12 min read
The days of being camera shy are over.
Videos are everywhere. You can’t scroll through your social media feeds or browse search results without seeing a collection of videos. It’s also the highest driver of online engagement, which isn’t surprising since 55% of people watch videos every day.
While podcasts and blog posts aren’t obsolete, it’s a good time to start paying attention to video and how it could fit in your marketing strategy. Do you need some more convincing?
One hundred million hours of video are consumed on Facebook EVERY DAY. It’s a number so big, it almost sounds made up, but it isn’t. And Facebook is just one of many social media platforms people use to watch videos, not to mention YouTube where people watch five times as many hours a day.
We’ve seen more bloggers shift from all-text content to creating more videos to accompany their blog posts with no end in sight. We know we can’t ignore the power of video, but how do we know where to publish them?
Before choosing a video platform that suits your needs, we recommend taking a step back to answer some foundational questions. These prompts will help you get at the heart of why you’re focusing on video marketing and what it will look like as a part of your content creation process.
Before you create any videos, it’s important to nail down the purpose of your video marketing. Without this, you could spend time experimenting with a video platform that won’t help you reach your goals.
You can use videos to educate your audience about an important topic, highlight your services or product when launching something, or interview others in your field to create insightful discussions.
You can also use videos for creating product demos, giving step-by-step tutorials, or reviewing branded products. The possibilities with videos are endless so choose a video content type that fits your goals.
Are your ideal customers more likely to watch a video if it’s pre-recorded so they can watch it whenever they have free time? Would they rather watch a live video so they can interact with others who are watching? The preferences of your audience should dictate the video platform you choose and its format.
You don’t have to be a full-time vlogger to be successful with videos. Chances are videos will only be one part of your larger marketing strategy. While you don’t have to spend your whole day making videos, it’s important to understand how much time you have available in your schedule to consistently create video content.
This is where creating videos in batches can really help. If you find you only have four hours every month to devote to videos, you can use one hour to outline your topics and the next three hours to film a few videos.
No matter what your current schedule looks like, there’s most likely an opportunity to fit video into it. You may have to shift some things around in making video a priority, but it’s great for long-term SEO success so you’ll reap the benefits long after you’ve published the videos.
Luckily, you can get started with video with little to no budget. While video production is important, some of the most popular video creators and YouTubers started with basic tools and still created high quality, entertaining content.
When you are ready to invest in videos, start by purchasing a good camera, a high-quality microphone, headphones, and proper lighting to help your videos to stand out in a good way.
When creating pre-recorded videos, choosing a video platform to host them on is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. We’ve created a comparison chart below to help you choose wisely.
As the most popular video platform, YouTube has over 1.5 billion active users every month. Some entrepreneurs have even used YouTube to create their own full-time vlogger career.
Since YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google, the potential SEO value of optimized videos makes this video platform extremely attractive.
Free hosting for video creators and for viewers to watch
If you’re looking for a more professional look to your video platform, Vimeo could be a great fit. While there are limits to how much video you can upload, it’s a contender because of its powerful analytics, customization, and community.
Starts at $7/month for a Plus account with 5 GB/week
Specifically built for business owners, Wistia has become a popular choice among online entrepreneurs and content creators. While this video platform is costly, it’s one of the most powerful options on the market.
Free account for up to 3 videos, $99/month for 10 videos
Also created with businesses in mind, Brightcove is one of the leading video platform hosts since it is the top choice of many Fortune 500 companies. Its servers run at lightning speed (okay, maybe not that fast, but pretty quick) and it has advanced live-streaming capabilities.
Must contact sales team after 30-day free trial
You didn’t think we would leave out social media platforms, did you? While the video platforms above are great for longer live video events and studio quality pre-recorded videos, social media allows you to connect with your audience in a more casual way.
With the rise in videos recorded with a selfie phone camera or a simple point-and-shoot, social media has made video creation accessible for all. And the expected production value of videos on social media is much lower, making it a great fit for beginners.
To get started with filming and publishing videos on social media, here’s a deeper look into the most popular platforms.
Within Facebook groups or Facebook Business pages, you can upload pre-recorded videos at any time for optimal shareability. If you want a more low-key yet still influential way to connect with your audience, Facebook Live can help.
Through Facebook Live, you can hop on and talk to your followers live in a matter of seconds. You can also create a custom video description and drop a link, create a call-to-action, or give more information about what you’re talking about in the live stream.
Since so many people are already active on Facebook, it makes for a great social media video platform. Experiment with video and keep an eye on your Facebook analytics to see how it performs.
Like Facebook Live, Instagram Live is a great way to engage your Instagram followers within the platform. Since Instagram users are more interested in staying in the platform to get value than clicking outside links, Instagram Live has become a great complement to your Instagram feed.
When Instagram Live was first launched, the video disappeared as soon as the live stream ended. Since many users didn’t like this feature, Instagram Live was updated so that live stream videos are available for 24 hours. It’s still in its infancy, but Instagram Live will continue to grow with new features and updates.
I haven’t done much with Instagram Live, but I’ve become obsessed with Instagram Stories. They quickly became one of my top lead drivers for my copywriting business this year. I know, it surprised me too! Who knew that 10-second video clips could make such a big impact?
Three of my favorite clients told me that my Instagram Stories were the determining factor behind why they hired me. They felt like they already knew me after watching the short video clips in my Stories, which made contacting me about working together that much easier.
So what was I sharing? Trust me, it was nothing crazy or ultra-strategic. I simply started by posting videos that shared more of my day-to-day life as a solo entrepreneur. I also used it as a platform to start important conversations with others about what it was like to run a business your own way. To my surprise, other people enjoyed it too.
Instagram Live and Instagram Stories are great places for innovative ideas, so start brainstorming how you can use these social media video platforms for your business.
Periscope was around before Facebook Live and Instagram Live, making it one of the trailblazers of live video. I was an early adopter of Periscope and while I don’t use the platform as much now, I learned a lot about building a community through video because of it.
Periscope is a Twitter product so when you go live, you have the option to share the link with your Twitter followers and invite your viewers to do the same. You can follow other live streamers and get notifications on your phone when they go live.
When Periscope launched, all videos would disappear after 24 hours, much like Instagram Live. Now you can put “#save” in the title of your broadcast so it is available to view on your profile forever. You can also auto-download your live broadcasts to your phone for later repurposing or posting.
Periscope has a fairly niche audience since its sole function is live streaming, unlike Instagram and Facebook that are used for other purposes. It might be worth experimenting with depending on where your audience lives.
When you mention Snapchat in public, you’re bound to get a wide array of opinions and reactions. What was once used for its disappearing-photo feature has now transformed into a video consumption hotspot. So is this social media video platform right for your business?
Sixty percent of Snapchat users are under 25 years old, making it a no-brainer for brands who want to engage with younger audiences. Snapchatters also watch more than 10 billion videos every day. It’s most well-known for its Stories feature, which was available before Instagram Stories, and hilarious photo filters.
If your business caters to younger audiences and has a fun, snarky tone, Snapchat could be a good fit. If not, Instagram Stories or similar platforms may be a better option.
Ready to choose the right video platforms for your business? Take some time and answer those questions from the beginning of the article.
Once you know the answer to those four questions, you’ll be much more prepared to decide where you want to host your videos.