9 Short-Form Video Ideas for Social Media

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Consumers love video. In fact, UpCity estimates the average person watches around 100 minutes of video a day across YouTube, TikTok, and other social platforms. 

Social media power users contribute to this trend with their own video content, often in short form. Businesses and consumers alike use videos to inform, educate, and even promote products and services.

“It’s estimated that by 2022, 82 percent of the global internet traffic will come from video streaming and downloads (Cisco, 2019). That’s an 88 percent increase in traffic share from the 72.3 percent in 2017.”

Oberlo

Capitalizing on the popularity of video marketing, brands have leaned on influencers to provide on-brand content to better connect with audiences. But influencer marketing is just one way brands leverage video to drive web traffic, lead generation, and sales.

More specifically, short-form video packs relevant content into shorter bursts. Marketers often cite user attention span research when explaining the rising popularity of short-form videos. But making videos brief is also forcing content marketers and influencers to say (or show) more using fewer words and images.

Thus, short-form now represents some of the best examples of content marketing—brief, specific, digestible, and compelling.

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What is short-form video content?

Short-form videos last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Marketers and social platforms are finding that even though long-form videos aren’t going away, consumers can’t seem to get enough videos in short form. 

This may explain the rapid adoption of TikTok, an app strictly devoted to videos lasting 3 minutes or less. In fact, TikTok was the most downloaded app in the U.S. in 2021. But while this app’s primary users are people under 35, that doesn’t mean brands with older target audiences can’t benefit from short-form videos. 

Not sure if it’s for you? Check out these short-form video statistics. 

People are spending a lot of time watching videos. 

Despite the fact that only 14% of the content on Facebook is video, half of the total time users spend on the platform is spent watching videos, according to Meta. As a result, many marketers are starting to allocate a bigger budget to video content. 

There is also a lot of attention on video-only platforms. One study found that U.S. Android users spent a monthly average of 22.2 hours on YouTube and 25.6 hours on TikTok. 

Short-form videos are highly engaging. 

As the graph from Vidyard below demonstrates, videos that last more than ten minutes experience a rapid drop in viewership. The “sweet spot” seems to be five minutes or less, and the shorter the video, the more likely viewers are inclined to watch until the end.

A graph depicting the percentage of viewers still engaged based on the amount of time spent watching various length videos
Image via Vidyard

Transcript: A graph depicting the percentage of viewers still engaged based on the amount of time spent watching various length videos. Here are the percentages of people who completed the video for each length: 

  • 0-60 second video: 58% 
  • 61-120 second video: 50%  
  • 121-600 second video: 43% 
  • 602-1,200 second video: 37% 
  • Video longer than 1,200 seconds: 24% 

What are the best platforms for short-form videos?

TikTok is a major disruptor in this field, and experts anticipate that about 30% of U.S. Internet users will be on TikTok by 2024. 

Bar graph depicting where U.S. consumers prefer to watch social short-form videos. 
Image via Insider Intelligence

Transcript: Bar graph depicting where U.S. consumers prefer to watch social short-form videos. 

  • TikTok: 48.5%
  • YouTube Shorts: 25.3% 
  • Instagram Reels: 20.1% 
  • Snapchat Spotlight: 1.4% 
  • Triller: 1.1% 
  • Other: 3.5% 

However, the best platform for your brand depends on your target audience. For example, a study of 2,014 participants revealed that 49% of people 25 and older watched videos on Facebook while only 24% watched something on TikTok. 

Short-form video trends to consider 

Ok, so we sold you on the value of short-form videos, but now what? It’s time to start brainstorming how to incorporate these videos into your marketing strategy. But with so many different types, where do you start?

Here are the types of videos 600 marketers across the U.S. and Canada said they were prioritizing: 

9 Short-Form Video Ideas for Social Media 3
Image via UpCity 

Transcript: A bar chart depicts which video types marketers plan to focus on creating. 

  • Demonstration videos: 17% 
  • Company culture videos: 16%
  • Tutorial videos: 16% 
  • Branded short film or mini-documentary: 12% 
  • Web series: 12%
  • Customer testimonials: 12% 
  • Behind-the-scenes videos: 9% 
  • Other: 5% 

Check out some of our favorite video genres, determine which would work best for your brand, and consider reaching out to creators to help turn your short-form dreams into reality. 

1. Testimonial or review videos

What is it? 

Testimonial and review videos showcase a consumer’s experience with your product or service. The person could be an influencer, brand ambassador, or a knowledgeable customer who loves your brand. 

Why it works 

Done well, these kinds of short-form videos are great examples of authentic content. They allow users to showcase the benefits of a product in an engaging way and are perfect for showing a customer’s genuine enthusiasm. Coming from an individual outside of your organization also makes the video’s message feel more objective and can be very effective for consumers who are on the fence about your brand. 

How to do it right 

It’s critical that the subject in your video knows how to use your product. Poor product knowledge can reflect negatively on your brand. And the more genuine the customer’s excitement, the better your video will perform. 

Influencers can be great people to partner with on these, as they have a lot of experience creating testimonial short-form videos. Finding influential customers who have used your products before and genuinely love them can help make the testimonial stand out among a large audience. 

2. Product tutorials or how-tos 

What is it? 

Product tutorials show consumers how to use your product or incorporate your products or services into a real-life scenario. How-to videos differ from testimonials because your focus now lies on creating visual product instructions. These videos are in high demand because they are practical and informative.

In fact, an UpCity survey of 600 marketers determined that 17% of brands are prioritizing demonstration videos in their strategies, while another 16% are primarily focusing on tutorials. 

Short-form how-to videos can be challenging, particularly if the task or product you want to showcase takes some time to complete. Short-form tutorials like this one from IKEA are excellent examples of how to create high-quality tutorials in less than 10 minutes.

Why it works 

“‘How to’ searches on YouTube increase by 70% every year.”

Social Media Today

People use videos to learn to cook, develop professional skills, perform car maintenance, and more. Social media users are drawn to videos that show them how to perform certain tasks for themselves. In fact, more than 70% of people use YouTube videos to solve a problem, whether personal or professional. 

How to do it right 

In order to make how-to videos in short form, you’re most likely going to need to utilize fast frames, as though the viewer were fast-forwarding the video. To prevent confusion, you can create explanatory voice-overs or add aesthetically pleasing text on the screen. 

3. FAQs responding to customer questions 

What is it? 

FAQs, sometimes called “explainer” videos, address common customer questions. In short form, these videos are easy to place throughout your website and share on social channels. Additionally, you can add the necessary metadata to increase your ranking on search engines.

For a good FAQ short-form video, you need to address common questions you get from customers and prospects. These videos give you a chance to inform your audience and showcase your products and services. 

Consider answering brand-specific questions and broader industry-specific questions. Sharing a range can boost credibility with your audience and position your brand as an industry authority.

Why it works 

These videos provide value to consumers and are often more engaging than written FAQs. Keeping these videos short allows you to create more of them and make finding answers to specific questions simple for your customers. 

How to do it right 

FAQs only work if you ask and answer the right questions. Addressing questions that you wish customers were asking may not connect with your audience. It’s helpful to pull common questions from your sales and customer service team, as well as social media. 

4. User-generated content 

What is it? 

User-generated content (UGC) is any content coming from someone outside your company or marketing team. It’s common for influencers to talk about their favorite brands or showcase specific products that enhance the lifestyle they want to promote. 

Why it works 

UGC videos are frequently unsolicited, which makes them more trustworthy to consumers. Many of these videos are clearly homemade and demonstrate far more authenticity. 

Furthermore, user-generated short-form videos promoting products feel more objective (similar to testimonials). The content isn’t created by the brand in a studio—it’s everyday people talking about the products they love.

How to do it right 

You may already have short-form UGC out there, so you may need to search for social media users who tagged your brand or included your name in the video title. Or, you can partner with influencers with a strong track record of creating informal videos like the one above.

After finding the right UGC, you can purchase the rights to the content and repurpose it for ads or branded content on your owned media channels.

5. Live streaming 

Tomcat – Facebook Not Live from Jesse Brown on Vimeo.

What is it? 

One of the fastest-growing trends in social media is live-streamed video. Since these are viewed in real time, there is a greater opportunity for followers to interact with your brand. 

Most live-stream events occur on social platforms, though some brands host live streams directly from their website. Many brands promote these events ahead of time to boost anticipation.

But live streaming is even popular among brands and users that launch live videos unannounced. Either way, viewers can tune in live or catch the video after your live stream has finished.

Why it works 

Audience members generally feel more connected to the individual featured in a live stream and may post live comments in response to the content. These videos also act as virtual events and post-production content that you can reshare after the event is over.

How to do it right 

To create compelling live streams in short form, you need to plan ahead. Unplanned live streams (though perfectly acceptable for those who know how to do them well) generally go longer than anticipated. When you want to keep your live streams to just a few minutes, you’ll want to stick to the message or topic.

Ideally, you’ll leverage your live stream to incentivize customers to engage. Share prompts that will encourage people to leave comments and react. 

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6. Memes and funny content 

What is it? 

Funny videos can highlight your brand’s comedic chops, and memes are viral pieces of content shared for being humorous. TikTok and other short-form video platforms are home to several memes, and their viral nature encourages users to create their own versions for notoriety. 

Why it works 

A 2020 study revealed that 21.2% of respondents said the most important quality that made a short video shareable was whether or not it was funny. People flock to social media to be entertained, and short-form videos allow people to get to the punchline quickly. 

How to do it right 

Go with the flow by focusing on trending sounds, filters, and more—but it’s essential to put your own creative spin on it so that it stands out. Or embrace your creativity and do something completely unique that showcases your brand in a new way, as Duolingo did with a video spoofing people’s fears of breaking their participation streak on the app. 

7. Teasers for new products 

@colourpopco

Peep this! 👀💜 our PEEPS®️ and ColourPop Collection launches 4/18 at 10am PT! 🌈🐰

♬ original sound – ColourPop Cosmetics

What is it?

A short-form product teaser is a brief video showcasing either elements of a product or the whole thing to build anticipation for a new release. For more established brands, keeping it vague can build intrigue, while newer companies may benefit from teasing the whole product.

Why it works 

Sharing a quick glimpse of a new product or its benefits before it’s released can get people excited, especially when you let them know when they can purchase it. Studies have shown that posting about upcoming releases has a significant effect on consumers’ interest in the product and generates a large amount of word-of-mouth advertising. 

How to do it right 

There are a couple of best practices to follow when it comes to creating a promo video. Check them out: 

  • Don’t give away all of the information. Keeping an air of mystery (even a small one) can build anticipation. 
  • Provide a release date. This concrete information satisfies consumers and will encourage them to seek out information from your brand on that day. 
  • Share multiple videos. Creating a series of teaser videos that release over time can keep the momentum going. Each subsequent video should show a little more of the product or highlight a different feature. 

Brands can also further build hype and incentivize sharing the content with their friends by hosting a giveaway for the new product. 

8. Behind-the-scenes looks 

What is it? 

A behind-the-scenes video takes your community where they’ve never been before, whether that’s in the factory where your product is made, at a photoshoot or event for your brand, or a tour of your office. Sometimes, they feature informal interviews with employees, which can add a human touch to a brand. 

Why it works 

Behind-the-scenes looks generate feelings of authenticity and connection with your audience. These are also exceptional opportunities to showcase your brand’s selling points, like using ethical production methods or whole ingredients. 

How to do it right 

When it comes to creating engaging behind-the-scenes videos, it’s essential to figure out what part of your process may be the most interesting to viewers. If you have a best-selling product, consider showing how it’s made, or if you have a major campaign starting soon, perhaps take viewers to see a photoshoot in order to build anticipation. 

9. Promotions 

@moxie During our Cyber #Summer Sale we have 40% off select items! You don’t want to miss out!😍 #MoxieLash #magneticlashes #lashes #selfcaretiktok ♬ Dougie x Breakfast x Chosen – Kuya Magik

What is it? 

Short-form promotion videos let viewers know when a sale or special shopping event is happening. 

Why it works 

Everyone loves a good sale, and it’s terrible when you realize you missed one. Letting your community know when one is happening can drive conversions and even encourage fans to share the news with their friends. 

These videos are also excellent ways to capture potential consumers who have been on the fence about purchasing your product, and the limited-time incentive can drive action from this group. 

How to do it right 

Keep it short and sweet. Be sure to share what the sale is (whether it’s a percentage off of your cart, free shipping, etc.) and whether the promotion is available for every product or a select few. Don’t forget to keep your promo code front and center, and include when the promo ends. 

Key takeaway: Leverage short-form videos for social media and build your brand.

Studies continue to show that relevant, well-crafted videos attract more impressions than written and image posts. And in many cases, the more concise your videos, the more likely viewers will want to watch them until the very last second. Using any of the short-form video techniques listed above can help you expand your audience and engagement on social media. 

Video marketing isn’t always easy, though. A 2022 survey of business owners, marketers, and technology professionals revealed that only 27% think their video strategy is very effective. Additionally, many marketers cited a lack of available content creators as a key difficulty in developing videos. The solution: Utilizing a Creator Management platform can help your brand find and connect with influencers who have the skills to take your short-form videos to the next level. 

Frequently Asked Questions

A short-form video should be engaging and offer something of value to the viewer. Since attention spans are relatively short and there is a massive amount of content to consume on the Internet, you must capture attention within the first few seconds and nurture it throughout the whole video. 

Short-form videos last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. There is no defined maximum length, but some have suggested the cutoff is a minute, while others say 2 ½ minutes or even 10. 

TikTok is the preferred platform for short videos among most people. However, YouTube and Instagram are also popular options. 

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