Do you know the best short-form video platform to use in your social media marketing strategy? With all the platforms out there, it can be hard to decide where you should put your time and energy! One thing’s for sure: you can’t ignore the importance short-form videos have on your business growth.
You probably know the three main players of short-form content— YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok. There’s lots of buzz around these platforms and their effectiveness for reaching new audiences and growing a business. You should know that these platforms aren’t a one-size-fits-all type of deal. Some entrepreneurs find greater success on some platforms compared to others because of the nature of their content or business.
Does the ‘trendiness’ on these platforms mean you should use them? Well, it depends! If you’re curious to find out the best short-form social media for your business, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn more about these platforms, our recommendations, and how to tailor your content for the platform of your choice.
YouTube Shorts vs. Instagram Reels vs. TikTok
YouTube Shorts is a newish feature offered within the YouTube browser and app. The video platform draws in more than 2 billion active users each month! YouTube Shorts effectively reaches a broader demographic, as it has a large Gen Z, millennial, and Gen X user base. It’s also the most recent short-form video platform in an effort to compete with Meta.
What makes YouTube Shorts an effective platform for your content? Well, it’s already the most popular platform for video content. YouTube is so broad that almost anyone can find and engage with content they’re interested in. YouTube’s algorithm will suggest Shorts for content you’ve engaged with in the past, so watchers are likely to engage with regular YouTube content and Shorts. Not to mention, YouTube is one of the biggest search engines— therefore the SEO benefits of living here are enormous.
YouTube’s algorithm also incentivizes users who use YouTube Shorts with increased audience reach, so it would serve you well to use the feature if you already upload long-form content consistently. Another reason YouTube Shorts is useful for existing users on the app is that it functions as a short-form funnel to get new and current users to watch your longer videos. People who find your Shorts content interesting will check out your channel to see your other uploads and content.
YouTube Shorts keeps users on YouTube and prevents them from getting off the app to consume short-form video content elsewhere (namely TikTok or Reels). When a creator you follow consistently posts Shorts, you don’t have to leave YouTube to check out their content elsewhere. Since Shorts is newer than TikTok or Reels, it doesn’t have as much competition. On the flip side, it doesn’t have as many monthly active users as the other platforms.
If you’re here investigating short form content, you probably already have an Instagram account and are familiar with Reels. Instagram serves over 2.3 billion monthly active users and 500 million daily users! Instagram hosts all kinds of demographics and age bases, but it has a fairly large millennial and Gen X user base.
If you post consistently to Instagram for your business, Reels is a great way to diversify your feed and add content to your page. Ideally, your account should already have a good mix of content from photos, videos, and story content. Since Instagram wants people to use Reels, the platform incentivizes users who consistently post Reels with increased audience reach and engagement.
How do Reels compete with TikTok and Shorts? There are billions of active users on Instagram and YouTube, but Reels has more competition compared to Shorts. As for TikTok, this case study found that a video posted on Reels had double the reach and three times the number of impressions!
Reels are a good option for posting branded content, growing your business’ reach, connecting with others in the industry, and increasing audience conversions. Instagram is a huge aspect of being present in the industry and networking with people; it’s sooo important that you’re consistently engaging and posting on the app! If your audience is already on the app, it’s important to create content that appeals to them.
TikTok is credited as the one who started the short-form video craze. With over 1 billion active users each month, TikTok has cemented its place as an essential platform. More than half of TikTok’s user base is between 18-24, so it’s the go-to social media for Gen Z and millennials.
TikTok is probably the best social media platform for connecting with a younger audience and immersing yourself in the trends. One contributor to TikTok’s success is its intuitive app design, so it’s easy for people to search, find your content, and browse related videos.
Since the app is an endless stream of video after video, sometimes it’s dangerously hard to put your phone down! When you’re constantly entertained by the content you’re interested in, you might not think to engage on other platforms. Lots of business owners take to posting on TikTok because they’ve heard stories of virality. While this is certainly a possibility with your content, you shouldn’t count on it. Virality doesn’t equate to organic growth and it’s never guaranteed.
Overall, it’s a good idea to have an account for brand presence and keep up with relevant trends. Keep in mind that you should bring an original and valuable twist to the trends you jump on— brand authenticity matters. However, don’t use your TikTok solely for trends or fun videos. It’s a great platform for branded content, building communities and engaging with other users interested in the same content.
Repurposing Short-From Video Content Across Platforms
Should you be repurposing your content across all of these platforms? Abso-freakin-lutely! Choose your priority platform first and then distribute your short-form content elsewhere. It’s not humanly possible to run a business and create unique short-form video content for each and every platform. Repurposing is essential to your survival. Even if you only reach and extra 10 people be reposting your Reel on TikTok, that’s 10 more people than would have seen it before! And one of those could become a paying customer.
But here’s a quick warning on that approach. Don’t repost the downloaded videos from one platform to another. For example, downloading your TikTok videos from the app and reposting them to Reels will likely kill engagement and reach— even if you remove the watermark. These platforms want users to shoot and edit the content inside the app and with the editing suite available. Your best bet is to film the video using the camera app on your phone, then edit it in each editing suite on the apps of your choosing. This is a little time-consuming, but the extra attention put into your videos is worth the extra boost in reach.
Our Take on Where to Spend Your Time
Our best advice here is to NOT try and be everywhere! We suggest picking one platform and then repurposing your content accordingly.
What short-form video platform should you pick?
There is no wrong answer, but here are the questions you need to ask yourself when deciding which platform is going to be your priority short-form video platform.
- Who is your audience?
- Where does your audience consume content?
- What industry are you in?
- Where are your competitors?
- How much time are you willing to put into your short-form content?
- Where do you truly enjoy to be present? (Because guess what, if you don’t like the platform it’s going to be a lot harder to create consistent content!)
In order to answer these questions you should be a consumer first. Do a little market research about what is happening in your industry and what types of content are performing well. What are the trends? Can you envision how your business and content can embody these trends?
It’s going to be a different answer for everyone and every industry, so we won’t make a blanket statement that this thing performs best here. Digital and social media marketing is changing at a rapid-fire pace, and short-form video isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. At some point, you’ll have to implement a short-form video into your strategy.
While this can be intimidating, you can do it! (say that out loud)And remember, don’t overthink it. Short-form video is meant to be more accessible to creators. You don’t need any fancy cameras, lights, or equipment to make successful short-form content. Each video platform has its benefits, and the one you should use depends on answering those questions above.
Comment below and let us know what your priority platform is or favorite short-form video platform, we’d love to cheer you on!