Shopify Ecosystem

5 Short-Form Video Ideas for Social Media


Consumers love video. In fact, experts anticipate the video marketing industry to reach nearly $50 billion by 2022. And thanks to new developments in short-form video tools and techniques, video marketing remains fresh while continuing to grow.

Social media power users are contributing to this trend with their own tutorial, funny, and collage video content, often in short-form. Businesses and consumers alike are using video 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 in which brands are leveraging video to drive web traffic, lead generation, and sales.

power of video in purchasing decisions social media marketing

Image via Oberlo

More specifically, short-form video is packing relevant content into shorter bursts. Marketers often cite user attention span research when explaining the rising popularity of short-form video. 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.

What is a Short-form Video for Social Media?

Short-form videos are videos lasting a few minutes or less. Marketers and social platforms are finding that even though long-form videos are not going away, consumers can’t seem to get enough videos in short-form.

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.

social media marketing with video

Image via Vidyard

TikTok is probably the latest full-scale social media platform built on short-form video alone. But users can also create compelling videos lasting 30 seconds to a few minutes on most other leading channels, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Social Media Video Trends of 2020

The following trends are popular across most social channels. Partnering with influencers to produce one of the short-form ideas below can boost your authenticity. They also make for great repurposed content in the form of branded ads.

Here are our top five short-form video trends from 2020.

1. Testimonial or Review Videos

Customer testimonial short-form videos, like the one from Love Yer Dog above, allows consumers to see a before-and-after of your product. Additionally, these real-life stories can create a positive, emotional response from your audience.

What is It?

Testimonial and review videos showcase your product with a live customer. The customer could be an influencer, brand ambassador, or a knowledgeable customer that loves your brand. 

When creating a product review video, the customer should know your product or service well enough to highlight its strengths. Viewers can see the difference that your solution makes upon their quality of life. Testimonials tell a story, and if you make that story compelling in just a few minutes or less, you will attract more consumers to your brand.

Why It Works

Done well, these kinds of short-form videos are great examples of authentic content. Coming from an individual outside of your organization also makes the video’s message feel more objective. Lastly, these videos in brief bits are easier for consumers to view and digest.

How to Do It Right

It’s critical that the subject (customer) in your video knows how to use your product. Poor product knowledge can reflect poorly on your brand. In addition, ensure that the customer showcasing your product genuinely loves your brand. If they don’t, the video that they create can come across as inauthentic to the audience. 

The more genuine the customer’s excitement, the better your video will perform. One of the great benefits of partnering with influencers is that they have a lot of experience creating testimonial short-form videos. If you vet your influencers and ambassadors well, you’ll be able to create some amazing short-form video testimonials to boost brand awareness and drive sales.

2. Product Tutorial or How-to

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

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

What is It?

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

Why It Works

People are using 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. Also, how-to videos provide great inspiration for consumers still looking for that ideal solution.

How to Do It Right

In order to make these 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

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

What is It?

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

Many FAQ videos address common questions in the industry rather than just product-related questions. These broader topic FAQs can boost credibility with your audience and position your brand as an industry authority.

Why It Works

These videos are helpful to consumers. And since they are videos, they usually generate more attention than do written FAQs. Keeping these videos short and to-the-point allows you to make more of them and create more meaningful content for your audience.

And because of their SEO value, FAQ videos do a great job of driving traffic to your website.

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. 

Also, be sure to only address one question at a time. This approach will keep your videos in short-form and also give you a chance to create more content.

4. User-generated Content

Some of the greatest examples of on-brand short-form video comes from outside your organization. Like the GoPro video above, a customer puts their own creativity to good use and shows off what a particular product can do.

What is It?

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

Why It Works

UGC short-form videos are frequently unsolicited. But consumers flock to them and appreciate the lifestyle to which that particular brand or product applies. Influencer videos are among the most effective examples of UGC.

Many of these videos are clearly homemade and demonstrate a greater measure of authenticity. Furthermore, UGC 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 UGC in short video form already out there, so you may need to search for social media users that tagged your brand or included your name in the video title. Or, you can partner with influencers that have 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

One of the fastest-growing trends in social media is the video live stream. In a live stream, there is a greater opportunity for followers to interact and watch your event in real time. One of the most creative examples of short-form video live streaming occurred when Tomcat (an exterminator company) created a series of short videos that they weaved together on Facebook in response to comments from the audience.

What is It?

Most live stream events occur over Facebook and Instagram, though some brands host live stream videos directly from their website. Many brands promote these video live stream 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 video content. These videos also act as virtual events and post-production content that you can re-share 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 that 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 leverage your live stream video to incentivize customers to engage. In the Tomcat example above, the brand actually coordinated the next live video in real-time based on feedback from those tuning in.

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

Studies continue to show that relevant, well-crafted videos attract more impressions than do written and image posts. And in many cases, the more concise your videos, the more likely viewers are going to want to watch until the very last second. Using any one of the short-form video techniques listed above can help you expand your audience and engagement on social media. After endearing wider audiences to your brand, you can nurture those relationships toward higher conversions.

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