social media how toHave you considered sharing short video content as a social marketing tactic?

Do you think video is only for the big brands with big budgets?

If you haven’t explored short video for your business, you may be missing out on an opportunity for more reach and shares.

In this article you’ll discover six ways you can use short video to grab attention. With the examples below, you’ll find plenty of inspiration.

short video for marketing

Discover 6 ways to use short video for marketing.

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Why Short Video?

While you might naturally think of YouTube when you think of video, it’s not the only platform embracing video content.

From the moment the first movie trailer was released on Instagram, it was only a matter of time until marketers and businesses began to embrace the power of short video—and the ease of sharing it in places other than YouTube. There has been a rush of creative video produced by brands ever since.

In fact, short-form video content is streamed to us in a range of formats on a variety of social platforms—6-second Vine videos, 15-second Instavids on Instagram, 2- to 3-minute videos on Facebook and news feed videos on Google+. LinkedIn also features video via Professional Portfolio and videos can be “pinned” to Pinterest.

But why is short video so popular? The shift is likely due to a number of factors. The attraction of short-form social videos lies in their “snackable” nature.

Short videos suit our busy lives, brief attention spans and the need to consume content easily and quickly. Because fans are consuming content via their mobile devices while they’re on the go, the shorter the content is, the better.

#1: Show How to Do Something

Showing your fans how to do something (e.g., solve a problem or challenge or use your product) is perhaps one of the easiest ways to jump into creating short video content.

For example, Video Meals has attracted thousands of loyal fans on Instagram by using video snapshots overlaid with spoken step-by-step instructions for creating a healthy meal. These quick videos drive traffic to the Video Meals website and ebook with a link in the description.

Chocolate peanut butter granola bars ————————————————— 1- In a bowl add about 120ml (1/2 cup) granola, about a table spoon of peanut butter and honey, and about 2-3 tablespoons of melted dark chocolate. 2- Mix it all up 3- Mould into shape and chill till chocolate hardens holding everything together. NOTES: Add some peanuts or chia seeds if you wish. Multiply the ingredients for the number of bars you wish to make. Lower calories by adding less peanut butter. Lower carbs by adding less honey. Makes 1 big bar or 2 little bars Approx. Macros: per big bar Kcal:395 Carbs:59g Fat:18 Protein:13g ————————————————— Barras de granola de chocolate y mantequilla de maní ————————————————— 1- En un bowl o tazón agrega 120 ml (1/2 taza) de granola, una cucharada de mantequilla de maní, de miel y de 2 a 3 cucharadas de chocolate obscuro derretido. 2-Mezcla todo lo anterior junto 3- Colócalo en un molde y espera hasta que el chocolate endurezca y mantenga todo junto. NOTAS: Agrega maní o semillas de chía si deseas. Multiplica los ingredientes para el número de barras que deseas hacer. Disminuye las calorías agregando menos mantequilla de maní. Disminuye los carbohidratos agregando menos miel. Hace 1 barra grande o 2 pequeñas Macronutrientes aproximados por barra grande Kcal:395 Carbs:59g Grasa:18 Proteína:13g ————————————————— ➡️YOUTUBE: ➡️FACEBOOK: ➡️GOOGLE: ➡️TWITTER: ➡️PINTEREST: ➡️WEB: ➡️@thereyahaveit for the lighter/fun side of videomeals

A video posted by Simple, Quick, and Healthy (@videomeals) on

And take a look at these videos on fitness site MelissaMade. Melissa creates split-screen video posts that show an exercise on one side, and her describing it on the other.

Ball Climbers Well hot damn, this is challenging! It's a fantastic way to take ANY momentum out of your core work and make those muscles do it all! 1⃣ Hands on floor, under shoulders 2⃣ Top of right foot on ball 3⃣ Pull left knee into chest 4⃣ Alternate slowly and keep going until you lose your form If you are new to using a stability ball for core, start with both those feet on the ball and hold that plank!

If this looks like technical wizardry to you, then you’re in for a surprise. Anyone can create amazing split-screen videos with a simple tool called Pic Play Post.

One challenge of creating short useful video is distilling your message into its simplest form. Lowe’s has a whole series of helpful how-to videos on their Vine account. It’s amazing what you can show in just 6 seconds!

With the tools available for creating short video content, it’s easier than ever to create a how-to or DIY video. The shorter the video and the simpler the steps, the more likely fans will love it, use it and share it.

#2: Highlight Your Skills

Zach King is a huge success on both Vine and Instagram. Known as the Final Cut King, Zach creates addictive special-effect videos that show everyday situations with a twist! Because each video is short and engaging, it’s hard to watch just one.

Instagram in Real Life @zachkinglife

A video posted by Zach King (@finalcutking) on

By showcasing his skills and including a call to action with his videos, he’s not just being entertaining—he’s also bringing attention to his business (an online school that trains others in filmmaking techniques, including special effects).

For many people, seeing really is believing. Make your mark by showing your audience what you can do and how it benefits them.

#3: Showcase an Event

When a popular event or celebration is coming up on the calendar, it’s likely that others in your industry will be looking for relevant content to share. Clever brands get the jump on a season, event or celebration by posting short video content that’s primed for sharing.

Take a look at this clever video that MyKidsTime made using the Stop Motion app.

Not only did this video resonate with their fans, it was also shared often by other page admins who were looking for great content to post on Facebook around Christmas.

Think about what you can create for the next event coming up in your industry.

#4: Reveal a New Product

You don’t have to be overly promotional to showcase your products. You can make it fun by appealing to your audience’s natural curiosity.

For example, try a video reveal of your newest product. It’s not only fun and creative, but it also appeals to the side of our human nature that wants to be the first to know. HP used a simple video edit to showcase Sprout, their new product:

Sprout can take real items and turn them into 3D editable images! Had so much fun making custom #Sundance postcards!

And active-wear company Lorna Jane featured some of their team to announce their summer shorts sale in a fun way.

Make it about the people, not the product!

#5: Go Behind the Scenes

A short video is a fun way to let your fans see the people behind the business—to show what happens behind closed doors.

Constant Contact often gives their fans a look at the people behind the company. In the following example, they posted a simple video of their Day of Service. Who doesn’t want to know more about a company whose employees have fun together—and one that contributes to charity?

Whether it’s a tour of your office, an event you’re attending or just some behind-the-scenes downtime, showing the fun side of your business can be more effective than just hawking your wares.

When you add short, engaging video to the mix, fans really feel that they get a sense of who you are as a company (not just what you sell).

#6: Use What You Have

Professional videos look great, but you don’t need a huge budget to make an impact. Creative marketers can do amazing things with simple props and everyday objects.

Lorna Jane pulled off a great little video with just a pad of Post-It notes and a Sharpie:

What makes YOU happy?

Some of the best short videos don’t rely on big-budget design and animation—they’re the ones that use everyday items. What can you create with the objects around you?

10 Hot Tools for Creating and Editing Short Video

1. Want to start creating short videos? Then you’ll want to consider using some of these tools.Just starting out on video? You can’t go wrong with Instagram’s built-in video tool. It allows you to film in sections so you can seamlessly join your edited video together in a professional way.

2. Hyperlapse is a clever tool by Instagram that allows you to create time-lapse videos. It allows you to condense longer videos for a short video effect—a speedy way to tell your story. Hyperlapse is perfect for behind-the-scenes videos and unboxing videos. You could even take your fans on a “quick” tour of your office.

3. Flipagram is super-easy to use and helps bring your images to life to create beautiful short video stories. It’s perfect for posting to Instagram or Facebook. Many people use the videos to give a shout-out to fans, review an event and more. It’s available in the Apple Store, and it’s available for Android and Windows as well.

4. The Videohance app truly makes your videos look beautiful. It allows you to edit in real time on your phone by adding effects, borders, light leaks, text, music and more. With Videohance, it’s easy to create something that looks quite professional! It’s available for iPhone.

5. The Stop Motion app is easy to use and so much fun. As an alternative to Google Play, it allows you to create videos with the fun stop-motion technique. You can also check out Stop-Motion Lite. Both are available on iOS.

6. Whereas other video apps focus on the visuals, Adobe Voice focuses on the voice and turns your story into an animated video in minutes. Speak into the device to tell your story in short sentences or sections, then add animation, images, photos, sound and text. It’s available for iPad.

7. Put simply, 8mm will take you back in time. This low-cost app allows you to create old-fashioned 8mm movies in real time. The app is available for the iPhone and iPad.

8. Not strictly a video tool, Cinemagram allows you to animate one part of an image, which is a cool effect, and one worth having in your kit bag.

9. The iMovie app is another in-phone editing tool you can use on the go. It has a lot of the popular features of the desktop iMovie program, allowing you to add audio, text and special effects from your phone. It’s available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

10. Kinemaster Pro Video Editor is a full-featured video editing tool that enables you to work from your smartphone. It’s available for Android (but not all devices).

Over to You

The next time you check out your favorite brand on a social network, take note of any short video content they produce. What ideas do they spark?

With the video creation and editing tools we have at our disposal, it’s so easy for businesses to add short video content to their marketing mix.

Which video creation tactic or tool resonated with you? Are you already using short-form video to tell your brand’s story? Please leave your ideas in the comments below.

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  • Nice article Donna. Seems like iOS users have the advantage here.

  • Thanks Phyllis – I tried to put some in for Android and there are some good ones but it does always seem to be a lean towards iOS. I have found a few people lately who are Android Users who have snapped up an old ipod or ipad and use that to access some of the tools which can be smart, and probably less distracting if you use it just for content creation. Hopefully a few of these developers will be able to fund their app on the other platforms, not just iOS!

  • Thanks Donna. I do have an old iPad around here somewhere… 🙂

  • terrific content, thanks!

  • Great article!

    I like short-form videos because they’re short and to the point. 🙂

    Tools such as Flipogram make it easy to take videos and upload them to social networks quickly. In fact, I’m working closely with the Head Cat Shift Leader and Adoption Counselor at our local animal shelter to think of ways to market and get cats adopted quicker. However, the shelter is a 100 percent volunteer-run organization, so it’s a tricky to get videos (volunteers have lives). However, it’s nice to know that some of the volunteers have a knack for video.

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  • Great idea. Impatient web surfers look for whatever is easier and shorter. They don’t spend plenty of time of large textual content unless they are really into the subject and piece is an attractive one. Video is highly likely to be clicked on and oyu can make a real connection to the audience.

  • Katja

    Thanks Donna, just as I was researching how to create video content for social media. Great article!

  • Awesome – glad it was good timing for you!

  • Yes, I agree Rahman. I think this year we will see a lot of very creative uses of short video, and the best part is that the tools make it easy for anyone to have a go now!

  • Perfect @AmandahBlackwell:disqus – if you can find the volunteers that love taking video and make it a little streamlined for them (ie maybe they just shoot but someone else edits it quickly) then that would be a great way to win over hearts and get animals adopted… people react positively to seeing them on film!

  • No problems – thanks for stopping by and glad you liked it!

  • haha have fun.. I have a friend who uses an old iphone to WordSwag images.. she is the batching queen and just churns them out now!

  • Krithika Rangarajan


    Yes, it’s sad that most apps belong on Apple phones….*sigh* But this is an extremely useful, bookmark-worthy post – thank you so much, Donna!


  • We make it work! The one video I posted today is reaching thousands of people and generating comments, likes and shares.

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  • Fab article Donna – I especially like Zach King’s superb cleverness ….

  • Fantastic article Donna, I’m a huge advocate of video content.

    Last year I wrote an article for Razor Social where I suggested 5 mobile apps to create videos (you have listed some of them) and although the article got a great response, many of the comments mentioned they couldn’t apply those techniques to their industry.

    Your article is the perfect reply to each of those comments, showing great and creative ways in which video could be applied to every company. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

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  • He is superbly clever. Thanks Andy!

  • Thanks Antonio – yes being creative about making it apply to your industry is half of the battle won – then the tech is the easy part. I see everyone from the Police Depts to Lawyers and Insurance companies to companies like HP use video well.. so if they can do it we all can! Sometimes it’s a matter of taking an idea and applying that same idea to your content, for sure!

  • Walter Hayes

    Excellent article Donna, full of examples and also a great list of tools. Do you know of any good one to create time-lapse videos on Vine? I’ve seen a few of these online, so there must be something out there…

  • Wahiba Chair

    Hi Donna, Great examples. Do you have any thoughts/examples for B2B brands / companies? Helping out some clients who are more “traditional” but for whom I believe micro videos could go a long way. Thanks!

  • Totally – go to the Instagram and Facebook accounts for HP, Constant Contact, HubSpot and General Electric – all doing cool things with visual content and with video! Hope that helps!

  • Thanks Robert – I do like them and I believe one of the tools listed above (#8) is a cinemagraph – Cinemagram – I did include it as a sneaky entry and did highlight that it is not quite video but still a cool effect. Thanks will check out your community!

  • PS I had heard of Flixel before or maybe I am confusing it as I thought it was an app not pro software. Must be another one I am thinking of. But looks great!

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  • Guest

    Great article thanks Donna. Youtube is addictive, one minute you are watching a music video and the next how to make one!

  • Cassandra Head

    Great article thanks Donna. Sharing. xx

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  • Thanks Cassandra! Glad you liked it!

  • Thanks – yes great video can be very addictive. I got stuck in a vortex just yesterday haha.

  • Kathleen T Smith

    Hi Donna,
    Thanks for the great ideas. I’m a graduate student, currently enrolled in a Marketing class. Our class project is to find ways to re-introduce a business back to their community as they have somehow fallen off the radar in their area. A short video on their social media page(s) introducing their new leadership is a good way to communicate to the public that they are open for business and starting over with a new message. They have a very small marketing budget, do you know the cost associated with creating a short video and posting it on social media sites (facebook, twitter, internet web site, etc.)?

  • Wahiba Chair

    Yes – thanks Donna! I also enjoyed connecting with you over on Twitter!

  • Excellent – remember with any of those examples, it’s pretty easy to see what they are doing and create the same “type” of video but tailored for your industry with your own unique message, but it’s a great way to see what’s possible!

  • Donna this article is fantastic! Tons of great tips and examples. Thank you!

  • Thank you so much [happy dance]

  • Hi Kathleen – sorry I replied but it did not seem to “stick”. It’s a tough question, a bit of a “how long is a piece of string” type question, in that video can be cheap and free to make or it can cost thousands. The good news is that if you use some of these free tools, a basic short video can be made efficiently and cost-effectively and look great. If they don’t have a big budget, start simple, and go on from there. To answer the last part, it’s a wide-ranging cost from zero to thousands to create short video but free to post it on social sites… just look at posting it natively to Facebook and Instagram as well as the bigger sites like YouTube.

  • Great post @sociallysorted:disqus , I love it! 🙂 That inspires me to start a channel on Instagram with 15 seconds advice on Social Media! Jay Baer does it 3 minute at a time, I’ll take the challenge to do it 15 seconds at a time 🙂

  • Kathleen T Smith

    Thank you. This is good to know.

  • No problems! I am SO glad you love it @disqus_a6LgXoOOIo:disqus – I was thinking the same thing the other day, that 15 seconds would be great for a little video series… if you can pull it off, how fun! I’ll make you do it!

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  • Lou Bortone

    Great article, Donna! Thanks so much for sharing these fab resources…

  • nice share @sociallysorted:disqus

  • What can be a better example than Zach king. Been a fan of that guy ever since I saw a video compilation of his vines. I have never tried to make a short video but hey, its never late to get started. Great list, Donna!

  • Vijay Kumar Dubey

    Hey Donna,
    Really effective article , Which gives new concept of ppp….For my end this is new Concept of social media..thank you so much….

  • Dean Ethridge

    I’ve been using video for years, but never have adopted Instagram or short video on other platforms. Thanks for the tips in this great article

  • Great article, informative.

  • Great post, Donna. It’s really exciting to see how accessible video creation is becoming, right?

    Curious—do you have any thoughts on the use of audio or background music in social media videos? I just launched a project that seeks to help video creators with this, and I’d love to hear any insight you might have on the topic.

    Thanks again for this post!

  • Hi Logan – for sure – it’s amazing at the level of editing provided by some of the apps now. Another one that make it super easy is Videolicious (so many cool tools now!). Re your question, are you referring to the copyright of using music? As a general idea, I like the use of music when done well – but I definitely recommend that you use stock music or licenced music that you have the rights to use… especially if the video is deemed commercial. But if there was a tool or something to help people with this I think that would be great! I know that there are a lot of great stock libraries with music now and you can even get creative and work with an emerging musician or band that might want to get their name out there. But people get overwhelmed by options so anything to make it easier will help – not sure if this answers your question at all but I hope it helps!

  • thanks David – glad you liked it!

  • Cheers – glad it helped!

  • You are very welcome Dean – hope it helps!

  • Zach Rocks! Thanks for your feedback Ajay!

  • Thanks Ram!

  • You’re welcome Lou – sorry I missed this – that means a lot coming from you as I know you are a very skilled video guy… but for the rest of us (haha) it’s great to have so many options for people to jump in and try video … which I know you want them to do too!

  • Thanks for the response, Donna! Videolicious looks really interesting—hadn’t heard of it before.

    And definitely agreed re: music copyright stuff. The project I recently launched actually seeks to help address that issue.

    But beyond the copyright stuff, I initially commented because I’m really curious about the strategy of audio in videos—particularly the effects certain types of music might have on user behavior. If you’ve got any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them ?

  • Ah ok, sorry Logan, I just presumed you were talking about copyright not the emotional impact. I haven’t read anything specifically lately about that, that I can add to the mix – I would be googling just like you are I am sure – but I do know that I have seen lots of content in the past about how audio, just like visuals can elicit emotion, and I am sure there has been a lot of research as well on it… everything from different music genres to the actual lyrics. Without a doubt though, music as part of the audio on video can be very powerful – I don’t need google or a researcher to tell me that – I just know how I personally react to a great soundtrack, even on an explainer video – it can make all the difference. So if you are doing a project on that, you will probably find there’s a need out there. If you can find out more about the psych behind the music and user behaviour then I think you may be on to something…. especially when it comes to capturing attention, having people stay engaged with your content and then take action – definitely something many marketers would be interested in, I am sure.

    As for videolicious – I have had a play with it and love it and just talked about it in my session at #smss15. Their team is quite responsive too, so maybe reach out to them, as they seem quite keen to get feedback and talk to people using their tool – they may be able to provide you with some input too! Good luck with your project!

  • Good stuff—thanks again, Donna!

  • Thanks for the very helpful summary.

  • You’re welcome Tanja – glad you found it useful!