Over the last year, short-form video platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels became so popular that brands started to capitalize on the trend. But creating short-form content presents a unique challenge, and audiences expect to be either entertained or informed (or both) with every clip. If you’ve been considering a debut on TikTok or Reels, here’s what seven video and content experts have to say about what you need to do to excel.
Q: What is your number one tip for brands that want to create short-form video content to engage audiences on platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels?
1. Answer questions that your customers are asking.
Before you create, really dig into what questions your customers are asking! Accounts that are crushing on TikTok create relatable content that answers real questions or addresses problems that people actually have. Finance/stock videos are a great example of creators providing real value. They will dive into FAQs like, “When should I sell my shares?” or “What is the difference between 401k and Roth IRA.” They’re establishing their credibility without flashing their brand or making gimmicky commercials. If you provide free value up-front, viewers are more likely to trust you later when they’re ready to buy!
Copywriter at dscout
2. Deliver value that aligns with your industry.
TikTok and Reels are huge right now, so creating content that capitalizes on this opportunity is a massive growth hack for creators and brands. For the best results, think about what value you can deliver to your audience that aligns with your industry niche. From educational step-by-step guides to quick styling tips, videos that leave viewers feeling inspired typically perform well and are more prominent on TikTok’s For You page.
Content Marketing Specialist at Later
3. Make content that’s entertaining and interactive.
Be creative! My top tip for success with TikTok and Reels is to make a video that’s entertaining and interactive. You should pick one key message you want to share as you need to make a big impact in a short amount of time—up to 60 seconds on TikTok and 30 seconds on Reels. According to Marketingprofs, both platforms have a huge reach (around 1.2M views on average) but TikTok leads the way in terms of generating the most engagement.
Try showcasing your product in new or surprising settings, like Alo Yoga’s ‘Yogis at the supermarket’ videos. Why not add an interactive element by inviting your followers to share posts that feature your products too? If you’re new to creating this kind of video content, see if you can incorporate your products into a wider trend or challenge that’s already popular on TikTok instead of creating something brand new. You can also look to influencers for inspiration—they’re expert content creators who have mastered the short-form video format! Don’t forget to use branded hashtags to boost content reach!
CEO at Upfluence
4. Think like a journalist.
Always think editorially! I was a journalist for over a decade before becoming a VP of Branded content and it’s crucial to find the exact sweet spot between what consumers want to watch and the message you want to market. Get into the consumer’s short-form video mindset: can your video make them laugh or make them learn? Of course, you can make a video for TikTok or Instagram Reels about your product—but only do that if people are heavily searching for that topic! Otherwise, find the unique, creative and trending way in—is your brand related to a new trend? Can you create a hilarious video for an upcoming holiday? Is your brand in some way connected to the hot new song? Is there something you can teach people about that’s adjacent to your product or service and will lead to higher brand awareness?
Video Strategist & Media Trainer
5. Start by engaging with existing UGC.
Most of the time the content already exists. See if a customer has tagged you on a post. Engage. Share. Repeat. When you see customers excited and already talking about your brand, it’s easy to reach out and get high-energy content that drives ROI and awareness.
Head of Influencer Marketing at MuteSix
6. Prioritize creativity.
Be creative! That’s the only thing that brands should consider while engaging with their audiences on platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels! Brands who are able to show their creativity in a funny and natural for the platform way, are always welcomed by the viewers!
Client Director & TikTok Expert at The Influencer Marketing Factory
7. Be authentic.
Keep it real, keep it organic, and create something truly engaging. Don’t focus on “branding” it too much; instead, create something which would drive lots of user-generated content.
Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Pulse Advertising