March 12, 2018

How to Make Affordable Video for Social Media

If you’re still teetering on whether or not your brand wants to invest in video, just look at the numbers. Eight billion Facebook videos are watched each day. So, what are you waiting for? There are numerous ways to create professional-looking, effective, and affordable video content for social media. This is a step-by-step guide on how to make video content for social media and successfully share it with your audience, all without breaking the bank.


Step 1: Plan. 

Just because it’s affordable video, doesn’t mean you can ignore strategy.

Who’s your audience? Where will this video live? Start with these larger questions, which will determine your messaging and approach. Then, get creative. Think of this endeavor like you are making a movie. Is it funny or dramatic? Will it be loosely scripted or off the cuff?  Will there be background music? Subtitles? The optimal length for a video on social media is one to two minutes, so keep that in mind. When you decide on a direction, write an outline and assign team roles to execute the project. (Unless you’re a team of one. Then just go at it!)

Step 2: Gather equipment

Video production requires a lot of tools. One can never have enough!

There’s plenty of affordable filming equipment out there that can get the job done for smaller projects like social media videos. If your company is interested in a larger video project or campaign that will be used for more corporate and/or professional purposes, we recommend hiring a full-service video content agency with an in- house video team that can make your video content look cinematic. But, lucky for you, social media doesn’t usually require an entire camera crew. Here’s the small-budget equipment we recommend:

  • Studio lighting: Three strategically-placed lights can go a long way to make your video appear more professional. For a one-time project, studio lights can be rented, but if you plan to film frequently, consider a three-head florescent lighting kit with softboxes and stands like this set from B&H. LED lights or panels are also a great option, because many of them dim without any fluctuation in color.
  • Camera: Believe it or not, iPhones can create incredibly professional-looking yet affordable video. But if you want to invest in a video camera, really invest. Inexpensive cameras just don’t produce the best-looking images.
  • Sound: If you’re filming in a private area, consider hanging up blankets, sheets, furniture or anything that can bounce sound off it (off camera of course) to create the most silent space. Turn off any fans or ventilation. This is an affordable way to create optimal sound for filming. When set up, keep everything in its place to ensure all shots are consistent in sound and lighting.
  • Microphone: If you have anyone speaking in the video, spring for a microphone. No, not the kind that the Voice contestants hold, but the (almost) invisible kind. If you want to keep it affordable, use an iPhone positioned slightly above eye level of your subject to record sound. We like this one.  You could also purchase a lavalier microphone, a small microphone that attaches to the subject’s shirt or is wired to the camera or iPhone. *We can’t stress the importance of good sound enough. Viewers will forgive shaky or out of focus video, but they’ll instantly stop watching if they can’t hear your content.
  • Background: Depending on the setting of your video, you may need a natural background (free!) or you may need a backdrop (almost free!). Try the background options from Savage. Neutral tones like grey, tan and off white are most complimentary.
  • Tripod: Google “affordable tripods for iPhone” and knock yourself out. Just make sure they are sturdy and easy to use.

Step 3: Film

Not as simple as point and shoot.

While this step may seem self-explanatory, it requires a lot of preparation. Before you film your video, get acquainted with all of your lighting, sound and film equipment. When you feel comfortable with the setup of things, do not move anything. As you will likely have several takes, all footage must look and sound consistent. Keep the settings on your phone or camera consistent as well.

Step 4: Edit

Editing can be a time-consuming process, but don’t lose hope!

If you filmed on your iPhone, consider editing the video directly on iMovie, either on the phone or on a Mac. It’s free, too. Don’t be flowery in your editing process (unless, of course, your brand demands it, but in that case you probably need a professional). Keep it clean, simple and under two minutes. For Twitter, create a teaser video that links to the longer project. Under 30 seconds is ideal here.

Step 5: Post to social media

Create short, thoughtful commentary to accompany your video and distribute to your heart’s desire.  

Be sure to post to multiple platforms for better possibilities of views.

Pro-tip: If you are posting on Facebook, make sure your video is watchable with sound on or off. A majority of Facebook users watch videos with no sound. So, make sure your video either has subtitles or is easily understood sans sound.

Step 6: Monitor your success

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In-platform statistics are a good way to view how far and wide your post has spread.

Facebook and Twitter have wonderful analytics incorporated into their sites. Facebook, specifically, will tell you how many views your video has, where those views came from and whether the video was watched with or without sound. This type of analytic can show your company which posts do better than others, so you can mimic success in the future.

And, that’s how you create affordable video and useful video content for social media. Again, creating professional-looking and affordable video is daunting, but it is an extremely effective way to brand yourself and increase your reach on social platforms.

If your company is looking to invest in video for longer, higher priority projects, consider a creative content and video company like Scenic Road to help execute your vision. Email us here.