Instagram Video – 7 essential tips for marketers

Making an Instagram video is easy, making one that stands out from the rest is another matter entirely. Here's the secret to success...

instagram video


Video has been around for a while on Instagram now, and is a more than useful marketing tool that all brands should be using.

But what are the key factors you need to know if you’re going to stand out from the crowd?

First thing’s first, all videos on the platform have a maximum 60-second time limit. This is both a challenge and a godsend.

The obvious challenge is trying to get your message across clearly within that timeframe. However, it is precisely this limitation that will push you to think outside the box to produce the kinds of videos that are both concise and impactful.

Let’s go through a few examples.

Product videos

One thing’s for sure, you won’t have the time to dive deep into the details of your product or service. Aside from the 60-second limit, the reality is that Instagram users are simply restless. They want content that they can consume quickly before they move on to the next thing.

So when it comes to your product, there’s no need to get into the details. Instead, concentrate on showing your product doing its thing. In the end, that’s what customers really want to see. Here’s a nice example of this:

A post shared by Korg (@korgofficial) on

READ MORE: 9 case studies where clever Instagram marketing got huge results

How-to-videos

I know what you are thinking: “There’s no time to get into product details, but enough time to make a how-to-video?” Well, yes.

Think of how-to-videos as bullet points. No fluff. Just a simple step-by-step guide on how to perform a specific task. If you still can’t imagine what this would look like, check out this video by Rode microphones:

A post shared by RØDE Microphones (@rodemic) on

Explainer videos

Explainer videos are a great way to illustrate what your product does in a visually engaging way. They can be live action or animated – though animated explainer videos give you the benefit of conveying abstract concepts in a way that is visually appealing and easy to understand.

For example, a concept like Inbound Marketing may not be very easy to convey with just live action sequences. In cases like this, animation is the way to go. Here’s a good example from Yum Yum Videos:

READ MORE: 8 ways to use Instagram Stories to promote your business

Company culture videos

Let’s not forget that Instagram is about conveying style. Let’s take Instagram Stories. This is precisely the kind of tool that magnifies this aspect of the platform, which means you can tailor your videos to fit this format.

Since Stories only exists for 24 hours, your post doesn’t need to involve some super amazing effects. They can be simple video loops that showcase some aspect of what goes on behind the scenes of your company.

Due to the temporary nature of Stories, the following in-feed video examples will have to do to illustrate my point. With this short looped video, Vintage Electric Bikes gives you a glimpse of their product’s assembly process:

Or, take the content recommendation company, Taboola. They chose to share their welcome ceremony for new hires:

A post shared by Taboola (@taboola) on

Company culture videos can be anything, as long as they give you a sense of the people behind the brand.

READ MORE: The social media marketer’s guide to Instagram hashtags

Some technical tips

There are some technical recommendations to keep in mind when producing your video for Instagram. Let’s go through the most important ones…

Subtitles and text

Instagram videos will play automatically with the sound turned off. A way to get around this limitation is to add subtitles or text to the video.

Heck, you can even go as far as making text the centerpiece of your entire production. If you think this is too extreme, take a look at how Heinz Ketchup uses text on their short Instagram clips:

Be sure that the text describes what the video is about in as few words as possible. In the example above, Heinz does this perfectly right from the beginning with a simple play on words: “TASTE-A-MONIAL.”

Visuals matter

Rich visuals matter. Everybody on Instagram is fighting for attention. So make no mistake, a bland video will go unnoticed.

To remedy this, you can use bright colors and funky compositions as long as it is aligned with what your brand wants to communicate.

Take Rayban, for example, they do this with their “Icons Reinvented” video – a video montage where they go through their entire catalog of sunglasses.

It’s easy to see how a video like this can be tedious to get through. However, Rayban has managed to do it in a way that is both simple and visually compelling. Take a look:

A post shared by Ray-Ban (@rayban) on

A word of caution, don’t confuse rich visuals with “convoluted imagery.” Be bold, but keep it coherent.

READ MORE: 7 golden rules for producing brilliant live video campaigns

Descriptions and hashtags

The neat thing about Instagram is the ability to reach out to millions of people who are interested in all sorts of things. That’s why descriptions and hashtags are important. They will allow you to write a brief description of your post while tagging the audience and keywords you want to reach.

Why is this important? Simply put, you’ll reach more people this way. Don’t take my word for it. According to some research, adding hashtags to your post will generate 12.6 per cent more engagement than posts that don’t use them at all.

Just remember, the more specific the hashtag, the better. Look at what Sony did to promote their WI-1000X Noise-Cancelling headphones. They tagged a very simple looped video featuring these headphones with #SonyAudio instead of just #Sony.

A post shared by Sony (@sony) on

Conclusion

Instagram’s culture and technical limitations should push you to trim your ideas to fit its ecosystem. For instance, a formal video with Q&As may not be the right choice of video. Neither is going into details about things you can address elsewhere.

Remember, Instagram is more about lifestyle and the ability to broadcast the moment, so be sure to highlight those aspects of your company instead.

Hopefully, the examples above inspire you to think about the different ways you can achieve this with your own videos.

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