It’s 2023. In the last couple years, the world has changed more than anyone could’ve imagined. COVID-19 challenged everyone and pushed marketers to come up with better strategies to grow brands. Gone are the days of in-person marketing, and the digital-world has had so much potential for growth.
Social Media and Short-Form Video Content
Consumers are increasingly spending time on social media. Statista estimates that the 2022 global daily media usage is 147 minutes and only increasing. However, the human attention span is decreasing people no longer have the patience to watch a 5-minute video on why they should purchase from a specific brand or how to use a product. They prefer a quick and short clip; they want all the same information but in a shorter amount of time.
This is where short-form video content comes into play. Brands can share any kind of message or engage with their target audience in seconds. Examples include taking a glimpse of ‘a day in the life’ of an employee, what product is being launched next, or even a customer’s reaction to using a product. Generally, these videos range from around 15 seconds to 2.5 minutes long, but this may vary depending on the platform. A Hubspot social media report states that 85% of marketers think that short-form videos are the most effective content on social media. Hence, brands should be taking advantage of this type of video marketing. Furthermore, a 2019 business benchmark video report indicates that 68% of people will happily watch a business video that’s under a minute long.
5 Important Things to Keep in Mind When Making Short Videos for Social Media
Here are some tips to produce the most effective and engaging short-form video content to help grow brands.
(1) Have user-generated content (UGC) prompted by brand challenges
Forbes says UGC is becoming an essential aspect in a brand’s marketing as it tells a story, shows authenticity, and ensures a wider reach on digital platforms.
Authenticity is key for successful content nowadays. Stackla reports 88% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. UGC ensures this genuineness as it’s brand-specific content posted by users of the brand rather than possibly over-confident content created by the brand; hence showing actual and true experiences with the brand. It’s also a cost-effective way to create video content since someone else does the work for the brand. All that brands need to do is repost others’ content and give credit to the original creators. A great way to enable UGC is through social media challenges. This gets consumers to create short videos for social media and post them under brand hashtags.
An example: Christian Schaffer’s Instagram Reel for Apple’s #shotoniphone challenge (screenshot below).
He joined Apple’s brand challenge by using his iPhone to create and post UGC that told a story Apple could now share this (by reposting) if it wanted to.
Stackla also indicates that 79% of people perceive UGC to be highly impactful in their purchasing decisions. Consumers can see what a brand’s product is actually like and therefore be encouraged or discouraged to purchase.
The best UGC to share on social media are those created by a brand’s target audience because a brand’s own followers will be of the same demographic and hence can relate to the post. Remember, a key question brands should be asking themselves before reposting content should be ‘will my target market relate to this?’ if the answer is ‘yes,’ then repost it!
(2) Make videos educational
Educational videos can be a ‘how-to’ guide or can explain benefits of brands’ products. 72% of customers would rather learn about a product through video content. Statista’s 2021 survey found that around 53.4% of females and 50.6% of males aged 16-24 were watching these online learning videos.
These attract a wider audience. People that don’t even know the brand may end up considering it. When they search for a solution to a problem or a ‘how-to’ guide online, lots of brands with educational videos that contain solutions or guides will come up in the search results. Hence, solving consumer problems in short-form video content is a great way to give brands more exposure, content engagement, and even possible conversions.
A 2020 Wyzowl survey indicates 84% of people have been convinced to buy a product/service by watching a brand’s video. Therefore, those in the decision-making stage of the buyer’s journey may be influenced to make the purchase decision if these explainer videos are done right it gives them that extra push they need as a video that solves their problem or makes life easier increases trust and loyalty to the brand. For example, those considering whether to buy Popflex’s Valentina Duffle may be persuaded by this short-form video explaining reasons why it’s a must-have (screenshot below).
(3) Have ‘behind-the-brand’ clips
It’s human nature to be curious. Having ‘behind-the-brand’ videos capture engagement Ñ people want to know more about brands themselves, not just their products. People no longer just base purchase decisions on the actual products, 77% of consumers buy from brands that have the same values as them. By letting potential consumers see what brands are really like through videos of teamwork or team-building events or office life or how employees of the brands are treated, consumers can see if their values align with the brands’; if it does, it promotes purchase decisions.
Brands can say their beliefs, but the only way to know if it’s true is through the people behind the brand. So, ‘behind-the-brand’ clips ensure that brands are being transparent in what they say and do this is something very valuable today: about 66% of consumers think transparency is one of the most attractive qualities in a brand according to Accenture’s Strategy 2018.
Shopee Philippines office life video example (screenshot below):
(4) Capture audience within the first few seconds
Any short-form video already helps with people’s short attention span. However, the New York Times indicates that the current average attention span is around 8 seconds and is decreasing. Even goldfish have a greater attention span of 9 seconds! Hence, there’s a need to spark curiosity at the beginning of a short-form video. Brands can have clear and compelling titles such that viewers know exactly what to expect or text animations and compelling statistics to grab people’s attention.
For example, Starbucks had a clear title and attention-grabbing action of a pineapple turning into a drink right at the beginning of their short-form video (screenshot below). Viewers automatically know what the video is about and those interested in low-calorie refreshing drinks will keep watching.
Moreover, people can’t always have audio turned on when they’re on social media. Forbes indicates 69% of consumers watch Facebook videos without sound when they’re in public spaces, so visuals in videos are integral to sparking interest.
If brands want content engagement, the first 8 seconds of their short videos for social media must be interesting enough for viewers to want to keep watching!
(5) Have influencer ads
This is another great way to get engagement. Influencers are oftentimes fellow consumers who have a great following on social media such that if they post a video about a brand, the brand will be seen by their followers, creating brand awareness and possibly consideration or conversion.
This is more so the case with micro- and nano-influencers who are known for being topic/industry experts and/or could even just be ordinary people like a next-door neighbour who organically gained followers through ordinary social media behaviour for instance. They have loyal followers who are more engaged because they’re people that consumers can easily relate to.
An example: Kelly Sweeney, a dancer/influencer with a large following on social media, does a short video ad for Replenix Skincare (screenshot below).
Marketers are increasingly contracting with micro- and nano-influencers with 91% of all 2021 sponsored post engagements being with content created by micro-influencers as found by Digital Information World.
Moreover, Later and Fohr found those with lower numbers of followers have higher engagement rates with those with 0-25K followers having the highest at 7%.
Recent research suggests influencer marketing has many layers to it, from having an organic reach, to gaining attention, to showing people that influencers are just fellow consumers, and to overall endorsing brands. Therefore, in partnering with influencers to create short videos for social media, brands can successfully reach their target audience and share their message.
So, there you have it. When looking to create engaging content, short-form videos that are user- or influencer-generated, educational, interesting right from the get-go, or contain ‘behind-the-brand’ information are the way to go. These help brands reach more consumers and put them more forefront in consumers’ minds when they think about who to purchase from. The world is evolving, and digital marketing, specifically short-video marketing, will continue to become more popular so being a part of it will definitely benefit brands’ growth.
Selimah Cua is an Accounting and Marketing major in her final semester of the Bachelor of Commerce degree in the University of Melbourne. She has done numerous Marketing subjects over the past three years, gaining insight and knowledge on various areas of Marketing. She hopes to learn more about Marketing in the future.