How to Brainstorm Creative Instagram Reels, TikTok and YouTube Ideas

This post is 1,218 words —a 5 minute read.

Do you ever find yourself on a person or brand’s Instagram, Tiktok or YouTube channel, scrolling through their hundreds of videos that have about a billion views and think to yourself, “How do they have so many good ideas?” “How can I create a viral Tiktok?” “How can I come up with good YouTube video ideas?” 

If you’re the person in charge of coming up with creative and original ideas for your brand’s social media channels and YouTube videos, you know the brainstorming part can be the hardest. Here are a few ways to come up with ideas for Instagram Reels, TikTok and YouTube videos and successfully incorporate them into your video marketing strategy.

Everyone wants their video to stand out like a glimmer of hope in the sea of content. But how do you get there? What do you need to consider in order to arrive at your kick-ass idea? Below are three big questions to ask yourself when you’re stuck in idea quicksand and need a way out. Below are some suggestions to help guide your next video brainstorming sesh:

The Bottom Line

As TikTok dominates social media and Instagram shifts its focus to Reels, video content has become essential to reaching customers online. If you’re ready to make great online video content, use this outline to guide you toward a social video idea that works best for your brand and market. First, consider these questions:

  1. Who is my competition? Check out the social feeds of your competitors. Find out what your target demographic wants to see by checking out audience reactions to your competition. Expand on what works, improve on what doesn’t.
  2. Who is my audience? Put yourself in their shoes and think about the information they want. What are the most frequently asked questions that you can answer with your content? (It’s okay to actually ask your audience what they want to see, too.) 
  3. Quality beats quantity. This doesn’t necessarily mean production value–especially on Instagram Reels and TikTok where personality and relatability shine. Make sure you’re providing something essential in each video. Have a goal in mind for each piece of video content, and stick to it.

1: Who is My Competition?

Social media experts suggest researching competition and taking note of popular videos on their channels. What does your audience like to watch? What content performs the best? 

Use this information to your advantage and see how you can improve it. Another useful strategy is to take inspiration from popular Instagram Reels or TikToks. When done correctly, using videos that are currently popular as inspiration for your own video content allows you to take advantage of the success of current trends and localize them to your niche market. 

Imitation is a great way to start. Not copying, but taking inspiration from the tactics that work for your competitors and infusing it with your creative personality will help you make sure your content is on the right track.

In fact, imitation can actually help you get discovered on Instagram Reels and TikTok because content on these platforms is driven largely by trends. Using popular songs, trending video formats and viral memes can get your content in front of a wider audience. Plus, trending content gives you easy inspiration for your next video. 

To learn more about creating video content, check out: 4 Videos Every Business Needs.

2: Know Your Audience

When it comes to the content itself, creators should ask themselves plenty of questions when brainstorming for ideas. Put yourself in the audience’s shoes and ask the following questions:

  • How will my audience react to this video? Try to anticipate what they’ll do after watching your video.
  • How does this compare to how I want them to react? If you want your audience to take action, include a call to action in the video like “Click here to sign the petition” or “click to contact us.” Your call to action should be short and straight to the point.
  • Is this idea consistent with other videos on my channel, and will it make a new viewer want to see more of my content? While it’s fine to experiment and try new things, try to find a way to weave a thread of consistency throughout your content (this can be with a recurring theme, message, or even aesthetic). That way, your viewers know what they can expect.
  • Is it consistent with other content on my website and social media outlets? Your Instagram Reels, TikToks and YouTube videos should match the tone and general topic of your website content and content on other platforms. Even when using viral songs or video formats, it’s important to maintain your brand identity. 

Answering these questions will help you produce content that not only aligns with your business but also with your customers’ needs.

Recommended reading: The Role of YouTube in Your Digital Marketing Strategy

3: Aim for High-Quality Video Content

People watch Instagram Reels, TikToks and YouTube videos for a variety of reasons: for information, for education, and for entertainment. No matter what category your video content is, it’s important to make sure it’s high-quality. One way to raise the quality is to optimize the length and type of video to match the messaging and platform. Here are other questions to consider that can help you produce a top-notch video:

  • What questions does your audience have that you can answer? This provides an excellent starting point for identifying video topics. Think about what questions customers typically ask. 
  • What length of video would be best to tell the story? For simple tips and questions that can be answered in 90 seconds or less, Instagram Reels and TikTok are the perfect place to post. If you need to take a more in-depth look at a topic or question, then YouTube is probably the best way to go.
  • Will it use actual people to tell the story or some sort of animation? Whereas animations are frequently used to break down complex topics into simpler terms, subject matter experts can easily explain digestible topics. How you decide to present your topic should also guide where the video gets posted. Videos featuring people perform better than other forms of content on Instagram Reels and TikTok while YouTube is great for a variety of formats.
  • Will this be redistributed on other platforms? If so, you should consider ways you can cut multiple versions of the video to make them more appropriate for different social media platforms, your website, etc.

As you brainstorm how to produce the best social media video for your audience, these three questions are critical to consider. Understanding your competition, your audience and platforms you’re working with will help you think of compelling topics that speak to your audience. 

If you need more ideas, here’s a fun video about effective brainstorming techniques:

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.

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Ready to bring your video ideas to life? Whether you want to produce a thirty-second video for Instagram Reels and TikTok or a longer how-to video for YouTube, we can support you from creation to distribution. Get in touch with us today about your next video project!

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