TikTok, as one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, is one we all recognize. The average TikTok user spends 52 minutes on the platform daily, 6 hours a week, or 29 hours a month — a ridiculously long time. TikTok was released in 2016 and is owned by ByteDance and was previously Music.ly. Part of the reason for TikTok’s unprecedented success is how it launched a trend towards short-form content (less than a minute) and away from traditional long-form content popular from YouTube videos.
The advent and unprecedented success of TikTok has forced leading social media companies to adapt their ways of doing business. Facebook launched its competing product called Instagram Reels a few years later in 2020 and shifted its focus away from image- and text-based posts toward videos. And YouTube, the previous powerhouse of traditional long-form videos, launched its own competing product called YouTube shorts. The full release of YouTube Shorts was in 2021. With more major platforms releasing their own short content, it is safe to say that the future is in short-from content. Brands and advertisers need to make it a part of their strategy.
Short-Form Content In Advertising
With the advent of new social media platforms such as TikTok and Reels, there are many more options to promote content and advertise a brand. On both platforms, brands can partner with individual creators to advertise their products directly. On TikTok, there is also an option for brands to use that specific video as an advertisement and showcase it to people. There are also options for brands to create different hashtags and the ability for them to boost videos with that hashtag on the TikTok platform directly. On Instagram Reels, there is also an option for advertisers to link their products within the video so that users can click on it and purchase the product directly from the Instagram store. For example, if I like what shoes someone is wearing in a reel, I can click on them and buy them instantly within the app. This convenience draws users to online shopping and enhances social commerce as a viable e-commerce option.
How Brands Can Leverage Short-Form Content
In 2021, Apple’s iOS 14 updates made it harder for social media companies to track its users across other apps and websites, affecting paid social performance. Short-form content created a new opportunity for brands to leverage more organic promotions to better connect with their audiences.
Brands can now create corporate accounts on TikTok, which operate on a much smaller and more personal scale to create a better-curated experience. A great example of this would be Duolingo on TikTok: they have a limited advertising budget and strategy, preferring instead to use their mascot to create outlandish and personal content. The mascot is an owl who frequently “simps” for Dua Lipa and has maniacal tendencies that helped the account gain millions of followers, hundreds of millions of views, and a brand that these new data restrictions won’t negatively impact. Our Gen Z experts dove deeper into the power of Duolingo and other TikTok stars in our Marketer’s Guide To Gen Z webinar.
On platforms with short-form content, data is mostly retrieved by a user’s watching habits and the content they react with, diminishing the demand for data from outside the app. This helps brands to garner natural attention and organic interactions with their audience and connect with them on an individual, personal basis.
How does one get started? Well, it’s really easy. You just pull out your phone, download TikTok from the App Store or Google Play store, create an account for your business, press the create button, use a popular audio or filter, and share! The key to TikTok is remaining authentic and showing off your human side. Don’t be afraid to use humor and personality to help people get to know you.
Short-form content exemplified by TikTok is a great way to share your brand story, your company culture, new products, and more in a relatable, authentic, and transparent way. Brands have a tremendous opportunity to build deeper relationships with their customers by engaging with them in the forms of content shoppers use most often.