Video is blowing up on social media right now! Research shows that brands have upped their commitment by investing more in video to better position themselves online.

And when it comes to audiences, they want more video. Wyzwol reports that 68% of consumers prefer video when learning about a new product.

But what about video and your brand?

If you’ve struggled to find your feet with the medium, but desperately want to get started, this blog post is for you! As you’ll see, getting started isn’t nearly as expensive as most imagine. It’s also easier than you think. 

Sure, there’s some groundwork to be done, but that’s a given. Video is more than just a content type, it’s an opportunity to position your brand competitively. And with the right strategy and video marketing, you can produce amazing content on a budget.

How to create engaging social videos

Social media feeds are filled with tons of content. For your videos to be appealing, you’ll need to grab your audience’s attention and show them something worthwhile. Here’s a three-step process to help you produce engaging videos regardless of your budget.

Step one: research

To grab an audience’s attention you need to come up with really compelling ideas. As the web and social media are filled with tons of content, with more being produced every minute, yours has to be really special.

But how do you produce something strong enough to capture your audience’s attention?

Brainstorm topics around problems or challenges that your audience experiences on their journey to purchasing a solution like yours. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What’s the biggest pain point my audience experiences when looking for a solution like mine?
  • What do they need to know about the consequences of not addressing these pain points?
  • What other information might they not have when they come across this pain point to better understand?

Asking questions like these will help you produce ideas that you can validate. One of the easiest ways to validate and research ideas is to use BuzzSumo. By using the free search feature on their home page, you’ll have just enough to figure out what content around your topic already attracts and resonates with your audience.

For example, let’s say our audience of small business owners is looking for ways to use social media marketing. If you are an agency, a search with the term “social media marketing tips” will show you top-performing content from across the web.

Buzzsumo video content

As you can tell this is a topic that people are interested in. You could create a video full of tips for your audience.

Step two: storyboard it

Storyboards are used to map out and structure video content. They help identify what should take place in each segment of the video recording, making it easier to create a cohesive story.

With your new idea ready, all you need is a storyboard that includes:

  • an introduction: identify a problem and how that directly impacts your audience
  • the body: this is the meat of your video and where you’ll explain how to solve your audience’s problem
  • the conclusion: a roundup of your video

Creating a script should also be part of your process. Scripts remove the guesswork of what to say. And as you’d imagine, having a well-crafted script will save you loads of recording time that would otherwise be spent on re-shoots.

Step three: elevate your video

While a storyboard and script are enough to get you going, creating video that will wow and make your audience come back for more is what your goal should be. Here are five tips you can use to create something powerful:

1. Grab attention right at the beginning

Most videos play muted on social media. In fact, 85% of videos and Facebook are watched while on mute. How do you capture some of the tension when they won’t listen to the sound? 

Use captions. 

Captions immediately draw a viewer’s attention and can increase the probability of a click-through to view more for content. In the intro of your video, offer a strong and compelling reason for the viewer to pay attention. You can identify a serious pain point and share that your video is all about addressing it.

2. Focus on one idea and go deep to offer value

You’ve done your research and know that you have a winning topic, but don’t settle by offering similar content to your competitors. Go the extra mile and present your audience with insights and new ideas that they would otherwise not come across or have to pay for. This level of value immediately positions your brand as a stronger and more competitive market player.

3. Use pattern interrupts

Pattern interrupts were popularized in the study of Neuro-linguistic programming. They’re based on research of the human mind and its response to new ideas abruptly introduced. The mind latches onto the new idea to unpack an understand it, drawing the subject’s full attention.

And pattern interrupts are highly effective when it comes to video marketing. Buffer was able to grow their YouTube channel by 59% in 30 days using them. 

The best part? You can use them in your videos, too!

Introduce pattern interrupts in the form of graphics, different camera shots, questions, humor, background music or new ideas.

For example, Brian Dean constantly uses patent interrupts in his videos. In the video below, Dean’s position switches from left to right on-screen, forcing the viewer to pay attention to where he is in every shot.

BacklinkoBacklinko

5. Include a call to action

Calls to action are important elements of marketing. For example, you may be building a YouTube marketing funnel. Your video marketing funnel could be filled with a collection of videos, from live streams to animations, all designed to attract educate and convert viewers into customers. But you won’t be able to convert viewers unless you tell them what to do after watching each video.

In his link building tips video, Brian Dean’s call to action at the end of his video is to subscribe to his YouTube channel. Dean’s focus is building a larger audience.

CTA on YouTube

Equipment you’ll need

You don’t need to break the bank to shoot great videos, but you should be able to record video that’s visually appealing and pleasing to watch. 

Here’s a list of equipment to help you get started:

A camera

Today, you can get away with recording video footage on your smartphone. Most smartphones record in FHD and 4K, giving video a nice clean and quality look. If you’d rather opt for a standalone camera, try a Go Pro 7 Silver. They come with 4K recording capabilities and a relatively affordable with prices starting at $199.99 including shipping.

GoPro 7 Silver

A tripod

Tripods make it easy to shoot video by keeping your camera steady and directly aligned with the subject. This makes it easier to set up recording sets. You can pick up one for as little as $23 on Amazon.

Tripod

If you use a smartphone as a recording device, be sure to get a smartphone clamp to connect your tripod. Prices start at $14.

Smartphone Tripod

Adequate lighting

Lighting is a critical element and directly influences the video quality. Depending on how many subjects in your video or your environment, you need to make sure you have enough light and that it’s directed appropriately. 

For example, if you’re shooting video with one subject, you can get away with a ring light (retails at around $32 on Amazon) placed directly in front of the subject. 

Ring light

If, however, you have two or three people to shoot, you’ll need larger light equipment. A softbox lighting kit (available on Amazon.com from $60), with each light positioned in front of your subjects and directed at 45° angles, would work perfectly.

Softbox Kit

Image: Shutter Bug

Sound recording equipment

There’s an old saying about the effect of poor quality sound on high-quality video. No matter how great the video is, poor sound can ruin it.

When it comes to recording sound, one of the most convenient ways to get clear and high quality is with a lavalier mic. 

They range in spec with prices starting from as little as $12.99 to $149+. Some come with transmitters and receivers, while others can simply be connected to smartphones or tablets to capture audio.

Lavalier mic

When using a lavalier mic, you’re able to place them on the lapels of your subjects, decreasing the distance between their mouths and mic, enhancing the audio quality.

While you could connect a corded lavalier mic to the same smartphone or device that you recording video on, the cord length might be an issue. A simple way around this is to record your audio and video the same time using two separate devices and sync them up later during the editing phase.

Background

Your environment also plays an important role in setting the scene for your audience. A cluttered or busy environment full of distractions can make for an unpleasant viewing experience, just as shiny objects can cause reflections and glare.

The solution?

Opt for background paper which you can purchase from as little as $16.99. Background paper can be stuck to a wall for a more professional studio look, or hung from a stand (available from $293).

PortaStand

Image: Savage Universal

Don’t want to use brackground paper? Just ensure that your background is distraction-free (not facing the window with people walking by constantly), glare-free and neat and tidy.

Editing

Once your video is recorded, you’ll need to bring it together using editing software. There are tons of free options available, with many being easy-to-use. 

A word of caution, though: editing is a time-consuming process. It can take hours to sync audio and video and incorporate special effects. To save time, consider outsourcing your editing to a freelancer on Fiverr. Prices start as low as $10 and you’ll get to work with talented editors.

Summary

Creating engaging social media videos on a budget is possible. To get started, you’ll need to have the right equipment and strategic approach to creating content that your audience is interested in. 

Be strategic. Conduct strong research and provide loads of value, elevate your videos by grabbing and holding your audience’s attention, and use strong and effective calls to action. Together, these techniques can position your brand as a thought-leader and highly-competitive market player.

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Amir Shahzeidi

Digital Marketing Manager at Uscreen
Amir is the digital marketing manager at Uscreen, an all-in-one video monetization and live streaming PPV platform that empowers video entrepreneurs and creators to monetize their content and build thriving businesses around their videos.

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