June 18, 2021

While some of you may just be getting the hang of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, it’s time to make room for the new kid on the block, TikTok.

Social media is an ever-changing landscape, and new platforms are making their way to the forefront. These platforms are disrupting the space and capturing the attention of Gen Z and Millennials – the most sought-after generations for community banks nationwide. By far, the most disruptive has not necessarily been a platform, but the rise of short-form content.  

What is short-form content? It is defined as a video that is up to 2 minutes and 30 seconds long. However, the amount of time is not universally agreed upon, and popular platforms are sticking to :30 to :60 timeframes.   

TikTok is currently one of the leading short-form video content platforms, with almost 100 million monthly active users in the U.S. Of these active users, 48% are adults between 18-29-years-old. It is a video-based social media platform where video content can be created and shared by users. Users can edit their videos directly in the app using filters and lenses, as well as overlaying coordinating audio to their video. On this platform, users are called “creators” and the range of content covers a wide variety of topics from informational to comedic to inspirational. Users can access content on their “For You” page or they can search for content they want to see by using hashtags (denoted as #). TikTok is not the only platform seeing success with short form video content. Other platforms like Instagram Reels and YouTube Clips also allow users to create short-form video content.  

This landscape is not only changing for consumers, but also for advertisers. The most successful ads on TikTok – and organic videos – are engaging or informative. TikTok ads look nothing like a traditional digital advertisement. They should look as though they were filmed in the app, or have a “real”, less polished feeling. Not every viral TikTok trend will align with your brand, so it is important to stay authentic to what you and your brand stand for.  

Some short-form video content trends to look out for include more user-generated content (UGC), “behind the brand” videos and educational content. Consumers love UGC because they feel a sense of trust and can relate to your brand. Behind the brand videos also invoke a feeling of trust, giving consumers a chance to see the people working to bring the brand to life. This is especially important to Gen Z who looks out for the authenticity of companies. Educational videos are value-add content. By making education a priority brands will show the value they can provide to consumers and therefore may improve lead generation and build brand loyalty. 

You may be wondering; how would I get started with short-form content? It doesn’t have to be formal; it can be as simple as providing financial advice to consumers. Incorporating short-form video content in your digital strategy can include creating authentic content around your brand, sharing educational content, and showcasing your products and services. 

Terrified of TikTok? Don’t worry! Social media is as competitive as it is diverse, with Instagram Reels and YouTube Clips among the bigger players directly competing on platforms that compliance likely already understands. Short-form video content is not limited to just social media platforms, it is also seen in ads on streaming TV including Hulu, YouTube TV or Sling. Some of our favorite short-form video content examples can be found on Old Navy’s YouTube channel. Old Navy captures the essence of their brand in upbeat, short videos that draw in your attention while staying true to their brand.   

Short-form video content requires your brand to take on a more authentic and humanized approach to digital marketing and branding. It’s likely going to be uncomfortable, because to be successful, banks need to be ready to buck the traditional creative concepts and opt for relatable. Don’t worry, I’m sure the teen in your kitchen will be happy to provide some honest feedback!