Video archives concept.

Video marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote your business or organization. According to the State of Video Marketing 2018 report by Wizowl, 97% of marketers say video helped increase consumers’ understanding of their product or service, and 76% said it increased sales.

Beyond this, about one-third of all content consumed online today is video and about 72% of consumers prefer to learn about products and services through video rather than text. Most marketers know that “Content is King”—and now, more than ever, the content most likely to engage your customers is video.

Lucky for you, you don’t need a professional videographer or expensive equipment to make effective videos—a simple smartphone and free editing apps will do. A couple of months ago, to promote a music-streaming service, I corralled a few coworkers into creating a short action video montage of their feet dancing. I pieced the video clips together in a free video-editing app, added some open-source music, and voilà—our company’s new Facebook video ad (which only took about one hour to film and edit) received about twice as much engagement as our previously static verbal-and-image ad.

Here are a few ways you can easily promote your business with videos:

Facebook Live: Facebook videos receive about eight billion views a day and get significantly more social engagement than YouTube, according to AdEspresso—a Facebook ad-testing platform. Facebook Live, introduced in 2016, allows you to broadcast and interact with your customers in real-time, garnering instant comments, likes, and questions. Facebook’s algorithm also favors live broadcasts, giving you a nice boost in your customer’s News Feeds.

To start, host an “ask-me-anything” broadcast where customers can ask your team and/or owner questions in real-time, broadcast a cool company event—like a product launch, volunteer event, conference, home showing, etc. Or share a behind-the-scenes look at your company or operations.

Instagram: Instagram’s one billion users watch 60% more video on the platform than they did one year ago, according to Fast Company. In 2016, Instagram increased its 15-second video limit to 60 seconds. And in September 2018, to capitalize on the rise of video marketing, they launched Instagram TV (IGTV), which allows users to upload long-form, vertical videos as long as 60 minutes. Use Instagram videos to tease new products, share short tutorials, and offer candid team interviews.

A few tips:

Use humor and stickers to humanize your brand. VidMob’s State of Social Video 2018 report found that users prefer funny content.

Instagram videos are muted by default, so make sure there’s movement and/or text within the first few seconds to capture your followers’ attention.

Ask for user-generated content by encouraging your followers to post their own videos with a custom hashtag.

Since Instagram is a mobile platform, shoot your videos vertically so they fill the screen.

If you’d like your video to hit the top of your customers’ feeds (as opposed to being pushed down by Instagram’s algorithm), use Instagram Stories. These 15-second video clips or photos disappear after 24 hours, although you can save your favorites to your profile as a “Story Highlight.” Instagram Stories have become incredibly popular, with about 400 million daily users—up from 300 million, or 33% more than about one year ago, according to Social Media Today.

YouTube: The behemoth of all video marketing platforms, YouTube is less about short, candid updates like Instagram and Snapchat thrive on, and more about long-form videos with a longer shelf-life. YouTube is the second most popular search engine behind Google, so the platform’s one billion users rely increasingly on YouTube to answer questions (how-to, product information, etc.)—making it a great place to establish your product or service as their answer.

Create your YouTube channel to promote webinars, tutorial videos, product videos, interviews, and more. If you don’t have much time to create videos, break down one idea or topic into shorter videos to increase content, which also makes them more easily digestible for viewers.

Similar to Instagram and Facebook, YouTube’s algorithm controls what users see, so ask for likes, comments, and subscribers to boost your ranking.

Professional’s Tip: Get more bang for your buck by embedding or linking to YouTube videos from other marketing channels, such as your website, emails, or blogs.

Video Marketing Tools (mostly free)

Camtasia: This works great for tutorials and how-to videos ($249 for each license)

TechSmith Jing and Capture: TechSmith’s desktop and mobile apps offer easy screen recording (free).

iMovie: This desktop and mobile app helps you edit, animate, and add music to videos (free).

Splice: This mobile app works great for editing audio and video captured on your phone (free).

Ripl: Make professional animated videos from still photos (free for Basic, or $14.99 a month for Pro).

Animaker: Create animated videos from a library of pre-designed clips and graphics ($19-$59 a month).