Thanks to Instagram, the free photo- and video-sharing social network that boasts over a billion active monthly users, you can share footage with your very own audience: an assortment of ‘followers’ whom you have built up quickly or painstakingly over a period of time. And you needn’t break the bank to produce a quality video in the first place. Indeed, you don’t even have to go to the effort of employing a seasoned videographer. Bad news for videographers, good news for your budget.
Instagram has a huge audience, but it’s not just personal users on there. An increasing number of brands have recognized its potential in recent years, and have set about leveraging the visual marketing platform to build awareness, inspire retention, generate leads and boost conversions. From Apple and Nike to Sony and Lego, some of the world’s best known and best loved brands are churning out slick videos and eye-catching imagery in an effort to get consumers on side. And the best thing is, it’s working. 87% of businesses now use video as a marketing tool, and 83% of marketers said to be satisfied with the ROI of their social video efforts.
If you want to grab a slice of this pie for your business, here are some useful tips to help you boost your Instagram video marketing game.
Best practices for Instagram videos
Instagram is known for its highly engaged audience, but in order to maximize that engagement with your video marketing, the content itself has to be of high quality.
Here are some best practices for creating high-performing Instagram videos:
Invest in good (but basic) equipment
Modern smartphones are great for shooting marketing videos, but some basic equipment is required to make the most of your end product. High-quality lighting will make your videos stand out, and you can purchase portable LED lights which affix to your smartphone or digital camera to ensure your subjects are, well, properly visible.
Oh, and those subjects should absolutely be wearing a clip-on microphone to ensure vocal resonance. Unless you want to emulate The Blair Witch Project, a tripod may also be necessary to avoid shaky footage.
Make the first few seconds count
It’s a sad but unavoidable fact: our attention spans are dwindling. And social media users in particular, so accustomed to scrolling with itchy index fingers, are especially goldfish-like. As such, it’s essential to capture their interest in the first few seconds of your video. Forget artsy openings or slow builders: think color, movement, music, flash.
Make your viewers realize, straight away, that this is something special they need to devote 30 or 40 seconds of their life to watching.
Respect the ideal video length
Be aware that there are different length requirements for Instagram videos, depending on whether they’re regular feed videos, Instagram Story videos, IGTV videos or Instagram Live videos. On the regular feed you’ve got a minute, on Stories 15 seconds per story, on IGTV 10 minutes (or up to an hour for certain accounts) and on Live, up to an hour. So decide which video types suit each format and plan accordingly.
Add subtitles and a call to action
Instagram audio is muted by default. As such, you’ll be missing out on a hell of a lot of engagement if you don’t add subtitles to your videos.
Think about people scrolling through Instagram while on their morning commute; unless they’re wearing headphones, they’re unlikely to crank up the volume.
By the same token, add a call to action at the end of your video to get them in the sales funnel – or indeed wherever you want them.
Keep it fun and colourful
The single most popular age range of Insta users is 25-34, closely followed by 18-24. They are young, modern and digitally-savvy: so keep it fun, colorful and engaging, without compromising your brand of course.
There are many great examples we can cite of brands who are nailing their Instagram video marketing. GoPro, for instance: their videos invariably highlight what you can achieve using their high-end cameras, like in this video showcasing their 360 video camera, GoPro Fusion:
They don’t even have to be salesy, for the quality of their footage practically screams “Buy a GoPro!”
As for games console PlayStation, their enticing videos tend to focus on upcoming games releases, highlighting scenes from exciting games and showing behind the scenes work, like in this video:
Useful tools for Instagram video marketing
A myriad of tools are available to help you crush video marketing on Instagram. Here are some of the best, most useful tools to help you get more out of your Instagram video marketing strategy:
First things first. You need a tool to help you manage your account and schedule your updates as efficiently as possible. Agorapulse is a great option as it allows you to plan your Instagram updates (although it’s worth mentioning it works with other major social networks as well), including direct scheduling for videos and images.
You can also queue up multiple posts and videos and have them automatically published at the time you want, further saving you effort. Plus, you can save groups of hashtags to easily include in your posts, you can collaborate with other users and you can manage and respond to your messages and comments.
An alternative to Agorapulse is Later, which lets you keep all your Instagram content in one place and accessible on any device.
Later’s big focus is on the visual content side of things. Beyond planning individual updates, you can also use the tool to plan your Instagram feed – simply drag and drop updates in your feed to make it look as beautiful as possible.
Plus, you can also schedule your Instagram updates directly, upload all of your media and find and repost user-generated-content.
To improve your results from Instagram, you need to be constantly on top of your analytics, in order to understand what works and what doesn’t. One of the top tools on the market for video marketing analytics is, of course Vidooly.
The tool offers AI-powered insights to help you better understand your audience, as well as to help you understand what types of videos actually work.
Plus, you can create comparisons, track your competitors’ video insights and generally, track the performance of all your video content.
Jumprope, meanwhile, is an innovative new tool for creating how-to videos – some of the most popular videos on Instagram and YouTube. The user-friendly app helps you create step-by-step guides to, well, just about anything you want, from beauty and sales to parenting and music production. A terrific app for sharing your niche knowledge, it uses voice-over looped GIFs for each video phase. Nifty!
Hyperlpase and Boomerang
Those in a highly physical industry, on the other hand, can make use of Hyperlapse, an Instagram tool whose USP is the creation of dramatic time-lapse videos. Granted, this won’t be suitable for every business but if, for example, you own a construction company, a time-lapse video of your most impressive house build could represent a seriously valuable piece of legacy content. The app enables you to speed up films by 12x, so take time to experiment and have a bit of fun.
Lastly, there’s Boomerang – an app with which you can produce short, punchy videos that essentially loop back and forth. Your job is simply to capture something (or someone) in motion, then let Boomerang do the rest. These types of videos are great for boosting engagement.
So there you have it: a range of useful tips and tools to keep you on your toes. Or get you up on your toes, if you’ve yet to make a start. With Instagram video marketing, you can unlock your creativity and build a meaningful, long-lasting connection with your followers. So what are you waiting for?