The Rise of TikTok: Why Short-Form Content Should Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy

child with phone in his hands is lying at home on bed. Social Media tiktok is loaded on screen.

In terms of content marketing, long-form has been the status quo for decades. According to Core DNA, long-form content is any content between a short study and a novelette. There is undoubtedly a time and a place for this content. However, with shortened attention spans, the rise of the share button, and algorithms that require daily input to push out, it is more important than ever to master the short-form content game. In this blog, we will cover what short-form content is, why TikTok is the king of short-form content, and how to get started with a TikTok marketing strategy.

What is Short-Form Content?

Short-form content is typically any written copy of fewer than 1,000 words or videos of up to 3 minutes. Think blogs, Facebook posts, TikToks, and Instagram reels. These take less than 3 minutes to consume, are typically easily digestible, and are highly shareable.

These are the reasons short-form is taking an unprecedented lead.

Short-form content is easy to share, make, and engage with.

People expect their favorite accounts to turn out content daily. If the content is 10,000 words on the advertising industry’s effect on western societal views of femininity (if you actually are interested in this – check out Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein), then it is unrealistic for creators to put out content daily. On the other hand, if the content is an 11-second video to a trending song, it is a bit more manageable.

Short-form content is also easy to engage with. The likelihood of me clicking away from a post to an article to spend 15 minutes reading it is low. The likelihood of me reading a 100-word Facebook post with the highlights from that article is far higher.

Lastly, short-form is easy to share. Sending a study on “the effects of climate change in mixed-species breeding” in the family group chat is likely to get a thumbs up from Grandpa at best. Sending a TikTok of a grizzly-polar bear mix will probably cause some commotion.

Short-form content is bite-sized pieces of information that start a conversation.

Why TikTok is Different

Sample social media app interface on mobile phone showing shared

The king of short-form content creation and sharing is undoubtedly TikTok. According to Hubspot, Tiktok was the most downloaded app of 2021, it is the number one app for driving consumer spending, and it is by far the most engaging social media app.

Why is TikTok so popular?

Several reasons. But here are our top three:

1. The algorithm makes it easier to go viral if you follow simple hacks
2. The in-app video studio made making content quick, easy, and effective for Tik-Tokers of all skill levels
3. There is a high level of engagement. The advanced algorithm assures that everyone’s feed is highly tailored to their niche interests and preferences.

TikTok has democratized viral content. Anyone can go viral if they post enough content with enough consistency. This is appealing to creators that have come from other platforms where viral content comes from ad dollars spent, production quality, and partnerships with influencers.

TikTok revolutionized the production of content. The platform has abandoned the high production quality reels of Instagram for more casual content that anyone can make in two minutes. Additionally, the in-app video editing studio is far more robust than any other platform. Users can stitch together photos and videos, add voiceovers, edit the playback speed, and even use a green screen effect.

The exclusive use of short video content was no mistake. People’s attention spans are shorter than ever: we have shorter books, movies, and ads to account for that. Naturally, we are navigating towards shorter social content. Dr. Julie Albright explains the psychology of TikTok.

The short videos give users small dopamine hits, giving the platform an immersive experience.

Lastly, users tout the power of the all-knowing algorithm. TikTok’s highly advanced AI recommendation system determines which videos will appear on users For You Page. Users will joke that the algorithm will know things about them before they do because of how highly tailored content will be to users’ preferences, interests, and experiences.

Users with similar preferences will likely be exposed to the same content. For example, users will say that they are on “cooking TikTok”, “Batman TikTok”, or “Colorado TikTok” to explain what types of videos are coming up most frequently in their feed.

Additionally, users will reference that a video made it to the “right side” or “wrong side” of TikTok, depending on the tone of the interactions. For example, suppose the comments on a video are primarily negative. In that case, the algorithm likely pushed the video out to users with incompatible preferences for the video content. This will result in the infamous “wrong side of TikTok” comments.

Marketing Your Business Using TikTok

Utilizing TikTok to market your business will be unlike any other social media marketing you’ve done in the past. When you make promotional content for Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you make ads. When you make promotional content for TikTok, you are making a TikTok. Users will scroll at the first sign of promotional content, so any videos need to flow seamlessly into a user’s For You Page.

Because of this, businesses are reframing how it looks to interact with customers on TikTok. Content creators are moving from scripted responses to funny, out-of-pocket replies and from perfectly posed photos to videos filmed in one take on their iPhones. This new content and interaction are fast, funny, and radically casual.

Making promotional content that works within this unique environment can be tricky. TikTok is a space for… whatever the opposite of ads is. So, brands have found ways to promote themselves differently.

They post content with workplace humor, share the cool parts of their processes, do skits to popular songs, teach users new tools and information, and anything else.

The NFL has a popular TikTok account. However, you will rarely ever find promotions for games or highlights on this account. Their most recent viral video was a repost of a high school student’s Snapchat of an NFL player visiting their school and racing their principal.

@nfl @Cheetah Bo Hill a legend for this 😂 #tyreekhill #dolphins (via @blake.bennett31 ♬ original sound – NFL

There is no one way to do TikTok right. However, there are about a million ways to do it wrong.

Here are a few general rules for making a successful TikTok for your brand:

  • Keep it short – the highest performing videos are between 21 and 34 seconds long
  • Make it accessible – adding captions increases impressions by 55.7%
  • Do something edgy – videos with a distinct point of view do better than ones without
  • Team up – partnering with creators boosts view-through rates by 193%
  • Hop on the train – Use trending sounds and hashtags
  • Casual is better – overproduced videos smell like ads from a mile away
  • Consistency is key – when building a following, it is recommended to post once per day
  • Engage – your comments on other posts will bring users to your page
  • Find your niche – whether it’s teaching a skill, doing dances to trending songs, or sharing videos of your office dog

Just remember, it’s better to get started and learn along the way than be behind the curve and fall behind the competition.  

And if you aren’t tech-savvy, find yourself a Gen Z intern to run your TikTok account.

@oldtownmedia Someone has to provide content for our fans 😎 #adagency #adagencylife #fortcollins #contentcreator #northerncolorado ♬ vibe for this year – joseph fagundes

So, if you made it to the end of this blog post, you can probably understand why people are moving towards short-form content and why a TikTok marketing strategy is becoming more necessary.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if this was a 49-second video with Harry Styles’ new single in the background?

If you decide to start ditching your blogs, guides, and brochures for reels, TikToks, and Facebook posts; be sure to remember why consumers are making that switch. They want fast, interesting, easily-consumable, and highly shareable pieces of information. Remembering why users prefer short-form content is key to making sure that your content best caters to them. 

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