For a lot of Instagram marketers, being able to create and distribute good quality video content is now a requirement of the job. However, when you’re also sharing loads of different types of content on a number of channels, engaging with your community, analysing KPIs every day, and so on, it can be hard to find the time to figure out exactly how to do that!
This article covers the key types, from Stories to video ads in the feed, and some easy ways to ensure your Instagram video content stands out. Even if you’re not going to use every type of video content format Instagram offers right away, that’s fine! Perhaps some are more suitable to your needs and resources than others anyway. And if you think you might give them all a try at some point, you can always bookmark this page and come back to it later 😉
Alright, let’s get started…
Instagram Stories are increasingly becoming an integral part of many brands’ marketing strategy, and for good reason! As of November 2017, Instagram Stories amassed over 300 million daily users! Stories are a brilliant way to engage your existing audience with fun, of-the-moment content, and to reach new users by adding tags (e.g. hashtags, geolocation and tagging other accounts).
Though you can also edit and share photos on Stories, it’s absolutely ideal for sharing video content – with a 15 second limit on length, you have just enough time to give a behind the scenes peek at a company event, have an influencer introduce themselves to your audience, share a top tip, or shine the spotlight on a new product line. Below are just a few tips to help you maximise the success of your videos on Instagram Stories:
- Don’t worry about creating perfect content. The whole point of Instagram Stories is that the content you share is fun, spontaneous and ephemeral. It won’t be around forever (unless you decide to add it to your profile as highlight), and you don’t have the same constraints you have when planning your feed, where every photo needs to complement the ones above and below. So just go for it! That said, you should still be showcasing your brand in your videos, so don’t go totally off track when it comes to branding ie. make sure you’re sticking to company guidelines!
- Sound On: Though the majority of Instagram users are watching Stories with sound on, bear in mind that some users won’t be. Use captions to give context to your videos so that they either make sense with no audio, or let the user know now is the time to switch ‘sound on!
- Have fun with stickers. On the topic of stickers, there are quite a few to choose from to add some pizzazz to your video, reinforce a point you’re making and draw attention to a certain part of your video, or just to introduce some humor. Why not make the most of them? You can also use the poll sticker to learn more about your audience and boost your engagement.
- Set the tone: Maybe you want to strike a more serious tone with your video. Maybe the the lighting in your story is a bit harsh, or maybe you’ve just realized you were a bit too close to the camera and want to draw attention away from your pores (been there). Solution: add a filter! There are currently 11 preset filters you can apply to your videos to give them a different look and feel, so try them out! You can also give face filters a try, if it fits with your branding and you feel like being a bit quirky.
- Use multiple clips: Want to tell a more in-depth story? Record your video on your phone (try to keep it to under a minute though, otherwise people might switch off) and then edit it into separate 15 second clips. This way, you can upload your clips chronologically to tell a longer and more complete narrative.
- Short and sweet is fine too!: Your Story doesn’t have to be crammed full of detail – you can create short little snippets of video content using apps like Boomerang. The app, which was actually created by Instagram and is now integrated into Instagram Stories, allows you to capture short videos which loop back and forth when played. All you need to do is choose your subject, press the button, and let Boomerang do all the work. It’s easy, fun, and creative, and you can apply all of the features listed above to your Boomerang videos before sharing to your Story.
Instagram Story Ads
Have you tried creating an Instagram Stories ad yet? If not, you might find this how-to on setting up your first ad helpful. If you’ve already given it a go, here are some quick tips for creating more successful Instagram Stories ads in video format.
- Edit first: Videos can work really well to advertise your brand, the only problem is, it’s a little bit more time consuming than creating a single image ad. This is because you need to edit your video ad before uploading it via Facebook Ads Manager. You’re not able to add stickers or filters once you’ve uploaded the video (booo!), but you can use editing tools such as Movavi to overlay your logo or copy beforehand.
- Be up-front but not too salesy: Your content should be instantly recognisable, with a distinctive style. There’s nothing wrong with being upfront about who you are and what you have to offer. In fact, it helps to be clear about what you’re promoting when you only have a few seconds to make an impression! But don’t forget about the storytelling element, which is essential to engaging your audience. Avoid being too ‘salesy’ and ensure that your Story ad offers real value to your target audience. Even if your audience doesn’t go directly to your Instagram profile or your store from your ad, if you create an interesting ad with a distinctive style and clear branding, they’re more likely to check out your content/business again at a later date.
- Add a CTA: Be sure to add a CTA to your video ad (such as Learn More) to direct your audience to a link to your website or product page. Never waste an opportunity to drive traffic!
- Stick to the proper formats: Finally, keep in mind the recommended video formats, which are .MP4 and .MOV.
Instagram video posts
You’ve got a bit more time to play with when creating a video to share in the feed as opposed to Instagram Stories – one whole minute, to be exact. It’s an opportunity to make something more detailed and in-depth, and that’s great for storytelling. However, don’t push it! Don’t create a longer video just for the sake of filling up time. The average social media user has a shorter attention span than a goldfish (I’m including myself here!), so be concise. Here’s how you can optimize your videos for the Instagram feed:
- Stay focused: Don’t try to do too many things with one video. Set a goal, decide on a theme and tone for the video, and stick to it!
- Aim for ‘polished’ content: If you want your video to be a success (which of course you do), you should always select high quality clips, and/or eye-catching, colourful visuals as a starting point. As a brand, you can’t really get away with the quick and unedited content that Stories allows for in the feed. It has to look a little more high-end. I recommend using Adobe Spark, which allows you to easily combine video clips, photos, and icons into one engaging video. You can also add sound and text overlays, and it doesn’t take up too much time! If you want to express a more detailed narrative, you can also add subtitles (just in case users have their sound switched off).
- Use a caption. When you’re uploading your video, you have the opportunity to add an engaging caption to connect with your audience and provide context to your video. Think of it as a necessary supporting element, just as you would when you post a photo. Add appropriate hashtags in your caption or in a comment straight after you’ve posted your video. And don’t forget an emoji or two 🌈
Instagram video ads
When it comes to video ads optimised for the Instagram feed, if you stick to the points above you’re already well on your way to creating a successful ad! The only additional point is that, as with Story ads, you’ll want to include a CTA such as ‘Learn More’, which directs users to a product or landing page. Take a look at this example from Apple which ticks all those boxes:
Going Live on Instagram can seem a bit daunting at first, but if you know what you want to say once you press that ‘Live’ button, you’re prepared enough! There’s no need for extensive planning – just like Stories, Live is all about of-the-moment content and it’s a great way to get your audience engaged and generate a quick flow of conversation. Here’s how and why you should go Live on Instagram if you haven’t already, and for those who have already given it a go, here are 3 simple ways to make sure your Live content is a good as it can be:
- Be real: Don’t worry about making mistakes and take the time you need to think about what you want to say, especially if you’re responding to questions from your audience as part of a Q&A. Remember, it can be as casual as you like!
- Invite others to join you: Now you can share your screen time with friends, colleagues, influencers or others in your industry and host a Live session together. Make the most of this feature to bring another dimension to the conversation (and take some of the pressure of yourself, if you don’t fancy hosting it all alone!)
- Consider your surroundings: Make sure the lighting is good enough for your followers to see where you are and what you’re doing! Also avoid recording in an echoey room, because obviously hearing your own voice back every time you speak is seriously off-putting, and it’s also going to be annoying for anyone watching you, too.
There’s really not much to it!
So, that was quite a lot to cover in one article! Hopefully it’s given you a good overview of how to utilize the different types of Instagram video content on the platform, and to get more from your Instagram marketing strategy! Let me know what kind of experiences you’ve had with video marketing on Instagram and if you’ve got any advice for other marketers looking to improve their video content.