Before we get started, allow me to insert a quick disclaimer: I am in no way, shape or form condoning using Facebook on company time (however, reading this post is totally legit and you shouldn’t feel guilty reading it at work). Sure, there are jobs out there that require you to be on Facebook at some point throughout the day, but outside of those, you really should try and focus on your work and save the scrolling your personal time (your boss didn’t pay me to say that, I promise).
I recently got a “reminder” on my Facebook that told me I created my account nine years ago, which truly accomplished nothing outside of reminding me how long I’ve spent scrolling through the infinite wall of content that seems to exist. I started to wonder, have I wasted this time like I normally, allowing my mind to drift off into nothingness, or has Facebook actually taught me something that I may be able to use in my career?
It should come as no shock that as of January 2015, Facebook reported the number of videos in a person’s feed has grown by 360% in the past year. Sure enough, I proved this mathematical statistic in one of the most legitimate ways I know how: I opened Facebook and scrolled for about a minute and a half before I found a pure text post that contained no images or video. Seems like a 360% increase to me.
I’ll admit, once I started writing this post I was moderately surprised at the number of things I’ve learned from using Facebook, and surprisingly, knowing the names of famous Internet cats isn’t one (not that I’d list, anyway). Here are 10 things (and their benefits) marketers and filmmakers have more than likely learned from being on Facebook:
1. When interviewing for a job in marketing/communications, interviewers will instantly LOVE you. Having knowledge of what’s going on in the world is a tough skill to quantify. Your ability to stay up-to-date with news, events and brand activations is something employers love to see and could give you a small edge in the long run.
2. You’re a video sponge. Somewhat related to the point above, having a wide knowledge of which brands are activating on Facebook means you literally know everything. You know what works, what doesn’t, and who’s content took the Internet by storm in the last six months.
3. You know what consumers like and have an understanding of how brands are interacting with their audiences. One video got 2 million views, another got 200,000 – why? One told a story, had great production value, and properly targeted its audience. Another posted a video stalemate and most viewers didn’t make it past three seconds. Most importantly, you understand what catches viewer attention more than someone who doesn’t spend time on Facebook.
4. You understand virality and what components must exist. There isn’t exactly a formula in place for virality, but you know the tear-jerkers and stupid-funny videos are almost guaranteed to perform better than a branded video that does nothing except try to shove product information down a viewer’s throat. Perhaps your most valuable asset: you’re able to determine different types of video, what they’re used for, what components they must have to be successful, and which style performs best with each audience.
5. You become more valuable to your clients because of your knowledge of social media strategy. While beneficial from the standpoint of both a marketer and a filmmaker, you’ve seen tons of social media campaigns executed and you know the best ways to achieve maximum engagement. A lot of the time, this skill comes in handy when determining whether or not a viewer will actually engage or not. Will they use a hashtag? Will they share it with a friend? Based on the actual campaign, you’re bound to have a rationale which clearly outlines why it will or will not work, all because you’ve seen it all before on Facebook.
6. Competitive edge – you know who all the big players are and you know what they’ve done recently to gain an edge over their competition. As a video production agency, we spend a great deal of time getting to know our clients to make sure we understand their needs better than anyone, and having a surplus of knowledge about a brand beforehand can not only help us land the project, but also execute well, all because we spent that extra few minutes watching their last video on Facebook.
7. You understand not all video content has to have a high production value in order to be successful. Some of the hardest hitting videos on Facebook have little to no production budget. As a filmmaker and a marketer, you understand that not every brand has the ability to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a production, and you know how to minimize costs and focus more more on storytelling and strategy than visuals and after affects.
8. You’re familiar with new video formats and can execute them with ease. Just last week, we discussed the expansion of audioless video, and how many brands have begun to use them more on scroll-based social media platforms. Knowing what new formats exist and how to create them gives you a big leg up as a marketer or a filmmaker.
9. You know how to tell a story with a brand’s messaging. You’ve seen how it works. X brand wants to sell y product, and traditional advertisements are constantly being looked over. You didn’t even necessarily go to school for it but you recognize brands are changing the way they market products and are using more storytelling in their messaging than ever before. Why? It makes the content feel more personal and allow for a deeper connection with the viewer.
10. Shifting trends and optimization for mobile content. Filmmakers often get the chance to try out new things before businesspeople even get the chance to implement them. 360-degree video and virtual reality are both prime examples of technology that filmmakers have been experimenting with to be ready to use when businesses are ready for it. Sometimes, hiring a filmmaker, or a video production agency to help determine the best course of action for your video project is the way to producing the most engaging video possible for your next campaign.
Chances are, you may have already known some of this, but may not have been able to attribute how or why you know it, you just do. Many years ago, the only way to learn something was to read a book or go to school, but times have changed. I’m not saying people should abandon their educational or career aspirations and sit on Facebook all day to learn things, but I am saying that the social media world can sometimes benefit us in ways that we might’ve never thought of to help make us smarter marketers and better filmmakers.