It’s time for SMBs to go all in on social and mobile video

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Why is video still a thorn in the side of small businesses?

Even before the explosion of brand engagement via relatively recent channels such as Facebook Video, Periscope, and Snapchat’s self-serve video advertising platform, SMB (small and medium-sized business) marketers have traditionally struggled with committing to a long-term video strategy.

After all, video content represents unexplored territory for many marketers who considered blogging or social media to be their bread and butter. Video was always primarily for larger brands with more robust budgets for production shoots and Hollywood-caliber editing talent.

Consider the most recent monthly YouTube channel leaderboard from Socialbakers:

The top five is dominated by mainstream entertainment brands, which makes sense, but who invited this “Ryan ToysReview” to the party?

Data from Social Blade reveals that as recently as two years ago, Ryan ToysReview’s YouTube presence didn’t exist. In fact, if we go back six years, Ryan himself didn’t even exist.

Image source: Social Blade

Clearly, the marketing world has reached a turning point when it comes to video, and even DIY personal brands and marketers from smaller companies are realizing that they need to figure out how they can get in on the action.

How the democratization of video looks in 2017

Small businesses are hunting for ways to integrate video into their marketing without blowing out their budgets or wasting tons of time. As a result, new platforms are emerging to provide SMBs with streamlined access to better tools that make it easier to churn out professional-grade video assets at scale.

That’s exactly what Slidely is doing to the benefit of marketers scared off by traditional video content. The company’s newly launched Promo by Slidely web app lets users create video content prime for social sharing, minus the headaches involved with tedious storyboarding, footage acquisition and editing.

Promo was designed to combine professional-grade, scalable video clip creation with affordability. The platform provides users access to over 2 million high-definition videos from the Getty archives, a full library of rights-cleared music and a user-friendly interface to add custom text and a logo in a snap. Rather than focus on major productions, Promo was created as a solution for marketers who want to post new video content to their social media presences with consistency over time.

“Video isn’t a one-play gig,” Tom More, the CEO of Slidely, recently told Inc. “It needs commitment and consistency. You can’t put all this money and effort into one video, thinking that sole piece of content will solve everything for your company. It’s not going to work.”

At the same time, platforms such as Facebook Live have blown up in a big way among small business owners. Live video via Facebook is watched three times longer than recorded broadcasts, and more and more businesses and brands are hopping onboard the live bandwagon.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg clearly saw the writing on the wall regarding the power of live video, as noted in an oft-cited interview with BuzzFeed last year. Said Zuckerberg:

We’re entering this new golden age of video … I wouldn’t be surprised if you fast-forward five years and most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video.

Zuckerberg’s (self-fulfilling) premonition seems to go hand in hand with the idea that video consumption will only continue to spike in the coming years. Additionally, live video removes the pressure of coming up with a script or brilliant presentation on behalf of business owners. In the live realm, raw and unpolished content are totally fair game.

The rise of informal vlogs from the likes of Brian Fanzo, Tai Lopez and Gary Vaynerchuk serve as inspiration for business owners wary of channels like YouTube. The fact that one needs little more than a smartphone to get started with vlogging or live social broadcasts signals just how accessible video is becoming to modern businesses.

Why video marketing is now a ‘must-do’

Sure, most of the marketing sphere is already well aware of the power associated with video content. Consumption and creation are at an all-time high, and according to an April Google-commissioned Nielsen study, YouTube reaches more adults 18+ during prime time than any cable network does.

But if Cisco’s projection that 82 percent of all consumer web traffic will be video-based by 2021 comes to fruition, it’s crystal-clear that the adoption of video has to be a matter of “when” and not “if” for SMBs.

We constantly hear the cry that the barrier of entry to video content is lower than ever for small businesses, which is indeed true. The wealth of video creation apps available continues to widen, while the popularity of live broadcasts, with their lower standards for production value, make it easier for scrappy SMB marketers to feel comfortable experimenting.

By now, we’re all familiar with the top channels available to both produce and distribute video. Through YouTube alone, there are plenty of opportunities for first-timers to test the waters, right? Then why are 39 percent of businesses still sleeping on video, despite visual content being heralded as the be-all, end-all of modern marketing?

For SMBs, video represents a major hurdle

To many business owners, video marketing remains akin to an exclusive club.

Between budget constraints and the amount of time associated with filming and editing any given video, the hesitance of your average SMB is certainly understandable.

After all, the idea of video itself is synonymous with a “production.” From crafting scripts to investing in filming and editing software, the sheer work involved with video marketing is enough to scare away SMBs. Even acquiring stock footage can involve barriers to entry, with cumbersome contracts and clunky interfaces that don’t feel especially welcoming to first-timers.

Despite the opportunities afforded to budget video marketers today, the task itself still seems like an uphill battle.

The future of video for SMBs

The future appears bright for SMBs looking to leverage video, and thought leaders such as Slidely’s More encourage businesses to embrace the challenges associated with the new era of dynamic visual content. As More told Inc.:

In the next three to five years, we will see all the other types of businesses accept the new reality that video is here to stay, and that the barrier to entry is extremely low. The challenge isn’t creating video content, in itself. The challenge is being able to create worthwhile video content on a regular basis.

We’ve reached a make-or-break moment, where social-ready video content marketing has become the expectation for businesses and their customers rather than an exception to the rule. Although the barrier to entry is indeed lower than ever, the fact remains that businesses have a responsibility to create quality video content versus hoping for a silver-bullet solution.


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.




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