Of all formats used for content marketing purposes, it seems that video causes an undue amount of anxiety for solopreneurs and small businesses.

It’s clearly important – social video offers a powerful and effective way to grow brand awareness, increase engagement and get more qualified leads. And its importance is only going to increase. Forrester Research predicts continued strong growth in the sector, with video ads expected to make up 34% of the total ad market within the next five years.

Engaging social video ads

So why the anxiety? Why does the idea of creating video ads for social media leave otherwise brave, savvy and cunning business owners so nervous?

A lot of it comes down to fear of the unknown – not knowing what to say, what tech to use, where to post, how to know if it’s working, and how much it will cost. It’s time to face those fears, look them square in the eye, and strategically move past them.

Let’s drill down into each of these five mysteries and explore some tips on how to put them to rest so you can get on with it and start creating awesome social video ads.

1. “There are too many channels”

Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. YouTube …the list goes on. If you’re new to social video, don’t try to be everywhere at once. You’ll get overwhelmed. Start small and pick just one or two channels to start.

Based on your buyer personas, choose one channel where you are most likely to find the people you want to reach. The largest audience for Facebook, for example, is 25 to 34 year-old males:

Facebook audience profile graphic

Image source: Hootsuite

Pinterest, on the other hand, has significantly more female users than male, according to the Pew Research Center, while Instagram is equally popular with both male and female millenials:

Instagram advertising audience numbers

Image source: Hootsuite

Don’t try to be everywhere at once. Get strategic about your buyer personas, and start on the platform where you’re most likely to engage them.

2. “I don’t know what to say”

“I honestly think this will always be one of the biggest challenges to creating something, anything, it’s the fear of it not being your best, fear of being rejected, or, at least, fear of whatever it is that you’re intending to make not achieving the outcome that you’re hoping for,” said Ryan Koral, cofounder of Studio Sherpas, in a story on Wipster. “We need to get over ourselves.”

The best way to do that is to get a clear picture of who your audience really is. All the metrics on brand awareness, shares, engagement, and audience retention won’t mean a thing if you don’t understand who you need to reach and what motivates them.

If you haven’t created buyer personas, put that on top of your to-do list. Actually, this should be a prerequisite for any messaging you put out there – not just video assets. (HubSpot has some of the best resources around on creating your buyer personas.) Once you really understand your customers, you can move forward confidently in creating the right message to engage them.

3. “Video is hard and expensive”

A huge fear factor around video is the cost. Video experts Indigo Productions estimate that a professional promotional video can start around $3,000 and run upwards (way upwards) from there. That’s enough to scare the pants off of any bootstrapper or solopreneur, but it’s only true if you want to use original footage and professional-grade production value.

As Indigo’s CEO Max Rosen explains, creating a video is a lot like building a house. “Do you want a shack, or do you want a mansion?” Rosen asks. “Do you want the cheapest possible video you can get, or do you want a Super Bowl caliber production?”

But social video is too important to let this roadblock stop you. You don’t need full-length promo videos or high-gloss productions to build your audience and start nurturing leads with video. In other words, you don’t need a mansion. You can use a DIY video software tool like Yala Social to help you make video ads literally in minutes.

Yala Social video ad

Image source: Yala Social

Just because you aren’t building that mansion, doesn’t mean you have to settle for a shack. Yala Social helps brands quickly create social videos that strike the right balance between professional production value and down-to-earth appeal.

The team behind Yala created their platform specifically for solopreneurs and niche marketers who don’t have a ton of time or money to put into production and aren’t necessarily interested in learning how to become video specialists who shoot and edit their own clips. Yet they still want professional looking video ads that engage. Yala makes it easy to get out there with short punchy videos that drive awareness and engagement, without special skills or expensive talent.

4. “I don’t know what to measure”

Measuring the effectiveness of your social video content can be daunting. Should you measure clicks? Likes? Shares? Comments? Or do you need to look at metrics further down in your sales funnel?

To determine the metrics you’ll track, consider what you are trying to achieve with your social media videos. Sprout Social does a good job of helping marketers identify the social media KPIs to consider for each stage of your customer journey:

Social metrics map

Image source: Sprout Social

Once you choose the metrics to go after, do a quick audit of where you stand now.

“Conducting a social media audit is a key part of developing — or updating — an effective social media marketing plan,” explains Christina Newberry in Hootsuite’s blog. “Before you can think strategically about your social media use, you need to document and evaluate your existing efforts.”

Hootsuite offers a comprehensive 9-step social media audit that will help you understand where you’ve been and how to move ahead confidently.

5. “How much do I need to budget for media buys?”

Like any other digital marketing strategy, social media video can range from DIY and basically free to wildly expensive. It might seem like everyone is just throwing money at paid social ads. It’s certainly true that some brands take this approach, but I wouldn’t advise it until you clearly understand what you are getting for your money, and what kind of impact you can expect.

Spend some time on this great primer on paid vs. organic social posts from Sprout Social. It will help clear away the cobwebs and point you in the right direction, especially when you consider your buyer personas, and the channels you expect to find them on. If you decide that a paid campaign is the way to go, the next step is to set a budget.

“On average, businesses spend around 10 to 13 percent of their annual revenue on marketing,” explains Sarah Berry of Web FX. “About 25 percent of this budget gets invested in paid media, which can include several advertising channels, like search and social media.”

Berry recommends maximizing your investment by creating ads that stand out, and knowing your target market well before you begin. She also recommends running A/B tests, explaining that “your team can gain insight into what clicks with your target audience. When you understand what motivates your target market to not only click on your ad but also act on it, you can create even better ads.”

Get over it

No matter what scares you about social media video ads, they are undeniably effective and powerful. So face your fears, look for strategic solutions, and know this is well within reach for virtually any size brand with any size budget.