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Ask the Beard - How To Add Subtitles To Your Facebook Videos

According to Facebook's Q4 2015 report, they reported the 90% of their daily users use Facebook on mobile devices. Facebook also continues to report an ever increasing number of users who watch videos on their platform as well as an increase in advertising revenue driven from businesses making use of video and video advertising on the platform.

Over the last few months, as I interacted and spoke with our clients and also spoke to users putting Facebook to work on their mobiles I noticed that many people were watched video without sound. But without an engaging establishing first few shots, videos were often skipped within a matter of seconds.

So how can we tackle this loss in engagement?

However, I also noticed that many users watched videos without sound because of one thing - subtitles. In fact, as I spoke to clients to gauge their thoughts many spoke about their own viewing habits, they noted that they too watched videos because of subtitles. For many, subtitles would give them a flavour of the video, gauging their interest before they took the action to click on the video and get sound as well.

And so for the last few months I have been making a conscious effort to subtitle my videos, both on YouTube, but also Facebook. 

Now, I am not going to lie. Key to most of my company video-productions like Ask the Beard and Behind the Beard is to shoot, edit and deliver as quickly as possible. Yes, it needs to be professional content - it is a reflection of my business, but whilst delivering this video is something which benefits the company, it does not directly benefit my clients. In fact, delivering these videos often takes me away from client work. And so adding completing subtitles to the list of;- planning, shooting, editing and delivery, along with building a custom thumbnail for each video means that I am looking for the most effective method to do so.

And I believe that I have found a work-around that can work for anyone - whether you have video editing software or not. So let's talk about that!

So the first step is that we are going to utilise YouTube. Longer term followers of this blog will be aware that I am a firm believer that your video content should be spread across all platforms - after all you've invested time and money in your production - why not put it to as much use as possible?. And so I'd normally upload a video to Facebook and YouTube, potentially even Instagram... but by posting this to YouTube first means we can use one of their existing services.

And that service is their auto-generation for subtitles. This auto-generation will save you a lot of time - you don't have to type out/transcribe a lot of the video;- you become a corrector, saving you a lot of time.

The video above shows you the step by steps, but in case you would prefer to read instead of watch, just follow these instructions.

  • Log into your YouTube account and upload a video
  • Once uploaded, make sure you publish the video
  • Then head into your 'Creator Studio'
  • And open the Video Manager
  • Edit the video you've just uploaded, or want to add subtitles to.
  • Click the 'Subtitles and CC' tab
  • You may have to wait for the subtitles to be generated if this is a new upload, but you're waiting to see the green light under the Published section.
  • Once you have that, click the English (or other langauge) selection
  • Then click unpublish - this allows you to edit the text.
  • From here you'll be able to edit the text - both in what's said and when it is said.
  • If there is a mistake in the spelling or wording - just correct it on the left side
  • And if there is a mistake in the timing, use the slider bars at the bottom to adjust the in and out points. It's a pretty simple system to get the hang of.
  • When you are complete, just click 'Actions' again and publish.
  • Then click 'Actions' again and select '.SRT" under the download section, save this file to your computer.
  • Then head over to Facebook.
  • From here you can start to upload your video.
  • Whilst this is happening, find your subtitle file (.srt) that you saved earlier.
  • You'll need to rename the file to exactly match the filename as to what you named your video  that is currently uploading to Facebook. The file name should read 'filename.en_US.srt' - you need to add ".en_US.srt" to the end of your captions file.
  • Click the captions tab on the video uploading box
  • Then click the "upload srt file" button and find your captions file on your computer
  • Then select the language as English.

And that's it; - you're done! Your video will now play captions automatically when a user doesnt have sound, or when they selection captions.


The truth is that this process isn't that hard - but it does add some time into your process of putting a video out onto Facebook especially if you have a long video or have a lot of corrections to make. But what you loose in time, you gain in viewer engagement - people are more likely to stop, watch and engage with your video. Sound is no longer a limiting factor!

If you are producing videos for your own business and you use them on Facebook, my suggestion would be to try and caption as many videos as possible - it's a great way to increase your viewership and engagement.

As always, I hope this post and video have been useful, if you have any comments on what we've discussed - feel free to add them in the comments section, and as ever if you're interested in video and how it can help you and your business, please feel free to get in touch- we're always happy to talk about video!

Until next time!

Beard Out!