Social media videos: 9 low-budget ideas to boost engagement12 min read

Social Media Video January 14, 2019 8 min read
Social media videos- 9 low-budget ideas to boost engagement


Social media videos: 9 low-budget ideas to boost engagement12 min read

Reading Time: 8 minutes

If you’re planning on leveraging social media videos to boost brand awareness, engage with your audience, and grow your business in 2019, you need to take the time to put a clear content marketing and social media strategy in place. The potential ROI from a well-executed video content campaign launched on your social media channels is immense when you consider the following:

  • 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week (WordStream).
  • Mobile video usage has increased by nearly 10 million daily viewing minutes in the last two years (HubSpot).
  • Nearly 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store (Google).
  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined (Small Business Trends).

Despite the potential value and ROI that it can bring, some businesses are still hesitant to include video marketing into their social media marketing strategies. Why? For many, it comes down to a lack of ideas and limited budgets.

But here’s the good news: you don’t have to break the bank to create and publish a useful online video for your social media community to engage with and enjoy. You don’t need professional video equipment or an Oscar-worthy script. You need to be creative, committed, and willing to experiment (and fail) often.

With that in mind, here are 10 low-budget ideas for social media videos that you can use in 2020 to drive more engagement on your social platforms and meet your business goals:

1. Go live and get real with live video

You don’t need fancy equipment, expensive actors or influencers, or a pristine film set to create a viral or engagement-driven high-quality video for your social media platforms. In fact, some of the most popular videos shared by businesses and brands today are the ones that are recorded directly from a smartphone. These informal, inexpensive videos allow brands to connect with followers and prospective customers on a deeper, more human level. They offer viewers a stark contrast to the polished videos they are used to seeing from big brands with big video budgets.

Some brands are even taking this particular video strategy one step further and producing a live video on their social media channels in an effort to attract and engage with followers. Social media users are taking notice. According to Engadget, nearly 2 billion people have watched a Facebook live broadcast alone.

If you’re looking to connect with your followers and boost engagement on your social media pages whether, on Facebook, Instagram video, Snapchat, Twitter or LinkedIn make a plan to go live on video in the near future. You could go live to offer a behind-the-scenes look at your business operations, to introduce an upcoming product or feature, or to do a Q&A session with active followers on your page.

Here’s an example of a Facebook video from Benefit Cosmetics.

2. Record a happy customer

Another cheap way to boost engagement with social media videos is to share videos that feature your satisfied and most loyal customers talking about their experience working with your company, using your products, or interacting with your employees.

According to Hootsuite, “50% of US consumers say user-generated content—images and video from satisfied buyers—makes them more likely to buy a product from a brand’s social channels.”

If you want to build trust with prospective customers and persuade them to convert, don’t spend all your time showing them video and content that you’ve developed about your own company and products—show them content from real people who have had great experiences working with and buying from you.

You can capture video from happy customers to use on social media in one of a few ways: you can record a conversation with a customer on a video conferencing tool like Zoom, you can go on-site and record a video of your customer with your smartphone, or you can ask your customer to record their own video and send it to you. Just remember to get permission from them to use their video on social media, your website, and in any future marketing material.

Top tip: Always include an engaging CTA (Call to action)

3. Unbox something new

Because of the nature of software and eCommerce business, you usually don’t have the opportunity to sell your products to your customers face-to-face. As a result, it’s vital to think about what experience you want your prospective customers to have when they interact with your brand for the first time, evaluate your products, and either hold them in their hands (physical product) or gain access to them for the first time (software).

One great way to help your followers understand what kind of experience they’ll get when they buy from you is to create an unboxing video. An unboxing video is exactly what it sounds like—it’s a video that shows the experience of opening or using your product for the very first time. It highlights the exact experience that every new customer will have when they buy from you.

Unboxing video gif

Unboxing videos do not require expensive video equipment—in fact, the more real and authentic they look, the better. If you are selling physical products, have someone hold your smartphone in front of you as you unbox the product with your hands. If you are selling software, record the experience of logging into your product for the first time using a tool like Loom. You should also speak during the video and walk followers through each step of the process.

4. Announce a winner

Contests have long been a popular way for brands and businesses to boost engagement on their social media pages. Tools like Rafflecopter and Gleam make it easy to manage giveaways, sweepstakes and user-generated submission contests on your page. You can also use the tools to select a winner randomly, but how you announce the winner is entirely up to you. This is where you can get creative with video.

The next time you run a contest on any of the social networks, don’t announce the winner by posting a photo of the name or publishing a text-based post tagging the winner. Instead, record a video of you revealing the name in a creative way. You could take this one step further and boost engagement by going live on video to announce the winner.

Announcing the winner of a contest on video will not only be more exciting and spark more engagement from your followers, but it will also help you further connect with prospective customers on a human level by allowing you to essentially ‘talk’ to them as if they were in the room with you.

5. Try stop motion

If you’re not comfortable recording video on your smartphone or being live in front of the camera yourself, you still have options when it comes to social media videos. Instead of recording and packaging moving footage, you can string together a series of photos with music in the background instead. Tools like iMovie and others make this type of video fairly easy to create and export. Here are some examples of photos you could combine into a stop motion video:

  • Photos that show how to use your product in a few steps
  • Photos that show a few of the best features your product has to offer
  • Photos that offer education relating to your product or industry
  • Photos that show who your employees are

These types of videos should be relatively short, no more than 10-15 seconds at the most.

Want to see an example of a stop motion video? See one here from Dunkin.

6. Get creative with employees

These days, consumers don’t just want to know that they are buying great products—they want to know that they are supporting a great mission and working with good people. As a business, you can help them understand who the people are behind your business by creating videos that feature your employees. Your employees are often the biggest advocates of your products, and they also usually know your customers and prospective customers best. They understand what their pain points are, what they care about, and what they need to hear in order to be convinced to buy or convert.

If you have a few great employees that you want your customers to know better, invite them to create a short video with you to share on social media. Here are a few examples of videos you could create with your employees to fuel engagement with your followers:

  • Q&A hosted by one of your senior employees
  • Employee takeover video that gives followers a behind-the-scenes look at their job
  • A series of product education videos recorded by your employees
  • Fun, entertaining videos that help followers understand what kind of people are working for your company
Behind the scenes GIF

The options for this type of video are virtually endless, so the best thing to do is talk with your employees about the kind of video they’d like to help you create.

7. Go seasonal

Different seasons and holidays throughout the year also present you with good opportunities to create social media videos that your followers will want to watch and engage with. Instead of sharing the same old boring product or corporate videos all year round, consider creating new videos that piggyback on the biggest holidays or events throughout the year that you know your customers care about.

For example, if it’s winter where you live and work, record the same video that you would any other time of year, but use the snow as your backdrop. If it’s a beautiful summer day, record a video from a kayak or mountain bike. The point is to do something unexpected that will catch the eyes of your followers and entice them to keep watching to learn more.

You could also do something as simple as changing your wardrobe when you record videos depending on what season or holiday is coming up. For example, if you’re recording a product demo with a tool like Loom, wear a red sweater or a tie with hearts. Do something small that delights anyone who comes across your video in their social feed.

Goldie Chan, LinkedIn Top Voice, demonstrates flawless execution of adding holiday themes to videos on LinkedIn.

8. Add captions to videos

According to HubSpot, 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. To boost engagement on your social media videos, make sure to add captions that your followers can read before they decide whether or not to turn the sound on.

Adding captions to your videos is relatively simple. You can use either the caption suggestion tool that is built into Facebook and edit them accordingly, or you can upload a .srt file from your computer. For more help with either of these two options, go through this helpful guide from Facebook.

Brian Wallace, Founder of NowSourcing writes that you should, “Try to caption videos whenever possible. Engagement tends to do better when people are scrolling through their feeds and they can read to decide, it algorithmically scores better, is better for SEO, and for people with disabilities. Goldie Chan and I started the #accessforall campaign on LinkedIn to exemplify this. You can use apps like Clipomatic, make your own .srt file manually, hire someone to do it, or try uploading to YouTube to have it created automatically.”

9. Use square dimensions

Believe it or not, the dimensions of the videos you upload to social sites can also impact how much engagement you’re able to drive from followers who see them. According to a study performed by Buffer and Animoto, “both square video and letterbox video (1:1 format) outperformed landscape video when it came to average engagements, views, and completion rate (%) – particularly on mobile devices.” They also reported that “in some cases, square video resulted in 30-35% higher video views and an 80-100% increase in engagement.”

Pulp Fiction GIF

It’s a simple adjustment that can yield impressive results for your social video creation efforts. To learn more about the study and findings from Buffer, click here to read their post.

Bonus tip: Curate video clips and share on social media

There are a few ways in which to find video content to share with your followers. One of the easiest and cheapest ways is to use Quuu. Quuu will automatically find content in your niche and post it on your behalf saving you both time and effort. These content suggestions include both video content and blog posts. Content curation is a very important part of any content strategy as you’ll find out in this extensive guide here.

Over to You

What video ideas have worked well for your business? What types of social media videos do your followers love? Tell me in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you.

Social Media Videos: 9 Low-Budget Ideas to Boost Engagement
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Social Media Videos: 9 Low-Budget Ideas to Boost Engagement
Social media videos have a potentially huge ROI, but businesses are still hesitant to use them in their marketing strategy. Here's 9 ideas to get started.
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William Harris is a Top 35 eCommerce Expert and Top 75 SaaS Influencer who helps savvy businesses grow through intelligent marketing strategies.