Recently, we hosted Mari Smith, the Queen of Facebook, for a webinar about her top tips for increasing Facebook reach. She broadcasted a recap later via Facebook live.
During those two sessions we were able to identify 56 questions from the audience-mostly marketers– about using Facebook. We thought that the list itself (and of course, the answers) would be a helpful resource for others.
To provide the answers, we summarized Mari’s responses during the live presentations, browsed the Facebook comments from the live session, and added our own insight where we could. For a few we looked to other trusted sources for their input. If the question was answered by someone other than BuzzSumo or Mari, we’ve made a note of who answered the question.
If you, like us, are a fan of Lee Odden’s advice to be the best answer to your customers’ questions, you might just want a list of the questions, so that you can provide in-depth posts about them.
Questions about Facebook Live and video content:
1.What’s the different between embedded video and Facebook Live video?
Embedded videos are recorded outside of Facebook, then uploaded directly to Facebook. Facebook Live videos are live broadcasts from the Facebook app itself–initially they were only possible on mobile devices, but now, third party providers like OBS Studio and Wirecast can be used to broadcast from a desktop or a laptop.
2. Should you repurpose all live video content to YouTube?
Mari says, Go for it…here’s how:
There are some times when you may want to publish recorded live broadcasts to YouTube immediately and some times when you may want to wait. The timing depends on your purpose. If you are doing a big launch, then publish immediately. If not, you will still probably want to post to YouTube eventually. Download the recorded Facebook Live video from Facebook. The location of the download button keeps changing, so here’s a workaround. Right-click the video to show the URL, then paste the URL into a new tab. Download the HD video, then upload it to YouTube. Animoto is a great option for editing and creating clips from these Facebook Live recordings.
3. Do you think Facebook Live will ever have the ability to invite people to be on a show, like Blab?
Absolutely–I think that Blab is phenomenal and love that additional people can be pulled in. At some point Facebook Live will have the ability to do group chat, group video and invite people to join the broadcast. I also think there will be Facebook Live inside messenger for customer service.
4. I run a publisher page and we’re looking to start using Facebook Live – is it better to wait until we can produce a really slick video or should we just jump in?
- better lighting
- quality microphone
- alternate camera vies
- real-time comment replies
- calls to action
5. What does “created for sound off” mean?
When a video is displayed in a Facebook news feed, there is no sound unless someone clicks the video. Videos should be created to be compelling without sound, so that people are interested enough to click before they hear anything.
6. Are they still rolling out the ability to go LIVE on Facebook profiles? I have an iPhone, but don’t have the live button.
The best answer here is to be patient. In April 2016, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the feature would be rolled out to everyone, but some marketers have just gotten access this month. Another tip from Jenny Brennan–try updating the app in your phone.
7. Will Facebook live replace webinars?
Probably not. Mari uses GoToWebinar for all of her paid programs. But, she added that Facebook Live may replace free webinars hosted on other platforms.
8. Should you post prior to going live letting people know you will be doing a live show ?
Facebook recommends letting people know as a way to encourage your audience to log in and check out your broadcast.
9. How long should videos be on Facebook?
Facebook recommends that live broadcasts be at least 10 minutes. They can be as long as 90 minutes. Longer broadcasts give people more time to discover your broadcast and share it with their friends. Videos that aren’t broadcast live should be much shorter (see next question and answer).
10. Our video ads are being abandoned before the video ends resulting in the audience not seeing our website at the end. Therefore our image ads get more web traffic. How do you get more web traffic through video ads?
First of all, don’t give up. Facebook reports that 100 million hours of video are consumed on Facebook each day–it’s a huge target audience. And, a Nielson study commissioned by Facebook in 2015 indicated that videos were a powerful factor in increasing ad recall.
Secondly, keep in mind that most of that value is delivered in the first few seconds of the video–47% in the first 3 seconds and 74% in the first 10 seconds. (This is different than the advice for Live Broadcasts, which should be longer, see above).
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to feature your brand early in the video. You might consider a lower third caption that includes your web address, or something more creative like the example from Kleenex pictured below. In it, the Kleenex brand name appears at the 3 second mark.
The video also incorporates effective sound-off tactics, with captions in the first three seconds explaining that “An entire Elementary school is about to surprise an unsung hero.” (Curious about effectiveness of ads? I typed that from memory–check my accuracy.)
Jenny Brennan, JennyBrennan.me also recommends watching your ad report to see how many people watch X duration. Secondly, you can create an audience of people who viewed a video and you can retarget them with a blog post or link for example. That way if they skimmed the video you can reach them again.
It’s also a great idea to experiment with what works best for your individual audience.
BuzzSumo’s Facebook analyzer can show you the most effective videos for different topic areas. These are a great place to start looking for ideas about the types of videos that resonate with your audience.
11. What is an embedded video? And does it get more shares than video published on Facebook with a link to YouTube?
An embedded video has been recorded outside of Facebook then uploaded into Facebook. It is different than sharing a link to a video on YouTube. When you post a video on Facebook with a link to YouTube, the link preview includes a thumbnail image of the video. In BuzzSumo’s research, uploading (embedding) videos in Facebook got more interactions than simply sharing a link to a video on YouTube.
12. Is there a sharing difference between Facebook Live videos and videos uploaded to Facebook?
BuzzSumo’s research did not address sharing of live videos. Our research did show that videos uploaded (embedded) in Facebook got much higher engagement than videos shared via a link to YouTube.
13. Do you think Ads will be coming to FB live (pre-roll, etc.)
Mari says: MOST definitely!! Facebook has made it clear that for now, we are not allowed to place ‘ads’ in pre-roll etc… my guess is that’s because later that ‘inventory’ can be offered as ad units.
14. Do you have any lighting tips for Facebook Live broadcasts?
Mari says: I use super simple lighting–a table top fluorescent made by Lowel.
15. How do you use Facebook Live from your computer, not your phone?
OBS studio and Wirecast are both options. Ian Anderson Gray does a good job of describing how to use both.
16. Would you recommend Wirecast?
Mari says: Absolutely!
17. Should I buy Wirecast now or wait for Facebook to evolve into a desktop live option?
It depends. If you have content, and a way to monetize that content and integrate it into your plans, then yes, go ahead and buy. Mari said she falls into this category. She has purchased Wirecast and is outfitting a new studio in her home.
Integration with Instagram
18. What is the best way to share from Instagram to Facebook?
You can link your Facebook page to your Instagram account via “Settings” in your Instagram profile. Select linked accounts, then Facebook. The default is to share to your personal page, but you can change this to any page you manage by selecting “Share to,” and choosing the page. You can get more specifics at Instagram.
19. How do I link my Instagram to a Facebook business page? Currently I can only post from Instagram to my personal Facebook page.
20. Is the best time to post 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. everyday?
Our research showed that 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. of the local time for your audience is the best time to post. Sundays are the best day to post. You can combine the two for the highest average interactions. Remember though, that these are averages across Facebook. Consider them a starting point for your content and test what works for your audience. You can use the Facebook analyzer provided by BuzzSumo to find the best times to post for different individual topics and for your page, as well as for competitor or industry leading pages.
21. BuzzSumo’s research showed that posts late at night were more likely to get shares, likes, and comments. Did this research look at any specific industries or categories?
No, our research looked at a broad swath of brand and company pages. Our conclusions provide a great starting point. Try what works overall with your audience and adjust accordingly.
22. Should I really post late at night or on the weekends?
BuzzSumo’s research indicates that posts which were posted between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. in your audience’s local time, and posted on Sunday get more shares on average. Our research, summarized by Neil Patel, also looked at the number of posts from brands published at different times of day. We think that the decrease in competition at these times of day makes up for a smaller audience size.
Types of posts
23. Do hashtags hurt you on Facebook?
BuzzSumo’s analysis of 1 billion Facebook posts showed that posts without hashtags were shared more frequently than posts with hashtags.
24. Why don’t hashtags perform well on Facebook?
Our research didn’t tell us why the hashtagged posts performed poorly compared to posts without hashtags. More research is needed. However, it’s important to test this with your specific audience. We have also found some very successful Facebook pages that use hashtags on some of their content.
25. BuzzSumo found that posts with questions performed better than other types of posts. Did your research include questions set up through the poll feature?
Yes, we did include polls in our research. For the best performance — keep in mind that question posts with images performed much more strongly than all other posts.
26. When posting a link to Facebook, does it make a difference if the actual link is left in or is it better to remove it and just use text?
In a new post, deleting the link doesn’t make a difference in what your audience sees. Once the nice pretty image version is in place, you can decide if you want to leave the ugly, untidy-looking URL in place (we have no preference. 🙂 )
In an article for Marketingland.com Danny Sullivan has some great tips about setting up your links to share well. He suggested using the Facebook debugger to identify problems and solutions if the link you’d like to shared doesn’t display correctly. You can find the debugger here: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/
27. How long should my posts be?
BuzzSumo’s research indicated that shorter posts perform far better on average than longer posts. As always, begin with conclusions from broad research, then experiment with what works best for your audience.
28. What are instant articles?
Facebook has opened it’s platform to publishers, so that they can upload content directly to Facebook instead of sending people to content hosted on websites other than Facebook. The tool was designed to improve load times on mobile, and seems to have delivered on the promise with Facebook reporting load times up to 10x faster on mobile. You have to load at least 50 articles into Facebook to get started with Instant Articles, and your initial batch of articles is subject to Facebook review and approval. Advertising and analytics are part of the platform. Buffer gives a great overview of how to use Instant Articles.
29. When you pay to boost a Facebook post, does your organic reach drop off, and if so why?
I wasn’t able to confirm the frequency of reduced organic each after boosting a post. However, Facebook’s help center has several similar questions, so you are definitely not alone in seeing this phenomenon.
Here’s one possible reason, provided by Facebook: “Your organic reach may decline when you boost a post if you happen to be targeting your current fans. You also have the option to exclude people who already like your Page when you create an ad. I would suggest targeting people in this way if you want to keep your organic reach high.”
Custom and lookalike audiences may be helpful for you.
30. We are an IT company providing consulting services for a very specific product. Our content is dry and audience is very specific. We are using Facebook ads now, but it’s slow. What is the best way to reach an audience that is very specific?
Social Media Examiner has a great post describing ways to use audience targeting to reach very precise audiences.
For additional inspiration that will encourage you to think broadly about topics that might interest your audience–and add a little fun, check out GE’s Pinterest page. With boards like “Hey, girl” (tech inspired pick-up lines), “DIY with LED,” and Mind=Blown, the brand has amassed 26.3k followers.
You might also consider whether Facebook is the most important network for your target audience. BuzzSumo’s content analysis tool can show you which network gets the most shares for various topic areas.
For example, an analysis of “Big Data” shows that most of the shares on average are on LinkedIn. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t have a Facebook presence–we think that Facebook’s value as a content-discovery tool makes it important social real estate. But, if you aren’t picking up a lot of shares there, you might want to pivot to a different network.
31. Is it best practice to invite people who like your posts to like your page?
Mari says: Absolutely! To do so, simply click on the list of people who have liked your post. Facebook will display their names and let you know if they have already liked your page. You can invite people to like the page directly from the popup.
32. Does using UTM code attached in URL hamper reach?
Facebook suggests that using UTM codes may make third-party tracking of conversions inaccurate.
33. What percentage of people access Facebook via a mobile device?
Over 90% of Facebook users access the site via mobile; over half of those users access the site exclusively on mobile. This means that any marketing strategy must be designed with mobile users in mind.
34. What social media posting tool do you recommend for a small agency with about 25 business clients?
35. What mobile animation tools does Mari recommend?
Adobe SparkPost, Lumyer, and Ripl
36. Do these tools work on Android devices?
Only Lumyer is currently available for Android.
37. How do you post a GIF on Facebook?
Targeting and Reporting
38. Is it useful to target posts? And what about restricting the audience (exclude certain countries, etc.)?
Social Media Examiner recommends using post targeting and gives a great description of how to do it. “With the decline in Facebook post reach, post targeting may be a feature you need to start using regularly to get your posts in front of the right audience.”
Before you follow the instructions from Social Media Examiner, you’ll need to allow audience optimization for your posts. You can find this option in the general settings of your page. Once it’s enabled, you will have a variety of targeting possibilities to choose from–including demographics and interests.
39. Where can I find out more about the Facebook tracking pixel?
40. How do I convince my boss that the Facebook tracking pixel is important?
Begin by understanding the two types of pixels available. One is for tracking conversions and the other is for tracking the audience who visits your website so that Facebook can use that information to target a Facebook audience when you advertise.
Mari recommends using case studies to show the effectiveness of campaigns done with tracking pixels. She recommends research by Mixpo, a digital advertising company, which showed an $8 difference per conversion when tracking pixels are used. Why, Mari asks, would you not want lower costs and more conversions? Another resource she recommends for case studies is Facebook’s success stories pages.
Calls to Action
41. There are a number of CTA options. I find “Likes” relatively meaningless, but what do you think are the best CTAs to seek?What’s the best way to design CTA’s to increase engagement on Facebook?
From Randy Milanovic, Kayak Online Marketing
The best way to design a CTA is to create it with the prospect in mind, along with an action you want them to take. Download, Contact, Subscribe… It should speak to them at a relevant time in a way that will acknowledge their intent. An often overlooked strategy is in deciding how to use the different CTA presentation options in your arsenal. Maximum engagement happens when the visitor is given what they need, when they feel they need it. Imagine a sales funnel… at the top is often a fairly shallow ‘give’, whereas deeper down, the prospect will find a more significant action or information request. For the team at KAYAK Online Marketing, designing sales funnels that connect with visitors’ core needs becomes the priority, with CTA prompts along the journey. Conversions being the ultimate the measure of success.
42. What is the best way to design Calls to Action to maximize engagement?
Mari suggested a tactic that is effective when people have a content map in place and are posting long-form content. First, install the Facebook tracking pixel on your site. Publish a helpful piece of tutorial content and share it on Facebook. Let that content gather some organic reach, then promote it with ads manager. Retarget the audience who comes to the first blog post with a different promotion in the newsfeed, perhaps inviting them to an event or inviting them to read an article. Don’t go for the sale immediately, build a relationship, she says.
Facebook Page Optimization
43. What do the blue or gray checkmarks on pages mean?
The gray checkmark indicates that page belongs to a local business, company or organization. The blue is for public figures, sports and media companies. These sites are verifed as authentic by the business, brand or person and Facebook.
43. How do you apply for a blue check mark?
Request verification from Facebook. You will need a drivers’ license, passport, or incorporation documents. Expect some wait time before you are verified.
44. How do you apply for a gray check mark?
The process is simpler with the gray check mark. Just have your phone handy to receive a verification code.
Facebook provides these instructions:
- Click Settings at the top of your Page
- From General, click Page Verification
- Click Verify this Page, then click Get Started
- Enter a publicly listed phone number for your business, your country and language
- Click Call Me Now to allow Facebook to call you with a verification code
- Enter the 4-digit verification code and click Continue
Facebook will then review your information and issue the check mark if appropriate. Verification is not required for Facebook pages.
45. What are the benefits of having a verified page?
Verifying your page has several benefits. It increases your brand credibility, and it helps you to gain audience reach that might otherwise be lost to imitation pages.
Only blue check-mark pages have access now to a new feature called branded content, which allows businesses to co-promote content. Branded content is subject to specific content and ad policies.
46. What is a passion page?
A Facebook page that is focused on a specific interest, not a brand or a business (although marketers could create a page like to build a brand or business). Here are two examples: I Love the Ocean, with 863,000 likes and Beauty Addicts, with 1.7 million likes.
Mari explains: Ads manager is a hub for advertising. Power editor is for advanced users who want the capacity to split test or run multiple ad sets. Ads manager offers more advanced parameters than simpley boosting posts. If you are a beginner or intermediate user of Facebook ads, stick with ads manager.
If you have a saved audience, you can do some great boosting. Without a saved audience, boosting is similar to throwing money at the boost button.
48. In terms of getting help, small businesses often don’t have the budget to hire consultants. What would recommend they do to get quality help?
49. Where does Mari get the news of upcoming new features on Facebook?
50. When your page has very few likes, how do you increase the reach of your posts?
51. Should a Solopreneur have a separate Facebook page?
52. How can small businesses use Facebook ads to reach people on mobile devices in real time as they are doing searches?
53. Do you have suggestions for a wireless microphone to use with an iPhone or iPad to create better audio for videos?
54. Does Facebook penalize pages for reusing content?
55. Any tips for 360 video on Facebook? Can we do 360 live?
56. Do the pages you like as a page affect your reach when you use live on your page ?
Clearly marketers have a lot of questions about Facebook! These just begin to scratch the surface, and there is certainly a lot of scope to provide more thorough answers.
Let us know what questions you would add to this list.
See our post about using question lists like this to be your customers’ best answer.
Questions about Facebook Live and video content:
- What’s the different between embedded video and Facebook Live video?
- Should you repurpose all live video content to YouTube?
- Do you think Facebook live will ever have the ability to invite people to be on a show, like Blab?
- I run a publisher page and we’re looking to start using Facebook Live – is it better to wait until we can produce a really slick video or should we just jump in?
- What does “created for sound off” mean?
- Are they still rolling out the ability to go LIVE on Facebook profiles? I have an iPhone, but don’t have the live button.
- Will Facebook live replace webinars?
- Should you post prior to going live letting people know you will be doing a live show ?
- How long should videos be on Facebook?
- Our video ads are being abandoned before the video ends resulting in the audience not seeing our website at the end. Therefore our image ads get more web traffic. How do get more web traffic through video ads?
- What is an embedded video? And does it get more shares than video published on Facebook with a link to YouTube?
- Is there a sharing difference between Facebook Live Videos and videos uploaded to Facebook?
- Do you think Ads will be coming to FB live (pre-roll, etc.)
- Do you have any lighting tips for Facebook live broadcasts?
- How do you use Facebook live from your computer, not your phone?
- Would you recommend Wirecast?
- Should I buy Wirecast now or wait for Facebook to evolve into a desktop live option?
Integration with Instagram
- What is the best way to share from Instagram to Facebook?
- How do I link my Instagram to a FB business page? Currently can only post from Instagram to my personal Facebook page?
- Is the best time to post 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. everyday?
- BuzzSumo’s research showed that posts late at night were more likely to get shares, likes, and comments. Did this research look at any specific industries or categories?
- Should I really post late at night or on the weekends?
Types of posts
- Do hashtags hurt you on Facebook?
- Why don’t hashtags perform well on Facebook?
- BuzzSumo found that posts with questions performed better than other types of posts. Did your research include questions set up through the poll feature?
- When posting a link to Facebook, does it make a difference if the actual link is left in or is it better to remove it and just use text?
- How long should my posts be?
- What are instant articles?
- When you pay to boost a Facebook post, does your organic reach drop off, and if so why?
- We are an IT company providing consulting services for a very specific product. Our content is dry and audience is very specific. We are using Facebook ads now, but it’s slow. What is the best way to reach an audience that is very specific?
- Is it best practice to invite people who like your posts to like your page?
- Does using UTM code attached in URL hamper reach?
- What percentage of people access Facebook via a mobile device?
- What social media posting tool do you recommend for small agency with about 25 business clients?
- What mobile animation tools does Mari recommend?
- Do these tools work on Android devices?
- How do you post a GIF on Facebook?
Targeting and Reporting
- Is it useful to target posts? And what about restricting the audience (exclude certain countries, etc.)?
- Where can I find out more about the Facebook tracking pixel?
- How do I convince my boss that the Facebook tracking pixel is important?
Calls to Action
- There are a number of CTA options. I find “Likes” relatively meaningless, but what do you think are the best CTAs to seek?What’s the best way to design CTA’s to increase engagement on Facebook
- What is the best way to design Calls to Action to maximize engagement?
Facebook Page Optimization
- What do the blue or gray checkmarks on pages mean?
- How do you apply for a blue check mark?
- How do you apply for a gray check mark?
- What are the benefits of having a verified page?
- What is a passion page?
- What is the difference between power editor, ads manager and boosting posts?
- In terms of getting help, small businesses often don’t have the budget to hire consultants. What would recommend they do to get quality help?
- Where does Mari get the news of upcoming new features on Facebook?
- When your page has very few likes, how do you increase the reach of your posts?
- Should a Solopreneur have a separate Facebook page?
- How can small businesses use Facebook ads to reach people on mobile devices in real time as they are doing searches?
- Do you have suggestions for a wireless microphone to use with an iPhone or iPad to create better audio for videos?
- Does Facebook penalize pages for reusing content?
- Any tips for 360 video on Facebook? Can we do 360 live?
- Do the pages you like as a page affect your reach when you use live on your page ?