Whether you’re a video producer fielding numerous calls from your social media management team or the social manager making the requests, it isn’t lost on anyone that social media video content has exploded in popularity.

While it’s easy to recognize the need for a robust social media video marketing strategy, it’s more difficult to actually create your own plan that sets you apart from every other video online. That’s why we put together this guide to help you create and launch your own amazing social media videos:


  1. Why Social Media Video Marketing
  2. Creating Cost-Effective Social Videos
  3. Choosing Your Video Marketing Goals
  4. Choosing What Kind of Videos to Shoot
  5. Publishing and Promoting Your Content
  6. Tips for Creating Engaging Videos


1. Why Social Media Video Marketing?

Social media video marketing strategies take time and resources. Down the line, you may be asked to explain why your efforts are valuable to the social media stakeholders. Make sure you know why video is important for social media to help make your case.

Conveying Complex Information

It’s incredibly difficult to convey complex information across social media sites. The most popular networks rely on brevity. Some of our favorite social networks, like Twitter, even have character limits set. How can you be expected to explain something as complicated as a new feature or product with a 140-character limit? You really can’t do it justice in 140 characters, which is why video is the perfect way to share.

While Twitter has a 140-character limit on Tweets, their video limit is 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Imagine how much more information you can convey with a video than a simple Tweet.

Building Rapport

Social media can be a very cold place for customers trying to reach brands they care about. There are no face-to-face interactions and responses are usually brief or non-existent.

That’s why brands should consider creating some social media videos showcasing the faces behind the keyboards. Customers want to do businesses with brands they know and feel emotionally invested in, so make some quick videos introducing your social team.

Increased Engagement

Whether it’s due to one or several of the reasons listed above, videos on social see more engagement than common text updates, links or photos. Because social media engagement can help boost your reach, clicks and revenue, it’s essential to take advantage of social media video content. Below is a brief look at how Sprout’s social video content performs compared to other content types.

Facebook Video Analytics

Scaling Popularity

According to Social Media Examiner’s 2016 Industry Report, 60% of marketers are currently using video and 73% plan to increase their use of video. Make sure you’re establishing your strategy early so you’re not left in the dust.

2. Creating Cost-Effective Social Media Videos

One major barrier for brands creating social media videos is the cost. Many marketers believe it takes an expensive video crew to make all of your content. However, our good friends at Wistia put together this next section on how to create your own social media videos at low cost:

The Camera

One of the best ways to save money on video is to make it yourself rather than hiring a videographer or company to produce it for you. This does not mean you need to go out and buy a fancy DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera) if you don’t already own one. Try using your iPhone. The cameras on today’s smartphones are really quite good. Besides, when it comes to visual quality, lighting has just as much of an impact (if not more so) than the camera itself.

The Lights

When it comes to light, the bottom line is this: Eliminate all shadows on your subject’s face. Shadows can make the talent (aka the person on camera) look tired and drawn. Having good light will make your subject look as animated as possible. There are plenty of expensive lighting kits out there, but even if you can’t afford a pre-made kit, we’ve put together a basic lighting kit to get you started.

Go to Home Depot or Amazon.com, and buy the following:

  • 3 clip lights: $9 each
  • 3 daylight color CFL bulbs (buy different wattage options for flexibility): $2.75 each
  • 3 spring clips: $2 each
  • 3 12-foot extension cords: $2.50 each
  • 1 package of clothespins: $2.50 each

If you’re on an even tighter budget, try using natural light. Find a spot with large windows, and position your subject so that he or she is facing the windows. You’ll get the best shot on a bright, but slightly cloudy day. Make sure you turn off overhead lights, since they’ll cast unattractive shadows, even if you’re using natural light as well.

The Microphone

Your message is arguably even more important that any visual aspect of your social media video marketing. So make sure you’re capturing the best sound possible. You can use many different types of mics to accomplish this.

But there are some tips that you should follow no matter what. Get the mic as close to your subject as possible but ideally out of the frame itself. Definitely avoid using the built-in mic on your camera or smartphone, since it will pick up too much background noise and won’t be sufficiently close to your subject.

The Studio

You can create your own mini studio in just about any room. Your video will look most polished and well-produced if you find a room with a solid color wall or backdrop. This will eliminate any background clutter as well. You can also make sure you’re capturing the best sound if you turn off surrounding noise such as air conditioners or heating units.

Make sure you’re using a tripod (or at least using something steady to stabilize the camera) while you shoot. Taking the time to create a well-lit, well-put-together space for the creation of your video will make the process simpler. Also your final product will be more compelling to the viewers.

3. Choosing Your Video Marketing Goals

Before you get behind the camera you need to figure out what you actually want out of your social media video marketing strategy. Hammer down your goals because these will help you decide what kind of videos you should be making. Here are some common social goals to choose from:

Brand Awareness

A lot of social marketers focus on growing their following and that’s for good reason. Social media is an amazing channel to get your brand in front of new, qualified audiences. While increasing brand awareness may not seem as glamorous as driving leads to your site, it’s just as important since 75.3% of people are inclined to make purchases because of what they’ve seen on social.

percentage of people who purchase because of social media

Lead Generation

If your main focus is on generating leads with things like gated webinars or eBooks you can leverage videos on social media to help with promotion. Create videos that help promote those gated pieces of content and you can drive more clicks to your site and downloads, leading to an increase in leads.

Customer Acquisition

Acquiring customers on social media is a big goal for marketers. We all know that social media is very important for many qualifiable reasons. But acquiring customers can drive quantifiable data. Videos can help you explain your offering without coming off too salesy.

Customer Retention

It costs roughly 5 times more to attract new customers than it does to keep your current customers. That’s why it’s important to leverage your social media accounts to keep your customers happy. Share videos that teach your customers how to use your products and show what new features are coming out to keep them coming back. You can also share case studies to show your customers how other brands leverage your products.

4. Choosing Different Kinds of Videos to Shoot

The videos you create should depend on your overall social media goals. This is because each type of video will resonate with individuals at different stages of the marketing funnel differently.

Educational Videos

Educational videos are great for building brand awareness. When you show individuals in your specific industry how they can accomplish a task, it helps build trust. These users are more likely to follow you and share your content out to their communities.

Tasty by Buzzfeed is one of the most popular examples of this in action. Their short videos teach users how to create delicious meals and receive amazing engagement.

It’s even more powerful if the videos you create show how your product can help. For example, Sprout Social may create a video teaching users how to create a social media editorial calendar, something that they can do effectively with Sprout.

FAQ Videos

Social media managers often see the same questions frequently. You can save time answering those messages by creating videos. Share them out to your community to boost brand awareness and increase customer retention.

Lead Gen Teasers

If your goal is to leverage social media to drive leads, then video is your best friend. Videos give you the opportunity to advertise your gated pieces of content just like a commercial. You can also tease what users will receive if they enter their contact information, which helps conversion rates climb.

Product Videos

When you have a major feature or product release, you should consider creating and sharing a video to show to your customers. It’s much easier to teach users what you can do with a video than several social posts. Also, teaching your customers how to use your products is good for retention.

Culture Videos

Customers are turning to social media to have meaningful interactions with brands, but it can feel unfamiliar chatting with representatives from behind a computer. Share some videos from behind the scenes to showcase the individuals responding on social to help develop lasting relationships with your current customers.

5. Publishing & Promoting Your Content

Once you have your videos created, it’s time to start scheduling and publishing them on social. This will help you get in front of your target audience faster and more efficiently. Once you’ve had some time to publish enough videos, you can start to dig into your social media analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Sprout Social Sent Messages Report

Try leveraging a social media analytics tool like Sprout Social to pull your historical social media data and ask yourself key questions, like:

  • Which video length works best?
  • Which type of video works best?
  • Which post copy drives clicks?
  • What type of emotion facilitates response?
  • Which days and times work best?

6. Tips for Creating Engaging Videos

Once you have your social media video marketing strategy off the ground, it’s time to start refining your videos to increase engagement. Check out this eBook Sprout Social and Wistia co-created with 10 Tips for Creating Engaging Social Media Videos!