5 simple tips for creating short-form video content.

Short-form video has exploded in recent years and for good reason – it offers bite-sized bursts of information that can be consumed at convenient times of the day, such as during lunch breaks or work commutes.

Notably, consumers are more likely to watch short-form video until the end, which is part of what makes them such a powerful marketing format for businesses.

As a result, 90% of marketers plan to increase or maintain their investment in short-form video as part of their 2023 marketing strategy.

Are you looking to improve your current video strategy? Or simply wanting to try out short-form video for the first time? Whatever your goals are, this guide will give you all the information you need to produce high-quality short-form videos that drive reach, engagement and leads for your business.

RELATED: The video marketing age: a guide for small businesses

What is a short-form video?

Short-form video is the term used to describe videos that sit anywhere between 3 – 60 seconds in length, though some platforms allow you to publish videos up to three minutes. In general, anything longer than this is considered to be long-form video.

The content itself can include anything from GIFs or simple animation to a full production video cut back into shorter snippets.

Video distribution platforms that support short-form content have grown over the years. The original leaders in this format were Vine in 2013, with the trend later picked up by TikTok in 2017, and more recently by Instagram as Reels, YouTube as Shorts and Snapchat as Spotlight.

Each platform has a different take as to what constitutes ‘short-form’ video. These include:

  • TikTok: 3 seconds – 3 minutes (with the ability to extend to long-form at 10 minutes)
  • Instagram Reel: 15 seconds – 1.5 minutes
  • Instagram Video posts: 3 seconds – 10 minutes
  • Instagram Stories: 1 second – 1 minute
  • Facebook Reel: 15 seconds – 1.5 minutes
  • Facebook Video posts: 1 second – 241 minutes
  • Facebook Stories: 1 second – 2 minutes
  • YouTube Short: 15 seconds – 1 minute
  • Snapchat Spotlight: 5 seconds – 1 minute
  • LinkedIn Stories: 1 – 20 seconds
  • Pinterest Idea Pins: 4 seconds – 15 minutes

So, why are marketers going crazy for short-form video? The answer is, it produces higher engagement and increased leads.

RELATED: Content ideas for every industry.

How to create a successful short-form video.

Getting started can be the hardest part of content creation. Follow our five top steps to streamline the process and get better results.

1. Stay up to date with current trends.

Take note of videos that are performing well on social media so you can leverage these trends to maximise engagement with your content.

Here are the best ways to identify trends for your video content strategy:

  • Instagram Story music:
    Instagram recommends popular songs in its Story section of the app. Choose an image or video to post on your Story, then select the music icon and hit ‘browse’. The songs listed here are those that are trending at this current time.
  • Instagram’s Explore and TikTok’s Discover pages: In general, the content that appears on these pages has been curated based on the content you have engaged with in the past. The icon for both pages is a magnifying glass. Select this icon and browse through the content to see what is performing well based on the number of likes, views and comments.
  • TikTok’s Creative Center: This tool allows you to find what hashtags, songs, creators and videos are currently trending on TikTok. You can choose to sort the order of content by different types of engagement such as likes, comments and followers. TikTok’s Creative Center also lets you filter by time, with options to view trends based on the last 7, 30 or 120 days.
  • Reels hashtag search: Select the ‘Explore’ page icon on Instagram’s main menu and enter a hashtag relevant to your business, such as #smallbusiness, #plumber or #hairdresser. Once you hit enter, a sub-menu will appear below the search bar. Here you can select the Reels button which will display short-form videos that relate to the hashtag you entered. This will give you a filtered view of what industry competitors are creating which you can utilise as inspiration for your own strategy.

2. Cater to sound-off users.

A result of increasingly busier lives and a shift towards on-the-go media consumption, figures show that 68% of users prefer to watch videos without the sound.

Sticking with audio-led video restricts a major portion of users from engaging with your content and so it’s crucial to think of ways to cater to all preferences. A few ways to do this include:

  • Featuring written subtitles
  • Adding animation
  • Using gestures and actions to convey your message (think 1920s silent movies)
  • Utilising visual and demonstrative content formats: i.e. a how-to video on how to decorate a cake.

Most social media platforms have the capability to add closed-captions to videos. Using AI technology, the platform will automatically transcribe the video you have uploaded.

Follow these steps to add closed-captions to your videos:

For Instagram:

  1. Upload your video to Reels or Stories
  2. Select the ‘stickers’ icon (a square smiley face) at the top of the screen
  3. Tap the ‘captions’ sticker
  4. Choose the font and colour you would like your subtitles to be
  5. Click on the text to edit the auto-generated captions – remove incorrect words or add missing words
  6. Click ‘done’ then post your video

For TikTok:

  1. Upload your video to TikTok
  2. Select the ‘captions’ icon on the right side of the screen
  3. Tap the pencil icon to edit any incorrect words that have been generated as part of the caption
  4. Hit ‘save’ then post your video

For Facebook:

  1. Upload your video to Reels or Stories
  2. Hit the downward-facing arrow on the right-hand side menu to release more options
  3. Select the ‘captions’ icon
  4. Choose the font and colour you would like your subtitles to be
  5. Click on the text to edit the auto-generated captions – remove incorrect words or add missing words
  6. Click ‘done’ then post your video

3. Focus on audience versus product.

Rather than taking a product-first approach to your video content, ensure you focus on the value or advantage your product or service gives your audience.

If you often receive queries on a specific product or service, leverage this when creating your script or video concept to answer common questions.

For example, if you frequently get sent questions about how to get a quote for your home painting business, you might make a video on the ‘get a quote’ process.

Alternatively, if you have a baby product business and receive questions about how to use the bottle steriliser, you might produce a video on how to use it.

Thinking of problem-solving techniques such as these will help to inform your video strategy and engage your audience. In fact, almost 50% of businesses utilise strategies such as addressing FAQs to drive engagement through short-form video.

Need some more inspiration on how to create audience focused short-form video content? Read our guide on content ideas for every industry.

4. Ensure high quality.

It’s no secret that high quality video is more enjoyable to watch than wobbly, pixelated or low quality video. Here’s what to consider during the production process:

  • Use good lighting
  • Make sure you have a clean background with no visible distraction
  • Use a tripod to avoid shaky video
  • Film with your back camera, if you’re shooting on your phone
  • Shoot from a variety of angles
  • Ensure crisp audio if you’re using the original clip sound

5. Edit content well.

Social media apps offer free in-app editing capabilities, which can help to make video content marketing accessible to everyone. In-app editing offers the use of app-specific fonts, as well as a first-hand view of what the finished product will look like (this can sometimes change when uploaded from a third-party app).

If you prefer to edit on your computer, Mac users can use iMovie and PC users can use Windows Movie Maker. Alternatively, if you would like to edit on your phone but would like an editing tool that is not operating system-specific, you may like to try InShot.

A simple, clean edit can enhance the professionalism of your video. These are some features you might edit:

  • Adjust lighting
  • Crop out pauses or silences
  • Add background music
  • Apply transitions between clips or image stills
  • Cancel out any background noise (if using clip audio)

Wrapping up.

Now you’ve got everything you need to create a short-form video for your business’ social media platform, it’s time to think about the ways in which you will promote your content.

Need help getting started? Yellow Pages’ team of experts can help drive your social media marketing to new heights through targeting customers based on details like location, interests and behaviours. Get in touch today.

Looking for expert digital marketing advice? Get in touch with Yellow Pages today.

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