August 18, 2022

7 Short-Form Video Ideas for Social Media

woman holding up a phone to take a selfie in a white kitchen

Consumers love video. In fact, UpCity estimates the average person watches around 100 minutes of video a day across YouTube, TikTok, and other social platforms. 

Creators contribute to this trend with their own video content, often in short form. They often use videos to inform, educate, and even promote products and services.

“It’s estimated that by 2022, 82 percent of the global internet traffic will come from video streaming and downloads (Cisco, 2019). That’s an 88 percent increase in traffic share from the 72.3 percent in 2017.”


Short-form video packs relevant content into shorter bursts. Marketers often cite user attention span research when explaining the rising popularity of short-form videos. But making videos brief is also forcing content marketers and influencers to say (or show) more using fewer words and images.

Thus, short-form now represents some of the best examples of content marketing—brief, specific, digestible, and compelling.

Creators can capitalize on this popularity by developing short-form videos to share with their followers. And as brands look to boost their performance with Reels, Stories, TikToks, and YouTube Shorts, they’ll turn to creators who have mastered the art of delivering a message in a matter of seconds. 

What is short-form video content?

Short-form videos last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Marketers and social platforms are finding that even though long-form videos aren’t going away, consumers can’t seem to get enough videos in short form. 

This may explain the rapid adoption of TikTok, an app strictly devoted to videos lasting 3 minutes or less. In fact, TikTok was the most downloaded app in the U.S. in 2021. But while this app’s primary users are people under 35, that doesn’t mean brands with older target audiences can’t benefit from short-form videos. 

Not sure if it’s for you? Check out these short-form video statistics. 

People are spending a lot of time watching videos. 

There is also a lot of attention on video-only platforms. One study found that U.S. Android users spent a monthly average of 22.2 hours on YouTube and 25.6 hours on TikTok. 

Short-form videos are highly engaging. 

As the graph from Vidyard below demonstrates, videos that last more than ten minutes experience a rapid drop in viewership. The “sweet spot” seems to be five minutes or less, and the shorter the video, the more likely viewers are inclined to watch until the end.

A graph depicting the percentage of viewers still engaged based on the amount of time spent watching various length videos
Image via Vidyard

Transcript: A graph depicting the percentage of viewers still engaged based on the amount of time spent watching various-length videos. Here are the percentages of people who completed the video for each length: 

  • 0-60 second video: 58% 
  • 61-120 second video: 50%  
  • 121-600 second video: 43% 
  • 602-1,200 second video: 37% 
  • Video longer than 1,200 seconds: 24% 

What are the best platforms for short-form videos?

TikTok is a major disruptor in this field, and experts anticipate that about 30% of U.S. Internet users will be on TikTok by 2024. 

Bar graph depicting where U.S. consumers prefer to watch social short-form videos. 
Image via eMarketer

Where Do Us Consumers Prefer to Watch Social Short-Form Videos?

  • TikTok: 48.5%
  • YouTube Shorts: 25.3% 
  • Instagram Reels: 20.1% 
  • Snapchat Spotlight: 1.4% 
  • Triller: 1.1% 
  • Other: 3.5% 

However, the best platform for your brand depends on your target audience. For example, a study of 2,014 participants revealed that 49% of people 25 and older watched videos on Facebook while only 24% watched something on TikTok. 

Short-form video trends to consider 

Ok, so we sold you on the value of short-form videos, but now what? It’s time to start brainstorming how to incorporate these videos into your marketing strategy. But with so many different types, where do you start?

Here are the types of videos 600 marketers across the U.S. and Canada said they were prioritizing: 

A bar chart depicts which video types marketers plan to focus on creating. 
Image via UpCity 

A bar chart depicts which video types marketers plan to focus on creating. 

  • Demonstration videos: 17% 
  • Company culture videos: 16%
  • Tutorial videos: 16% 
  • Branded short film or mini-documentary: 12% 
  • Web series: 12%
  • Customer testimonials: 12% 
  • Behind-the-scenes videos: 9% 
  • Other: 5% 

And while these topics are what brands are using, creators can leverage this information to show businesses what they can offer. For example, if you’re looking to earn a brand partnership from a cosmetics company, consider developing a few tutorial videos so you can showcase your skills and gain brands’ attention. 

1. Testimonial or review videos

What is it? 

Testimonial and review videos showcase a consumer’s experience with your product or service. Creators often use these videos to talk about how a product has impacted their life, which can encourage their followers to try it. 

Why it works 

Done well, these kinds of short-form videos are great examples of authentic content. They allow users to showcase the benefits of a product in an engaging way and are perfect for showing a customer’s genuine enthusiasm. And when a creator develops the post instead of a brand, the video’s message feels more authentic.

How to do it right 

It’s critical that you use the product. Your followers will be able to tell if you genuinely love a product, and they can also tell if you’re being fake. 

Focus on brands you truly love, and the review will be as authentic as the rest of your content. Be sure to tag the brand and use relevant hashtags so they can see your post as well. They may even give you a shoutout!

2. Product tutorials or how-tos 

What is it? 

Product tutorials show consumers how to use your product or incorporate your products or services into a real-life scenario. How-to videos differ from testimonials because your focus now lies on creating visual product instructions. These videos are in high demand because they are practical and informative.

In fact, an UpCity survey of 600 marketers determined that 17% of brands are prioritizing demonstration videos in their strategies, while another 16% are primarily focusing on tutorials. 

Short-form how-to videos can be challenging, particularly if the task or product you want to showcase takes some time to complete. Short-form tutorials like this one from IKEA are excellent examples of how to create high-quality tutorials in less than 10 minutes.

Why it works 

“‘How to’ searches on YouTube increase by 70% every year.”

Social Media Today

People use videos to learn to cook, develop professional skills, perform car maintenance, and more. Social media users are drawn to videos that show them how to perform certain tasks for themselves. In fact, more than 70% of people use YouTube videos to solve a problem, whether personal or professional. 

How to do it right 

In order to make how-to videos in short form, you’re most likely going to need to utilize fast frames, as though the viewer were fast-forwarding the video. To prevent confusion, you can create explanatory voice-overs or add aesthetically pleasing text on the screen. 

3. FAQs responding to customer questions 

@yung.planet Reply to @kin_thenerd ♬ original sound – Mars ⚡️

What is it? 

FAQs, sometimes called “explainer” videos, address common questions you get in your comments. In short-form, these videos are easy to share on social channels. 

For a good FAQ short-form video, you need to address common questions you get from people watching your content. These videos give you a chance to inform your audience and showcase your expertise. 

Why it works 

These videos provide valuable information to viewers. Keeping these videos short allows you to create more of them and make finding answers to specific questions simple for your fans.  

How to do it right 

FAQs only work if you ask and answer the right questions. Addressing questions that you wish your followers were asking may not connect with your audience. It’s helpful to pull common questions from your comments section and DMs. 

4. Live streaming

@avani #ad cant wait to show you all my fav wild fable this thursday at 12pm pt don’t miss out! @target ♬ original sound – avani

What is it? 

One of the fastest-growing trends in social media is live-streamed video. Since these are viewed in real time, there is a greater opportunity for followers to interact with your brand. 

Most live-stream events occur on social platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, and Twitch. Creators may promote these events ahead of time to boost anticipation.

But live streaming is even popular among brands and users that launch live videos unannounced. Either way, viewers can tune in live or catch the video after your live stream has finished.

Why it works 

Audience members generally feel more connected to the individual featured in a live stream and may post live comments in response to the content. These videos also act as virtual events and post-production content that you can reshare after the event is over.

How to do it right 

To create compelling live streams in short form, you need to plan ahead. Unplanned live streams (though perfectly acceptable for those who know how to do them well) generally go longer than anticipated. When you want to keep your live streams to just a few minutes, you’ll want to stick to the message or topic.

Ideally, you’ll leverage your live stream to incentivize customers to engage. Share prompts that will encourage people to leave comments and react. 

5. Memes and funny content 


Bruh so annoying

♬ original sound – Mikki

What is it? 

Funny videos can highlight your brand’s comedic chops, and memes are viral pieces of content shared for being humorous. TikTok and other short-form video platforms are home to several memes, and their viral nature encourages users to create their own versions for notoriety. 

Why it works 

A 2020 study revealed that 21.2% of respondents said the most important quality that made a short video shareable was whether or not it was funny. People flock to social media to be entertained, and short-form videos allow people to get to the punchline quickly. 

How to do it right 

Go with the flow by focusing on trending sounds, filters, and more—but it’s essential to put your own creative spin on it so that it stands out. Or embrace your creativity and do something completely unique that showcases your comedy skills in a new way.

6. Behind-the-scenes looks 

What is it? 

A behind-the-scenes video takes your community where they’ve never been before. Show them how you nail those amazing TikTok transitions, or invite them along to get ready with you for the day (#GRWM). Your viewers will appreciate the glimpse into your reality, and you can build more trust with them. 

Why it works 

Behind-the-scenes looks generate feelings of authenticity and connection with your audience. 

How to do it right 

Be sure to keep it real and don’t do things you wouldn’t normally do. If your viewers feel you aren’t being genuine, they may unfollow you or leave negative comments. 

7. Promotions 

@moxie During our Cyber #Summer Sale we have 40% off select items! You don’t want to miss out!😍 #MoxieLash #magneticlashes #lashes #selfcaretiktok ♬ Dougie x Breakfast x Chosen – Kuya Magik

What is it? 

Short-form promotion videos let viewers know when a sale or special shopping event is happening. 

Why it works 

Everyone loves a good sale, and it’s terrible when you realize you missed one. If you’re always talking about a favorite product or store and you notice it goes on sale, let your fans know! They’ll appreciate the heads up, and brands may even see your content and keep you in mind for future partnerships if you receive a lot of engagement. 

How to do it right 

Give a brief reminder of why you love a particular product or the brand in general, then highlight the urgency of the sale. Share any relevant info you can find about the promotion, like dates or minimum purchase amounts, and show fans how they can access the deals. 

Key takeaway: Leverage short-form videos for social media and build your brand.

Studies continue to show that relevant, well-crafted videos attract more impressions than written and image posts. And in many cases, the more concise your videos, the more likely viewers will want to watch them until the very last second. Using any of the short-form video techniques listed above can help you expand your audience and engagement on social media. After endearing wider audiences to your brand, you can nurture those relationships toward higher conversions.