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Maximizing Short Form Video on TikTok & Instagram Reels

Read this guide to learn how short‑form video content can increase your reach and take your digital marketing strategy to the next level.

Short-form video content can help you take your social media marketing strategy to the next level. With hundreds of thousands of consumers enjoying videos on social media every day, you need a plan for getting in front of them.

From TikTok to Instagram Reels, Youtube, and more, short-form video platforms can help you engage your audience, increase brand recognition, and boost sales. These videos are cost-effective, engaging, and can help drive website traffic when done right.

Some small business owners think they need fancy high-tech gear to start using short-form videos in their marketing strategy, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Social media is a place to humanize your brand, so a video on your iPhone can be just as effective as a more professional one.

How can you start using short-form video to increase engagement and clicks on social media? Keep reading to learn more about short-form videos and how to increase your reach.

What is a short-form video?

Short-form video marketing is exactly what it sounds like. Unlike lengthy commercials, a short-form video is just a few seconds long and can last up to a minute.

While longer videos are still popular, short-form videos are more engaging and effective because there's no major commitment; in most cases, someone can watch them in a few seconds.

Short-form video platforms like YouTube and TikTok are just some places to benefit from short, snappy videos. You can also leverage short-form video content on your website, in digital marketing campaigns, and in emails.

Popularity of short-form videos

The short-form video format is relatively new because the way we use social media has changed since its inception. In the past, companies have primarily depended on long-form videos or commercials to promote their products, but expensive video production is no longer crucial to your success using video.

Short-form videos have taken over social media because they provide the most information in the fastest possible way while using videos to capture your audience's attention.

However, publishing short videos wasn't always possible on social media. When they first came out, Facebook, MySpace, and Instagram didn't have the option to share this kind of user-generated content.

However, consumer behavior changed with the rise of new social media apps and short-form video trends. The short-form video platform Vine was released in 2013 and made it easy for content creators to create and share videos from their smartphones. Vine became so popular other social media platforms began following suit, adding video sharing and autoplay features.

Since then, short-form video has captivated social media users, with Instagram eventually launching Stories and the rise of TikTok began. Today, the short-form video platform TikTok has over one billion users every month.

Content creators and brands strive to go viral on TikTok, which is why it's one of the leading social media platforms of modern times, even being able to compete against older social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Types of short-form videos

Short-form videos can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on the platform you use. In most cases, it's best to keep it short to keep your audience engaged the entire time. When deciding which type of short-form video for your video campaign, consider the following options, their audiences, and how to best reach customers.

TikTok videos

TikTok's audience is primarily individuals under the age of 30, making it a great solution if your target audience is Millennials or Generation Z. TikTok is the primary platform for short-form video, with content being as long as 10 minutes, depending on your needs.

Instagram reels

Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform that added a video feature to compete with other social media apps like TikTok. Launched just a few years ago, Instagram Reels features a scrollable video timeline and caters to a broader range of consumers than TikTok, but it still appeals to the younger generations.

Instagram stories

Instagram Stories is similar to Reels, allowing you to create short-form video content. However, unlike Reels, Instagram Stories are more private and only shown to your followers, while Reels are public.

With Stories, you can keep your current followers engaged and promote products, while Instagram Reels is a better tool for brand awareness and attracting non-followers.

YouTube shorts

Launched in 2021, YouTube Shorts is the video-sharing platform's attempt to make it a more viable option for short-term content creators. YouTube is primarily a long-form video platform. You can find videos ranging from a few minutes to a few hours. However, the platform has now made Shorts available to users worldwide.

YouTube has an even wider audience than TikTok and Instagram, consisting of Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers.

Snapchat stories

Snapchat stories work similarly to Instagram Stories. Both only last for 24 hours before expiring and disappearing, creating a sense of urgency. A Story is a collection of photos that play in the order they were taken, allowing you to share photos in a narrative by turning them into a video.

Snapchat has a more targeted audience than YouTube, with a large portion of users under 35, making it ideal for brands that target Gen Z and Millenials.

Facebook stories

Facebook is essentially the creator of social media marketing. Without Facebook, it's unclear what social media would look like today.

Facebook Stories are similar to Instagram Stories, allowing you to turn photos into a single narrative. In addition, you can add any type of media as a Facebook story. For instance, you can use videos, photos, or a combination of both.

Facebook has a very broad audience, with most of its users being under the age of 34. However, brands can also find larger portions of older Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers on the platform.

Benefits of short-form video marketing

Whether you want to drive traffic from Instagram, increase your reach, or boost engagement on social media, there's no denying the benefits of short-form videos in marketing.

A few of the top benefits of investing in short-form video content include the following:

Increased engagement

Most people prefer watching videos because they're more engaging than static images, especially with a short-form platform with an autoplay feature.

Consider what your audience is doing when they're on social media. They might be on their way to work, sitting at their desks during lunch, or lounging at home. They're not very committed to what they're doing and probably don't want to spend more than a few minutes watching a video. Instead, they want highly engaging content that tells them everything they need to know quickly.

Greater reach

A short-form video strategy can increase your reach, but it primarily depends on your strategy. While it's possible for your brand to go viral, you shouldn't plan on it. Instead, you should consistently create great content.

In addition, you can increase your reach and engagement by investing in social media advertising by promoting your video content to attract more potential customers.


Social media marketing is cost-effective, especially when compared to traditional marketing and many other forms of digital marketing.

While some argue that organic social media is dead, these short-form video platforms prove it's anything but. Instead, you can use short-form videos to attract customers, and the only cost to you is the cost to develop the video.

Of course, you'll have to pay if you want to use paid ads. However, social media advertising remains one of the most affordable options for small businesses. For instance, you can advertise your short-form video on Facebook for as little as a dollar a day.

High ROI

Because short-form videos tend to be more engaging and cost less than more expensive marketing and advertising campaigns, it results in a higher return on investment (ROI) for your business.

In addition, you can apply short-form videos to almost any digital strategy, including social, display ads, and email, making each of them more engaging.

How to create short-form video content

Creating short-form video content might be challenging for some business owners. Not everyone is as skilled with a camera as the younger generations.

But you don't need to hire a professional videographer to create good short-form video content for your social media channels. Instead, just follow these steps:

Identity your target audience

Identifying your target audience is crucial because you'll need to know which social media platforms they use the most and create content tailored to their wants, needs, pain points, and interests.

Doing some market research can help, but you can also review your website analytics and social media insights to learn more about your audience.

Choose the right platform

Once you've identified your target audience, you can choose the right platform. Research into your audience should tell you their age range and where they're most active on social media.

For instance, if you target millennials, you can choose just about any social media platform to experiment with. However, if your target audience is baby boomers, TikTok is probably not your best option.

Come up with content ideas

What type of video do you want to create? Should it be promotional, educational, or entertaining?

There's no reason to promote your business constantly on social media, and your audience doesn't want to be sold to all the time. Instead, you should create content that engages them based on the products you sell and their interests.

Plan and film your video

After determining the subject matter of your video, you can begin to plan and film. Your audience doesn't want this to be a video; instead, they want a more personal experience with your brand on social media.

There's no need to create a script, but it can be helpful if you're nervous in front of the camera. Then, when you're ready, you can begin filming your video on your smartphone.

Edit and finalize

Short-form video editing can be as simple or complicated as you make it. All the platforms we listed above have some video editing features, but whether they're enough for you depends on your needs.

If you need more robust video editing, you can use another type of software or hire someone to edit your video for you.

Measure performance

Always measure the performance of your short-form video content to ensure your content is working. The main goal should be to attract and engage your audience. If your short-form video content is getting just as much attention as static posts, it might mean your video isn't interesting enough for your audience.

There is no one size fits all type of video content brands create. Instead, it may take some experimentation to find out what short-form video content performs the best among your audience.

Engage your audience with short-form video content

Did you know that 60% of internet traffic revolves around video? Creating video content is important for businesses of all sizes.

Short-form videos can increase engagement with your brand while generating brand awareness and promoting conversions online. Including video in your digital marketing strategy can help you share content in new ways to grow your brand.

Engage your audience with short-form videos when you use Mailchimp. With our all-in-one suite of marketing tools, you can embed short-form videos in your emails or create and schedule social media posts. Try Mailchimp today and create impactful videos for your social platforms.

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