We are living in a time in which social media is one of the most common ways that we make connections with one another. Part of the reason for this is the fact that social channels are so ubiquitous — they are on our phones, they are present in our political landscape, they provide everything from entertainment to news. Is it any wonder, then, that it has also become a key tool for driving interest and conversions for businesses, too?
While text and still images have their uses, videos are proving to have a greater impact across social media channels, particularly on Instagram and TikTok where short videos reign supreme. Why do these short videos work so well? Some suppose that this is because social media is making our attention spans shorter. This is both unkind to our fellow humans and scientifically inaccurate. Indeed, studies suggest that our attention spans are evolving; we’re more selective about where our attention is focused due to our stimulus-heavy lives. The success of short videos speaks more to how we consume social media; largely through mobile devices, and on channels that encourage near-constant scrolling behavior.
So, how can you stop the scroll? What can you do to adapt your short video production in a way that captures attention and results in better engagement? These predominant tools deserve a thorough examination, along with an explanation of ways to utilize them in this new digital age.
Understand the medium
To get the most out of short videos, it’s important to gain a better understanding of how and why the medium works. This can help to guide the direction of your video marketing content and improve the chances of making an impression.
Even with a one or two-minute time limit on Tik Tok or Instagram respectively, there are still best practices for length to understand. It is generally accepted that videos on either platform should avoid being longer than 30 seconds — this is the sweet spot to grab and retain attention before viewers are likely to scroll away. Of course, your content might be interesting or funny enough to keep them watching longer, but to be on the safe side, don’t put any key messaging outside of that bracket.
TikTok and Instagram are both well designed for social media marketing; they support concise brand messaging and effective calls to action (CTA). However, you also have to know what social media marketing tools work to drive engagement in the short-medium. Partnerships with the right influencers are particularly effective on both platforms — you don’t have to spend video real estate building credibility with the audience; it’s instantly there. You also need to understand who you are targeting — insights on Instagram can help here — and use the right hashtags to reach the relevant groups.
Engage and interact
What does a popular video achieve, in and of itself? A little more brand awareness, maybe some extra followers. It certainly doesn’t guarantee that those who like it will build a relationship with your account, or connect to any business interests you might be promoting. This is why mastering the art form of short videos requires you to turn passive viewers into active participants.
Your approach should include:
Your short videos aren’t just forms of entertainment to be consumed, they should also form part of a dialogue. Give your viewers a reason to interact with your content and your account. Use the video to ask them specific questions, or request they make videos of their own on the topic and tag you in them so that you can respond. The more you can influence audiences to engage with your videos in different ways, the better chance you have of both maintaining their interest, and potentially affecting the algorithm.
This is particularly relevant for TikTok, but it has a place on Instagram too. Short videos that have some kind of replicable activity to them can spur interaction and engagement. You can see this with dance videos, and the recent spate of sea shanties. Setting a challenge can be particularly effective here. You also have the option to brand it by choosing the title of the challenge and setting relevant hashtags. This spurs engagement with your original content by encouraging the competitive spirit in people, and your video will likely be viewed more by those who discover you through others’ participation in the challenge.
Successfully utilizing short videos doesn’t just rely on your ability to represent the now, or respond to what others are doing on the platform. Part of your strategy should include an awareness of what is likely to happen soon, and how you can use your videos accordingly.
Your approach should include:
Making a Difference
Experts that help companies prepare for the future of business have emphasized the importance that technological tools and skillsets, alongside the focus on social responsibility. Businesses and consumers alike are expected to increasingly prioritize pressing issues — climate change, poverty, and equality among them. Your video scheduling should include content that highlights and addresses prevalent problems, and promote opportunities for how you and your followers together can make a difference.
Utilize insights and analytics to better predict the direction of trends. These can be popular music in the background, rising influencers, even preferred technological elements such as image quality or aspect ratios. Your videos might not be trend drivers, but by engaging with memes at the earliest possible opportunities, you can improve your impact and make meaningful connections, rather than just riding a bandwagon.
Short videos are among the most popular content for social media today. To best take advantage of this approach, you should take time to better understand how and why the medium works, and create videos that prompt engagement. When you bolster these actions with a firm eye toward the future, you can create a short video strategy that enhances your road to success.