5 Ways to Get Started with Short Video, Even If It Freaks You Out

Video is here. It's growing rapidly. It's engaging, grabs attention, attracts reach and drives traffic. 

But for many of us, the idea of being on camera FREAKS US OUT.  

If that's you, here are 5 easy ways to get over the hump and get started with short video… even if it freaks you out!

5 Ways to Get Started with Short Video even if the idea of it freaks you out
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5 Ways to Get Started with Short Video even if the idea of it freaks you out
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Image by Shutterstock


What is Short Video?

By short video, I am referring to video of 1-2 minutes in length – short, snappy, engaging and not the full, edited, professional quality longer-form video you might see on YouTube.

There's nothing wrong with the fancy schmancy YouTube videos – they are still a hugely important strategy if you are savvy with video, but this post is all about getting you started.

It's about getting you out of your comfort zone and not about you embarking on setting up a video production studio.

Short is short for a reason – it catches attention, takes advantage of short attention spans and encourages engagement.

Some Stats to Encourage you to Get Started with Short Video

These stats will blow your mind and (hopefully) convince you that video is worth getting to know.

Even. If. It. Freaks. You. Out.

Visual content as you know, catches attention, drives people to engage, and can result in traffic, shares and sales. Why?

  • We are 44% more likely to engage with content that contains visuals
  • Brands are now uploading more video directly to Facebook than they are uploading YouTube Videos (SocialBakers)
  • Of videos shared on Facebook, 80% of all engagement belongs to Facebook native video – it now beats YouTube, Vimeo and all other types of video on Facebook (SocialBakers)

Now,  I know that I am focusing on “short video” in this post but it's hard not to mention Periscope and Facebook Live with both of those platforms becoming so popular.

Even Snapchat is pseudo-live as you can post video snaps the second you have recorded them.

So… keep live video in mind as many of the tips in this post apply to live video as well. Live Video can also be repurposed in that the video can be saved to your camera for re-use or edited into short video later!

You can find out more about getting started with Periscope or live streaming here.  And many of the tips apply to Facebook Live too.

But back to short video, let's jump in:


5 Ways to Get Started with Short Video

… even if it freaks you out, and being in front of a camera is the last thing you want to do.

Hint:  Some of these tips involve you not being on camera at all!

1  Flip the Camera

One of the biggest reasons I see for freaking out (and believe me I have been there too!) is the idea of being on camera. We feel vulnerable, we feel exposed, there are so many factors we can't control.. The very idea can literally freak you out.

So, don't do it.

Wait… what?

I am not saying don't show yourself on camera… EVER. Just, don't do it to start with if it's hard for you. Instead, do this:

Flip the Camera away from you!  

Why not flip the camera and take us on a tour. Sometimes, making it about the location, a tour, a product, someone else can be just as effective as making it about you!

Other ways you can “flip the camera” are:

  • Un-box something!  Give a commentary as you do it!
  • Take us on a tour.  Hyperlapse (or the time lapse function on your phone) is a great tool for doing that.. show us around your office or take us around your city or town or even an event you are at.
  • Show us around your office.

2  Make it Short

If you are slightly freaking out about how to get started with short video then do this:  keep it short.

You don't have to create a 5 part mini-series with perfect lighting, intros, outros, and an original music score.

Guess what?

We love it short. We love it raw. We love it real.

You can relax.

If you are starting out and still freaking out, then start with 15 seconds of video on Instagram.  OK, so you don't HAVE to do 15 seconds anymore as Instagram is increasing the video time to 60 seconds.

So do 60 seconds instead.  It doesn't matter – it's all short!

Use the tips from 3 and 5 with this one – using your camera phone and taking advantage of mobile apps makes it SUPER easy to create short snippets of video.

And you can do the same on Facebook – Short, snappy video up to a minute in length is engaging and catches attention. And as I mentioned before, Facebook is giving it reach which means the attention of your fans!


3  Use your camera phone

Forget the high tech and use what is right in front of you – your camera phone!

Be raw, and again if you are not comfortable with being on camera, try some of these approaches to get started with short video:

  1. Find old footage on your phone and splice it into short video. You may already have some good footage you can use, but maybe you never felt comfortable sharing.
  2. Use Flipagram to create a video with images or short snippets of video you already have on your phone. You can find out more about Flipagram here and you can see examples of how it is used here.
  3. Film someone giving a testimonial or comment about your business if you are at an event. It's still related to your brand but you are not necessarily the one on camera or maybe you can hear your voice.
  4. Give a super quick tip – Show something and talk about the tip as you do it – it could be a great book, a tool, a hack or a process/procedure. Keep it short and use your camera. It's literally like looking over your shoulder for your fans! OR you can be face-to-camera to build your confidence. Still freaking out? Just make it one sentence – you can do a sentence, no sweat, and upload it to Twitter or Instagram where short video rocks!
5 Ways to Get Started with Short Video - Flipagram is great for making short video
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5 Ways to Get Started with Short Video - Flipagram is great for making short video
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Flipagram makes short video EASY!


4  Film a Video Thankyou or Message

It's surprising but very few people bother to film a great video hello or thankyou on Twitter, Instagram (via Direct Message) or Facebook.

If you want to stand out (and test the waters with a very small audience of 1 person) then send someone a short video.

Here's an example of a video thank you that caught my attention and resulted in me checking out the Lexus of Portland account and actually talking about them in some of my presentations!  It turns out they have a great Twitter account, not only showcasing their Lexus cars but the area of Portland itself, which is smart marketing).



5  Take advantage of Tools

The best part about short video is that there are SO many tools and mobile apps available to help you create content quickly – that looks great, requires minimal editing and is freaked-out-friendly (in that you don't have to be super efficient at creating video or happy to be on camera).

Here are a few tools to check out (and we have already mentioned Flipagram and Hyperlapse) (trust me, you will love them).

  1. If you want to take footage on your iPhone then be sure to check out Videohance and Videolicious – both great editing tools for live editing on your iphone (and adding great effects). Both are super easy to use.
  2. For professional editing and video creation on desktop (without needing any skills) try Wave or Animoto.
  3. Pic Play Post – use this app to add a montage of both images and video into the one piece of content. Check out their instagram account too! Available on iOS and Android.
  4. Prezi Nutshell – I LOVE this app right now. You take 3 images and take photos of them, then Prezi uses fun technology to join them together like a video. You can also add cool stickers, text overlays and effects.
  5. Inshot App is a great little app on mobile to use for creating videos. Try it here on iPhone. Also available on Google Play.

Check out Nutshell here:

You can use any of these tools to create video, and start to get comfortable with being on camera too.

And of course you can also check out Facebook Live and Periscope. I love the potential for connecting with your audience with live video and also using the recording to repurpose for later.  The sky's the limit when you start to use some of the tools available to you!

Where to from here?

Use the tips and tools in this post to get your confidence up and then … flip the camera!  Start adding more YOU to the video and connecting with your audience in different ways.

You are only limited by your creativity!


Over to you

Are you loving short video (or live video). What idea will you try next to either boost your confidence or to mix up your content? Have you got any other tips for how people can get started with short video without freaking out? 

5 Ways to Get Started with Short Video - even if it freaks you out!
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5 Ways to Get Started with Short Video - even if it freaks you out!
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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Inc. & Entrepreneur and she is a speaker and trainer on visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
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