How to create a slideshow video for Facebook and Instagram
Facebook is serious about getting you to use more video in your posts, and here’s how you can easily create a slideshow that turns into a pleasing, short MP4 video for use on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and elsewhere in your social media marketing.
If you run a Facebook Page, you’re being prompted right now to “share a video” when you visit your page. Over the past week, I’ve been wondering how best to run a Facebook ad campaign for our customer, the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction, and I was interested to see that the “create an ad” tools are the very same as the “share a video”. Here’s how I created a good-looking 24 second video that’s done quite well for the Walter Scott Prize this week to support the Prize team’s announcement of the shortlist of the six best historical fiction books of 2017:
Have the “slides” of your slideshow ready to go
You’re going to need your slides ready and waiting: professional photography is best, since you’re going to try to make an impact with your slideshow. I was dealing with book covers designed by some of the leading designers in the publishing industry, and they were ready to go in a folder before I created the slideshow.
Next you’re going to be given a choice: do you want the format and dimension of a slideshow to be dictated by the first picture you add? Or, do you want to specify, say, a square format, or 2:3? My particular challenge was my desire to share the final slideshow not just on Facebook, but also on Instagram, which really prefers square visuals, although you can get away with a mild rectangle. Book covers are notoriously rectangular, so this presented difficulties. Also, when I uploaded skinniest, tallest book covers first, I ended up with problems like this: sections of our fatter images cut off >>
The hard lesson I learned here is this: if possible make sure every image you want to upload is of a similar dimension, or if it’s not, make sure you’re alright with certain portions of the image being cut off. This is difficult when dealing with book covers, where I didn’t want to cut off any of it. I had to go into Photoshop and extend some of our fatter images with black bars, for use in the Facebook slideshow.
Customise image duration and transitions, and choose music
I opted for “fade” between the slides, and to show each book cover for 3 seconds. The tab up top also lets you select free-to-use music: I chose “Homecoming,” which is pleasantly nostalgic, perfect for a historical fiction book prize>>
Click “create slideshow” and add a caption
You will be prompted to “say something about this video”. It’s best to keep your description as concise as possible. And – this is important – in the lower right-hand corner, don’t click “publish”, but “save draft” so you can view your video and make sure you’re happy with it >>
Be patient, then. It’ll take a while for Facebook to create your video – anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes depending on its length and complexity. When it’s ready for you to look at, you’ll be prompted to do more, including adding tags and thinking up a title for the video. You can also edit the description here, and add a hashtag if you like – I added the #walterscottprize hashtag and a trackable bit.ly link, which led through to the Walter Scott Prize website announcement of the shortlist. You can also choose “schedule publication” to control the exact time and date of the release of your post. I did this to coordinate with the embargoed press release that had gone out to the book media >>
Download your video for use elsewhere
From your video manager, you’ll notice that you can download the video – you will receive an MP4 file. In the end, I actually ended up using the Facebook tools to create a second, custom slideshow for use on Instagram that had a more squarish aspect ratio. To create our squarish video for Instagram, in Photoshop I made square-shaped crops of each book cover, then uploaded those. This approach meant I had control over which elements of the cover would be visible, and which would be sacrificed. But I prefer the final Facebook video, which shows the shortlisted books with their full covers, in this pleasing package:
So that’s it: without any video inventory, we created a 24-second video using professional photography, which we have used across both Instagram and Facebook. Another useful technique was tagging influencers in a comment that we put on the video after was published, rather than in the video description itself (our influencers include publishers, for example). This means that the video itself is a streamlined piece of content, with minimal text attached, which lends itself better to being shared by other Facebook users. Now that the post is gaining traction, we can put some ad budget behind it for the Walter Scott Prize to increase the reach of this already-popular video even further.
Do you have tips on creating video content for your social media marketing? Let us know in the comments below.
Sheila Averbuch is the managing director of the content services agency ENNclick, with offices in Edinburgh, Scotland and Cork, Ireland. Do you need help creating content for your social media marketing? Call Sheila at +441875341583 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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