Prue Watson, Social Media Manager at the NSPCC, shares her insights into Facebook’s tips on successful content, gleaned from their presentation at Social Media Week. She also tells us about additional social media tips gained from other sessions. 

I often bad-mouth Facebook. Not something I should do, or admit to, in my line of work. But when you think you’ve nailed the feed, it changes and that can be frustrating. One thing I never moan about though, is Facebook’s session at Social Media Week.

If you don’t read anything else in this blog, take these points away:

  • Not doing short video on social media is not an option
  • And not doing short video in the way people expect to see that content is not an option either

Facebook has three action points for success:

  • Attention needs great creative – you can buy eyeballs, you can’t buy attention
  • Master your short game – take all the craft skills you already know (like copywriting) and add new ones (like framing) to master short video
  • Play more and stretch your ideas across different formats

Why is Facebook hammering this home?

People thumb through 300ft of content on social every day – the length of the Statue of Liberty (say what?!). One second is a lifetime when you’re scrolling. We process thoughts in 0.03 seconds. And we process images even quicker. So when we’re scrolling through our feeds, we quite literally determine if we want to watch something in milliseconds.

Our fall down when making content, is that we (brands) aren’t thinking about where people are, what they’re doing and what kind of content they might want at that moment.

Facebook believes there are 3 ways people consume content. In those moments, they want different things:

  • On the go – when people are busy they aren’t invested as they’re distracted by something else. They need immediate content. This accounts for 70% of their time so should account for 70% of your social content
  • Lean forward – sometimes, even when people are busy, they’ll stop for a bit. So you can give them interactive content. This accounts for 20% of their time
  • Lean back – this is when people are completely invested so they’ll interact with immersive content. This accounts for 10% of their time

So the question to ask yourself is: are you thinking enough about short-form video? In short, here at NSPCC we think about it a lot, but we aren’t doing it enough. It’s  already on our radar and we have lots of plans for this so hearing Facebook talk about it confirmed our thinking.

Buzzfeed and data driven creativity

We all know Buzzfeed creates a tonne of content – 600 pieces a week in fact. They don’t just send content out and start on the next thing. They watch and examine everything when it’s let loose on social. They interrogate the data and reasoning behind what’s happening. Shares are important to Buzzfeed. If someone shares a video, why? Who did they share it with and have those people shared it? They then use all this insight to create their next piece of content. It’s a classic test and learn approach – not a new concept. Buzzfeed just does it very, very well.

Buzzfeed believes the audience is the authority. If they don’t like something, don’t keep doing it. But brands ignore that. They believe advertisers are still shouting. And social isn’t that space.

Buzzfeed overcomes this by targeting the individual with things that they’ll be interested in – or that someone they know will be interested in. Give the individual and their inner circle content they want and they’ll do the hard work for you. It’s the most powerful way to get your message out there.

This has been disruptive. And other brands are slow to understand why it works. But the data doesn’t lie. They have 9 billion monthly content views.

Creating social gold

Dave and Dave from That Lot shared their top tips to help us create social gold.


  • 500 million people watch videos in the platform every day – videos are key
  • Landscape video is old hat
  • Design for sound off and delight with sound on
  • Humour is great, but emotion is better


  • 250 million people use Instagram Stories every day – use them and have fun
  • Video is where it’s at. But design for Instagram, don’t just reuse existing videos
  • Play with albums – they can be really immersive

Twitter ?

  • Twitter’s user base has grown 11% in the last 18 months – That Lot are convinced it’s worth investing in
  • Get topical – but be careful not to offend
  • Keep copy short – tweets under 100 characters get more engagement
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously all the time – have fun!