Thanks to the rise and influence of TikTok, short-form video has become a staple in many marketing playbooks. Even if you’re not on TikTok (or at least not not yet), you may be seeing this phenomenon is slowly tricking into other platforms and social media best practices. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, this article will give you all the details you need to know.
What is short-form video?
Short-form videos are between 15 and 60 seconds in length. They are sometimes called “micro-videos” or “clips.” The content of these videos is meant to be very succinct, entertaining, funny or clever. And of course, these videos are designed to be shareable.
As noted above, the short-form video trend started with TikTok’s rapid rise in 2016. As its popularity grew, other networks launched their own video creation solutions. For example, Instagram (and later Facebook) launched Reels and YouTube added Shorts to its product portfolio. We’re even seeing more LinkedIn users share their short-form video creations on the business social network.
Why is short-form video so valuable?
The first rule of content marketing is to adapt your approach to what your target audience wants. Every time we tap into Instagram, we spend 53 minutes scrolling through content. When we go into TikTok, we spend 45 minutes. This is a lot of engagement time and a lot of opportunity for you to get in front of your target customers. One study even found that 73% of consumers prefer to watch short-form videos to learn about a product or service.
Short-form video is also impactful because it doesn’t take a lot of time and energy to create. Small businesses are strapped for time and resources, so it is a plus if you can get compelling and entertaining messaging out quickly. Not to mention, you can reuse a lot of this content on different platforms and to achieve different goals. If you invest time in creating a diverse range of videos, you will have a treasure trove of content in no time!
Finally, perhaps the most important reason why short-form video is so valuable is because it allows you to connect with your audience in a more authentic way. You can use videos to weigh in on pop culture and social media trends. (For example, a Pizza Today article outlined how restaurants can leverage the ASMR social media trend to drive awareness and engagement on social media.) Or you can simply create videos that give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your business. Either way, videos are very personal and help forge connection in a way the written word sometimes cannot.
Short-form video tips
1. Embrace lo-fi
Short-form video is all about authentic storytelling. Although great lighting and editing skills are great, they’re not a requirement. All that matters is that you have a great story and a great star, whether that be your product, your food, your team or…well, yourself!
2. Go vertical
Most social platforms are designed for content to be consumed via mobile. That means content is best designed for vertical or portrait mode. This is a big foundational point that could impact the quality of your content and the overall viewing experience.
3. Consider what’s trending
This may not always be relevant for your business, but don’t be afraid to embrace what’s trending, such as dances, songs, challenges and even memes. In fact, 63% of marketers say trendy videos generate the most engagement for their businesses.
4. Write and plan for timing limits (and best practices)
Each social platform has different timing requirements. Additionally, each platform has benchmarks for “ideal” video lengths. Hootsuite shared a fantastic breakdown that your team can reference:
- TikTok: between 11 and 17 seconds
- Instagram: between 7 and 15 seconds
- YouTube Shorts: between 15 and 60 seconds
- Snapchat Spotlight: between 5 and 60 seconds
5. Re-share content from your community
Your community size and scope will vary based on the type of business you have. But either way, you should keep a close watch on the videos they share, especially if they involve your business! For example, if you have a café, maybe a local customer shared an awesome Reel about their experience at your location. That is great content you can share because it is essentially a free advertisement for your business! It shows the experience through the customer’s lens and is ultimately more authentic and trustworthy than if you created a video about how great your coffee is!
In short, it’s time to get short with video
The short-form video phenomenon isn’t going away. Sure, there’s always a time and place for written content as well as longer-form content, but you should still build a mix of shorter clips into your marketing plan. Start by crafting a strategy around your core value proposition, your products, services and experiences. Then, see what’s trending on social media. You’ll have a rich rolodex of ideas before you know it!