In the old days (before social media) if you wanted to broadcast video content about your business, you had to pay lots of money to produce and air your ads on television. TV ads were not affordable for most small-to-medium sized businesses. But the invention of social media has been a game changer.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still a time and place for professional video production, especially for the bigger jobs. I have enormous respect for the technical skills and creativity of professional videographers. But sometimes, you just need a quick and inexpensive clip for social media.
A client contacted me following my recent Brainwave newsletter and asked if I could provide low cost ways to produce video content. I’m always excited to get feedback and keen to keep my readers interested. So, here are my five low cost video content production ideas.
1. Facebook Live
Facebook Live lets people, public figures and pages share live video with their followers and friends on Facebook. So, if your business has a Facebook page, you can broadcast video live to your audience. At the same time, they can interact with your video.
To use Facebook Live, you need to download Facebook’s streaming software.
Facebook Live is useful for many types of content including:
- Product launches
- Customer training
- Product demonstrations
- Behind the scenes
When the broadcast has finished, the video will be published to your page. From there, you can create Facebook ads targeting your Facebook custom audiences.
Helpful Tools To Get You Started on Facebook Live
- You can download Facebook’s Best Practices Guide to Live from their website.
- Hubspot has written comprehensive “How To Use Facebook Live” guide with some excellent tips, like how to change your settings to only “show me” while you experiment.
There are pros and cons to live video content.
Facebook Live Video Pros
- It’s interactive so you get immediate feedback from your audience.
- Low cost to produce.
- The video is published to your Facebook page once the live event is complete.
- You create your content immediately, no waiting for the video to come back from the editing suite.
Facebook Live Cons
- It’s live! No filter, no delete key, what happens goes out to your audience.
- The media you produce is owned by Facebook and it sits on their media platform, not your own website.
- You need some skill in media production. This doesn’t mean you have to be a professional. Before you go live, make a test so you can review background noise, lighting, backdrop, sound and voice quality.
2. Facebook Slideshow Ads
Facebook Slideshow Ads allow you to use your own photos to create Facebook video ads. You also have the option to add music and text (but adding text is a bit technical).
They are quick, easy and cost nothing to produce (except the cost of your Facebook ads). So, instead of spending your marketing budget on producing a video, you can allocate it to advertising so your content reaches your customers and prospects.
When you make a slideshow ad you can include a call to action to direct the viewer to your website, such as “Learn More” or “Buy Now“.
Here’s an example of a Facebook slideshow ad I created for Rory’s Catering Co to promote their new Autumn Selections menu to their customers.
Here’s how the ad appeared on Facebook. I added a call-to-action to encourage viewers to see the full menu on the Rory’s Catering Co. website.
Facebook Slideshow Pros
- Quick and easy to produce.
- You don’t pay anything to produce the video. Instead, you pay Facebook for advertising to reach your customers and prospects.
- If you don’t have the time or expertise in-house to manage it, you can engage professionals to create and manage it for you .
Facebook Slideshow Cons
- You need good quality photos to produce a good quality video.
- You can add text to the video but it is a bit technical.
- Again, Facebook owns the content. It is posted on their media, not yours.
Prezi is cloud-based presentation software. It’s a step up from Powerpoint because it includes basic animations. There are free templates available to use or you can create your own. But it is also relatively inexpensive to have a professional create your own branded template, which you can use and reuse.
Once you have created the content for your Prezi, you can have it converted into a video format (MP4), which you own. You can load it to social media channels, such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, as well as your website.
Here’s an example of a Prezi we converted into video content for The Totem Group.
Prezi to Video Pros
- You own the video, it doesn’t sit on Facebook. That means you can use it anywhere, anytime, like presentations, on your website and on social media.
- You can create your own company branded template.
- Unlike a live video, you can edit and polish the content until you’re happy to publish it.
- It’s an inexpensive way to create a video.
- You can use music, voice over, graphics, text, video and photos to create your video.
- If you don’t have the time, you can engage professionals to create it for you.
Prezi to Video Cons
- Unlike Facebook Live, it’s not interactive. Viewers can leave comments on your blog or social media but not it’s not ‘live’.
4. User-Generated Video Content
Getting your customers and fans to create video content can be a great way to showcase your product…if it’s done well. There’s something authentic about home-baked material. It doesn’t reek of commerciality, which means it can have greater appeal to your audience.
However, if you’re not paying a professional to produce video content for you then you can’t control what is made.
One way you can influence how video content is made is to set parameters. For example, you could run a competition to produce a 30 second video showing how customers use your product but include terms and conditions, such as no bad language!
User-Generated Content Pros
- It’s free! Your fans and followers do all the work for you.
- It’s a good way to engage with your fans and followers.
- Home-baked content is authentic and doesn’t reek of commercial interest.
Cons to Live Video Content
- You can’t control the production quality or content and how that reflects on your brand.
- You don’t own the media. Copyright resides with the creator so you may have copyright issues if you decide to use it for commercial gain unless you pay a license fee.
5. Make Your Own Video
If you’re a creative type, you can make your own video. You don’t even have to have a video camera, you can use a smartphone. There are plenty of video editing apps available which allow you to add music, graphics, images and even make a voice over recording.
But before you jump in, it’s always wise to make a plan. I like to start with a storyboard, which is a map that shows what images and content you will use, and how long the video will show for.
You can download this basic Storyboard Template to get you started.
Pros to Making Your Own Video
- It can be inexpensive…if you don’t factor in the cost of your own time.
- As the artist, you own the media and the copyright. You can publish it whenever, wherever.
- It’s fun and gives you a chance to flex your creative muscles.
Cons to Making Your Own Video
- You need a degree of skill. You don’t have to be Martin Scorsese but you don’t want a shaky hand or loud background noise either.
- It can be time consuming to shoot and edit a video. You have to weigh up if your time could be better spent making money for your business.