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The New Era Of Branded Video Content

It’s 1941, and you’re sitting in your living room in Brooklyn, NY. All of a sudden, an advertisement from the Bulova Watch Company comes across the 10-inch screen of your RCA TV set and you’re thinking to yourself: what the hell is this?!

With the innumerable ways that we’re advertised to on a daily basis now, it’s hard to take a step back and imagine what life was like

80 years ago when the first TV commercial aired. As time roared on, brands continued to develop new ways to get their marketing messages to the masses. From traditional cable to OTT and social media, you can’t spend more than a few minutes staring at a screen without being served branded content. Still, brands continue to ask:

What’s the best way to reach my audience & grow my customer base?

Usher in the era of TikTok and Instagram Reels. Sure, we’ve all gotten to know the dance trends and new influencers who have infiltrated pop culture. But the root of our fascination with TikTok and Instagram Reels goes much deeper than the zeitgeist of the 2020s. As consumers, we’ve fallen in love with the personalized experience of short-form video content that is tailored to our interests. And as business owners, it’s time we take notice.

The Case for Getting Your Business on TikTok and Instagram Reels

My last four jobs have involved, in some capacity, managing our company’s content marketing.
I understand the time, money and creative resources that get expended on trying to boost an organization’s engagement. It’s a lot. Some might argue that throwing TikTok or Instagram into the mix just adds more time and resources. I’d argue that supplanting some of your current content with more short-form video content can allow you to make the MOST of your resources.

Here’s why:

• TikTok’s user base is huge, and still growing. TikTok has over 1 billion monthly active users (compared to 395 million users on Twitter and 310 million on LinkedIn)

Short-form video content is more engaging. On both Instagram Reels and TikTok, you’re dealing with a captive audience who is ready to engage with your content. Other social platforms can involve more passive viewership, and it’s harder to get the same amount of video views & interactions.

Advertising is affordable on both platforms. Once you tie in advertising, you’ll realize extremely low CPMs on both Instagram and TikTok compared with alternative social platforms. CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) are around $12 on Instagram and $10 on TikTok, compared with $20+ on YouTube.

TikTok is becoming popular with (almost) every audience. The largest age group on TikTok is still 10-19 at 25%. However, 22.4% of the audience make-up is 20-29, 21.7% is 30-39, and 20.3% is 40-49. Between 2018 and 2020 alone, the number of American adults using TikTok grew 5.5 times.

Advice for Maximizing Your Success on TikTok or Instagram Reels

If you’re a business owner, marketing professional, or office administrator that’s looking to get started on TikTok or Instagram Reels–it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Getting started can be an

uphill battle, and growing your audience of followers will require a concerted effort from your content team. Some tips to help get you started include:

• Be a Viewer Before a Creator: trying to start creating short-form videos before watching what others are doing is akin to trying to writing a novel, but never reading. It’s important to understand the platforms you’re trying to use, and you must become a fan before you start creating. When all else fails, lean on the TikTok user in your office for some ideas on how your team can start making content.

• Jump on Trends: imitation is the highest form of flattery, particularly on these social platforms. With TikTok in particular, trending sounds are much more likely to gain traction than trying to create your own. Add your own flare to an existing sound that is trending on TikTok, and watch your numbers grow!

• Consistency is Key: you’re going to want to post at least 3 times a week. Ideally, more. To use an example from our office: we had been putting up about 2-3 TikToks a week for a few months before we finally had a video “blow up.” We went from 80 followers to almost 2,000 in about a week, and had a video receive 650k views (when previous videos were getting about 500 views on average). Don’t give up when your results are minimal at first–keep plugging away and let the algorithm do its work.

• Keep Your Brand in Mind: it’s important to know who you are, and know who your business is. Don’t sacrifice your brand voice or brand morals, but rather ensure that all of your short-form video is ‘on brand’ with who you are. People will pay attention and appreciate your commitment to the bit, and your timeline of videos will seem more consistent and original.

• Dedicate a Small Team: it takes a village, and it’s important that you have one. Trying to maintain your content as a single person can be tough! Instead, try to get a committee of individuals who are willing to contribute to the cause–even if their contributions merely involve being “actors” or “actresses” in your videos. Ideally, you’d have a group of 3 or more people to help brainstorm ideas and carry out the execution of the videos.

• Make Your Content Feel Native to the Platform: it will be obvious when you try to cut down a long-form video that you used to introduce your brand on YouTube or on a Hulu ad. Make content that feels unique and native to TikTok or Instagram Reels, and ensure that there’s no awkward cropping
or truncating of important information. Whether you’re using Adobe Premiere or editing your videos on your phone, get it right and get it tight. Make sure your videos are within the guidelines for TikTok or Instagram (ideal pixels and video settings, and length) for optimal performance.


Learning More About Short-Form Videos and Social Media Marketing

If you’re interested in learning more about short-form video and the ins and outs of managing your social media accounts, consider attending AAF-ND’s March Speaker. On March 16th, former Fargoan and current social media extraordinaire Maren Hamilton will be speaking to our audience at the Sanctuary Events Center. You can visit aaf-nd.org to learn about reserving your ticket!

Written by Jack Yakowicz

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