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The Power of Storytelling in a Short-Form Video World

girl recording video

It’s no secret that in a world consumed by instant gratification, people’s attention spans are shorter than ever before.  With this in mind, social media platforms have developed ways to convey information in a manner that is quick, engaging, and ideal for thumbing through a variety of information in a short amount of time.  Think about the rise in popularity of Instagram stories or YouTube shorts.  According to Yaguara, 73% of consumers prefer short-form videos to search for products or services! People are fascinated with learning or retrieving a large amount of information (that has always been readily accessible) in a fraction of the time.  

Attention is the main factor in everything we do when it comes to marketing, and now we are forced to consider how we can capture increasingly short attention spans via our brands’ social media channels.  

Use Short-form Video to Stand Out in the Scroll

How do we grab attention and tell our brand story when time is tight? Social media algorithms prioritize content that resonates with viewers. So, we need to craft compelling narratives that capture attention in a heartbeat. Here are some tips to tell your brand story effectively; implementing these tools can provide versatility and another layer to your brand.

Know Your Audience 

“Knowing your audience” is quite literally giving people what they want. Naturally, people are drawn to what genuinely interests them.  When someone organically enjoys a brand it is an easy sell.  I don’t have to convince you that a product is good for you if you’ve tried it and experienced the benefit of it firsthand.  Additionally, testimonials provide a similar effect.  While we may not have a first-hand experience we are still able to connect with the stories that are told using models, actors, or other consumers, provided the presentation is authentic.  Another wonderful thing about knowing your audience is that there is an opportunity to customize or tell the brand story in a way that best suits the consumer.  Personalization equates to exclusivity and adds value.  

Get to the Point 

One of the ways brands can craft compelling narratives with the constraints of short-form videos is by following the template.  Short, sweet, summary, synopsis, all the “s” words are key.  Consider the information you want your audience to know and figure out what’s most important and how to share it quickly.  Sharing quick videos (e.g. IG reels) allows for all information to be shared in a manner that is conducive for those who may have a shorter attention span.

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

In the interest of time, we don’t always have “a thousand words worth” of time.  Imagery, the right visual, is imperative when creating short-form videos, as they are a major part of storytelling.  Similar to nonverbal communication, the visual will often speak even before the caption is read or the audio is heard, this is visual storytelling.  Depending on your audience, the captivating visual in some cases can be a finished product or an unfinished product.  When the opening visual is the finished product it intrigues the consumer from the start.  For example, the cover photo of a reel can be an elegant “natural” hairstyle and the subsequent reel may teach you how to achieve the style with a step-by-step tutorial.   Additionally, it gives the customer insight into what the video will be about and allows them to decide if they would like to click on the video.  On the other hand, the opening visual may be a hairstylist squirting two different colors of hair dye into a bowl and mixing but not fully combined.  This imagery gives the participant something to look forward to and builds curiosity and anticipation, in return they will continue watching to see the outcome.  

Tell the Whole Story

Although the goal is to be concise, the goal is also to tell the story in its entirety.  Every great narrative has a beginning, middle, and end, an entrée, main course, and dessert if you will.  The sign of a good meal is when you “leave no crumbs;” the same applies to short videos.  The beginning of the story is meant to capture the audience, the middle is to keep them engaged, and the end is to keep them wanting more.  When the story is incomplete the customer is left with questions that may translate to doubt or a disinterest.  When the meal is complete the customer will likely return.  When the story is fully told, the customer will likely come back for more stories.

Infuse Your Personality

When telling your story don’t be afraid to add some personality; the personality of a brand is what demonstrates its uniqueness and sets it apart.  Lean into that uniqueness; it’ll be the thing that draws your custom audience.  When I think of a brand that is truly colorful in more ways than one I immediately think of Tabitha Brown.  Although she is a person, she is also a household name and her name has been marketed to the point that she is a brand.  She has an incredibly vibrant personality, wears bright and colorful clothes, and her brand is colorful because it involves variety, as she’s involved in so many different markets and ventures. Sharing and embracing your uniqueness as a brand will encourage others to do the same.

A Call To Action is Key! 

Have you ever been given information and then wondered what to do next?  Make sure your video has a call to action, to let your audience know how they can move forward with you. A clear call to action, like "like and subscribe" or a link to follow, tells viewers how to connect with your brand and potentially convert into customers. Don’t forget this is a part of brand building and a part of your story.  Give information purposefully and ultimately to elevate your brand.

While you might find branding in the world of short-form videos challenging, I get the feeling that with a little creativity and a positive mindset, it will be feasible and worth it.  You have the capacity to craft compelling narratives using the tips provided in this blog post.  Also, Jali Creatives is here to help you using short-form videos to boost your brand story and all that comes along with it; let us help! 

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