Social Video Marketing for Any Budget: A Guide to Costs, Options, & Process

Yael Klass
By Yael Klass
April 15, 2019 · 15 min read

If you were to guess, how much social media video content do you think people view around the world a day?

Our recent Online Video Watching Habits study discovered that on Facebook alone, 8 billion views happen every single day. To put that number in perspective, (assuming those views are only a few seconds long) that equates to 760 years worth of social media videos being watching each day.

Facebook Video Views per Day

Jaw dropping, right? And that’s just the data from a single platform.

Social video is no longer just a YouTube “thing.”

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and now even Pinterest and LinkedIn have recognized that video marketing was a trend worth investing in.

In the course of a few short years, we’ve seen Facebook and Instagram both integrate Stories into their features. Following that success, both have taken a leap forward with additional features like FB Watch and IGTV.

Today, we are living in a gold rush of social media video marketing, and we can’t ignore the opportunity to take full advantage of it.

While most marketers recognize the need to add video-based content to their marketing strategy, they also are usually met with a few drawbacks:

    1. Long-term upkeep. There are many marketing channels, from social media to email marketing (check out these 6 great email marketing services) to YouTube, that each requires a unique type of video for their platform. Paired with the high content demand for each channel, the upkeep can turn out to be quite a challenge. Just to give you an idea of what we mean, let’s imagine you set your goal to film and publish two videos a week—one for Instagram and one for Facebook or YouTube. That means you’ll be creating 104 videos in a year! While prep time for filming and editing vary, you can expect to spend about one to three hours per video before it’s ready to be published. For most busy brands, that’s WAY too much to manage.
  1. Resources. Constantly creating videos can become a costly endeavor that stretches even a healthy marketing budget thin. If your company is just starting out with creating video content, it can be a rocky road figuring out how best to delegate those resources to get good results.
  2. Time. Money aside, there’s also the resource of your time. Many who try to incorporate video without an in-house video strategist usually find that creating social videos can be a huge time-suck.

We know that every business is different, but if you’ve dabbled in video marketing, you’ve probably faced one or more of these challenges. While these problems can create some sticking points, we want to make sure that it doesn’t hold you back from taking advantage of this marketing phenomenon.

That’s why we put together an overview of the most popular options for video production along with the pros, cons and general cost. We want to give you a better idea of what is available and what could be the best option for you.

Feel like seeing it for yourself? Use our Video Production Cost Estimator to get a good idea of the potential costs of YOUR videos.

Social Video Option #1: Hire a professional video production company

Outsourcing your social media video production can be done if you have the budget for it. One of the upsides to hiring-out your video is that you’re most likely going to end up with a high-quality video; the look and feel will be better than walking around filming a video with a smartphone. There are a lot of variables as to how a video production company will go about their process and what they’ll charge you for their services.

Here’s a general idea of what you can expect from this route:

The (general) process for getting a professional video made

Whether the company you choose calls themselves a Video Production Company or a Video Marketing Agency, every company worth the investment has a production process.

This process may vary a bit from one company to the next, but you’ll find that many are similar to that of the award-winning video production company, T60 Productions.

How to Hire a Video Marketing Company

  1. Planning. Before anything, you need a concept for your video(s). Starting with a concept plan meeting allows you and the production company to get on the same page so they can capture your goals and vision and bring it to life in your video. This is also the preliminary meeting where you’re likely to find out the cost and decide if you can fit into your marketing budget.
  2. Pre-Production. The concept planning is useful for many reasons, including giving the production company a better understanding of what will they need for the process, including equipment, the number of shots and possibly a script. For the scriptwriting portion, it might be smart for them to team up with your company’s copywriter to truly capture the voice of your brand. They may also be in touch to show you a storyboard so you can get an idea of what the end product will look like.
  3. Video Shoot. With concepts and preparations under their belt, the filming can finally get underway. Depending on the requirements for the video, filming could be done in a day or may need to be spread out over a few days in order to capture all the shots needed.
  4. Post-Production. This is where the magic comes to life. The video production company takes the content from the shoot and starts to craft your video. This part takes up a big chunk of time and there are a lot of technical things that need to happen in order to edit and craft the video into a product worth seeing.

The most important deliverable you’ll walk away with is the finished version of your video. However, you can expect to receive all the raw files, various graphics and perhaps shorter clips for the same video for your social platforms.

How much does it cost to hire a professional video company?

The honest (if disappointing) answer to how much this type of video production cost is, well, it varies. The length of the shoot, the hours spent in post-production, the type of video (explainer video versus a commercial) and how many videos you would want or need for your campaigns all play a part in the final price.

With that being said, it’s common for these agencies to charge you a day rate. For instance, if a video production company charged a day rate of $1,500 with an estimated the production of 5 days (this would include everything from start to finished product) then the cost would be $7,000 for the finished product.

We know, we know, but don’t let that number scare you off. This is just to give you an idea of what to expect. Really, the best way to know what this option would cost your company is to research video production companies and ask for a quote.

Benefits of hiring a professional video company

  • All the heavy lifting is done for you. It’s nice to be able to hand off a project to someone else who will hustle to get it done. This option provides you with an almost entirely hands-off approach which can be nice when you’re busy running other important factors of a company.
  • High-quality content. In a world where the digital diet leans toward love for good video, quality carries a lot of power. And quality is more than just a good “look” on the screen. It also entails good storytelling that some production companies do very well.  

Drawbacks to hiring a professional video company

  • Cost. Perhaps the biggest catch to this option is the price tag that usually comes along with it.
  • It’s ill-suited for long-term video creation. The reality is that for social media video marketing to work, you need to be creating A LOT of content for a long time with a strategy behind all of it. Considering the cost for a single video can easily run up the bill a few thousand dollars, this makes hiring out your entire social video marketing strategy to a company like this a bust.

To be completely honest, it’s almost impossible to justify this option since it doesn’t fit the social media needs of most businesses’ video marketing strategy.

Social Video Option #2: In-house video production

Another popular option for social video creation is to do it all in-house.

This generally entails hiring someone to fill this role as the company’s Video Marketing Specialist, Producer or something of the like. But again, this option isn’t cheap either. Depending on your location and the scope of the position, the salary can vary.

(Image Source: Glassdoor)

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for a Video Marketing Specialist is just shy of $54,000. But as the scope and responsibilities of the job change, some salaries can go as high at $128,000.

And that’s not all. There are other costs incurred here too. There is the cost of editing software, cameras, lenses, lighting, and various digital assets like music licensing, to name a few. And the prices of each vary wildly.

The upside with this is that you’re going to end up with someone who will eventually be extremely familiar with your brand voice and dedicated to crafting any type of video you may need. Another perk is that they also bring some creative power to your marketing sales teams.

Unfortunately, according to the McKinley Marketing Partners 2018 Marketing Trends E-Book, while the demands for creative and marketing talents are on the rise, the talent pool is dangerously shallow.

So if you want to find the perfect person to bring on the team, you could be in quite a long wait and that means your video needs are going to have to be put on the back burner.

How much does it cost to hire in-house?

The actual cost here can vary so it’s almost impossible to come up with an exact number. But, to give you a better idea, we compiled a rough estimate of the costs to expect.

How Much Does Video Production Cost

However, you should take into account that this doesn’t include other expenses like the new hire’s health insurance, the marketing budget for promoting video content and other indirect expenses. What we did cover is the estimated costs for an annual salary, camera equipment, and tools you need to create good social media videos.  These numbers are just to give a basic idea of what sort of expenses you could be looking at with this option so remember to take it with a grain of salt.

Benefits of hiring an in-house video specialist

  • All those videos you need can finally get made. With someone at your disposal to constantly churn out this content to help power your marketing and revenue, you can finally move forward in successfully incorporating social media videos into your strategy.

Drawbacks of hiring an in-house video specialist

  • Still an expensive route that not every company is ready for. Each company is at different stages and may not have the resources to undertake a new hire which makes this an option they’ll be forced to skip for the time being.
  • Talent is hard to come by. Depending on your criteria for the role, you could be on the hunt for your company unicorn.

Social Video Option #3: Shooting in-house video

If the above two options don’t work for your company, don’t fret – you’ve got more options.

Thanks to the leaps and bounds that smartphone cameras have taken in recent years, you can still create simple video clips directly on your phone.  Especially now that platforms like Instagram have features that let you quickly share Stories from your phone or start an Instagram Live to engage with your audience there. Of course, this means that you will need to delegate this responsibility and allocate the time to someone. If you’re a small team, you could even share the responsibility amongst all of you.

This might seem like amateur hour, but you can actually do more than you think, from recording content, editing and publishing to reporting back on the ROI. But while this is definitely a cost-effective approach, there are things to take into account.

Let’s start with the time factor: Editing content can take a lot of time, especially for someone who isn’t an expert in the field.  When the designated employee has other priorities, it may cause your in-house video productions to fall behind and your social media strategy loses consistency.

How much will it cost to create videos in-house with no additional hires?

As you can imagine, this option doesn’t cost nearly as much as the others on the list. While there are some costs, it’s pretty manageable.  You can expect to spend money on editing software (Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, etc.) as well as music licensing, mobile lenses and mics. You could reasonably be looking at an annual spend of $1,500+.

Not too shabby. (*wink*)

Benefits of creating your own video content in-house

  • Most companies can afford it. This is a much more cost-effective option that almost any size company can do. Considering that almost everyone owns a smartphone, capturing video content is easier than ever. As for the quality of the video… well, that’s another thing entirely.
  • It can be better than no video at all. You’ve got to start somewhere and this can be a great way to help your brand start utilizing video to your benefit. If you need some tips and inspiration, be sure to read our blog post How To Get Started With Video Marketing: 13 Industry Experts Share Their Top Tips. Another great resource for mobile video and how to get started is the Moment YouTube channel where they give helpful advice for creating mobile videos.

Drawbacks a creating your own video content in-house

  • The end product can be underwhelming. Your videos should be engaging; they should hook you in with some sort of story arch that makes it worth watching.  Smartphone videos often lack key elements, such as music and transitions, which can mean that you’re creating some pretty bland content. That’s not to say that simple smartphone video should never be used, but it’s important that quality is not sacrificed for quantity. (<– Read that again. It’s important.)
  • Not all the content you need can be created. Without the right technical skills and talent, you likely won’t be able to create all the video-based social media content that you would need.
  • You need to make all your content from scratch. In most respects, this isn’t a bad thing. But when you’re short on time, creating content from scratch just means it’s less likely to get made.

Social Video Option #4 – Using a DIY video content creation platform

This option is a pretty decent choice and it’s one that many smaller companies settle for.

However, some of all the pain points felt by small companies the biggest is likely walking the fine line between lack of resources and a need for quality content. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the case if you supplement your in-house video creation with a do-it-yourself video creation platform.

Platforms like Promo provide ready-made footage so you don’t need to hire expensive talent or skimp on quality. It also offers a music and font library so you can professionally personalize your content to match your brand voice.

How much will it cost to use a DIY video creation platform?

Taking into consideration that this option covers most of what the second and third option offer, the cost of this route is rather low. Various tools have different prices, but most are pretty straightforward with no hidden Plans & PricingOur most popular pricing tier is $69 per month because teams find that with all the built-in content library, they can save money on purchasing other video assets.

Benefits of DIY video creation platforms

  • No professional team or technical training needed. These editors are much easier to use than video editing software like Final Cut Pro – which means more time creating videos.
  • More video styles at your disposal. You can create varied videos and crop them to the dimensions that work on different social platforms including Stories, Pinterest and Instagram.
  • Get more types of videos and video-based ads made. You don’t have to start from scratch. You can use ready-made clips and licensed music that works for your brand.

Drawbacks of going the DIY route

  • Someone needs to do the work. You still need to personalize the videos for your brand. Since you’re not hiring this out, you either need to take this on yourself or delegate to another employee. But since a video creation tool makes this part of it pretty simple and time-efficient, it’s a fairly minor drawback.

You can grow with social media video no matter what your budget is

Whether your brand is just starting out or you’re a more established company, don’t let the cost of creating social media videos hold you back from jumping on the video bandwagon.

As we’ve seen from this article, there are a lot of viable options out there that you can work no matter the budget. Consider what things you are not willing to skimp on, and what you are willing to give up in order to stay within your budget.

Create Your Social Media Video Right Now!

About the author

Yael Klass

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