Content Is King

They say content is king – and if 2020 has taught us communicators anything, short-form content is here to stay. From the rise of Snapchat in 2013 to the virality of TikTok this year, brands must get on board with snackable content and storytelling opportunities.

Longform content like traditional newsfeed posts, videos and blogs are great for credibility and SEO, but don’t translate anymore to the average consumer. Shortform content includes any video or post from six to sixty seconds. Fast Company actually highlights “stories” and other short-form content are growing at 15 times the rate of social newsfeeds. They also share that this is probably because of how inundated consumers are with social media, especially Millennials and Gen-Z audiences. Stories and short-form content offer a quick way to consume information while tuning out the chatter.

Personally, I also think this new format of content is thriving because of its authenticity. Consumers are savvier and can easily dodge corporate marketing and sales-y type social media content. They avoid ads and steer clear of time-consuming, irrelevant content. Shortform content is typically less refined but increases brand engagement and relationships with target audiences.

Ok, ok I get it. I need to do more short-form content – but what are my options?



  • Twitter Fleets
    • Fresh off the market as of Nov. 17, 2020 – Twitter Fleets offers users the ability to make tweets that disappear in 24 hours. Users can share text, photos and videos that will only last for the day without being retweeted or shared.

  • Verdict: Too soon to tell if this will actually catch on. Twitter is honestly late to the game with this feature and many media outlets are saying this is another way for people to be unkind and cowardly. Brands haven’t had a chance to really dive into this, so I would wait to see if it’s actually beneficial for your business.
  • Instagram Reels
    • One of the newest features on Instagram arrived this August as Facebook’s attempt to compete with TikTok. Hootsuite best describes it as, “Much like TikTok, Instagram Reels offers you a set of creative tools to create fun, engaging short videos on Instagram. Record and edit 15-second multi-clip Reels videos with audio, text, special effects, and stickers, then share them with your followers.” Check out how to optimize Reels for your business
  • The main differences from TikTok are that Reels have a 15-second time limit and disappear after 24 hours in Story format. It’s also a feature within a platform as opposed to a platform itself.
    • Which one is better for business? Although TikTok is more popular right now, its long-term stability is questionable. Reels are good for businesses to play it safe while still getting the best out of this type of content.

Most Popular

  • Instagram Stories
    • Instagram adopted the Snapchat formula of short-form content in 2016 and although the content vanishes after 24 hours, this feature is no disappearing act. This content appears at the top of your news feed in a vertical layout and allows users to create and share content that lasts for 24 hours. More than 500 million “stories” are shared each day. Check out these recommendations from Buffer to make the most out of your content.
      • Rating: 10/10
      • Example: Starbucks

Instagram and TikTok

  • TikTok
    • Not the Ke$ha song, but the most controversial platform of 2020. Despite privacy concerns and the impending ban, TikTok is crazy popular across the board, but you guessed it – mostly with Gen-Z and Millennials. With more than 800 million downloads, this application is popular for its 15-second videos ranging from DIY projects to cat videos featured in a similar vertical layout to Instagram Stories. (Imagine YouTube but for a shorter attention span.) The app is quite popular because of the sheer amount of content accessed. It helps that the content is permanent and can be tracked through hashtags and likes.
      • Example: Chipotle

Come back for chips part 2 #foryou #guac #chipotle

♬ Pump – Valentino Khan

  • Facebook Stories
    • Launched in 2017, this feature operates similarly to Instagram Stories. It emphasizes quick, user-generated content in a vertical layout and disappears in 24 hours. (Definitely a rinse and repeat method, but effective.) More than 1.7 billion Facebook users consume mobile content, so this bite-size news digest made perfect sense for the platform. Learn the specifics here.

Leveraging Existing Platforms

  • LinkedIn Stories
    • Seconds-long content in a vertical layout that disappears in 24 hours? You’ve heard it before. LinkedIn has followed in the footsteps of Instagram and Facebook by adding this feature to its roster. Later recommends that businesses can leverage this feature in a professional setting for thought leadership, brand announcements, behind-the-scenes engagement and real-time event updates.
  • Snapchat
    • The OG of ephemeral content. Snapchat rose to popularity in 2013 for the first of its kind snackable content. Snapchat allows users to communicate and share content that disappears in 24 hours. Unfortunately for the platform, many have migrated to these other applications. There is still a good base of almost 315 million active users globally making this a viable platform to target audiences. (It just doesn’t feel as relevant because of how we’ve seen it duplicated.) Snapchat is projected to grow even more with the release of Spotlight – a TikTok/Reels competitor feature.
    • I’m still personally a fan of Snap’s Geo-Filter capabilities and advertising for brands

Shortform content offers a quick and exciting way to connect with audiences. Make sure your brand or business stops to see how it can leverage content in snackable format or you might miss your chance to engage.

Life comes at you pretty fast...

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