Navigating Trends: A Guide to Creating Short-Form Videos While Keeping Your Brand Intact

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The Big Smoke explores essentials of engaging with short-form video content, highlighting how to embrace trends effectively while maintaining brand authenticity and ensuring meaningful engagement.


With the rise of TikTok, YouTube Shorts and research showing people are more likely to engage with video, any direct to consumer (DTC) brand needs to be implementing short-form video content as part of its marketing strategy. Platforms are made so that every week there is a new audio or template you can use to hop on the latest trend, but with this comes the fear of looking like the dreaded C word – cringey. The big question for brands is how to utilize short-form video content without looking like a fish out of water.

When it’s time to create a content marketing strategy, the focus is on how to stay up to date and find the latest audios and trends. But a lot of the time, not enough energy is spent on how to use the trend or why a particular trend is chosen. This is how we get a lot of brands missing the mark in their content strategy.

Timing

You need to be asking your team what stage of its life cycle the trend is at: emergence, peak or decline. Further, it’s important to understand the life cycle of content creation within your organization, and either maintain a quick approval process or create a different process for trendy short-form video content. One of the biggest missteps we see companies making is putting out a trending video weeks later as the content calendar is approved a month ahead of time. While some videos can be usable after the trend has declined, posting at the decline defeats the purpose of finding trends, which is to capitalize on the increased discovery and engagement of using a trending audio or format. The act of jumping on a trend too late can be perceived as cringey and exposes to the audience that your internal processes for content approval may not be up to scratch.

Once you have a streamlined internal process for engaging in trends, here are some best practice tips for getting started.

Keep your brand voice

One of the main reasons a trend might feel “off” when being posted is that it’s a complete 180 from the established voice and persona of the brand. While trends can offer a fun twist to the way you communicate with your audience, you cannot allow them to completely change everything your audience knows about you. Evolving your brand voice over time can be a great part of a comprehensive strategy, but this needs to be done cautiosly to not cause a disconnect between the brand and the audience.

Engage with purpose

In keeping aligned with your brand voice, it’s also important to be selective with the trends you choose to engage with. Engaging with a purpose (while keeping the spirit of the trend) is a great way to ensure your brand is not just adding to noise. It’s important to attach each video with a goal (with the understanding that every once in a while the goal can just be to have fun with the audience!).

Quality over quantity

While posting trends frequently has the potential to skyrocket your reach and following, it’s important to ensure you have a variety of content types and understand both your content pillars and which stages of the customer life cycle you are targeting with each piece of content. While social media is great for awareness, it also can be a powerful conversion tool. Too much focus on awareness can lead to an underutilization of your social platforms.

Note: Keep in mind this balance will change based on what platform you are posting on (your Instagram strategy will not be your TikTok strategy).

Have fun and experiment

After ensuring your team is maintaining the brand voice, engaging with a purpose and getting the right mix, you may start to feel like the buzz kill of the room. But the #1 purpose of using trending audios is to have fun with your audience. With a mix of creative and strategic in your marketing, you will be able to think outside the box and capitalize on trends while staying consistent with your audience – avoiding the dreaded C word.

Tip: If you really want to hop on a trend but it doesn’t tick the boxes, you can change the trend! A big part of social and content strategy is to experiment! Do so and you just might find yourself creating trends instead of following them. 

Boost your brand with trending content

Ready to harness the power of trends in your marketing strategy, or curious if your content marketing is truly hitting the mark? Reach out to The Big Smoke for a consultation.

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