First popularized by TikTok and subsequently imitated by Instagram and YouTube as Reels and Shorts, respectively, short-form video has emerged as a powerful and engaging content format for creators and brands alike.
While each platform has different limits on video durations for its post formats, any clip under 60 seconds long can certainly be classified as a short-form video. As a bite-sized source of entertainment or educational content, these “snackable” videos are highly addictive for all age groups, particularly Millennials and Gen Z.
In fact, according to HubSpot’s 2023 Social Media Marketing Report, 57% of Gen Z and 42% of Millennials prefer to learn about products and their features through short-form videos over any other format. Furthermore, having noticed the format’s effectiveness, 58% of marketers are increasing their investment in short-form video creation.
So, as billions of users with dwindling attention spans consume short-form videos daily, brands are turning to this format to make a mark in their audience’s minds. In this post, you’ll learn five tips to create super-engaging short-form videos that captivate your audience and drive results.
1. Cut to the chase
Short-form video platforms are designed for quick scrolling from one video to another. So it’s easy for viewers to scroll past your video if it doesn’t interest them instantly. This means you need a compelling hook to grab their attention right away, and with mere seconds at your disposal, it’s a good idea to get right into the meat of your video.
In other words, chuck any branded animated intros or introductory narrations like “Hey guys, in this video, I’m going to…” — just get to the point. For example, if you’re editing a how-to video that demonstrates steps to create a piece of art, a strong hook could be showing off the final outcome for two to four seconds, followed by a smooth transition into the first step, like this DIY creator does in her Reels.
2. Use ready-to-go templates
Success with short-form videos such as Reels and Shorts is part quality and part quantity — according to a study of 22 million posts by Later, posting frequency and consistency matter big time.
In their analysis of nano-influencers’ Instagram accounts (0-10K followers), a single Reel had an average engagement rate of 3.95%, whereas posting 14 Reels led to an average engagement rate of 4.73%. The same correlation applied to micro-influencers’ accounts (10K-100K followers).
Furthermore, the study found that on average, the more Reels an account posted per week, the higher its overall reach.
Thus, for more engagement and reach, you need to post more often. And it goes without saying that editing each video from scratch isn’t a viable way to accomplish this.
With an easy-to-use video editing app like Videoleap, you can quickly browse high-performing clips from other creators and apply your media to their templates to whip up engaging videos (like the one below). The latest version of the app also lets you choose from hundreds of premade AI effects-enhanced templates that help you make unique videos to set your content apart.
3. Use big and bright on-screen captions
Watching short-form videos is a fast-paced activity, with viewers typically jumping from one video to the next. As discussed in the first tip, capturing viewers’ attention from the very first second is crucial.
On-screen captions serve as a great way to convey your hook effectively, especially when viewers are watching videos without sound or in noisy environments. By using big and bright on-screen captions, you ensure that your message is relayed even without sound.
When adding captions, opt for bold and contrasting colors that complement your brand’s identity and make the text pop against the video. Keep the font size large enough to be legible on small screens, and maintain a consistent font style for a cohesive look. Use concise text that aligns with the video’s pace and narration to maintain engagement.
For example, here’s an interesting Reel from Google. Note how the on-screen captions catch your attention from the very beginning and then help retain it throughout the video.
Put simply, well-executed on-screen captions not only make your content more accessible to a broader audience but also enhance the overall viewing experience, increasing the chances of viewers engaging with your video and taking action. With an intuitive video editing app like Videoleap, mentioned above, you can easily add text to your videos using a variety of fonts, emojis, shadows, colors, opacity, and blending options.
4. Color grade your videos
Color grading is a crucial aspect of video editing that helps enhance the visual appeal and emotional impact of your short-form videos. By modifying colors and tones, you can create a certain mood that resonates with your audience and aligns with your brand’s identity. Here are some essential tips for effectively color-grading your TikToks, Reels and Shorts:
- Maintain a Consistent Color Palette: Establish a consistent color palette that complements your brand’s aesthetics and messaging. Use color theory to evoke emotions and reinforce your video’s narrative.
- Balance Exposure and Contrast: Ensure proper exposure and contrast in your footage to maintain visual clarity and depth. Avoid overexposed or underexposed areas that may distract viewers from the main subject. Use contrast to draw attention to important elements and create a dynamic visual experience.
- Highlight Key Elements: Emphasize key elements in your video by adjusting their color intensity. You can make important objects or text stand out by giving them a slightly different hue or saturation, guiding viewers’ eyes to focus on essential information.
- Create a Mood: Warm and vibrant colors can create a sense of excitement, while cooler tones can evoke a feeling of calmness or professionalism. Consider the emotions you want to evoke in your audience and adjust the color grading accordingly.
LUTs (Lookup Tables) are a kind of color filter you can use to alter the colors in your images or videos. They apply preset mathematical formulas to your video’s existing colors to change those colors and achieve a desired result, such as a cinematic effect.
With an advanced LUT creator like Lutify.me, you can apply scene-referred and stress-tested 3D LUT packs to your short-form videos (see example below). Used by professional filmmakers and global brands like BBC, Lutify’s fylm.ai Lite is an AI-assisted color editor and LUT creator that lets you quickly and easily color grade your videos right in your browser.
5. Don’t treat audio as an afterthought
Unless you’re using short-form video to promote snippets from an interview or a podcast, it’s a good idea to select a music track or trending sound from within the app to boost your video’s reach. When a sound or song is “trending” on Reels, it means it’s growing in popularity and engagement (likes, saves, etc.) — indicated by a tiny arrow next to the audio’s name. It also means people are tapping on the audio icon at the bottom of the Reel to go to the Audio page and see more content that incorporates that track.
Note the arrow icons in the below screenshots of YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels, respectively.
But, while selecting trending audio can help get more eyeballs on your video, it’s not ideal to just slap on a trending track after editing your video. Rather, based on your footage and the message you wish to convey with your video, decide which song or audio you’d use for your final video, and then edit it to the beat.
For instance, check out this video from GoPro and note how the vlog-style beat sync adds to the video’s appeal.
In the case of interviews or original commentary, ensure that your video’s audio is clear and balanced. Invest in a good-quality microphone and avoid background noise by setting up your shoot in a dedicated recording space. Consider adding audible but not overpowering background music or sound effects to enhance the mood of your video. Thoughtfully selected background music can evoke emotions, set the tone, and make the interview or narration a more memorable experience.
Time to cut your shot
Making short-form videos to promote your brand can be a fun and creative process — from selecting just the right scenes from the footage and tweaking the colors to picking the perfect song and adding text.
All it takes is one hit video to exponentially boost your brand awareness, gain an influx of new followers, and potentially boost conversions. Follow the above tips and examples to get your video editing process right and amplify your content’s reach, engagement, and ROI.