How To Use Short Form Video For Your Business
Videos are an incredibly effective way to grow your small business. From attracting new customers to gaining visibility across the world, short-form videos are the new trend that can grab customers’ attention quickly and get your business — its service, products and more — into their hands.
In the last few years, video content has exploded on social media, most notably short-form videos, thanks to TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and Pinterest Ideas pins. It's left business owners wondering how to get their skin in the game if they want to create that style of content for their business.
So, where do you begin?
My name is Sarah Huguet, and I'm the owner of Social and Stuff, a social media management and consulting agency based in Vancouver, Canada. We help brands and businesses build their community through organic content and custom strategies.
Let's dive into short-form video and how you can utilize it for your brand or business.
1. What is considered short-form video?
Short-form video is anything from 2 seconds to 3 minutes that’s typically filmed vertically; either face-to-camera talking, doing a voice-over, or played to trending music or lip-syncing funny audio.
- Instagram Reels → up to 60 seconds
- TikTok → up to 3 minutes
- YouTube shorts → up to 60 seconds
- Pinterest idea pins → up to 60 seconds in length, while you can add up to 20 frames to each Idea series.
Keep in mind that people's attention span is about 7-8 seconds these days. So even though these platforms allow up to a certain amount, the shorter is oftentimes the better when it comes to Reels, TikTok and YouTube shorts.
2. Why is short-form video so popular?
Short-form video has become incredibly popular because it gives people a peek behind the curtain, and it leaves perfectionism at the door. This trend doesn’t appear to be going away, as it has become the norm these days for social media content. In fact, all social platforms have come out to say that video is king and that they are prioritizing supporting it on their platforms.
Today, more than ever, users are craving real authentic connections and less filtered ‘everything is perfect’ content.
3. Where can you post short-form videos?
All the social media companies are joining the short-form video trend and are offering a way for creators to create and post them on their platforms.
On Instagram, it's called Reels. Instagram is a photo and video sharing platform with over 1.3 billion monthly users, and 90% of them follow at least one business. Instagram has turned into the ideal digital office + website to showcase your brand or business and build your community. Users between the ages 18 - 34 make up the most significant share, so if this is your demographic, you’ll want to build a presence on the app.
On TikTok, they are called TikTok's, and it is strictly a video-sharing platform with 1 billion monthly users. You can create short-form vertical video content which is shown to your followers, or it can land on the "for you page" (fyp). What determines if it goes on the fyp? The algorithm serves it up to users based on their previous interactions on the app. You can also go LIVE once you have 1000 followers. The largest age group is 10-19 years, making up a quarter of its users, and 70% is from the ages of 20-49. Plus, 46% of TikTok users engage with content without any distraction, about 10% more than other social platforms.
On Pinterest, they are called Idea Pins. Pinterest is a visual search engine platform where users discover recipes, products, how-tos and much more. It is like a more visually appealing Google. Pinterest has 444 million monthly active users and women make up more than 60% of its global audience. 80% of weekly pinners have discovered a new brand or business; they come to Pinterest to plan, shop and purchase.
On YouTube, short-form videos are called YouTube shorts. YouTube has more than 2 billion monthly users. I go there anytime I need an answer or learn how to do something. YouTube is the number 2 ranked social platform behind Facebook and is a fantastic free tool to showcase your brand or business.
4. What type of videos can you create
Face-to-camera → it’s exactly how it sounds. You pick up your phone, hit record and talk. This type of video is perfect for educational content, speaking your mind, or sharing a motivational, powerful message.
Video clips + photos to trending music → you can piece this together to the beat of the music.
Lip-sync/Audio trend → these are popular on Reels and TikTok. They’re typically filmed face-to-camera lip-syncing lyrics or looking at the camera with text bubbles explaining why you are using that sound.
Bird's eye view → this is very popular in the crafting, artist world. Set your camera up on a tripod and film from a bird’s-eye view and paired it to music or a voice-over explaining the process.
GIFs and Memes → these can be created in 1080 x 1920 mode, add text and pair to music.
Filming outward → this style is perfect for any brand or business that doesn't feel comfortable showing their face. Simply record when you’re out for a walk, doing an activity or anything else you think your audience would be interested in.
Daily vlogs → Exactly as the name implies, you film little clips throughout the day and piece them together against a voice-over. You can shoot, “a day in the life” or capture moments, such as shipping your product from purchase to ship.
Tutorial → This is an opportunity to do a digital walkthrough of your software or one that you use in your business. People love to get quick wins and actionable steps through social media.
5. Should you be creating and posting videos for your business?
Ideally — yes. However, if it is not in the cards, then just being on social media in any form is a must these days. It is the first place consumers go when deciding to buy something, booking a service or visiting your establishment.
Short-form video content is giving brands and businesses huge visibility and reach that is very hard to achieve with static content. Gone are the days of a pretty grid on Instagram with the perfect filter. Now that video is here, it’s highly recommended as a strategy to implement for your business.
If you’re unsure of where to start, considering looking to retaining the services of content creators. They make this style of content for a living, and you can hire them to create content specifically for your brand. You can also hire an agency to fully take over your business’ content creation; and if you are able to build your staff, consider bringing on someone in-house to be your content creator so that you have a steady stream of content.
6. Why are trends important and how do you find them?
If you hop on a trend at the right time, and it goes viral, that could have a huge impact on your business. I always advise brands and companies to have a mix of content types as it’s not pragmatic to rely solely on trends to grow. That said, leveraging a trend to increase your visibility should be part of your content strategy for 2022. Trends come in many ways; it could be a song blowing up, a lip-sync skit that is having a moment, or a viral dance.
It is easy to fall into the scroll hole when finding these trends. And it is tricky, because you don't want to be too late on a trend. A great tip is to find accounts on each platform that post about the trends. Yes, there are creators out there who, on the daily, post things like "trend alerts,” let them do your heavy lifting and monitoring.
The biggest thing is just starting. Yes, your first video; you might not knock it out of the park, but we all get better the more tries we take. It might feel awkward, but it gets easier the more you do it. Plus, you never know who is watching.
We have to remember we are at a time when sharing about your business has never been so accessible. We have the opportunity to create mini commercials right from our phones and publish them out in the world for free. When a user can tell that you are passionate about your business and having fun — it is infectious.
About the Author
Sarah Huguet is the CEO of Social and Stuff, a social media agency specializing in helping businesses create content that sells for YOU. After owning an e-commerce store, she pivoted into social media marketing in 2018, realizing how much she loved creating content and building an online presence. Social and Stuff has worked with over 50 businesses, and Sarah has helped over 200 students learn about Instagram + TikTok through digital courses.
- 35 Instagram stats that matter to marketers in 2002, https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-statistics/
- Distribution of TikTok users in the United States as of September 2021, by age group, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1095186/tiktok-us-users-age/
- Time Well Spent: Users on TikTok stay longer, engage often & feel happier, https://www.tiktok.com/business/en/blog/time-well-spent
- Your audience is here, https://business.pinterest.com/audience