Short-form video content has long been on the rise – and it looks like it is finally taking top spot for video creators. Bite-sized content and viral clips are being lapped up by social media users, and many brands have started experimenting with organic content marketing. Get ahead of the game and add YouTube Shorts to your content plan.
What are YouTube Shorts?
Platforms like Instagram Reels, TikTok, and Vimeo have enormous and highly engaged audiences, so YouTube Shorts are Google’s attempt to throw their hat into the ring.
First released in India and beta launched in the US in 2021, Shorts have so far been a runaway success. YouTube has promised ongoing improvements and updates, including their recent changes to search filters to allow users to find Shorts content more easily.
Their aim, according to a press release, is to allow creators to “shoot short, catchy videos” using just their cell phones. These short, catchy videos give viewers animated, musical, parody, or informational content in an easily-digestible format – and now, this is expanding to include brand and sponsored content.
Today, Shorts have overtaken TikTok to have 1.5 billion active users – a fantastic reason to take a closer look at marketing with Shorts.
What is the difference between Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok?
Trying to decide which short-form video suits your content? Here are the major differences between Shorts, Reels, and TikTok:
- Length: 60 seconds (15 seconds in the app)
- Reach: 1.5 billion users
- Target group: Everyone
- Features: Video editor with simple filters and effects, subtitles, copyright-free music library
- Platform advantages: Established social media brand, high user loyalty
- Length: 60 seconds
- Reach: 2 billion users
- Target group: 25 – 39 years
- Features: Video and photo editor with AR filters and many effect, sticker, text, and caption options
- Platform advantages: Visually sophisticated, especially advertising and shopping-friendly
- Length: 3 minutes
- Reach: 1 billion users
- Target group: 15 – 24 years
- Features: Video editor with templates, filters and effects, stickers, text, subtitles, what’s trending, and music library
- Platform advantages: The home of trends and community building
Shorts, Reels, and TikToks all use the vertical 9:16 format, so you can easily play your videos across all three channels if they are no longer than 60 seconds. The most important thing is that you are active where your customers are, and that the platform and content match you and your brand.
How can I use Shorts to market my Shop?
The best way to use Shorts is as a supplement to your main channel, to offer your audience new and different forms of content in a new and exciting format. This can be a change of tone, fresh types of content, or brand positioning.
Here are some ways we suggest using YouTube Shorts to add some personality to your brand and solidify your community around your channel:
- Behind the scenes. Use Shorts to show your viewers how you create videos or give them a sneak peek into how you behave when the cameras aren’t rolling.
- Design theory. Short form video is perfect for giving quick, informational tutorials. Go through the process of how you create designs for your Shop.
- Product updates. Shorts are a great way to introduce new products to your viewers and are the perfect channel for organic product promotion.
- News updates. Keep your audience up to date on news, campaigns, or big things happening on your channel!
- Highlight reels. This is a great way to recycle your content and drive engagement with very little work! Learn more in our deep dive into the Buffalo method.
- Viral clips. Take your funniest, most awkward, and catchiest bloopers or clips and give them a chance to go viral in a viewer-friendly format.
3 Tips for YouTube Shorts
Getting some ideas for how you want to use Shorts? Perfect, that’s the aim of this article! Don’t let your hard work go to waste – whatever content strategy you decide to use for your Shorts, here are some general tips for maximizing your engagement:
1. Keep it simple.
Make your Shorts informal, informative, and to the point. YouTube recommends 15 seconds duration for Shorts – you only have your audience’s attention for a limited time, so make the most of it!
2. Start strong.
Open your videos with an attention-grabbing line or opening sequence. There is a lot of content out there competing for attention, so grab your audience right from the get-go if you want them to listen to your message.
3. High-effort thumbnails.
Thumbnails are the headline of your videos. Marketers and copywriters spend hours researching and crafting headlines, because they know that is your one chance to grab the audiences’ attention – put some effort into your thumbnails and make the most of your opportunities.
Follow these best practices and make sure you are maximizing the return on effort. If you put in the hard work, you will see the results – channel growth, audience engagement, and Shop sales await you!
Feeling inspired to grow your channel with your new Shorts knowledge, but don’t have any merch to offer your viewers? Head over and open your free Spreadshop in just a few clicks.