You can’t scroll on your phone nowadays without seeing a TikTok, IG Reel, or even a YouTube Short. Not only are short form videos become ubiquitous, they also have one of the highest ROI of any social media marketing strategy — with over a third of social media marketers planning to inest in it even more than any other trend. If your print on demand store hasn’t dabbled in the world of TikTok or Reels, then this is the post for you. We’ll go over everything from which platform to focus on, how to win at short form video, and trends to try out in 2023.
Short Form Video 101 for Print on Demand Stores
What are short form videos? The general consensus amongst marketers is that short form videos are under 60 seconds. Brands can use shorter videos to quickly and easily share their benefits, educate consumers, or simply entertain and engage their audience.
TikTok vs. Reels vs. YouTube Shorts
While TikTok made the short form format viral in recent years, other social media platforms quickly hopped on the trend with their own versions. Before diving all into a new marketing strategy, it’s important to understand the differences between these various channels.
TikTok’s platform is almost exclusively geared towards short form videos, despite the fact that the maximum video length was recently increased to 10 minutes. It’s primarily popular amongst younger generations, however, its appeal has grown across ages within the past couple of years. TikTok has the ability to make small brands or unknown products go viral overnight with its powerful algorithm. It also has the most robust analytic tools available compared to the other social platforms. You can link products directly to help boost sales even more.
Who is TikTok for? If your brand is just starting to build its audience, TikTok is a great place to grow! The platform’s algorithm favors new accounts and with the right usage of trends and post consistency, your print on demand store has the potential to go viral in a short period of time.
Infamous for being a social media copycat, Reels is Instagram’s carbon copy version of TikTok. As of writing, Reels lets users create videos up to 90 seconds in length, and they are Instagram’s fastest growing feature. That makes sense considering the Instagram algorithm currently favors Reels over the class in-feed posts.
Who is Reels for? If your print on demand store has a decent and active following on Instagram, try publishing more Reels and analyze how your engagement compares to other content. With Instagram actively favoring Reels in its algorithm and Explore page, there is also the potential to expose your brand to new audiences.
YouTube, known for its long form video content, launched Shorts also as a competitive reaction to TikTok’s popularity. Videos on Shorts are limited to 60 seconds or less. While the features and UI are very similar to its competitors, Shorts has the unique ability to convert viewers into subscribers to your channel. This is a great new opportunity for brands and YouTube creators to build and grow their audience.
Who is YouTube Shorts for? People don’t necessarily go to YouTube to consume Shorts, so if you already have a print on demand presence on YouTube, Shorts is another way to bring new subscribers to your channel and widen your viewership.
Bottom line: As with any new trend or platform, make sure to consider your audience first. Where are they consuming content? Why are they watching that content? Once you determine those answers, then you can decide which channel makes the most sense for your brand. While short form is mostly known for its entertainment value, at the end of the day, make sure to align your content with your brand values and goals.
How Your Print on Demand Brand Can Win at Short Form Videos
1. Start with a hook. With the proliferation of content on the interwebs, you video needs to stand out within the first three seconds. A hook can be something you say, on-screen text, or a short clip when the video starts. Hooks need to be interesting and memorable so your video doesn’t get swiped away. Examples of hooks:
- Ask a question. “Want to double monthly order volume? Here’s how.”
- Give a solution. “Here are 5 gift ideas for your friend who already has everything.”
- Spark intrigue. “No one is talking about this [explain your product and benefit]”
2. Don’t focus on selling. While this may seem counterintuitive, overt sales and marketing tactics do not get as much engagement with short form videos. Users want to be entertained and learn something new, not be sold to or marketed at. Use trending audios and phrases to create videos that your audience would create themselves. While being seen and heard is important, video quality doesn’t need to be the forefront. Just use your phone camera to get started.
3. Utilize Video SEO. With nearly 40% of Gen Z members using TikTok for online searches over Google, understanding the impact of video SEO is incredibly important. Video SEO is simply optimizing your video to be indexed and rank on the search engine results pages for relevant keyword searches. Here’s how to optimize your short video content for SEO:
- Understand your audience and their search intent
- Select the right keywords for your video
- Incorporate those keywords into your content
- Select the appropriate hashtags
4. Think outside video. We know, we just spent this entire post talking about video! But you can still use existing photos and graphics to create videos. This is a great low-cost and low-effort way to post video content without having to film new content. To elevate these types of photo carousel posts, add voiceover to inform, educate or entertain your audience.
A well-rounded marketing strategy is incomplete without video content. Not only do they enhance your online presence, short-form videos can pay off in the long run with its ability to make brands go viral seemingly overnight—helping you scale your print on demand store faster than you could have imagined!