Why Video Content Is Having a Reel Moment For Small Businesses

ALM Small Business Advisor | Daily Business Review | By Jessica Goswami

The digital world revolves around social media, and unlike erratic algorithms and timely trends, there’s no secret formula behind it. Yet, many small businesses are still being advised to “get on social media,” and “create engaging content” – advice that’s meaningless without specifics.

So, let’s get specific.

If your business does nothing else in the digital marketing realm this year, and your goal is to see any online growth, do not skip out on short-form video content. That means Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts, TikTok Videos — pick the platform where your audience is most prevalent and start producing videos.

If I lost you at algorithm, short-form video, or anywhere else along the way, please don’t fret. It’s less complicated than it sounds.

Before breaking down the types of short-form video content that perform well for businesses (no social media team required), it’s important to understand the psychology behind why audiences have become addicted to this style of content — because it’s not going away anytime soon.

Short-Form Video and the Powerful Psychology Behind ‘Snackable’ Content

The general consensus among marketers is that any video under 60 seconds is considered short form, although that varies per platform. When it comes to content creation, it’s best to forget the notion that a video must be professionally filmed, scripted, and part of a series. While that’s not wrong per se, the idea of sinking time and money into a video that receives little to no engagement is inefficacious.

Meanwhile, people are hungry for “snackable” content. It’s easily readable, palatable, relatable and shareable. While this used to mean GIFs and memes, Reels and TikTok videos now dominate as easy-to-digest, snackable content.

Why is snackable content so powerful? Because of the way the human brain translates happiness and pleasure. Someone viewing an IG Reel or TikTok video sees it as “snackable” because it’s “bite-sized” pleasure — all the while, these nuggets of content are providing your brain with a powerful hit of dopamine, a.k.a. the brain’s “reward chemical.”

Snackable content creates that same dopamine hit by telling short stories with a beginning, middle and end, giving viewers a swift turnaround time to feel a reward (remember, most videos are under 60 seconds).

And, with each new video, the viewer gets the excitement of something new, the anticipation of what might happen, and the gratification of something ending.

How Can Businesses Benefit from Short-Form videos?

The top selling point for a business to incorporate short “snackable” videos into its social media content strategy is that its brand’s message will match the attention span of its viewers watching. When content is short, easy to digest, and gets to the point, the odds of keeping someone’s attention increase — therefore, snackable content helps a business cut through the noise and reach its desired audience.

Couple that with the fact that Instagram has seen a massive decline in the performance of traditional photos, with engagement rates down 44% since the introduction of Instagram Reels in 2020. The platform has not been shy about its prioritization of Reels, and as such, other post types have taken a back seat.

What Types of Videos Should My Business Create?

When answering this question, a business should ask itself what type of content its audience would resonate — and engage with — the most (engagement meaning likes, comments, clicks, etc.). Posting engaging content signals to a social media algorithm that your content is serving a purpose and satisfying the collective. Above all else, remember that authenticity is key. Otherwise, you’ll go from creditable to cringeworthy in under 60 seconds. 

Here Are 8 Ready-to-Implement, Short-Form Video Concepts:

Tips of the Trade

Whether you’re an artist or an attorney, your industry expertise is appealing to the right audience. Law firms and lawyers have specifically tapped into the TikTok market to help people learn more about their practice areas and provide entertainment in the process.

Ethen Ostroff, AKA the “TikTok Lawyer,” posts simple, yet informative legal videos answering FAQs. The most popular attorney on TikTok, Anthony Barbuto, AKA The Lawyer, takes a more humorous approach to his profession and personal life. Why are attorneys heading to TikTok? Because the probability of exposure on TikTok massively outweighs that of Instagram.

Before and After

Exactly as it sounds, before and after videos lend themselves to an endless array of industries — from real estate and design to the culinary arts, education, event planning, construction, and more.

Advice For My Younger Self

An ongoing video trend where people speak to their younger selves, providing advice they wish they’d known sooner. It’s a meaningful way to connect with younger generations.

Announce Upcoming Events

Add a personalized message inviting your followers to attend upcoming product launches, city-wide events, workshops, tradeshows, networking events, etc.

Jump on a Viral Trend

Think audio clips, popular songs, hashtags, filters — anything viral that lends itself to your content works — and if done correctly, viral trends can be utilized in any of the categories listed here.

Product Tutorials

Whether it’s beauty products or marketing services, a product tutorial showcases how to utilize your company’s assets. The goal is to demonstrate the worthiness of what you’re selling in an easy-to-grasp manner.


Give an inside look at what goes on BTS at your company. This could be on-site during a client’s photo shoot, it could showcase workplace culture, highlight employees, etc. BTS content effectively provides businesses with an authentic way to connect with and build trust with their audiences. 

Client Testimonials

A compelling client or customer testimonial will forge a powerful connection between your client, company, and audience, with the potential to convert new business. Tread carefully in the content creation here though, there’s a fine line between captivating and corny — remember, authenticity is key.

Authored By: Jessica Goswami, Director of Marketing and Integrated Media at Schwartz Media Strategies, one of the largest independent communications firms in Florida specializing in public relations, public affairs, digital media, and content marketing campaigns.