wow! OMG! And I didn’t know that!

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Six laws for content that works on the web… Ooo! Aaah! Wow! OMG! And I didn’t know that!

Every day we read, write, be amazed, shout, laugh at and share content online.

We do it after we wake-up, go to work, get to work and get home from work. The we do once we’ve kicked our shoes off.

Research would say we see 285 pieces of content every day. I’d say when I’ve got time on my hands it’s a lot more.

As communicators we are every day trying to compete with content that is shouting more loudly. Nobody is waiting for your press release. Or your video.

But how do you make yourself heard over the din?

I think it starts by looking at what works. What works for you? The meme? The 10-secondfd clip? The image? Think for a second.

It got me thinking how if I can catagorise the stuff I see that works. For me, it boils down to five words of phrases… Ooo! Aaah! Wow! Ha! And I didn’t know that!

Sometimes, if you are clever you can tick several of these boxes.

If you are not ticking any of them you need to think if that man in a suit against a wall for 20 minutes is going to fly. The chances are it won’t.

Ooo!

This is the spectacle. The arresting sight that makes you stop and stare.

Colourflow 3 #ColourflowProj #davidmcleod

A video posted by David McLeod (@david_mcleod) on Jan 4, 2016 at 1:58pm PST

Aaah!

This is the story of the dying dog’s last walk. Or the cute child. The thing that tugs on your heart strings.

Wow!

This is a spectacle. The sight that makes your jaw drop slightly.

 

OMG!

This is the one that makes you stop and plays on your fears. Like the RNLI breath test produced to try and persuade people not to swim out-of-their-depth in the sea.

Ha!

This is the funny one. The one that makes you want to laugh and share it with your friends so they can laugh too.

I didn’t know that!

This is the helpful one. The YouTube clip of the Indian student telling you how to fit a new cricket bat grip or the American showing you how to change a tyre. You look it up to help you. You’re amazed at how easy it is to follow and how complex the written instructions sound.

So, if your content isn’t any of those, should it be content at all?

Picture credit: Andrea Levers / Flickr


STORY TELLING: How video can deliver a family’s story to help make a difference

You may know that for the past 18 months or so I’ve been helping to deliver video skills workshops via comms2point0. The aim is to give people the skills to plan, shoot, edit and post video using a smartphone or tablet.

They are a joy to deliver. Steve and Sophie who I deliver them with are good people to work with. I love doing them and seeing people go on a bit of a journey from unsure to taking their first steps. Then later on I may see them blossom into a sprinter and marathon runner who are travelling to amazing places.

One such blooming dropped into my Twitter timeline from Chris Bentley. Chris works at Acorns Hospice which is a hospice in the West Midlands that specialises in looking after childern.

He shot the following video here:

You don’t have to be a parent to get the humanity and dignity of this story. It’s beautifully told.

While you know I help deliver video skills workshops you may not know that I lost my own mother 12 years ago. She died in a hospice surrounded by many of her family. I don’t know how it feels to lose a child as the Harvey family have but I painfully know what it’s like to lose a loved one in a hospice. I wish that when it is time everyone has this.

I’m quietly proud that a workshop that I’ve been involved with may have played even a small part in delivering such an effective video. It’s a video that doesn’t stand alone. It is part of a fundraising campaign to carry on the hospice work. Good communications can seem cold. Find out the business objective. Tell stories and create content that helps that. Evaluate by seeing if the business objective has been reached. But for the coldness of this, what makes it work is the warmth of the storytelling as Chris has done here.

The truism that good PR and comms can make a real difference is never truer than it is here.  I can’t wait to see the results of the campaign and will be chipping in with a donation here.  I hope you, if you can, do too.


ON SWITCH: Updated optimum video times

I’ve updated the optimum times for video content with two platforms being removed altogether.

Gone are the six seconds of Vine and gone too is the livestreaming Twitter application Meercat.

I’ve edited the  comms2point0 ever updated video resource here and the chart is here:

video-chart

So, what do the changes say?

Both are Twitter applications, so not all that much.

I’ve also updated the Facebook Live and Periscope optimum length to 10 minutes. This is emerging as the best length of live video.

Luke Watson, in this excellent Search Engine Journal post, makes the point that Facebook page posts reach single digit numbers. But Facebook Live at the minute is free, so it’s worth experimenting with before it costs.

 

 

 


10 places to distribute your video to make it a success

5236263550_12bf640a5b_oYou’ve made a cracking video but you’re really not sure what to do next.

So what do you do?

For the past 12-months I’ve looked, made, researched and co-delivered workshops on essential video skills for comms.

As a comms person I’m convinced that video has a powerful role in creating engaging content. As I’ve said before, a large chunk of the internet is now video and that’s just going to grow.

The two things you need for engaging video

Think of Pearl & Dean. Think of sound and vision. It’s two things that go together. There’s a balancing act for creating successful video as part of a comms campaign. On the one hand you need good content. But on the other hand, good content that’s sat on your mobile phone isn’t going to reach anyone. So think about when and where you can post what you’ve made.

Live streaming is a bit different

Live streaming using Periscope, Meercat or Facebook Live is video. But this is video of the moment which is disposable. If the advantage is to be five yards away from the firefighter explaining the incident is now under control then it makes sense to use that. Speed and realtime point you to these platforms.

Don’t be blinded by numbers

Have a think about your audience. If you are keen to reach 16-year-old students about to decide which college to go to then your idea of success is not to chase Taylor Swift numbers. But if you’ve only reached a dozen then you may need to have a think about your distribution. In other words where people have the chance to see the video.

10 places where people can see your video

YouTube direct. This is the grand daddy of internet video. It’s used by more than a billion people a month. In the UK, more than 40 million people use the platform every month. Post your video to YouTube but keep it at around three minutes. Add tags and a good description so people will find it. Metadata is your friend. Optimum time: around three minutes.

Facebook direct. A new kid on the block compared to YouTube. At the moment, Facebook is rewarding you for adding video content to a page. It likes video because video keeps people interested, engaged and sharing. A hundred million hours of video is watched on Facebook every day. There is a battle going on between YouTube and Facebook but it’s worth posting video here too. Facebook can soar in the short run and is outperformed by YouTube in the long run. So think about posting to both. Optimum time: 21 seconds.

Twitter direct. Like Facebook, Twitter is liking that you post video direct to itself from the Twitter mobile app. But annoyingly, it’ll only let you upload a video from elsewhere if you are using an iphone.Optimum time: less than 30 seconds.

Instagram direct. There is a tendency for organisations to sit back and think that YouTube, Facebook or Twitter means the internet is covered. What hogswallop. If you know your audience you’ll have an idea which platforms they’ll be using. If instagram or snapchat is on their wavelength then think about how you’ll be using those channels first. By doing that you’ll have an understanding of what video may work.Optimum time: Instagram was up to 15 seconds maximum but now can be 60 seconds. Doesn’t mean you should use 60 seconds, mind.

Snapchat direct. Younger people are opting for snapchat. Again, disposability rules in the content. The platform now has 10 billion views a day. Organisations who are using it well have got to know snapchat first and make specialised content. It’s not a place to throw your three minute YouTube video.Optimum time: less than 10 seconds.

Email the link internally. Once you’ve posted the video cut and paste the URL and send it to people. Embed it in the weekly email. Or send it to the 10 people in the team you’ve featured. Invite them to share it and you can start to tap into your staff as advocates. YouTube links are good for this.

Embed in a webpage. It never fails to surprise me that video carefully shot and posted onto social channels then never makes the webpage. If you look after a museum, embed the video onto the right webpage so when visitors come they’ll have more than just the opening times to look at.

A staff meeting or event. You have an audience of people corralled into a room. Of course you should show them the film you’ve made.

A link attached to a press release. If you’re sending out a press release it is becoming increasingly important to add a video or an image to it to register an interest with a reporter. Even if it’s a short video it’s worth doing.

Target influencers. If the blogger, the reporter or the big cheese are people you’d like to see the video don’t hope that somehow they’ll pick up on it. Email them direct. Tweet them direct. Tap them on the shoulder. “I’ve got this video that I think you’ll like.”

On a welcome screen on a loop. If you have a reception or a place where people gather show the video on a loop. You may want to screen it with the sound off if you’ve only got 30 seconds of good footage. Think about silent film techniques and sub-titles.

To learn more about planning, editing, shooting and posting video using a smartphone come to a comms2point0 essential video skills workshop.

Dan Slee is co-creator of comms2point0.


VIDEO CONTENT: A cute baby will beat a man in a suit everytime

Often, when I’m helping deliver video skills training I’ll show a video towards the start.

It’s a video that I’ve taken from Facebook that I’ve not gone looking for. It’s found me. Someone has shared it and after autoplaying I’ve got distracted looking at it.

So, here is one that stopped me in my tracks just this week. So, here is one that stopped me in my tracks just this week. .So, here is one that stopped me in my tracks just this week. You can watch it here:

It’s a video of a Chinese-looking baby laughing at a man counting notes. The man pretends to spit on his hand. The baby chuckles. It makes me beam. It’s not long. I could watch it over and over.

Why do I show it?

To show that this is what we are up against competing for our attention.

Statista calculates that 32 million people use Facebook in the UK in 2016. As they scroll through their timeline they are usually not looking for content. It finds us, shared by a friend or a page we follow. The most arresting content is cute, funny and short. It can be the puppies having a bath. It could be cats. It could be something comic.

Now look at your organisations YouTube channel to get a flavour of the type of video they post.

Chances are you’ll find a man in a suit stood against a wall in the classic frightened bunny firing squad pose. There’ll be a couple of dozen views. At most. As a video, it has failed.

Here is breaking news. The world has too many videos with important people in them sagainst walls. 

Think of what people are watching. Put yourself in their shoes. If your next video is short, cute, witty or informative you stand a chance of getting people’s attention.

If it’s none of these nobody online cares.

A cute baby v a man against a wall? The cute baby wins hands down.

Isn’t it time you re-thought your next video?

Essential Video Skills for Comms workshops are staged across the UK. For more information click here.