Should SMEs start using video in their social media marketing? The short answer is yes — but they need to do it right.

Looking at the marketing trends in 2019, it’s pretty obvious that video is an unstoppable force in social media. A few choice statistics make the point:

  • Every day, 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube and 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook.
  • 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube video a week [ibid].
  • Video is the favourite type of content for users of social media.
  • 72% of users would prefer to learn about a product or service using video, relative to text.
  • Users spend 88% more time on websites with video content.
  • Users are 95% more likely to remember a call to action presented by video.
  • 80% of marketers using video on social media are satisfied with their ROI.

These statistics should make any company sit up and take notice. They tell us that consumers spend substantial amounts of time watching video, prefer video marketing, engage with it and will more easily recall a Call to Action. In short, video works.

So that sounds like case closed — every company should be abandoning their text marketing efforts and jumping on the video bandwagon.

Ah, if only life were that simple.

The pitfalls of video on social media

Unfortunately, companies who want to start using video on social media face two basic problems. Firstly, video can be a resources black hole, remorselessly sucking in all your team’s time and energy. Secondly, it’s easy to make a terrible video and hard to make a good one. Let’s take these in turn.

1. Videos need time and energy

Now admittedly, not every video needs to be a production masterpiece. For example, take this video from a solar panel company in Australia (the first 30 seconds should be enough to get the idea):

This classic ‘how to’ video, addresses a specific problem solar panel owners could face: how to reset their wi-fi codes. It’s straightforward, gets the job done, and  — with all respect to the company — doesn’t look like it took very long to produce. It’s an effective piece of marketing that didn’t cost the earth.

However, when companies step beyond  simple ‘how-to’ videos, production can become a major investment of time and energy. Because any video that’s more creative will probably involve thrashing out a concept, writing a script, re-shooting parts that don’t quite work, and so on. Bearing in mind that the team in a typical SME have zero background in video production, all that can be painfully slow.

2. Good video content is hard to produce

Even when companies do invest some time, there’s no guarantee that the results will be what you’d hoped for. Take a look at this YouTube ad for a shopping mall in Missouri:

Now, here’s a video that would rapidly wear out its welcome. But it’s not without a certain cheesy charm, and after two viewings, we were singing along with, “Ha-ir-cut!” which at least means that we remembered it! In fact, with it’s so-bad-it’s-good appeal, this particular ad quickly went viral.

However, that’s not what usually happens. Mostly, poor marketing videos sink without a trace. Social media is a treasure trove of unwatched and unloved home-grown company videos. Without solid ideas, editing, camerawork, sound and delivery, no one wants to watch them.

Again, this isn’t from lack of effort, it’s just that competent video production requires a skill-set that’s unlikely to be present in a smaller company.

So, do video well — or not at all?

Knowing that video is time-consuming and hard to get right, smaller companies are left with a burning question. Should they just have a go, or leave it alone? In other words, if they’re not certain they can do it well, should they do it at all?

In our view, the answer depends on the type of video the company wants. As we’ve seen, simple ‘how-to’ videos don’t necessarily need high production values. Likewise, there’s little point in sweating over clips of your team’s charity run or their Christmas greetings. In fact, audiences expect these to be informal.

However, it’s when a company is trying to communicate something substantial about its brand, staff, ethos or a specific service that it needs to be cautious. For this sort of output, the audience expectations will be considerably higher. It’s here that, like a poor website, a terrible video can do more harm than good. It risks making the company look unprofessional or even clownish.

Outsourcing to the rescue?

The benefits of social media video are immense, but we’ve seen that the skills gap creates considerable problems. One possible solution is therefore to outsource video production.

Many small companies balk at this idea, imagining they will need Hollywood budgets to achieve anything. The truth is that, as with any service, prices can vary enormously. With some judicious shopping around, SMEs can often find a production company within their means. And of course, the costs of outsourcing have to be weighed against the costs of carrying out the filming in-house.

In addition, a good video production service will act as another pair of eyes, helping you to look at your campaign in different ways.

As more companies are using video on social media, standards (and expectations) are rising, so we anticipate that outsourcing can only grow in popularity as the ideal solution.


MV Marketing specialise in meeting the marketing needs of small and medium size companies. We’re a small team dedicated to providing SMEs with affordable, professional, flexible marketing solutions. Our services include event management, strategy and planning services, social media management, video production and photography. Contact our super-friendly team today with your enquiry.