About Derek Duncan

Derek Duncan is the Senior Digital Communications Specialist at Parkway Schools in Saint Louis, MO. He is a member of the Missouri and National School PR Associations. Derek is an award-winning videographer whose videos have been seen by millions of people worldwide and an NSPRA 35-Under-35 recipient.

Next-level video analytics

During the summer months filled with strategic planning, professional development and hopefully a little vacation time, it’s a great opportunity to step back and review your year.

Facebook offers tremendous depth on video analytics. Traditionally, we have always looked at reach (total number of unique people who have seen your post) and engagement (number of times someone reacted, commented or shared your post). On video posts, there is so much more available to you that might be worth looking at.

For example, look at one of our recent videos. This video was a little long at 3:32. One stat available to you is audience retention. This shows how long. your audience watched the video.

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It gets better. If you click the circle at the bottom, the graph changed to show you average watch time of people who clicked to play vs. letting it auto-play.

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Another metric worth looking at is the 10-second views. Facebook counts a video view when the viewer has seen a video for at least three seconds. Historically that’s all we’ve cared about. But 10-second viewer numbers are probably more accurate into figuring out how many people truly viewed your video.

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You also see the sound-on vs. sound-off numbers. You might have heard recently that around 80 percent of all Facebook videos are viewed with the sound off, which is another reason why it’s necessary to include captions in your videos. However, in our example video, 47 percent of viewers turned the sound on.

These are just a few of the next-level video metrics Facebook provides for you. I’d recommend looking at these numbers as a way to measure how you’re doing. Shameless plug: we’ll talk more about video analytics at my DIY Video 2.0 session at the NSPRA seminar in San Antonio next month.

Hope to see you there.

How to add captions to your Facebook videos

Last week’s blog post talked about the benefits and importance of captioning your videos on social media. This week, I’m going to show you how simple it is to implement in your Facebook videos.

Facebook recently rolled out the ability to automatically caption your videos, so it makes the process very simple.

Step 1: Upload your video, and after uploading and publishing, click ‘Generate’ under the Captions tab.

Facebook will automatically caption your video. It’s pretty great but there will likely be a few edits you’ll need to make as it’s not perfect.

Step 2: To edit the captions, click ‘Edit Captions.’ and you will see the ‘Review Captions’ screen.

Step 3: The review page shows the video on the left and captions on the right. You can see the timings as well as a play button to the right of each caption when you hover over. To edit, click in the text field and make your corrections.

Step 4: Click ‘Save to Video’ and then ‘Publish’. This will save your video with captions and publish your post (or schedule if you choose to schedule your post instead).

Here’s what the final video looks like:


You can also upload your own .SRT file if you choose. The great thing about using Facebook’s automatic caption tool is that not only will your videos be accessible to those who cannot hear or choose not to turn on the sound, but the captions will display in the language each Facebook user has set as their preferred language!

Learn more on how to caption and add text to your videos at my DIY Video 2.0 session at the NSPRA Seminar this July!

Engaging with students on snow days

It’s an issue for many districts across the country. As we previously have read and debated, a school district employee was fired partly due to how they responded to a student’s tweet about snow days. So do you engage and how do you engage with students on Twitter?

Prior to 2016, we had students talking to us at Parkway about snow days online, but we never really engaged in the conversation. That changed last year, and we saw massive gains in the number of impressions (327,400 vs. 113,400), engagement rate (5.4 percent vs. 3 percent) and followers (750 new followers) on our Twitter account during just a few weeks in the winter. But these aren’t just numbers for numbers sake. These are our kids. They matter to us.

We realized that there’s an opportunity — to listen and to talk. If your students are talking to you, do you ignore comments? Or do you engage with them while using the moment as a digital citizenship teaching experience? If students know that you’re actively listening to them and respond in a relatable way, that builds trust. Perhaps nothing is more important in our profession than building trust, especially with kids.

As we plan for winter communications, we face an opportunity during these moments to engage our student audience. We have a snow-day communications plan that includes:

  • Replying to student tweets in a fun and engaging way that they would respond to.
  • Getting ahead of the “Twitter storm” by tweeting out closings and cancellations on Twitter BEFORE announcing them via phone call, text or other methods.
  • Using anything that goes what we consider too far as an opportunity to teach kids about digital citizenship.

The opportunity is staring right at us. Students want to know we care and that we are here for them. There’s no better time to do that than meeting them where they’re already living every day.


Using video to optimize your Facebook reach

Video is king of social media. I know it, you know it, we all know it. Even amidst the constant fluctuation of Facebook algorithm changes, video remains a huge part of Facebook. The average video post on our Parkway Schools Facebook page reaches four times more people on average than a post with a photo and eight times more on average than a post containing a link.

Rather than try to beat the game, just make awesome stuff! Post as much video content as you can. If you don’t think you can do it because you lack the equipment or expertise, consider this: the majority of content can be done with a tool you carry with you every day – your phone. Some of my favorite apps to edit video on my phone are iMovie and GoPro’s Splice. If you have an Android phone, Videoshop is a terrific tool.

Here are some tips on what type of content works best:

Interviewing kids:
Seems obvious right? But anytime you put a camera in front of a few students and ask a simple question, they often say some of the most funny, smart and genuine things you could imagine.

Spin on what’s hot:
Seen the #MannequinChallenge? Maybe the Tasty videos? Keep updated on the latest trends and create something similar that ties in to your district in a unique way.

Kindness counts:
Feel-good, emotional stories usually do very well on social media. Did students open up a food pantry, donate time or have a special friendship? Those stories tug heartstrings.

Have fun! We have terrific kids among us who do amazing things every day. Hollywood studios would love to have what we have. Go capture those moments!