What Can Your Business Do With Short Videos?

At first glance, the value in short, less-than-15-second videos doesn’t seem high for a small business. Both Vine and Instagram allow you to create these videos, but is there business value? What can you possibly say in 15 seconds that will engage potential customers?

The truth

Video is more appealing and interactive than even high-quality still photos. While such short videos are more like an ad than a true, informative video, you can use them to increase interest and show small details about your company, your products or services and your employees.

The tools

Vine: Vine is a Twitter application that lets you make and post 6-second videos. Use your Android, iPhone or iPad to shoot the video and edit it down to the required length.

Instagram: Once used to share photos only, Facebook-owned Instagram now lets you create 15-second videos.


Plan! You want things to be tight, especially with very short videos. On the other hand, your time and the tools available in Vine and Instagram don’t allow for heavy-duty editing after the shoot. So plan carefully before you begin as to what you want to show and say. Run through it a few times and make sure you can communicate what you want in the allotted time. You can always record, delete, and try again.

Light! You need to have good light to have a reasonable video. Don’t shoot in the dark; turn on all the lights, go outside or set up a few lights that will showcase what you’re shooting.

Sound! Make sure that any audio is clear enough to be understood. You can purchase small microphones that work with your smartphone or tablet for between $10 and $20 (regular microphones can be used only with a special adapter) and can greatly enhance sound quality. Make sure you’re in a quiet place and you do everything you can to reduce background noise.

Putting videos on your website

With Vine: Once you create and post your video to your account, it will have a unique URL on vine.co that you can access. From the mobile Vine app, click on the ellipses at the bottom of the video screen, choose “Share this Post” and then “Embed.” This allows you to email yourself the code for the video and then, once on your computer, you can paste it to the right place on your page.

With Instagram: When you view an Instagram video, you can click a “Share” button that allows you to email yourself code. Paste that code into your blog post or web page and the video will be viewable from that page, very similar to Vine. Embedded videos will show your user name and the Instagram logo.

Quick note on both of these options: Your videos will have to be publicly accessible (not set to private) in order for you to share and embed them.

Here are some great ways to use short videos in your small business marketing:

  • Short Customer Testimonials. Get your best customers to say something positive about your products or services. When you shoot video, be sure to ask a few questions and give the interviewee time to relax in front of the camera. Don’t worry about how long it will last – you can edit the best few seconds from their comments once they’re comfortable talking about you.
  • Product Demonstrations. You’d be amazed at how much you can show in 6 or 15 seconds. Focus on just one feature of your product and make sure any audio explanations are clear and easy to understand.
  • Show Before and Afters. This works best for rooms or people who have had makeovers. Splice together a couple seconds of the before with a few more seconds of the after, or show a photo of the before and then transition to the after if you want to do less editing.
  • Feature a Special. A restaurant can show a special meal from multiple angles, for example.
  • Introduce a New Employee. Have the new person say hello and tell a little about him- or herself.
  • Show a Moment from a Trade Show. Are you at an industry event or show? Make and post a short video showing your table or booth, or a cool product you have on display.

Remember that these short videos are more about branding than about really teaching a viewer about your company. They are much like an advertisement, and your goal is to increase a potential customer’s interest in learning more about your company. For the right audience, short videos may help get your name out there and increase interest in what you do.

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