Every brand should make YouTube Shorts

They're TikToks on YouTube. Easy win.

So much is happening!!! I’m speaking at two events today, I’m 30 days from my pro 3×3 basketball debut in Vegas, and I’m trying to figure out when I’ll see Across The Spider-Verse for a 3rd time—Hobie Brown is my new hero.

Also, you’re invited to today’s digital event! I’m giving a FREE talk about what’s next in social at Agorapulse’s Agency Summit—I’ll hit on those new networks like Lemon8 & Mastodon, whether TikTok’s getting banned, if you should bail on Twitter, + a 30 min AMA to throw your craziest social Qs at me. Sign-up right here (this time with a working link…)—my talk’s at 3 pm EST today, but you should check out the full swath of sessions.

Okay, let’s talk about content. Today we’ll hit:

  • Why your brand should be YouTube Shorting

  • #ad vs. #partner vs. other influencer deal disclosures

  • The Reddit Blackout

—Jack Appleby

Every brand should make YouTube Shorts

If you ask TikTok, they’ll tell you TikToks are vastly different than Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. Totally unique! Completely original!

If you ask Instagram, Reels are definitely unlike TikTok and YouTube Shorts.

If you ask YouTube… you get the idea.

It’s all quite silly. They’re all basically the same, and that’s GREAT. It’s clearly a content format that we, the scrollers, can’t get enough of. Even better: it makes our jobs as social media marketers incredibly easy.

YouTube Shorts 101

Alright, let’s do this one last time. YouTube Shorts is “a new short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos.” So yeah, they’re TikToks and/or Reels.

That said, there some specific YouTube shorts benefits your brand should seriously consider.

  • YouTube is the 2nd-largest search engine, which arguably makes Shorts the most discoverable short-form platform with the longest content half-life.

  • Your brand’s YouTube is probably just sitting there, holding old TV commercials. You can give people a reason to care.

  • The copy/pastability. That’s a word, right? You know where this is going, though—I want you reposting your social content.

We’ll dig a bit deeper.

Three platforms, one strategy

YouTube just gave social media managers a gift: content efficiency. Three of the largest platforms are encouraging the exact same type of content. Shorts is just TikTok and Reels’ fellow—not, like, an evil version. Any Instagram Reel can succeed on YouTube Shorts & TikTok. Any TikTok can succeed as a YouTube Short & Instagram Reel. Any YouTube Short can succeed on TikTok & Instagram Reels.

Brands, you have my permission to copy/paste. Literally just toss your 9:16 short-form video content on all three platforms and see what happens. Sure, there are plenty of tricky optimizations we can make, but as long as there’s a strong hook in the first three seconds, the content’s got a shot.

Will that make for perfectly optimized YouTube Shorts? No. But that’s not the goal with this strategy—it’s about getting the most bang for your content’s buck. It’s another shot at eyeballs and virality for content you’ve already made.

Those YouTube Shorts Benefits

Dropping the same content on multiple platforms isn’t anything new; all social pros are familiar with re-cropping and recutting to make that image or video just right for another social network. The difference this time: YouTube Shorts is a content-recommendation engine.

Usually when brands toss content on a new social network they’ve gotta build up a follower base. Facebook, Twitter, the old Instagram: All are follow-based networks, where users primarily see content they’ve asked for by smashing the follow button. Historically, that makes adding a new platform to your social media mix an expensive endeavor—you’ve gotta get followers! If content falls on a network and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

YouTube Shorts isn’t like that, though. Users either search for content, consume what’s on their homepage (a mix of subscribed accounts + recommendations), or scroll Shorts in the app. You don’t need followers—YouTube’s gonna push your content to the right audiences automatically. Brands can dip their toes into YouTube Shorts through literally copy/pasting the content.

To recap: YouTube Shorts and Instagram and TikTok feel like carbon copies of each other. For brands, it’s a good thing—make your content work smarter by going from platform to platform to platform. Go forth and make things, then get them everywhere.

Okay, I’m pretty excited about this week’s sponsor—we made something cool together. Swayable is a platform for measuring Persuasion—you can test content for brand lift, purchase intent, or custom metrics like “likelihood to purchase in store.” AirBNB, DoorDash, & T-Mobile all use it—they’ve even getting movie studios who test trailers for the best reaction, all within Swayable. Prettyyy cool platform that offers important insights.

First off, I got you a deal—the first 20 brands & agencies to sign-up via my link will get 2 extra test credits (a ~$10k value). Secondly, I ran an influencer marketing experiment with them—we tested #ad vs. #partner vs. other brand deal disclosures to see which generates the highest product consideration + purchase intent—you can view that here.

Social Cues

There are so many social big thinkers out there, writing all kinds of amazing strategies, analysis, and breakdowns. All ships rise with the tide, so here are a few reads from other places I think you could learn from.

An excellent long-form piece on the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the biggest YouTuber alive. I’m a huge Jimmy fan and think he’s just gonna get bigger.

TLDR: Reddit wants to start charging for API access, a bunch of Reddit mods are protesting by making popular subreddits private. I… probably have an unpopular opinion on this one, but read up, grab your popcorn.

What if I told you influencers don’t have to use #ad? That there are other ways to disclose brand deals? That drive higher product consideration + purchase intent? Check this study I worked on with Swayable—you’ll be interested in the results.