We had a young neighbor gal that would make money watching our pets while we were on vacation. She would come over to our house twice a day and feed the animals and check on the house. Then it happened: she fired us! Well, not really, but she came over and told us that she wouldn’t be able to watch our pets anymore because she was now a TikTok influencer. At first we thought this was just something she was doing as a passing fad, so I asked her how many followers she had.
“About 12 million,” was the response.
“What?!!!!” I about fell over.
But it was true. I looked her up. Brooke now has over 18 million followers, has a net worth of over $2 million dollars and just bought a house. She also has over 1.1 million subscribers on YouTube. Brands pay her to post content about their products, and she has her own online shop. Did I mention she is only 18 years old?! And it all started by posting short 1-minute lip-sync and dance videos.
I avoided TikTok forever, thinking this was some dumb platform for kids. Then, recently I was listening to a podcast about short form video on platforms like TikTok and it hit me: I needed to be paying attention. It’s not just TikTok, but Instagram has been pushing short form videos they call “Reels.” And YouTube is pushing short form videos they call “Shorts.” Facebook is now promoting “Reels” as well, and even paying people to post short form content, all in an effort to compete with TikTok.
But does TikTok really make sense for business?
I decided I would give it a try. When I created my TikTok account, I discovered that its not just millennials and Gen Z on the platform, but people of all ages. And it’s not just lip-syncing and dancing. There is some good business content on there in the form of tips and tricks.
But the reason why you need to pay attention is that TikTok shows your videos to people who don’t know you and don’t follow you. You don’t have to be friends with people or connected to them. This is a platform that allows you to be found! And that differentiator is huge. For example, II posted a video on TikTok about “possibility thinking” and it got over 900 views in less than a day. My posts on Facebook never get that kind of reach.
There are a few advantages of short form video . First, it’s easy for your audience to connect with. Short video content translates as authentic and relatable, and if marketers can communicate those feelings through short-form branded content, consumers are more likely to view the brand as genuine. It’s also attention-grabbing and highly shareable. More than that, though, it forces marketers to condense their messages into a shorter time frame, making the content easier for consumers to digest.
Here is what you need to know: short form videos, on all the platforms, are vertical (phone / portrait orientation) videos. In fact, you typically have to upload them from your phone, not a laptop. If you want to edit your videos with professional editing software like Adobe Premiere, you will have to copy them to your phone before uploading them. TikTok had a limit of 3 minutes for a video (it recently changed this to allow up to minute videos so they could inject them with ads). Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube all consider 1 minute to be the limit for a short form video. Twitter also has a TikTok copycat that allow videos up to 2:20 but their sweet spot is apparently 6 seconds! Many viral short form videos are only 15 seconds long.
The other thing to be aware of is that most people watch videos online in silent mode. This means that you will need to add subtitles so viewers can read your script. The VideoPad video editor is a good choice for auto-generating these subtitles and cropping your videos to portrait mode.
One big disadvantage for those of us trying to run a business: My research shows that to be as successful as my neighbor, you need to be posting TikTok videos every couple of hours. Like all social media platforms, the feed changes constantly, so to remain visible, you have to post frequently, often 5 or 6 times per day. That is a ton of videos, and they need to be high-quality. This is a time commitment. Using a program like Publer can help you schedule posts. Publer is a virtual social media superhero that lets you collaborate, schedule & analyze your posts for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Business Profiles, YouTube, and WordPress from the same spot. My affiliate link is https://publer.io/webstores.
One advantage to YouTube is that it is a search engine rather than a social media platform. As such, your video content remains visible whenever someone searches for it. A video you create today, even a “short,” can still be producing results for you years from now. That is not true with TikTik or Instagram.
The videos on the social media platforms are categorized based on what you watch. Some people have said that the TikTok platform has the most sophisticated algorithm out there and that they seem to know exactly what you like. Personally, I found this not to be true, at least initially, so you have to teach it what you want to see. You can control your feed by long-pressing on a video and selecting “not-interested” to accomplish this. Who you follow, like, and comment on all helps the algorithm determine what to show, in addition to what you watch. If you find my content interesting and educational, you can follow my TikTok account at https://www.tiktok.com/@webstoresltd.
Will short form videos continue to stick around? Given the attention that Meta and Google are placing on them right now, this looks like something that can be a serious addition to your marketing arsenal and you need to pay attention. Short-form video marketing on social media will most likely see wider adoption in 2022 and for the companies that do it right, the payoff will be significant.
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Greg Jameson has been writing blog articles on ecommerce and internet marketing for over 10 years. Learn more about Greg at https://webstoresltd.com/about/