People often ask me what I use for my own videos, website, courses, and social media – so I created this page as a resource. Only you can decide what's best for you, of course!
I've been in business online for more than a decade now, and I have some favorites. Not surprisingly, I use many of the products and services I recommend, and because I think they're solid choices, I have affiliate partnerships with some of them. This page includes affliliate links, which means I earn a commission when someone clicks through and signs up. Importantly, this doesn’t cost you anything extra, and sometimes my affiliate partnerships actually allow me to offer better deals than you can find elsewhere. Either way, I only recommend products that I know and like, and I’ll give you my honest opinion always.
Best Tech Recommendations for Live Video on Social Media or Webinars
Lighting for webinars, Facebook Live, IGTV, YouTube, and other videos
There are a few great products and services that will help you take your social media videos to the next level. For starters, you want your videos to look great! There are a few keys to great looking video, and to really engaging video. Of course, find a decent place in your home, office, or even outside – the background should be appealing, and not distracting.
But the #1 most important thing for great looking Facebook Live, live video on Instagram, or even video uploaded to Facebook, IGTV, or YouTube is lighting!
Natural light is always fabulous, but it can be harder to come by. Time of day and location layout don't always cooperate. You can dramatically improve the look of your video with an inexpensive lighting kit. One of the most popular is the Diva Light Right (see it below) – it’s big, and it gives adjustable light with a diffused soft glow look. There are plenty of other choices that for smaller kits, including small, portable lights that are just a few inches in diameter to much larger kits with lights 14-18 inches in diameter (these usually come with an adjustable stand too). The smaller ones help, but they won't work nearly as well as the larger ones if you have really dark or suboptimal conditions. I have an 18 inch light, a 10 inch light, a 5 inch light, and a cell phone clip-on light!
If you really want to go all out on a home photography or videography studio, that’s surprisingly affordable as well, and might be a good option if you really want a professional look for your business social media videos and webinars. If that's a bit much for you, here are some good choices for setting up your home mini-studio set, and a few that work well for travel or when you need a more compact or portable lighting solution:
After lighting, the next most important element of great videos for social media is stability. You’ve absolutely got to have a tripod, desk stand, or video stabilizer. Any of these will do, and again, there’s a wide range of prices and features. If you plan to do any live videos on the go, I recommend a stabilizer. These can be handheld, and make moving video much smoother. You probably already know this, but people can’t stand to watch shaky video! It’s worse than poorly lit video, so if you’re going to be moving around or recording someone in motion, please do your audience a favor and get a video stabilizer.
One more gizmo that enhances video appearance is really increasing in popularity these days – a set of lenses and filters! These can clip right on your smartphone or even your laptop camera, and give you features like wide angle, fisheye, and a variety of lighting filters. It's nice to be able to use these during live video, although some of the social media platforms do have some built-in features like this these days.
So, now you have great looking video. You’ve absolutely got to have great audio too! It’s amazing how much better you’ll sound with a basic podcast microphone or cell phone lavalier mic. It truly is much better than the internal microphone of most computers and cell phones, and that audio quality is especially important if you’re thinking about repurposing your social media videos into podcasts or separating your video and audio files for another purpose, like an online course.
Here are some solid recommendations for a USB microphone. You can see these come across a spectrum of price points. If you're doing your own investigating, consider a mic that is omni-directional, minimizes background noise, and has a pop screen or filter.
I personally buy just about all of my equipment on Amazon because it is so convenient, and I like to check out the reviews, questions, and customer images. I sell my book The Social Prescription (paperback and Kindle – who doesn't love Kindle Unlimited?) through Amazon. I also have a small obsession with anything I can get via Amazon Prime, and my Subscribe and Save list is miles long. Plus, I support my favorite charity with Amazon Smile. Wins all around!
So, those are my recommendations for physical equipment – the stuff that will make your video and audio so much better and allow for a professional live video that isn’t overproduced.
What do I do with my videos? First, they are great fun and really help me connect with my audience – other physicians who want to get active on social media to grow a professional presence, boost the profitability of a side gig, or build a brand online.
I personally like live video because I like the interaction and the Q&A. But, did you know that you can stream pre-recorded video into Facebook Live or the live video feature of YouTube? You can! Two really good options there are eCAMM and OneStream. This is handy when you know that you want to share some video content, get the visibility of the ‘live video’ feature on your platform, and you want it to go out at a time that is best for your audience (even if it isn’t the most convenient for you). Since most people watch videos on the replay anyway – just a small fraction actually catch live video when it is actually live – the user experience is largely the same. You can still go back and respond to questions and comments as you normally would. Of course, it is best practice to be transparent and let folks know that your video is prerecorded.
Best Tech Recommendations for Webinars and Online Courses
Another major way in which I use videos is to teach my online courses, The Social Prescription, The Speaking Prescription, and The Branding Prescription. You can teach an online course in a variety of ways these days. You could do it entirely on Facebook within a group, although you’ll have to set up the marketing and payment processing separately. You can do it through webinars, which I think are great. I personally use Demio for most of my webinars. I like that the set up is simple, registration is simple, email communication with people who register is simple, and you can set webinars to be available at multiple times or even on-demand. Plus, you can use live polling features during the webinar, and deliver resources like a downloadable PDF during the webinar, and redirect to the website page of your choice at the end of the webinar. If you’re interested in checking them out, be sure to click through my link so you can save $25 if you sign up with Demio.
The best online course platforms in my opinion are Thinkific, Teachable and Kajabi. They all do a very nice job of hosting your video, audio, and PDF content. Both can drip modules in a timed sequence or give all-access right away. Kajabi has a more beautiful aesthetic, I think, and is slightly more intuitive. Also, Kajabi can integrate with your own existing website as a subdomain or subfolder, while you have to send your clients to a separate website to teach them a course on Teachable. Teachable is less expensive, but Kajabi has much more robust email marketing capabilities and comes with built-for-you templates for sales funnels. Plus, they have great landing pages and webinar functionality. If you already have these functions with third party software products that you know and like, and if they integrate with Teachable, there may be no need for the almost-everything-in-one of Kajabi. If you’re just starting and don’t even have a website, you can build a beautiful and highly functional website with static pages (home, about, contact, blog, etc) and online course delivery via Kajabi. You can, of course, build a brand without a website – but if you're serious, you'll need one eventually. I personally have my website on WordPress and run my live courses through my Facebook groups and host my on-demand courses on Kajabi.
Click here to get a more in-depth overview of Kajabi
Another thing I like about both Teachable and Kajabi is the ability for you, as the course owner, to set up your own affiliate program. You can easily track and pay other people for referring their contacts to your course. This is great especially if you have happy graduates from your courses who want the win/win of recommending you and earning some cash. You can set up the same kind of situation on any platform at all if you sign up as a merchant on ShareASale and build your affiliate program through them.
Best Recommendations for Your Website's Email Service Provider
No matter your website platform, you’ll want to have great tools to grow your email list. This is much much much more important than any social media following you could possibly have. Email lists are the lifeblood of any viable business or community. Sumo and Leadpages are both awesome, as is OptIn Monster (great name too!). You can use my Constant Contact link to get a 60 day free trial – definately long enough to get up and running with professional email campaigns!
Click here for a more in-depth overview of Constant Contact
Click here to get a more in-depth review about email with Kajabi
Best Tech Recommendations for Launching Your Website (Host, Domain Names, Builders)
If you don’t have a website yet, I highly recommend getting your domain through Bluehost– that’s what I use – and having them host your files (their backup service is incredible, so you don’t have to worry about messing up your site.) You can also use GoDaddy or even Google Domains. Lots of website builders are also domain registrars, which can give you more of a ‘one stop shop' feel but can also be little trickier if you decide to migrate to a different builder later. Weebly is one – very simple to set up. It's probably the easiest and fastest way to get a website up and live, but it also has some limitations of functionality and integrations. Squarespace is another – easy, intuitive, lots of functionality (though still a bit more limited than WordPress.) We use Squarespace to power the website for TransforMD. Shopify is also really easy to set up. Although my first company For Two Fitness® has used a variety of builders and custom web design, we have had great experiences with Shopify.
If you are in the building stages and still scoping out your website options, I strongly recommend watching this video – it will help you understand the options and the functionality you should consider before you commit. Some things are easy to change in the future, and some decisions should be considered semi-permanent (either because they cost a lot, involve a lot of time, or risk loss of brand recognition, etc).
Best Tech Recommendations for Scheduling Posts on Instagram and Pinterest
This is a bit miscellaneous, but new-ish on the social media scene is Tailwind, which is fantastic for automating and scheduling content on both Pinterest and Instagram. They have a free trial, and are very affordable with annual subscriptions per social platform. If you click through this Tailwind link and decide to sign up, you can save $15. I also really like Hootsuite and Buffer for managing multiple platforms and scheduling social media posts.
I hope this helps you get all your ducks in a row for building an awesome online presence, personal brand, or booming business. Have questions about other types of products? Please just let me know and I’ll do my best to make recommendations if I have any experience in that area. As you all know, I do have affiliate links and partnerships with many of the products I recommend (like some on this page), but I only recommend those that I have personally tried.