Published: May 19, 2023
It’s no secret: short-form video has taken the social media world by storm. I mean, who hasn’t lost an hour mindlessly scrolling their FYP or, better yet, scrolled long enough to get one of those annoying “whoa, you’ve been scrolling way too long” videos (iykyk)? The irony is that short-form video has become so popular that apps like TikTok have created content to prompt users to take a break from their app! Short-form video has revolutionized the way we consume information and interact with brands. Though the learning curve can be steep, embracing short-form videos as a part of your marketing strategy can unlock big opportunities for your business.
The explosive growth of short-form video has sent shockwaves across social media platforms, causing seemingly every platform to jump on the short-form bandwagon. Social media managers are now donning their director hats and casting their co-workers as leads (we recommend bribing them with sweets) to keep up with demands.
While short-form video content is no doubt shaking up our workflows, the truth is it is here to stay. The sooner you get comfortable with it and solidify a strategy, the faster you can leverage it for growth.
Understanding Short-Form Video Content
Think bite-sized when it comes to short-form video content. Just like a tasty treat, a great video has everything you need and love but in compact, easy-to-digest format. Short-form videos tend to be between 15-60 seconds long on average, targeted at gaining the viewer’s attention and then delivering information in an entertaining way. The best videos leverage engaging visuals, creative storytelling and platform trends to captivate viewers and keep them coming back for more. Of course, every brand hopes for that coveted viral video moment, but with short-form video platforms, virality isn’t essential to getting traffic to your content. Apps like TikTok allow users to repost videos, stitch (record a video before or after the original video) and duet (play a video beside the original video). This allows your audience to engage with your content and can help them feel more connected to your brand.
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few years, chances are you’ve heard of these platforms. But in case you haven’t, here are the key short-form video platforms.
- TikTok: The holy grail, the O.G., the replacement for our beloved Vine. You know it, love it, you probably use it. But if you don’t, TikTok, formerly known as Musical.ly (an app for people to make lip-syncing videos), was acquired by ByteDance in 2017 and was transformed into the short-form video platform it is today. TikTok quickly gained popularity due to its easy-to-use interface, creative video editing tools and algorithm-driven content discovery. Today it has surpassed 3.5 billion (yes, with a “b”) downloads and has truly become a cultural phenomenon.
- Instagram Reels: Integrated within everyone’s favorite social media app (or maybe just mine) are Reels. Instagram is shameless when it comes to ‘taking inspiration’ from other social media platforms, but I digress. Reels was Instagram’s answer to the overnight takeover by TikTok when it took Instagram’s spot as the most downloaded app. In the beginning, most Reels were just repurposed TikToks (watermark and all). However, Reels have grown in popularity and have carved out a place for themselves in the short-form market. Instagram has capitalized on the whole one-stop-shop aspect of sharing photos, stories and short-form video content all within one app. Reels have the highest rate of engagement compared to any other media type on the app.
- YouTube Shorts: Another platform that integrated short-form video in hopes of catching the wave is YouTube. Google has reported that their Shorts receive 50 billion views a day. Although their daily traffic puts them in last place compared to TikTok and Reels, it’s nothing to sneeze at. As YouTube continues to improve its short-form video algorithm, all signs point to exponential growth for the platform.
Now that you know the players, let’s dive into the nitty gritty and look at some cold, hard stats.
(So you don’t just have to take our word for it that short-form is a total game changer.)
- A report from Wyzow found that 73% of consumers prefer watching short-form videos to learn about products and services. Attention spans are at an all-time low. What your customer really wants to know is if your product or service can solve their problem. Watching a 60-second video demonstrating that your product really does work can cause a customer to pull the trigger and add to cart.
- Over half of TikTok users (55%) have made a purchase from a business after seeing the brand on the app.
- 82% of all internet traffic is video traffic.
- The average user spends a whopping 95 minutes on TikTok a day and nearly 20 hours a month. That is a lot of time for potential customers to find your content!
- Short-form videos have a higher rate of engagement than any other form of social media, and it’s not close.
It’s crazy to think that we have the ability to post content on these platforms that are essentially content machines! We put in organic content, and the algorithm finds our customers for us. Obviously, it’s not quite that simple, you need to create quality content that people want to watch, but still, the algorithms on these platforms are powerful tools that you can use to grow your business exponentially.
It can certainly be overwhelming to think about creating content for a new platform, but the good news is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to short-form video content. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Condense Longer-Form Content
Due to the well….short…nature of short-form content, there is a great opportunity for repurposing longer-form content. If your business has promotional content, photos or videos, use those elements to make creating your first videos much easier.
Keep Up with Trends
Keeping up with the latest trends is a great way to get ideas and views, especially when you’re just starting out. It can feel like cheating but trust us; the algorithm loves a good trend where everyone shares their take on a funny or interesting video. Follow accounts that are in your industry and notice the content that your target audience is interacting with. Getting a pulse on what your followers are consuming will allow you to capture their attention and feed them the type of content they enjoy interacting with. Our team loves to spend some time scrolling before we start filming to get inspiration and to see what is trending.
See What Your Competitors are Doing
My guess is some of your competitors are already on the short-form video train. But don’t fret; the good news in being late to the game is that you can see what worked and what didn’t work for your competition. Pay close attention to what videos are getting engagement, how they interact with their followers and how they have carved out a niche for themselves.
The truth is, you can’t reach everybody. Nor should you try to, so make sure when you start creating videos that you know exactly who you are targeting. Carve out a space for your business that is unique with a clearly defined persona for your ideal customer. Short-form video platforms have powerful algorithms to get the right content to the right viewers to keep them on their apps. So, stay in your lane and let the algorithm work for you.
On short-form video platforms; things happen fast. Trends come and go before you’ve even seen them, and many accounts pump out several videos a day. It can be overwhelming, but good news is there are great tools out there to help you be more efficient.
- Use premade video templates that allow you to plug in video clips, so editing will essentially be done for you.
- Use a third-party app for easier editing; our team loves CapCut.
- Check out TikTok’s Creative Center to stay on top of trending hashtags, sounds and videos.
- Use a social media scheduling platform to schedule and automatically publish your videos.
It can feel strange as marketers to recommend creating content that is less polished than content that is high-budget with high production value, but right now, that’s what sells. The good news there is that you don’t need a big Hollywood budget to get started. The homemade nature of most short-form videos is often what makes customers connect with a brand. Consumers can tell when a brand is genuine, and the value for authenticity is at an all-time high. Short-form video has allowed consumers to see behind the curtain of some of their favorite brands, and it has made them more loyal than ever. Resist the urge for perfection and instead create content that is targeted and relatable.
Engage with Your Audience
With short-form video platforms; you can’t just “set it and forget it.” It is crucial to build a community of followers by liking and responding to comments, creating content that builds off of previous content and exchanges to keep the conversation going. Don’t just engage on your own channel, but be sure to spend time on apps engaging with other creators. Social media is meant to be just that, social! The golden rule of engagement applies here; if you want people to engage with your content, engage with theirs.
User-generated content, aka UGC, is a powerful way to promote your brand and should be part of your short-from video strategy. UGC refers to any content created by consumers, fans or users of a product. It can be videos (most popular), reviews, testimonials, challenges or creative content that users voluntarily share on their social media platforms.
UGC leverages the power of authentic and relatable content because it is created by real people who have purchased a product with their own money. It provides social proof and builds trust because consumers are more likely to trust the recommendations and experiences of their peers. Once your followers create content, your brand can capitalize on the enthusiasm of your audience by re-sharing that content. By encouraging your audience to create content related to your brand, you can amplify your reach, increase brand awareness, drive organic engagement and build a sense of community and loyalty among your customers. Additionally, UGC provides valuable insights into your target audience’s preferences, behaviors and needs.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment!
For the most part, short-form video content is pretty low-stakes with the volume of videos created each day on platforms. If you create a video that is a total flop, the good news is that it will be buried in a mountain of videos by tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to try something new because you never know; maybe your brand will start the next trend!
Metrics for Success
As with any marketing effort, you want to make sure that you’re getting a good return on your investment and that you’re creating the content your customers want. When it comes to short-form video content tracking your success is fairly straightforward. Keep an eye on the following metrics to chart your success.
- Video views
- Average watch time or viewing duration (Did the viewer watch the full video, or was it a partial view?)
This will give you a general overview of the success of your efforts. However, if you’d like to get more in-depth, there are plenty of third-party analytics programs you can use to take a closer look.
Short-Form Video Inspiration
Don’t worry; we won’t let you finish reading this blog without giving you some inspo for content you can start creating right away.
Here are some great examples of short-form video content for your business:
- Behind-the-scenes: If your brand is creating an ad campaign or launching a new product, take your followers behind the scenes. This will make your customers feel like they have the inside scoop and will make them excited about what is to come.
- FAQ answers: If there are questions your customers routinely ask, make a video explaining those answers more in-depth. This is a great way to keep the conversation going with followers.
- How-to’s: Tutorials make for great videos on short-form platforms. Show consumers the best way to use your products and answer any additional questions in the comments.
- Educational content: Position yourself as an expert on the platform in your area of expertise. Consumers are more likely to put their trust in your business if they think you know what you’re talking about (which you totally do, so share that with the world)! Share expert insights, fun facts, industry trends and any other informative and educational content.
- Company culture: As I shared before, your customers want to feel connected to your brand. They want to see faces and learn names. Give your followers a glimpse of what it is like at your business by featuring your company culture. At Envano, we have a lot of fun, and we love to share our shenanigans with our followers. (Shameless plug but let’s be friends!)
There are so many ways your business can benefit from adopting a short-form video strategy.
With the right tools, some creativity and a few willing volunteers, your business can leverage video content to connect with your target audience and grow your business.
Ready to implement a short-form video strategy but not sure where to start? Our experts are here to help. Let’s chat!