It’s 2017. Snapchat is on the rise. Artificial intelligence is pointing to a brave new world. And mobile devices are forging on-the-go consumerism.
But the classics are not to be overlooked—such as Facebook, which deserves credit for constantly innovating and reinventing itself to some degree.
Among the social media giant’s most recent innovations is the 360-degree photos and videos.
As is typical in the realm of social media, what was once shiny, exciting, and new quickly becomes dull, ordinary, and passé. But the rising trend of Facebook 360 is proving to be a highly useful tool for search marketers. It is also becoming pivotal for digital marketing, as consumers demand a more immersive experience.
Standard video clips are unpredictably ineffective sometimes, single photos are easy to miss on crowded feeds, and photo galleries are so 2016. With Facebook 360, businesses and digital marketers can now share their most engaging and interactive content, in a way that brings potential customers inside their world.
What is Facebook 360?
The 360 feature is exactly what it sounds like: a panoramic image or video that users can follow around by panning their phone. It allows users to experience a full 360-degree view of any scene by moving their phone or navigating their finger or cursor on the image.
Facebook 360 works, in its simplest form, by using the panoramic mode on your camera and uploading it using the Facebook app. The app will automatically convert the shot into a 360 photo, and you will see the globe icon on the lower right of the screen. This is just a long photo, however, not a real spherical shot like this one:
Here you can scroll up, down and completely around. The image was taken using certain apps to capture a photo sphere, such as Street View, Google Camera, Theta S., and Cardboard Camera, or by using special 360 camera equipment. The special camera equipment uses two wide-angle lenses on either side of the camera. You may also want to consider Samsung Gear 360 to get the perfect photo.
Or, you can do it manually using PTgui, and combine photos to create a panorama.
The Power of Facebook 360 for Better Search Marketing
Search marketing is all about capturing the attention of consumers, and Facebook 360 can help businesses do just that. As we move from to television to the digital space, capturing the audience’s attention has become more difficult than ever before. Immersion has become the biggest keyword for marketing in the digital age.
Facebook 360 is a powerful marketing tool because it provides behind-the-scenes and cinematic experiences, putting your prospective customers in the center of the action.
Last year, Google conducted an experiment to find out if spherical videos drive more viewer engagement than the standard format. They created two similar campaigns using TrueView; each 60-second ad is about Columbia Sportswear, with one version presented in 360 and the other presented in a standard format. The video with a spherical view had a lower retention rate—but it also had a higher CTR or click-through rate. That means viewers are more interested in viewing the video in full. The 360 video drove 41% more earned actions than the standard ad, as well.
The Limitless Possibilities of Facebook 360
Imagine all the digital marketing and content marketing possibilities this feature can bring.
Businesses in the real estate industry can especially benefit from the feature. You can show off the entirety of a unit or house. Facebook 360 also applies to the music and entertainment industries; a social media manager, for instance, could post a band playing on stage, with the lead singer crowd-surfing. This increases excitement and creates FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) if fans don’t buy tickets to the next tour.
Similarly, Facebook 360 could be used at fashion shows to show off the runway and what it feels like to be there. It’s a fun way to showcase your company culture in networking events and conferences as well, and it also humanizes your brand.
In addition, product demonstration is a great application of Facebook 360.
Nescafe, for instance, is one of the first brands to use this innovative technology. In the video, the brand shows users the first step of the production process. They show not only the freshness and organic way of gathering their beans, but also produce great branding while generating new leads.
Facebook 360 is also a more affordable alternative to producing video content. For instance, an interior design company could go for a 360-degree photo experience to showcase a project, compared to a video with a larger production price tag.
Facebook 360 is simply a cost-effective and simple way to do marketing; it doesn’t get in the users’ face, but invites each of them to discover what they’re missing.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm
In the chart below, you can see the growth of 360 content. It displays the increase in mentions of the “360” by brands on Facebook.
While this might not specifically mean Facebook 360 photos and videos, we can see a rising trend.
And, as with most digital marketing trends, especially one that involves social media, the early adopters get the worm. Currently most businesses and users don’t know how 360-degree media works. Implementing this as soon as possible means faster engagement with your social media audience; plus, you learn to take advantage of this type of media before the competition even learns what it is.
Leveraging Facebook 360 for Search Marketing
- Show off your product range.
If you recently opened a store, use Facebook 360 to take followers on a tour, and create interest and engagement around your brand.
- Enhance video blogging.
Zach King, an Internet celebrity, quickly became famous by creating micro-videos of him doing magic tricks. Now, he’s also creating videos that viewers can see in all angles. Now not only does he continue to wow his audience, but Facebook 360 lets viewers be part of the action, too.
If your brand uses video blogging, perhaps you can improve your content—and consequently your views and engagement—with Facebook 360.
- Let fans and followers share their own content.
Doing so will build a unique brand library, which is especially useful if you’re having a hard time coming up with your own ideas. Create a unique campaign hashtag, and let followers use it when posting their 360 photos and videos on Facebook. This will increase user engagement, which means a greater follower count and consequently higher leads and conversions.
- Upload 360 videos directly on Facebook.
YouTube, Google’s streaming video service, also supports videos that let you look in any direction. Uploading your 360 videos in the platform then sharing it to Facebook can get you views, but it’s better to upload the content directly on Facebook.
According to a study, videos directly uploaded on Facebook perform up to four times better than all other video formats.
- Embed 360 videos where you see fit.
Embed your Facebook 360 content into an on-page blog or anywhere else online, as mixing the traditional and modern form of content is an excellent way to produce more touch points with your potential customers.
Fortunately, Facebook makes embedding easy; just click the button at the upper right-hand corner of your post, copy, and paste.
- Focus on storytelling.
The visuals are important, yes, but it’s important to focus on storytelling, too. People love stories. Good storytelling is what drives views of blockbuster TV shows, movies, and viral videos. But of course, the video should not be too long; make sure it’s simple and attention-grabbing even if it’s only a few minutes long.
- Shoot live 360 videos.
Last year, Facebook granted access to live video broadcasts to all its users. As part of the experiment, the social media giant collaborated with National Geographic to provide live 360 videos. The latter took viewers to the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, where they listened and watched a discussion with researchers. It also allowed viewers to explore the unique, Mars-like Utah terrain in real time.
You can use this feature as well for increased reach. Plus, live videos get a boost in Facebook’s algorithm:
- Don’t forget the call-to-action.
One of the most useful features of Facebook is the ability to add a call-to-action in your post, so add one when posting 360 content. Getting your viewers to do something is the main purpose of your content marketing plan after all.
Adding a CTA is simple; in fact, an “Add a Call to Action” option will already appear when you upload a video.
Technological innovations in the social media sphere tend to move at a lightyear a minute. Wake up one day and suddenly, it’s Instagram Stories. The next day it’s Snapchat. Right now, it’s Facebook 360 content—and it seems the trend is not going away anytime soon.
Use Facebook 360 to your advantage. C1 Partners, one of the leading experts in social media marketing, will help you implement a smart Facebook 360 campaign. We produce content in all forms, and we make sure these provide real value to your brand.
Call us, today.