Posted 03.20.2017 by Josh Krakauer

Repurpose Video Content from Snapchat and Instagram To Save Time and Money

Creating video content has never been more essential, or easier, thanks to Instagram and Snapchat.

As social media managers or business owners in charge of content creation, time is often your biggest enemy. There aren’t enough minutes in the day to get all of your tasks done, let alone start a new project. Plus, you have the dreaded “ROI” question haunting you every step of the way. (“Is it worth the cost to try this new, cool thing?”) Several of our clients have expressed this exact pain point recently when it comes to video content. They want to tell a compelling brand story, but don’t have the time or budget to produce quality video content on a consistent basis.

Well, my friends, it can be done – in more ways than one. Today I’m going to focus on a couple tools you’re already using (Snapchat and Instagram Stories) that will benefit both your wallet and busy schedule, and I’ll tell you why and how this route might be appropriate for you.


Why repurposing content made on Snapchat and Instagram Stories works:

  • Intuitive and lightweight editing is already incorporated in the apps
    • This is HUGE. Instead of shooting a video using expensive equipment, uploading it to your desktop, and editing it in Premiere, you can do all the filming and post-production you need right in the app, in 10-second splices. Don’t like the last take you just shot? Delete it in the blink of an eye. Need to add text? That’s easy. Want to change the lighting in the footage? Just swipe left. I would argue that there has never been an easier time to produce lightweight video content.
  • Take back your time
    • Using Snapchat or Instagram as your source will save you a bunch of time. First of all, you’re producing and editing content in one platform that can be seamlessly uploaded to other platforms. Secondly, though you may (or may not) spend a little more time upfront planning each 10-second piece of the story, overall you’re reducing a lot of the time-intensive activities that go into producing a whole video.
  • Native video resonates with your audience
    • Take note of what you’re seeing in your newsfeed from friends, family, and followers. Most of the photo/video is being shot and posted on smart phones.  Instagram and Snapchat stories feel familiar, and relevance is key to generating attention and trust. While the gesture is subtle, you’re communicating that a human being made this story.
  • Minimal investment required
    • High-quality video production can get expensive, and with its technical complexity, rightfully so. Using mobile tools can help free up room in your marketing budget. Snapchat, Instagram, and Video Merge (an app I recommend later in this post) are all free tools you can download in the App Store and Google Play. You may choose to invest in camera accessories for steadier, well-lit shots (highly recommended), but the savings still add up.

See how The Infatuation showcased their foodie vibes to Instagram Stories and repurposed this content for other channels:

Restaurant Review Ride-Along: Wildair

Co-founder Chris Stang revisited Wildair last night in another Restaurant Review Ride-Along on Instagram Stories. After last night, Wildair is getting a re-review and soon. Watch the whole thing here to learn why.

Posted by The Infatuation on Sunday, August 14, 2016

How to repurpose Instagram and Snapchat video content:

  • You’ll need a few things to get started
    • Initial campaign and concept planned out – this is key to the success of any production
    • A modern phone or tablet with a high-quality camera
    • Snapchat or Instagram downloaded on device
    • Your camera operator or shooter (maybe, you!)
    • Your subjects, briefed and ready to go
    • And finally, an app with the ability to combine multiple videos into one (I’ve been using Video Merge with clients)
  • Steps you will take
    • Just like any campaign, you’ll want to plan the story you’d like to tell, and how you’re going to do it.
    • Next, decide if this will be an ongoing series or one-off. If it’s going to live beyond a campaign, make sure you establish a consistent framework for the stories that you use throughout.
    • Third, create your shot list, and don’t forget – every good story has a beginning, middle, and end! Keep track of the individual shots you’ll need to capture in their correct order.
      • Example: if you’re telling the story behind a name of a restaurant, the first shot could be an establishing shot of the restaurant with a caption, followed by cuts of an interview with the owner walking around the space, and then a call-to-action inviting the audience to visit. (Not Scorsese, but you get the idea.)
    • Fourth, film your shot list! Have fun and get creative – this is where your brand personality can shine.
    • Fifth, and most important for repurposing, save those videos.
    • Sixth, upload videos in order on Video Merge to quickly merge all the shots to create a cohesive piece.
    • Last, but not least, share your story on your brand’s other social media platforms when and where appropriate.
  • A few tips we learned after some practice
    • One of our team members’ Google phones did not save some of the Snapchat features (like backwards shots; captions; etc.) to their Camera Roll, so be sure to test your device before getting too deep into production.
    • We combined both Instagram and Snapchat stories into one video – we do want you to know that some apps require that all the footage you combine be the same format and shutter speed, so if you’re using this tactic, it’s easier to use one platform for the whole video.
    • Some video merge apps require a small fee (usually $3.99) to combine unlimited clips.

See how we pulled off combining both Snapchat stories and Instagram stories in the video below:


Quality matters, but don’t overthink it

You may wonder if quality could suffer using this tactic. This is a legitimate concern. There are ways to do this really wrong, and ways to do this right. But here’s our rule-of-thumb: as long as your “Story” is doing just that – telling an authentic, powerful story – you’re on the right track.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to improve your video quality:

  • While filming, try to find a space with natural light. Your shots will come out nicer.
  • Try shooting from different angles, to keep your story visually interesting. Traditional TV editing techniques (for news) recommend changing your angle every 7-8 seconds – try it with your story too, to offer a new POV.
  • This may seem obvious, but don’t be afraid to reshoot a snap OR IG story. You might feel pressure to get each piece published to your story, right away, but don’t. Make sure what you’re putting up is true to your brand and feels right.
  • (Snapchat only) for moving shots, try using a Stablizer app and upload the shot to your story from your phone’s Camera Roll.
  • To keep the integrity of your original shot, we would recommend shooting all the footage on the phone or tablet you’ll be posting from as well, because sometimes when you send a video to a friend or coworker, the footage is condensed, so it’s pixelated.

Glossier, a beauty brand, does a “Get Ready with Me” Snapchat takeover campaign (#GRWM) with makeup influencers, which is then shared on their Facebook.

Phoebe Tonkin's Snapchat #GRWM

Phoebe Tonkin's morning routine (!) cc @glossier.IRL on Snapchat

Posted by Glossier on Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How to measure your return on investment:

Repurposing Snapchat or Instagram stories for social media video content does not entirely replace the need for powerful, high-production video storytelling. (The kind that requires significant planning and resources.) However, it can be a nice supplement that enables you to publish more video more often.

  • How much money am I saving?
    • If you were looking to hire a videographer or visual content producer, you might spend between $1,000 – $2,500 for a 30-90 second story. Or perhaps, let’s assume a half-day of shooting and a half to full day of editing. Snapchat or Instagram videos can be completed on your mobile phone with no extra parties involved. Keeping these daily/weekly videos lightweight and in-house could be substantial to your marketing budget, and free up spend for the more comprehensive campaigns.
  • How much time am I saving?
    • Since you’re the one producing the content, front-to-finish, your video may use up a fraction of your day. However, you won’t have to wait multiple hours or days to get your footage or revisions back from the videographer.

Obsessee, a media brand that markets exclusively on social, compiled stories from their team’s Women’s March experiences, to share with their fans.

Our Stories From the Women's March

Here's what happened when we asked a group of contributors to report from the Washington D.C. Women's March on Washington…

Posted by Obsessee on Sunday, January 22, 2017


Choosing which platform to use:

  • In Defense of Snapchat Stories
    • The “Memories” feature is a huge win for Snapchat. Users can upload images and videos that weren’t taken in the last 24 hours, whereas Instagram stories must be added in real time.
    • Selfie lens, filters and Geofilters…enough said.
    • Snapchat has the ability to create custom emojis and pin them to your images or videos. Hint hint: you could even make one of your logo!
    • You can speed, slow down, or even play your footage backwards.
  • In Defense of Instagram Stories
    • Instagram’s user numbers are solid – it has over 600 million users, while Snapchat has reported 150 million.
    • Connectivity to Facebook and search abilities make it easier to find users and explore, in the app.
    • There are more pen options, for drawing.
    • Verified accounts can link to outside content!
    • Instagram’s Boomerang and Hands-Free features are very popular.

All that said, I would go with your gut, and who you’re trying to reach. If you have an established presence on Instagram already, use Instagram Stories. If you’re trying to reach a younger millennial or Gen Z group, go with Snapchat – did you know 86% of users are between the ages of 13-37? Do what YOU think is best for your brand and its audience. At the end of the day, they both provide similar capabilities to accomplish your video goals. You can’t go wrong!


What do you think of this tactic? Have you had success with it? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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How to Convince Management Your Brand Needs Snapchat (in 15 Slides)

Josh Krakauer

Josh Krakauer is the CEO of Sculpt, that B2B social media agency you just discovered. Josh has launched social media campaigns for best-selling books, publicly-traded corporations, and early-stage startups. Josh works from Washington, DC, but still thinks Iowa City is the best city on earth.

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