For over 15 years, YouTube has been the undefeated online video giant. That is until a shorter-clip competitor burst onto the scene in 2018 – TikTok.
TikTok introduced us to short, bite-sized videos, and viewers everywhere loved it.
Now, we spend hours scrolling through videos, digesting whatever addictive video trail the algorithm chooses for us – makeup tutorials, recipes, the next viral dance routine – social media has it all.
With social media giant, YouTube, now expanding the visibility of its own short-form video platform (YouTube Shorts), it’s more important than ever to incorporate short-form videos into your digital marketing strategy.
In this jam-packed article, we’ll take you through the YouTube Short basics so you build your brand’s discoverability and engagement to new heights.
What are YouTube Shorts?
We know what you’re thinking – why should you be looking to expand your digital marketing strategy into yet another new platform?
Simple – because of its reach.
While platforms like TikTok have experienced massive growth over the past few years, YouTube has a dedicated, long-term viewership of over 2 billion monthly users.
Read that again – 2 billion monthly users. That’s a cool quarter of the world’s population.
Now, with YouTube making some dynamic changes to Shorts to keep up with the booming demand for short-form videos (YouTube reports that Shorts have garnered over 5 trillion views since its inception), there’s no time like the present to get in on a piece of the pie.
What are the Changes?
YouTube is expanding the visibility of Shorts, so they’re more user-friendly and easy to find for viewers.
What does that look like exactly?
A dedicated carousel page called ‘Shorts Shelf’ directly on the trending page.
Magnified reach for Shorts as they become more visible to users, improved overall experience of the trending page, and a consistent experience for Shorts across surfaces, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
What does that mean for eCommerce businesses?
More reach = a wider audience.
A wider audience = more revenue.
How To Make YouTube Shorts
So, Shorts have clearly piqued your attention. But how exactly do you make them?
For starters, we recommend keeping your Shorts on your main channel so that users can stay engaged with your content by hopping from short to long videos all from one place. Take a look at the Megaphone YouTube Channel – we even do this ourselves!
Ready to get into the nitty-gritty details? Here are the basics on how to create your own YouTube Shorts.
Step 1: Download the YouTube App
Shorts can only be made in the YouTube app, so download and you’re ready to get started.
(However, you can also upload vertical videos created on other platforms i.e. TikTok, but they won’t look as native. If you have the resources, best practice is to create YouTube Shorts in the YouTube app).
Step 2: Click the (+) Icon on the Button of the App Homepage, Then Click Create a Short
From here, you can create two types of Shorts, either a snappy 15-second video or a 60-second video.
You can also add special effects and elements to make your video stand out, like:
-Switching camera view.
-Adjusting the speed of your video.
-Countdown timer for hands-free video.
-Adding filters/retouching videos.
-Using a greenscreen/creating transitions
Step 3: Edit and Publish Your Short
Here you can add a music track, text, and filters to your Short to make it stand out. You can also choose how public you want the Short to be.
Once you’re ready, click ‘Upload’ and hey-ho, you’ve officially created your first short!
YouTube Shorts Strategies and Best Practices
Clearly, YouTube is invested in making Shorts a success. So how can you create content that gets your brand noticed?
Keep Things Short and Sweet
You know that phrase, ‘memory of a goldfish’? Think of that every time you create a Short.
If you haven’t caught your audience’s attention in the first 2 seconds, your Short isn’t snappy enough.
TIP: Remember, Shorts aren’t a full-blown video. They work best if the content isn’t one continuous sequence. Play around with different edits and cuts to keep your audience engaged.
Use A Tone Relevant To Your Brand
This comes back to one of the key parts of any marketing strategy: know your audience.
Follow your own brand guidelines to ensure your video content makes sense for your brand and aligns with your messaging and mission. If your content seems out of place for your brand, it can hurt your image and reputation.
Optimise Your Titles
Your title needs to engage and intrigue your viewers, so you have to make it count. Tease the content, use a funny line, and give your viewers a run-down of what to expect from your video.
Looking for ways to optimise your titles against the dreaded YouTube algorithm?
- Include relevant keywords.
- Take advantage of hashtags. Using #shorts is key to aiding the algorithm in finding your video.
Take, for example, our video ‘IG has introduced 4 major updates! Here’s exactly how you can utilise them to grow your business’.
The title appeals to those looking to expand their business, and we’ve given a quick run-down of what viewers can expect.
We’ve also included #shorts and relevant hashtags about Instagram and digital marketing.
Use Custom Thumbnails
Looking for a way to stop viewers scrolling straight past your Short? Custom thumbnails are your answer.
While there isn’t any default feature to add custom thumbnails (usually, you see a random clip next to your title), there are a few ways to still make your thumbnail pop.
- Choose a frame that represents what your video is about.
- Anticipate the YouTube screengrab.
- Add colour, text, or shapes to your image.
- Download your thumbnail in high-resolution – no one likes a blurry thumbnail!
Promote YouTube Shorts with YouTube Stories
Just like other social platforms, posting a Short and crossing your fingers and toes won’t help you reach a wider audience.
Instead, create some YouTube Stories that highlight your best Shorts. It’ll boost your visibility, making viewers more likely to watch your content.
Like any social marketing strategy, consistency in Youtube Shorts is king. One piece of content won’t gain you millions of views. Rather, posting consistent, fresh content will keep your engagement up.
Don’t forget about style consistency too. Having a recognisable format and appearance for your content helps viewers recognise your videos.
One of the best things about YouTube shorts is that you can repurpose content.
Have you got a blog post or infographic you’ve published before? Take the key points and repurpose them into a quick Short to hook new viewers.
This strategy doesn’t just go one way either. Has your short seriously boosted your YouTube engagement? Repurpose that into a longer video or blog post, so viewers keep coming back to you for content.
Want to Learn More?
YouTube Shorts is a great way to increase your brand’s discoverability and sustain engagement with existing and potential followers.
And with just under 40% of businesses using short-form videos to promote their products or services, now is the time to implement YouTube Shorts into your digital marketing strategy.