Why Short Form Videos Need to be in Your Strategy

Let’s get straight to it. With more and more people using ‘distraction’ content to escape the realities of the current climate, short form videos have grown in popularity. Just look at TikTok. It was the social media sensation of 2020 with app downloads reaching 200 million in the first quarter of 2020. Video clips with music on this platform last just 15 seconds whereas videos without music can last up to a minute. People are going crazy for this short and snappy video trend. So why should you care from a marketing perspective? Here’s why short form videos need to be in your strategy

Short Form Videos are Dominating Social Media

Being on social media is more of a necessity than a choice for brands. A strong presence on the right channels can boost brand awareness, improve outreach and increase engagement. But setting up a business page alone is not enough. Savvy marketers are noticing how the social media world is changing and are adapting rapidly. Access to short form video content is hot stuff and there are many new tools to take advantage of.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at what the top brands are doing. And how you can benefit from the latest short form video channels and features.

LA Lakers Slam Dunk Instagram Reels

Brands have enjoyed success using Instagram’s Reels feature which launched last August in over 50 countries. While videos were only allowed to be 15 seconds at first in a move mimicking TikTok, the platform soon doubled this to 30 seconds. The Los Angeles Lakers regularly receive high levels of engagement for their Reel videos with short game snippets racking up over 7 million plays and almost 700K likes.

Similarly, by creating a Reel showcasing LeBron James’ iconic chalk toss on his return to Cleveland, the Lakers managed to achieve a whopping 6.8 million views.

So what’s the trick? Well Instagram Reels against proves that content doesn’t need to be long form in order to encourage engagement and boost brand awareness. In fact, shorter videos appeal to our ever decreasing attention space. If you’re going to create short video content, however, it needs to be relatable, on brand and of interest to your target audience. Focus on brand moments that are unique to you and that can’t be easily replicated.

Reel ideas include:

  • Short and sweet product demos or tutorials
  • Videos highlighting product uses and benefits
  • Behind the scenes sneak peaks
  • Fast-forward style recipe videos with a link to more detailed content
  • Brand/influencer collaborations

Louis Vuitton Takes to the Reels Catwalk

From basketball to fashion, Instagram Reels has wide appeal. With visually stunning and super creative campaigns, Louis Vuitton has been using Reels to showcase their latest collections including the #LVCruise. Each campaign is very similar – all having the exact same caption just with a different model and #LVCruise bag. The below video has already received an impressive 8.6 million views and 300K+ likes.

So what’s the trick? When it comes to short-from videos, don’t try to squish in too much at once. Have a very clear focus and a very specific marketing message and hashtag. From there, you can focus on creative ideas. Note how Louis Vuitton has gone for an effective phone drop as a way to promote continuity between each model change.

Benefits of Instagram Reels

Instagram Stories is already a tried and tested way for brands to showcase short form content, with each individual story being just 15 seconds long. You can also pop videos in your feed. But with Reels being a new feature here are several benefits to keep in mind.

  • You can add filters, AR effects and music to boost originality and interest
  • If you have an open Instagram account, you can feature on the Explore page. This will not only increase brand awareness, but it’ll also help you get more engagement that could convert into leads.
  • The Instagram algorithm might be difficult to suss out but it’s natural to presume the platform will want to promote its own feature – e.g. Reels. So, if you upload a video using that feature, the algorithm will promote your content at the same time to more and more of your audience for increased engagement.

Chipotle Gives Back on TikTok

We all know TikTok is the place to be for short form content. But quite frankly there’s no point in having a presence on this platform unless you’re going to totally ace it. The good news is, Chipotle has been nailing their TikTok strategy for a while now. But what are they doing that you can learn from this brand?

Well firstly, they’ve embraced corporate responsibility throughout the pandemic by giving free food to healthcare workers. Their efforts were communicated creatively via a TikTok video sketch that later turned into a real-life situation. Remind you of a certain 80s music video or am I just getting old?

And that music video…

Many other brands have also showed up on TikTok to help promote safety during this rather bizarre COVID-19 era. This includes E.l.f Cosmetics who remixed their very own TikTok smash-hit “Eyes. Lips. Face.” to “Eyes. Lips. Face. Safe.”

So what’s the trick? Get your creative juices flowing. You have a limited period of time, so think about how to communicate your message in the most fun and concise way. Again, simplicity can be highly effective as it’s hard to absorb a lot of information in a short space of time. Think catchy imagery, memorable music, even TikTok challenges.

Remember to:

  • Match your campaign with the ethos of your brand. If you openly have a diverse and inclusive workplace policy, for instance, then a Pride-related campaign could work. Or if you promote cruelty-free beauty products then giving back to an organisation that promotes the welfare of animals could help.
  • Don’t be cringey. Doing something good is admirable. But state your message clearly. Note any discount codes and make it clear who you’re supporting – but don’t brag. It’s not always about you after all.
  • Don’t virtue signal. Following a trend just because everyone else is, isn’t cool. If you don’t agree with something or it doesn’t represent you or your brand then sit it out.

Chipotle also regularly teams up with TikTok influencers and celebrities to enhance their popularity and engagement. This short-form video of Rebel Wilson discussing a Chipotle date is bang on brand as Chipotle is renowned for not taking themselves too seriously. It received 340K+ views and 66.8K likes showing how the right collaborations can work. Again, choose influencers that match your brand as this appears more authentic.

Benefits of TikTok

There’s every reason to embrace TikTok. People use this platform largely to be entertained so with the right strategy, it’s possible to:

  • Reach a diverse audience. TikTok is now available in over 200 countries. 48% of U.S. adults between 18-29-years-old use TikTok, so if this is the demographic you’re aiming at, TikTok should certainly be on your radar.
  • Experiment with different content forms. User-generated content is becoming increasingly popular fuelled by TikTok competitions, dance crazes and more. You can also do influencer takeovers as seen above as well as interviews.
  • TikTok is all about authenticity which means creating a TikTok-worthy video doesn’t have to include high production costs. Just you (and a camera) is usually enough to win over fans, so long as your idea is good.

What’s Going On At Facebook HQ And Why Should You Care!

Facebook is also part of the short video party. So if your brand is on Facebook there are some things you need to know. According to the social giants themselves:

“People can be instantly entertained through shorter-form video – in environments like Feed, Stories and Reels – and spend more time with topics they care about through longer-form video in environments like Facebook Watch, IGTV and Live.”

They’re approaching video from all angles knowing that video can give a positive return in investment for marketers while improving the everyday user experience.

Insights from 10 studies also showed that adding a Facebook In-Stream campaign to a Feed and Stories buy led to a media 1.5x increase in ad recall and a median 20% decrease in cost per incremental recaller. Moreover, an Ipos study from November 2020 revealed that video viewers cited Instagram and Facebook as the most popular video platforms for connecting with brands. It’s therefore no wonder why there are now more Facebook video features for marketers to get their teeth into.

Things to look out for in the short form video world include:

Instagram Reels Ads

Facebook owns Instagram (of course) and will therefore be testing Reels ads in India, Brazil, Germany and Australia according to an April 2021 announcement. With 90% of people following a business on Instagram and users already embracing Reels to discover new creators and businesses, this short form video tool has been identified as a space for brands to express themselves creatively and find deeper connections with audiences.

The Instagram Reels ads will be full-screen and immersive, similar to ads in Stories. As with organic Reels content, ads can be up to 30 seconds and people can comment, like, view, save, share and skip Reels ads. So marketers, getting used to producing content that runs for 30 seconds should be a top priority. Remember to include all essential information at the beginning of the video in case it’s later skipped. Have a simple focus. And use captions to reiterate your video ad messages. This is important as people often watch content silently.

Sticker Ads for Facebook Stories

If you’re already creating video content for Facebook Stories with the help of a reputed Video Production Company, great. 500 million people use Facebook Stories daily so this can really improve your outreach. But there’s a new twist that could help you monetize your efforts. Facebook is currently testing custom Sticker Ads for Facebook Stories. These are virtual filters used to decorate short form videos and photos. The stickers have an e-commerce component, because they connect shopping links to products depicted in the stickers.

Video Diversity – Keep It Spicy!

Social media is making it super obvious that short-form video should be on your radar. But you can also place it on your website or blog. Quality content can improve the authority of your site and improve SEO. Similarly, it can also increase dwell time (the amount of time someone stays on your site) which is an important ranking factor. But what types of video should you create? Well, this depends on your brand. But keeping things spicy is a must. And make sure you don’t compromise on the video quality. Maybe consult some Video Production Services that can create high-quality video content. Many people, for example, want to learn golf but have no idea how to play. In that case, you can create a short video outlining the strategies and techniques that must be followed to build up the interest of your audience. Such short game videos may pique the curiosity of those who genuinely want to improve their skills. And, because it’d be specifically a golf-related video, you might get a lot of views from golf fans.

Here are some tips and tricks for popular video types (of all which we can provide from the Contentworks HQ).

Animated Videos

Animated videos are perfect for communicating business concepts in a simple, engaging and direct way. They combine cool animations, appealing images and concise language to quickly grab the viewer’s attention. Animated videos should:

  • Be well-scripted and have a very clear point
  • Include brand characters or introduce characters you want associated with your brand
  • Feature branded colours, logos and slogans
  • Potentially be part of a series for an on-going content strategy
  • Explain, introduce or describe a product/service

Brands such as McDonald’s regularly use animation to deliver essential brand information such as how to order via the McDonald’s app. The animation features McDonald’s colours and logos throughout.

We can help you come up with a fun, entertaining and easily-sharable storyboard for your animated video project.

Motion Graphics

Motion graphics take a graphic design that might be otherwise static and provide animation and movement, usually without following a selected narrative. Before creating some Motion Graphics Videos, it’s important to ask:

  • Why am I creating such a video? Is it a teaser? Is it part of a product overview? Perhaps it’s some kind of explainer?
  • How should people feel after they watch the video and what’s the message you want them to take away?
  • How will you tweak the branding? Do you have a strong colour palette or logo to work from?

Again, we can lead you to success in the motion graphics department.

Live Videos

The live streaming sector grew by 99% year-over-year in terms of hours watched, growing from 1.971 billion in April 2019 to 3.934 billion in April 2020. This was obviously fuelled by the pandemic, but with social media platforms making it easy for brands to regularly hop online, live video might very much be on your radar. For a Go Live to be successful, you should.

  • Have a clear goal and plan. What’s the point of your live? Do you want people to take action? Have you got your CTAs in place?
  • Have a quiet place from which to broadcast from without distraction. There should be nothing offensive or revealing in the background.
  • Give viewers time to attend. Don’t launch straight into your broadcast without allowing people to view what you have to say.
  • Engage with viewers, read out comments, give a shout-out to followers
  • Be relaxed and authentic, not scripted. Social media live vids are your chance to go behind the scenes and show people what you’re really like.
  • Include some kind of celebrity or person of interest in your industry. Think of a quick-fire question and answer session.

If you’re looking to embrace video content, including short form video content let’s talk. We have created video scripts, storyboards and brilliant visuals for top brands and can help you get strategised. Loved reading Why Short Form Videos Need to be in Your Strategy? Hit share!

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About the author

Charlotte Day, known as Charli, is a content marketing strategist heading up social media and storytelling at Contentworks Agency. A content marketing thought leader, she has 1000+ articles published, guest writes for leading social media hubs and frequently speaks at events. She also maintains her own blog at www.charlisays.com and a writer’s life presence on social media. When she’s not writing and managing the agency, Charli enjoys swimming in the Mediterranean, writing poetry and reading.