Video marketing

5 Video Marketing Trends Every Small Business Should Try

The importance of video marketing has been steadily growing as the popularity of YouTube, Snapchat and other video-focused platforms surface. Marketers have found that video is engaging (65 percent of viewers watch more than three-quarters of a video) and can be used across all social platforms to boost impressions, likes and more.

The best part about video content is that businesses of all shapes and sizes can use it. Startups don’t need a large budget to make videos that drive engagement and brand impressions. In many cases, a cell phone and a social media platform is all you need.

Dive into video marketing with the five ideas below! They’re listed in order from least expensive to most expensive, so you can start small and make your way to the big-budget ideas.

Facebook Live

Facebook has seen 400 percent growth in livestreaming since implementing Facebook Live features to all of its users in May of 2016.

If your business is not using Facebook Live, it’s time to get on board. There are many benefits to using this video platform, including:

  • Facebook’s 23 billion daily active users. Using the newest features that Facebook rolls out ensures that you’re doing everything you possibly can to reach potential customers on the platform
  • Users are notified when someone they’re following goes live, making it easy to tune in. Even if they don’t stay and watch your video, the brand impressions that come with seeing your name in their notification bar is valuable on its own
  • Facebook Live is an easy way to engage with customers in real-time. During the video, you can ask questions and respond to comments, which users ask while you’re live

If you’re ready to give Facebook Live a go, follow these simple steps during your first video:

  • Choose a topic that has a clear purpose. I.e., promote a new product, give a live tour of your offices or reveal big news that you’ve been promoting
  • Find a quiet place (unless you’re doing an office tour, for example) so people can hear you
  • Plan for no one to tune in to your first, fifth or tenth live video, and know that that’s okay. You’ll likely still see a boost in engagement after the live video has ended anyway, which is valuable
  • Download the video and upload it on Instagram or YouTube; re-purpose the content wherever possible in order to drive more followers and engagement, while boosting the attendance of your next live video

Related: Q&A with Video Marketing Expert Lou Bortone

Instagram Stories

I love using Instagram Stories for my fitness business. Not only is it a fun way to engage with followers, but it also helps build brand impressions when your story appears at the top of everyone’s feed.

Here’s what you need to know about Instagram stories:

  • There are four types of recording options: live, normal, boomerang and hands-free. Explore what these are and how they can each be valuable to your brand
  • Instagram Stories are similar to Snapchat in that they only last for 24 hours, making them a great way to deliver flash sales or exclusive, last-minute offers or content
  • Instagram may feature your story at the top of the Discovery page. These are featured stories that are generating a significant amount of views and engagement. If you already have a large following on Instagram, you may be featured, which is another chance to grow your page and build brand awareness

As a small business, there are many ways to use Instagram Stories to your advantage, such as:

  • Hold a flash sale or a sale that’s exclusive to Instagram. Use a regular Instagram post to point people to your Stories
  • Try an influencer takeover, which is like a regular Instagram takeover, where an influencer “posts” on behalf of your business all day. This helps you get in front of the influencer’s audience, broadening your reach in an authentic manner
  • Unveil a new product or service on Instagram Stories. Download the video and share to Facebook and upload as a regular Instagram post to get the most mileage out of it

Sharing video in emails

This small addition to your email may not seem important, but video in email caused a 200 to 300 percent increase in click-thrus, as reported by HubSpot. Sharing or embedding video into your marketing emails is simple and easy with nearly every email marketing platform.

The challenge is finding the best video for each email. When choosing your videos, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make your content relevant: make sure the video is closely related to the email. Don’t post a cat video just because it’s funny—make sure your content is brand relevant
  • Get personal: in order to personalize your content and deliver it to your audience in an interesting manner, include a message from your startup’s founder or another employee
  • Source videos from everywhere: when promoting your own videos, don’t just hold yourself to produced marketing videos. Make sure you’re saving every Facebook Live, Instagram story and Snapchat video so they can be repurposed as marketing material in your emails

Pro tip: test placement and types of video, and track your metrics closely. Slowly you’ll build a blueprint for what drives the most click-thrus and engagement.

YouTube video ads

YouTube is an important platform for small business video marketing right now, based on sheer numbers alone:

“YouTube has over 1 billion users. If just one percent of them are online at any given time, that’s 10 million people watching these videos. And that means those YouTube advertisements are reaching 10 million pairs of eyes at just that given time,” Eric Slu of Single Grain said.

Instead of just posting videos on your YouTube channel and forgetting about them, take it a step further and create a video ad. These videos are shown to users before another video starts—you’ve likely seen them before, and in some cases you can “click to continue in three seconds.”

Your startup should be vying to get a piece of the pie because users want more video, and 36 percent of consumers trust this form of advertising.

Not to mention, on average, the top 1,000 channels on YouTube generate $23K in ad revenue.

Here’s what you need to know as you venture into YouTube video ads:

  • Make the first few seconds count, as these are the most critical. If you choose to allow people to click past your ad after a few seconds, you want to make an impression before they do so
  • Keep the length to 30 seconds or less, which is the optimal length for keeping viewers’ attention while being clear with your message
  • Include a call-to-action every single time. They just watched your video, you have them engaged, so now what?

Related: Sign up to receive the StartupNation newsletter!


Drone video is becoming more popular and realistic for small businesses, as the final product is often captivating and provides viewers with a different view of the world around them.

Paul Moore of Smith Mountain Homes used drone footage to boost the appeal of his real estate website.

“Our goal was to build the best lakefront realty website in America. We saw that video was in, and thought, we’re selling an experience, we’re selling a dream, we’re selling a beautiful lakefront mountain resort—Smith Mountain Homes is Virginia’s best kept secret so we decided to do drone video. I worked with a friend, paid him in advance for the whole shoot. The website now comes to life with a gorgeous video shot by a drone,” Moore said.

No matter the industry, small businesses can create engaging drone video for website and social media sharing content. Capture the landscapes that surround your business, the bustle of people at an annual event or the cool new location for your business.

Video marketing summary

Small businesses shouldn’t shy away from video marketing. With zero dollars in the budget, you can still create Facebook Live and Instagram Stories, and then repurpose that video content in email campaigns, on YouTube and more. Consider what you have time and money for and start testing.

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