When it comes to video marketing, social media has leveled the playing field for small business owners. You don’t need to be an expert videographer with costly equipment to create social media videos to market your business.

social media videos

Video marketing can also provide a major return on your investment. A recent survey found that 87% of marketers saw an increase in traffic from video marketing, and 86% said video has helped them generate leads.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to create social media videos and market your small business online.

1. Know your video marketing goals.

Before you can start thinking about the ROI on your video marketing efforts, you need to define your goals. Here are some examples of common marketing objectives for social media video content.

Views. Tracking views can be an easy way to see how well your videos perform. However, the definition of a “view” varies across different social platforms based on how long people spend watching a video.

Facebook, for example, counts a view lasting three seconds or more. This means your view count might include someone who scrolls slowly through their feed but doesn’t watch your entire video.

Engagement. You can also measure the success of a video by its engagement level. While people often think of engagement as likes, comments and shares, there are a lot of other metrics you can track, such as saves, mentions and direct messages.

social media video

Your engagement rate depends on the metrics you choose and how you define your audience. To cut down on the math involved, you can use a free engagement rate calculator, such as this one from Hootsuite.

Click-through rate. This is another common video marketing goal. Click-through rates measure the number of viewers who click on a link from your video post to your website. A tool like Google Analytics lets you see where traffic to your site is coming from. If you’re not already using Google Analytics, it’s easy to set up.

From Google Analytics, you can see the sources of your traffic. For example, you can see how many visitors clicked through from a search engine results page or a social media post.

You can further fine-tune your tracking by adding UTM parameters to the links on your video posts. A UTM is a piece of code you add to the end of a URL in order to track the performance of that specific link.

Not a coder? Not to worry. Google’s handy Campaign URL Builder can help you easily generate URLs with UTM parameters.

Brand awareness. Video marketing can be a great way to increase awareness of your brand. This is a broad metric, but you can get a feel for brand awareness growth by looking at a wide range of other metrics, including those mentioned above.

You can also use a social listening tool to start seeing what people are saying about your brand. These tools let you monitor the social media conversations happening about your brand—and you can see conversations about your competitors, too. Some popular social media listening tools include Google Alerts, Mention and Hootsuite.

2. Brainstorm video content ideas.

video creator

To use videos successfully on social media, you need to post consistently.

Need some inspiration for your brainstorming session? Here are some considerations to help spark your creativity.

Consider different types of video content. There’s an incredible variety of video content online these days. Popular formats include:

  • Explainers. You can use explainer videos to show your audience how your products or services work.
  • How-tos. A how-to video is a tutorial showing people how to do or make something; ideally, this involves your product or services.
  • Events. Filming your events can provide a treasure trove of clips to turn into social media videos.
  • Reviews and testimonials. While reviews are best when they come directly from customers, you can also make your own videos featuring reviews or testimonials you’ve received.
  • Behind the scenes. Also known as “a day in the life,” this type of video helps build a sense of connection by showing the human side of your brand.
  • Q&As. Whether you’re conducting an interview or answering customers’ questions, a Q&A video can go directly to the heart of your customers’ needs.

Look back at your top-performing content. Look through the content you’ve already produced and published, whether it’s company blog posts or social media posts, to see what has performed well. This will give you a good idea of the topics that resonate with your audience.

See what people are sharing. What kind of content in your industry gets the most buzz on social media? You can use a tool like Buzzsumo to check out what people share most. This could inspire new video ideas for your own business.

Review customer feedback. Use customer feedback from online reviews, customer support emails and customer surveys to see what solutions your customers need. Create videos that demonstrate how your business meets these needs.

3. Get the essential equipment.

Chances are you already have access to a good camera for filming your videos, even if you don’t have a professional DSLR camera. Today’s smartphones come with cameras that provide quality video recording capabilities.

But you’ll need more than a good camera to create a good video. Fortunately, the list of essential equipment is short, and most items are relatively affordable.

Microphone. Poor audio can ruin a video, but a good microphone doesn’t have to put a dent in your budget. Whether you opt for a clip-on lavalier microphone, a USB microphone or a shotgun microphone that attaches to the top of your camera or phone, you can find a microphone that’s a fit for your budget.

Lighting. This can make or break the quality of a video. While natural light is always a great (and free) option, you can also put together a video lighting kit for less than $150.

Tripod. Whether you’re using your phone or a DSLR, a tripod will prevent you from shooting shaky footage. Unless you’re aiming for “The Blair Witch Project” effect, you want a stable video.

4. Script your video.

make videos

Taking the time to write out a video script can help ensure your recording sessions go smoothly.

Creating a video script may seem daunting if you’ve never written one before. Here are some tips to help you through the process.

Find a hook. Capture your audience’s attention by starting your video with an attention-grabbing shot or an engaging headline. A headline-style hook can be particularly effective when used in conjunction with a text overlay—more on that below.

Lead with your best. A hook grabs the user’s attention, but now you need to keep their attention. Whether you’re telling a story or providing tips, share the most important part of your content first to keep viewers engaged.

Overdeliver if you can. A good trick is to follow up your important content with a bonus to keep your audience’s attention. For example, this could be background context to your story, or an extra tip to deliver more than your title or summary promised.

End with a call to action (CTA). You should always include a CTA at the end of your video to give the viewer a next step. For example, you could ask people to share your video, comment or click on the link in your post.

Keep it brief. When writing your script, remember that social media videos are short. This means you won’t need—or want—too many lines in your script.

5. Record your footage.

Once you’ve rehearsed your script a few times, it’s time to record. Consider recording multiple videos in one batch. By batch recording, you’ll only have to set up your equipment once for a recording session that provides enough footage for several videos.

During the session, don’t worry if you stumble or forget a line. Just keep recording and say the line again. You can even have someone off-screen read each line out loud for you to repeat. You can cut out any footage you don’t want or need in editing.

6. Edit your video for a pro finish.

Today’s video editing tools and apps are a game changer for small business owners. Using these apps, you can easily transform your raw footage into professional-quality videos.

Choose an editing tool.

There’s a wide selection of affordable, easy-to-use video editing software you can use to give your videos a polished finish. These are some of the most popular video editing programs.

  • Wave.video. This is an easy-to-use platform that offers drag-and-drop functionality, templates and a stock video library.
  • Canva. You may already be familiar with Canva for creating images for your blog and social media posts, but Canva also makes it easy to create and edit videos, too.
  • Animoto. This is another editing tool that’s easy to use and offers a large selection of templates as well as a built-in stock library of images and videos.
  • Magisto. Artificial intelligence technology is at the heart of this tool. It can help you through various steps in the editing process.

Follow editing best practices.

Once you’ve selected a video editing app or platform, here are some additional tips to keep in mind as you edit.

  • Captions, subtitles, and text overlays. More people use their mobile devices to go online and spend a lot of time on social media apps. This means viewers may be watching your video in an environment where they need to mute the sound. If your video relies on dialogue or voiceovers, use your editing software to add captions, subtitles or text overlays to keep viewers engaged without sound.
  • Keep social media video sizes and specs in mind. Don’t upload the same video file to every social media platform; each site has its own sizes and specs. SproutSocial offers a video specs reference page to help keep track of requirements across platforms.
  • Be careful when adding music. While music can enhance your video, you always need to check the usage rights for any music you want to use. Many video editing platforms offer music libraries with free music, and there are also a number of websites that provide free-to-use music that’s royalty-free, offered under a Creative Commons License or in the public domain.

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