Matt Miller, founder of BrakeAce, made a Reel for his startup that got 1M+ views in ten days. He shares his learnings for startup founders here.

1. Making a dope Reel was a good investment of time

Between recording, editing and publishing I only spent one hour. There was time to develop the vision of the piece before implementing it, but that’s harder to quantify. If you’re a busy startup like us, it’ll be impossible to keep short form creativity elevated long term. So given you need some headspace, maybe it does take a lot of time? It could be worth having a brainstorming session with the team and get ideas written down for when you next have a chance to get one done.

2. Short form engagement leads to real engagement

Web traffic was up 30-40x at its peak, and is still 10x while our content remains favoured by the algorithm gods. Email list sign ups have been 5-10x normal rate. However, time spent on our site has been down compared to those who actively found us through web search. You’ll get lower quality leads but a lot more of them. So you still get a greater number of good leads. If you’re a startup like us, awareness of your brand could be one of your greatest weaknesses. Viral short form can help!

3. The work starts once the content is published

It took a LOT of time to engage with comments and messages. Being highly reactive for a few days will really drive engagement with your Reel as far as I can tell, ultimately pushing your content to more people. I can see how social management can be one person’s job, but that’s not always possible while bootstrapping. You either need to allocate time for this or spend a bit less time on other [more important?] things.

4. Quality matters

Our first banger had good lighting, a good thumbnail (which didn’t show our product at all), a brand new bike, a Mustang in the background, fast changes between clips, good music and it really made people wonder wtf was going on. There was almost no choice besides watching it multiple times. Once this picked up traction, all our old Reels increased in views. While you won’t be at peak creativity forever, you still need a few VERY GOOD reels mixed in amongst your average content.

5. Short form is worth it, BUT

Since you can create a good Reel in a short time, it’s totally worth getting some good stuff out there. Viral short form can exponentially increase awareness of your startup brand. However it’s important to assess where you’re at with your product. Given that we offer a unique, niche, high-end product, we need to continue to focus on improving the Know-Like-Trust of our founding team. You can highlight KLT elements on Reels, but I can’t see that going viral. Long form media such as our #DemystifyingMTB podcast or building new YouTube videos may end up being a better investment of our time. But of course, those take A LOT of time and will ultimately reach fewer people.

Matt Miller is the founder of BrakeAce.

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