Moving image has been grabbing people’s attention since the dawn of time. Okay, maybe not “time”, but since the dawn of the internet, at least.
Remember the dancing baby? If your pop culture knowledge doesn’t span past the mid 90’s, then you probably won’t. Regarded as one of the first ever viral videos, this 3D-rendered animation of a dancing baby began popping up in every e-mail, website and internet forum. Fast forward to now, and TikTok exists.
Of course, there’s many advancements and trends in that time, but the bottom line is people love video. It engages us like no other form of media. And now, in 2021, video consumption habits have undergone a radical and permanent shift. In fact, people share videos at twice the rate of any other form of content.
In 2020, TikTok quickly rose to become one of the biggest social media platforms on the internet, with its U.S. users alone soaring to over 91 million months into the pandemic. Now their rivals have followed suit to accommodate the demand for short-form videos by adding their own copycat TikTok features—namely Instagram’s Reels and YouTube’s Shorts.
Short-form video is how many people—especially Gen-Z consumers—seek entertainment and stay informed. For example, 71% of Gen Z spends more than 3 hours every day watching online videos.
But what started as an emerging trend has now become a permanent fixture in how people engage with the world. There’s no denying it, short-form video is here to stay. But what is it about this medium that keeps us coming back for more?
Firstly, apps like TikTok and features like Reels are not just social platforms. They give everybody a space to freely express their creativity. A visible place to be themselves. Joyful, irreverent, witty and entertaining user-generated content is their initial draw. The second would be education.
Over the past year, as the world locked down, TikTok became a valuable learning platform. Experts from every industry imaginable began using the platform to share their knowledge, converting bitesize video from trendy dances into useful tutorials. From important social awareness videos for #BLM and #Pride, to marketing tips and hair tutorials, TikTok is here to educate as well as entertain.
Perhaps one of short-form media’s biggest pulls is its appeal to short attention spans. It pushes traditional media boundaries and provides people with a quick and easy way to consume information. The format lends itself to a more concise way of communicating that’s meant to excite and inspire people.
Then, there’s the ability to go viral. These platforms are powered by an algorithm that rewards quality content above all else, which means a simple video has the potential to reach millions of people. A user with 30 followers could have a viral sensation overnight. For brands, it means increasing brand visibility and engaging with fans in authentic, entertaining ways.
Which brings us to the reason we’re here—what can short-form video do for your brand? Alongside paid ads, TikTok and Reels can be important cornerstones of your content strategy. For savvy brands willing to take risks and channel their creativity, it creates an experience that users crave and keeps them coming back for more.
This is where the concept of ‘advertainment’ comes in. Short-form video content, although featuring your product or centred around your services, does not appear as a normal advertisement. They look natural and not over-produced. They’re fun and engaging, using snappy transitions and trending sounds. The key is to create something that the viewer could potentially create themselves, connecting to them on a more human level.
So, how exactly do we use short-form video to elevate your brand?
Platforms like TikTok and Reels offer a great chance to do a little show and tell. They’re perfect for brands, especially because 84% of people have been convinced to buy a product or service based on a brands’ video.
Does your product have a bunch of exciting features? What does it look like when it’s in action? By using short-form video, we’re able to highlight what makes your products unique.
And if you don’t have a product-based business, don’t worry! It’s still possible to highlight your service-providing work as well. Sharing services in snappy video form gives us the chance to show off your brand’s style and the way you do things differently.
Tips, tricks and tutorials
Sharing how-to videos is arguably the easiest method of creating engaging, valuable content. This is an opportunity to educate our audience, with your product or service as the focus. What problems are your customers facing? How does your brand solve them? There’s a lot you can fit into 30 seconds or less, and endless ways to become an industry advocate.
What’s your “why”? Every brand has one, and telling that story is a great way to connect with your customer base in a more human and meaningful way. What are your brand values? Where did you start? Where are you now? Telling your story can come in many forms—behind the scenes, introducing members of your team, product creation, building anticipation for an upcoming launch. Whatever it is, there will always be a beginning, a middle, and a call to action.
This is where we have some fun! TikTok and Instagram are home to many strange and fantastical trends that ebb and flow. By getting involved, we are able to get your content more views and, in turn, gain your brand more fans. Of course, we don’t just pick any ol’ trend just because it’s popular. No, no no. We cherry pick the ones that are relevant to your personality, mission and tone of voice, making them the perfect way to bring some laughter and joy.
Sharing UGC is an excellent way to involve your audience. Consumers these days don’t choose a brand because it runs creative ad campaigns. They want to see people like themselves interacting with a product before making a purchase.
In fact, 56% of consumers say UGC photos and videos are the content they most want to see from brands. By creating a campaign for users to be a part of, we not only bring more people in to view your brand, we create a bank of budget-friendly content.
By choosing influencers who are relevant to your brand, we are able to leverage influencer-generated content into our strategy. Here’s a great example from Chipotle:
Chipotle collaborated with these content creators to create a fun, viral-worthy video that relates to their customers. One of their target audiences might be young students looking for inexpensive meals, who are reflected in this video and its creators. It’s all on-brand, you see!
So, there we have it. Short-form video can breathe life into your brand in so many exciting ways. There’s no doubt that it’s keeping people, especially young people, entertained, informed and engaged. Simply put, short-form video isn’t going anywhere, and we look forward to watching how it evolves for many years to come.