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Short-Form Videos: How Small Businesses Can Harness This Video Marketing Trend

Video has emerged as one of the most effective digital marketing formats. Whether you want to boost brand awareness and recognition or educate consumers about your products, videos help deliver crucial information in an easily understandable manner. Because they’re fun and easy to consume, short-form videos are particularly engaging and even have the potential to go viral.

Therefore, it isn’t surprising that 96% of marketers consider videos to be an integral part of their marketing strategies. And 70% of non-video marketers intend to try their hands at video marketing in 2023.

But let’s face it. Video production isn’t a cakewalk. It takes time, effort, and money to create high-quality video content at scale. Nearly a third of businesses that don’t use video marketing cite lack of time as the reason behind it. Another 18% don’t know how to start video production, and 10% consider it expensive.

Does that mean cash-strapped small businesses should give up hopes of reaping the benefits of video marketing?

Not quite.

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There’s a way for small businesses to use videos to the fullest, even without hefty marketing budgets. The solution is to harness the growing trend of short-form video.

Short-Form Videos: Are They Worth the Hype?

To say that short videos have taken the internet by storm would be an understatement. From Facebook and Instagram to YouTube, almost every popular platform has been trying to harness the power of short-form video.

Instagram Reels, launched in August 2020 in an attempt to compete with TikTok, have twice the average engagement rate of other content formats on the image-sharing platform. (Source: SocialInsider)

YouTube Shorts, launched around the same time, attracts more than 1.5 billion monthly active users. Also, videos under 60 seconds accounted for more than half of YouTube views as of July 2022. That’s quite a jump from a measly 11% in July 2020.

It’s easy to understand why short videos have become so popular on social media and other platforms. They act as small, interesting, and digestible nuggets of information and are usually entertaining too. That makes them an easy way to consume content in an age of fleeting attention spans.

Besides entertainment, many consumers also see short-form videos as a way to inform their purchase decisions. Millennials and Gen Z, in particular, prefer short videos to learn more about a new brand or product.

With an average duration of 30 seconds to a minute, short videos are easily shareable. When they strike the right chord with your target audience, these videos can even go viral. And they drive excellent engagement rates and deliver the highest return on investment (ROI).

Therefore, it’s only natural that 90% of marketers plan to increase or maintain their investment in this video format in 2023.

Best Practices to Make the Most of Short-Form Videos

What makes short videos particularly beneficial for small businesses is the quick and hassle-free production process. You don’t need fancy equipment, premium editing tools, or acclaimed filmmakers for short-form video production. Of course, you’ll still need a well-defined content strategy tailored to your audience’s likes and preferences.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Optimize for Soundless Viewing

Think about how many times you’ve scrolled through TikTok videos or Instagram Reels in a public place or at work. Don’t you prefer to turn the audio off while watching these videos?

Similarly, a large part of your audience will likely want to watch videos on mute while they’re commuting to work or taking a quick coffee break in the office.

That makes it crucial to add proper captions to your videos. It’ll ensure a seamless viewing experience, irrespective of whether the audio is turned on or off. Depending on your target demographic, it might be wiser to add captions in multiple languages.

Now, manually adding captions to every video is slow and inefficient. Consider using a tool like MixCaptions that automatically generates captions for video content.


Image via Google Play

The app even lets you translate the generated captions into different languages. Also, you can modify the placement of captions and customize the fonts and background to make your videos more eye-catching.

2. Take Inspiration from  Trending Content

If you want your videos to garner maximum traction, it’s a good idea to use trending templates. Monitor your Reels and TikTok feed to identify the latest content trends and use the ones relevant to your brand. It’s also a good idea to follow popular content creators and influencers in your niche. To further enhance your TikTok presence, actively engage with your audience and optimize your content strategies to grow your TikTok likes.

Additionally, you can use a video editor application like Videoleap to easily create videos based on trending templates shared by the community of creators on the app. It provides you with a robust set of tools to edit, personalize, and share your videos on different platforms. You even get access to an extensive library of sound effects and stock footage, which can help speed up production.


Image via Google Play

Besides trending video templates, you should also keep an eye out for popular audio clips and use them in your content. Consider participating in a trending challenge or add your own spin to it. Alternatively, you could launch a branded video challenge and invite your audience to participate.

3. Don’t Ignore User-Generated Content (UGC)

Nothing screams “credibility” and “trust” louder than user-generated content. Encourage your existing customers to upload short videos highlighting their experience of using your products/services. Share these videos in your newsletters and social media profiles to win your target audience’s trust.

Alternatively, you can launch a campaign inviting your audience to create entertaining or educational videos on a specific theme. All the better if these videos highlight your product’s features or benefits.

Take a cue from Apple’s #ShotoniPhone campaign.


Image via Instagram

As part of the campaign, Apple invites iPhone users to upload photos and videos captured using their phone cameras. The best entries are selected to be featured on Apple’s Instagram page, as well as on billboards and retail stores.

The campaign helps showcase the key features of iPhone cameras without any overly promotional messaging.

4. Focus on the Right Platforms

With more than 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok might seem like a golden opportunity for video marketing. Then there’s Instagram Reels, which is known for its high engagement and reach. Don’t forget other platforms, such as YouTube Shorts, Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat.

But should your marketing strategy cover every platform? It may not be feasible for a small business with limited resources and a small team.

Instead, you should prioritize platforms that yield the best returns. Monitor video metrics, such as views, click-through rates, and watch percentage, to identify the best-performing platforms. Proper data analysis will also help you determine the right time of the day for uploading videos.

While most social media platforms feature an analytics section, it’s a good idea to use a tool like Klipfolio that combines analytics from different platforms into one dashboard.


Image via Klipfolio

Additionally, consider using a content scheduling tool like SocialPilot to publish videos automatically on different platforms. It can even help you plan your content calendar and monitor video performance on each platform.

Set Your Video Marketing Strategy Up for Success

You don’t need millions of dollars worth of marketing budget to create videos that drive engagement and revenue. When judiciously used, short-form videos can be a marketing goldmine for small businesses.

Identify the right platforms to publish your videos and include accurate, descriptive captions in different languages to maximize engagement. Leverage user-generated content in the form of testimonials and customer stories to boost credibility. Lastly, strike a balance between hopping on the latest trends and maintaining a consistent brand identity.

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