Expanding Your Toolkit for Video Success
Forget YouTube. OK, maybe not just yet. YouTube is still synonymous with online videos. It still is the place to host videos for most people. But there are many other kids on block. Think Wistia and Vidyard.
Video hosting platforms aren’t the only tools you need in your video marketing toolkit: you also need tools to help you create videos (both pre-recorded and live) and tools to get those videos out in front of your ideal audience. We’re talking video creation tools, video hosting platforms and social media management platforms. Those are the three main components of a good toolkit for video success.
In this post, we’ll go over the best tools you can have in your video marketing toolkit.
But before we get into it, there are some foundational questions you should ask yourself to avoid wasting money and time on tools you don’t need (even if they sound really cool).
Foundational Questions To Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Video Marketing Tool
There are some key questions you need to ask, to figure out which tools you need in your video marketing toolkit:
Why are you using video?
Before you even start creating videos, you need to get to the heart of what the purpose of your video marketing is.
For example, is the aim to educate your audience about a particular topic, to highlight your products or services, or to share industry news?
If you don’t establish why you’re creating videos from the get-go, you’ll just be playing whack-a-mole with various tools that won’t help you to reach your goals.
How much time are you willing to put in?
You don’t necessarily have to be a full-time blogger to have success with videos. Videos will likely just be a part of your marketing strategy, like it is for many businesses.
Although you don’t need to spend all day making videos, thanks to Lumen5 (you can create videos in under 5 minutes!), it is important that you understand how much time you can realistically set aside in your schedule to consistently create good videos.
Let’s say you have an hour a week to create videos, you can use the first week of the month to outline your topics and select the content you’d like to turn into videos. You can then use the next three weeks creating videos in batches. Since you can quickly create videos with Lumen5, you can create at least 5 videos in a one hour session.
Even if your current schedule is hectic, you’ll be able to find an opportunity to create at least one Lumen5 video every week. You may not even have to shift a few things around to make video a priority.
It’s important to remember that video is amazing for long-term SEO success so you’ll be able to reap the benefits long after you’ve published your videos. It’s worth the time.
Do your customers like video?
Are your ideal customers or clients likely to watch your video? Perhaps, they don’t like watching video as much. Or perhaps they prefer live videos so they can interact with other viewers?
Your customer/client preferences should determine which video platform, video format and distribution tools you use.
What is your budget?
Luckily, tools like Lumen5 make it possible to get started with video on a small or no budget. We are not saying that video production isn’t important, however, big and small brands alike use video automation tools to create high-quality engaging videos.
Perhaps down the line, when you’re ready to make a hefty investment in video, you can purchase good quality video equipment to achieve any video goals that you can’t achieve with video software.
Alright, let’s get to it now. Here are the top video marketing tools you should consider adding to your toolkit.
Video Creation Tools
Adding video (particularly short ones) to your content mix produces higher engagement, more interest in your products and services, greater brand loyalty, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. You already know all this stuff.
What you may not know is there are tools that can help you to easily create unique animated and live videos, i.e. webinars; to help your brand stand out from the competition.
The two we recommend are Canva (for animated videos) and Demio (for webinars).
Canva has been the go-to graphic design tool for many businesses for years. It is used by individuals and marketers of all tiers to make eye-catching flyers, social media posts, postcards, business cards and much more.
Well…Canva now has an animator to help you create really cool GIFs and animations.
The Canva Animator enables users to create beautiful and fun(ny) animated posts. The process is quite simple, especially for brands that are already accustomed to using Canva. Even if you’ve never used Canva or any other graphic design software, you will find it easy to use.
You can download the animation in GIF or movie format depending on where you’d like to post it.
The Canva Animator is available for a fee of $9.95/month, billed yearly. They offer a 30-day free trial if you wanna try it out first 🙂
Webinar marketing is essential for both B2B and B2C marketing efforts. Webinars are especially vital to growing your email list (the only marketing asset you actually own and have control over, forever).
Webinar marketing platforms enable you to delve deeper into topics that concern your audience. In doing so, they give you a chance to build a more personal relationship with your prospects and build your brand as a place that people can come to for important information.
OK, now on to Demio. Demio is a slick webinar platform that provides all the necessary tools to run both auto and live webinars. It automatically records your webinars so that you can share your webinar with those that missed out on it.
Perhaps the neatest feature is what Demio likes to call “Like Live Replays” — an automated webinar. Users can set up their webinars to run automatically so they can spend less time presenting and more on running other parts of their video marketing campaigns.
Demio also offers some pretty awesome tools to help market your webinar. They provide multimedia, interactive features and customizable options for your registration and thank you pages. You can brand your registration page to keep things consistent with your brand.
Other neat features include the “Stay registered” series which allows people to sign up only once for an ongoing webinar series; and interactive polls to engage your audience further.
Demio provides in-depth analytics of your webinar performance. That way, you can measure the effectiveness of your webinar campaigns and access key actionable insights to make your next campaign even better.
Image credit: Demio
Demio has four tier plans: Starter (for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs at $34/month), Growth (for small businesses at $69/month), Business (for growing organizations at $163/month) and Enterprise (for large organizations at a custom price). You can also take advantage of their 14-day free trial to see if it’s right for you.
Video Hosting Platforms
Why do you need a video hosting platform in your video marketing toolkit?
Save Some Space, Host Videos Externally
Hosting your videos externally is the best way to keep your site speedy and avoid bandwidth issues. Additionally, many video hosting platforms provide extra benefits to ensure that your video is a success.
Most video hosting platforms, like the ones we will mention in this article, provide a bunch of extra features (analytics tools, software integrations and more) to ensure that your video achieves the success you want it to.
If you’re a small business or startup and you’re just starting off with video marketing, these options are for you.
It is important to note that some of these are third-party services, meaning that they aren’t social networks or communities where you search and explore videos like you can on YouTube and Vimeo. They however offer better services when it comes to video management and analytics.
Wistia is a video hosting platform that can be used by any business that needs video content for their site, marketing, sales and support. If you want to drive traffic to your site, increase your conversions and engagement on your owned channels, Wistia is a good solution for that.
They have a customizable video player that is quite clean and sleek. Videos upload pretty quickly, and can be viewed as a smooth stream by viewers (buffering will not be an issue users have to worry about, even on mobile).
Wistia also provides in-depth analytics to give you an aggregated view of your video’s performance. You can even narrow analytics down to an individual email address and see that person’s viewing activity.
Let’s discuss their analytics tool a bit more — it’s pretty awesome!
Wistia provides heat maps and engagement graphs to give you an idea of how your audience is consuming your content. A heat map is generated for every view, detailing which parts of the video the viewer watched, skipped and re-watched. This information helps you better understand what information viewers are interested in and what content drives them to keep watching.
Image credit: Wistia
On top of that, you have access to Trend Charts, which track the performance of your entire video library. Additionally, there are features that enable you to insert email capturing and call to actions directly within your video — perfect ways to increase lead generation and drive potential customers to your website.
However, you may not want to host your social videos on Wistia or any other content whose purpose is to increase reach for your brand. If awareness and reach is your goal, go with YouTube. By the way, Wistia said that , we didn’t 🙂
Here’s one of our videos we host on Wistia:
Wistia runs on a subscription-based pricing model where you pay a flat rate fee per month for a certain number of videos; and get charged for any videos beyond that limit. More specifically, they have a free plan which allows 3 video uploads and 200GB bandwidth per month. When you exceed that cap, you incur a charge of $0.25 cents per video/month on pro plan, or your video becomes unavailable on a free plan.
It is important to note that if your video goes viral, being on the right plan will keep a hefty bill at bay.
Vidyard is an all-in-one video hosting platform for businesses of all sizes. Their aim is to help businesses manage and leverage videos to the best of their advantage at all stages (from the initial upload to hosting to analytics).
You can also think of it as a video customer relationship management system (CRM) as it offers lead generation features; like adding email address fields, pop-outs or final CTAs to videos. Those features enable you to collect key user information. In addition to generating leads, it allows you to nurture those leads so you can convert them into sales.
Notable features that may interest you are their A/B testing of thumbnails (to test and view the effectiveness of multiple thumbnails) and their detailed analytics reporting. For example, you have access to the viewing history of each of your viewers and how they engaged with your video. That information is critical to honing your video content and marketing campaigns.
That’s good stuff! But perhaps the biggest appeal of Vidyard is the integrations. They integrate with many third party marketing services like Hootsuite and Marketo, enabling you to track your user behavior and match that to sales.
Unlike other video hosting sites, Vidyard offers custom plans that are perfectly fitted to each business. We’re assuming that pricing structure is put in place so businesses need not pay for features they never use or do not want.
The downside however is that the monthly plans are a lot more expensive than other options on this list. You have to request a custom quote to get an idea of how much they’d charge you. Custom plans average around $1,500 a month which is a fairly significant investment.
However, that investment could provide greater value than other options. It’s up to you to figure out how much you’re willing to spend on a hosting platform. If Vidyard’s extra features and tools are what you need to close more sales, it could be worth it.
YouTube is the most popular video hosting platform on this list, boasting about 1.5 billion active users per month. Some famous people you know used it to launch their careers!
It is also the second largest search engine after Google — YouTube videos are actually shown at the top of Google search result pages. So the potential SEO value of optimized videos makes it an attractive video hosting platform.
The biggest draw of YouTube is that it is a community. A community where people subscribe to your channel for new video updates and a community where you can make extra money for your business through the Ads platform.
Another draw is that YouTube makes sharing easy. (It is a community after all :))
You can easily embed YouTube videos into your site or landing pages, as we have done here, below. You can create playlists of related videos which helps your audience to consume more of your content continuously. You can also share your videos on other social media platforms.
The problem with YouTube is that you don’t have full control over your videos. For example, you can’t control access to your videos. You only have three options: public (anyone can view), unlisted (your video is available to anyone who has the link or it’s embedded somewhere) and private (only available to those you grant access). You can enable or disable embedding but have no say in where the video gets embedded.
Keep in mind that if you embed a YouTube video on your site or landing pages, ads may play during your video and cause distractions for your viewers. Similarly, another distraction comes up at the end of the video with “suggested videos.”
Another deterrent is analytics. Their analytics tool is minimal compared to the Wistia and Vidyard, but to be fair, It is enough to help you improve your content and get a better understanding of your target audience.
Overall, YouTube is fine for general marketing videos but if you want to create exclusive content or have control over where your videos are played, you can find better video hosting platforms.
But hey, YouTube is free for both you and your viewers!
That’s it for video hosting platforms. We covered the options that we can attest to and recommend, but there are many others that may work well for you. Do some research and choose the right option that meets your current and future business needs.
Social Media Management Platforms
You need to effectively manage your online interactions and video content across all your social media channels. Indeed, social media management is more than just posting your videos to your social media profiles: you need to engage with your audience while looking for new opportunities to increase your reach and visibility.
Enter Buffer, Hootsuite and Later.
Buffer’s video hosting service, Buffer for Video, is an automation tool that enables you to upload, schedule and share your videos from one place to all your social channels.
It is actually one of the first platforms to enable video scheduling to all big social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram). You simply upload your videos in Buffer and share it everywhere. That’s the appealing thing about Buffer — its upload-once-post-everywhere capability that focuses on efficiency.
You get access to in-depth video analytics, like you do your posts (if you’re familiar with Buffer) so you can see the impact of video on your social media marketing efforts.
You’re however restricted to a 1GB video file size in mp4, mov. and avi formats.
Buffer currently offers a free subscription and four paid plans: Starter Pro ($15/month), Small Business ($99/month), Medium Business ($199/month) and Large Business ($399/month). The free plan is incredibly limited as you can only keep a few posts (including videos) scheduled at a given time; can only share to three social accounts; and you don’t get any analytics. The business plans offer a lot more, with extremely detailed analytics on all your social channels.
Hootsuite is arguably the best-known social media management platform, particularly among small to midsize businesses. It has remained top in an increasingly crowded market due to its core features, its built-in social listening, publishing and integration capabilities.
Similar to Buffer, Hootsuite has video integrations with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The integrations allow users to schedule across those social media channels straight from Hootsuite, via a clean and user-friendly publishing interface.
Image credit: Hootsuite
In terms of analytics, Hootsuite provides many ways to slice and dice data in meaningful ways. It does that through detailed reports which are built from several analytic modules. You can also use those modules to create customized reports or choose one of Hootsuite’s report templates. The analytics reports provide all the data you need to see how your social marketing efforts are coming along and areas you need to work on. You can even get some competitive analysis.
There are four subscription tiers for Hootsuite: Professional (for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs at $19/month), Team (for small business teams at $99/month), Business (for larger small to midsize businesses at $599/month) and Enterprise (for large business, organization and government at a custom quote).
The video integrations are available to all Hootsuite customers but the plans differ in features and capabilities. Read through each to figure out which one is most suitable to your business needs.
Hootsuite offers a 30-day free trial for all but Enterprise plans. Try it out and see if it’s right for you.
Later is another robust social media scheduling tool for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. They say their platform is used by “600,000 of the world’s top brands, agencies and influencers.” So it’s quite popular but is it the right tool for you?
Later is marketed as a tool that enables businesses to schedule content to Instagram — you can schedule videos to other social channels but they market their Instagram content management capabilities. Perhaps because third-party solutions which publish directly to Instagram are prohibited by the platform.
Tools like Later allow brands to schedule Instagram content with quite a smart workaround. Users plan and schedule their posts in advance and are sent text notifications when it is time to post. Since Instagram only allows publishing via mobile, the technique abides by their best practices.
Later’s scheduling tool has an intuitive calendar layout: users simply drag and drop their content (posts and videos) into the time slot they’d like the content to be posted.
Image credit: Later
Additional features include real-time post previews, basic analytics and hashtag curation. Later essentially offers just enough features to help brands save time publishing to Instagram; and to also unearth opportunities to optimize their posts.
They offer a Free Forever Plan that allows you to schedule up to 30 photo posts (that’s a post a day, woohoo!), but no video (booooo!), for one social account per month. The paid plans start at $9/month going to $49/month for unlimited posts (including video) for up to 5 social profiles.
Expand Your Video Toolkit
Video marketing is here to stay. It is actually getting bigger. And the bigger it gets, the more tools there are to help you create, publish and share your videos. All in all, you have no excuses when it comes to launching a video marketing campaign.
So, if you use or want to use video to promote your brand, use this article to help expand your video marketing toolkit. Most of the platforms we highlighted here are pretty pretty cool. However, cool isn’t enough. You need to choose a platform that aligns with your marketing goals. So choose wisely.
Tell us, what tools do you currently have in your video marketing toolkit?