Looking for inspiration?
In this article, you’ll discover seven ways to use Instagram video to enhance your stories and timeline with engaging content.
#1: Integrate Instagram Stories Video
An estimated 250+ million active users view Instagram Stories every day. Because Stories content has only a 24-hour lifespan, it generates a sense of urgency. Here are some ways you can use Instagram Stories video to promote your business.
Share Limited-Time Offers
The time-sensitive nature of Instagram Stories gives you a great opportunity to tap into people’s love of deals. One way to do this is to include a limited-time offer in your Instagram story. Randomly choose the post that will feature the offer to keep viewers guessing.
Set up the offer so it can be redeemed only within the lifespan of the story itself (24 hours). This tactic will keep people coming back to your stories in hopes of catching one of these deals.
Introduce the People Behind Your Products and Services
Once your stories have attracted the attention of your audience, go beyond special offers, coupons, or deals. You can add a human touch to your content by showing the people behind your brand.
For instance, get individual team members to share how they contribute to getting your product to market. Or create a brief montage of how you manufacture your product.
Show Your Products in Action
Showing viewers a sneak peek of your product can be a nice visual companion to a spec sheet. When you create your video, give viewers a feel for what the product looks like and any notable features it offers. Remember, Instagram Stories are about genuine in-the-moment interactions. Make sure the video is unscripted and a spontaneous representation of your product in action.
Invite an Influencer to Take Over Your Story
Long gone are the days when only big brands with deep pockets could attach a recognizable face to their products and services. Thanks to social media, especially Instagram, businesses of all sizes can reach out to influencers in a wide variety of niches.
Partnering with a relevant influencer to take over your Instagram story allows you to introduce your content to their audience. In the example below, photographer and publisher Kris Graves announces a takeover of the 10×10 Photos Instagram account.
#2: Incorporate Instagram Timeline Videos
Videos play automatically and can be up to 60 seconds long, making them a breeze for viewers to get through. Here are a few examples of how your business might use timeline videos.
Highlight Your Products
Showcase your products in a cool, sexy way. When creating a product video, focus on a few key features to keep your viewers interested and dazzle them with attention-grabbing footage, like in this video from Korg:
Produce a DIY
You’re probably thinking, is 1 minute enough time to make a truly useful how-to video? The short answer is yes. You’d be surprised at what you can accomplish.
In this short video, Nikon shows viewers how to take high-speed photos with a DSLR camera:
Create Short Commercials
Short commercials on Instagram can be funny, emotional, or inspirational. They’re a great way to portray your product in an artistic way or link it to a particular lifestyle. To illustrate, this Lithium Cycles commercial appeals to an active lifestyle:
5 Tips for Creating Effective Instagram Videos
When making your video, be as creative as you want, and by all means, break some rules. If you’re just starting out, here are some tactics that can help you craft the right kind of video from the get-go.
Use Text Overlay and Subtitles to Tell the Story
Remember that some viewers won’t have the opportunity to turn up the volume on your Instagram video. If the content isn’t understandable with the sound muted, they’re less likely to hang around. Using text overlay in your videos helps viewers get the gist of the message. Adding subtitles throughout allows users to follow any narration playing over your footage.
In this video, Callaway Golf uses text overlay to highlight golfer Phil Mickelson’s unique equipment setups at major championships:
That said, don’t rely only on these tactics to get your message across. You should be able to communicate a coherent narrative through images, footage, and editing, as in this sample from Lowe’s:
Find a Unique Visual Style That Resonates
Do some research to see if a particular visual style is associated with your target audience. If you identify a style, take note of it, and when you create your video, try to create something that’s different from what your audience is used to seeing. It may help you stand out from the crowd.
For instance, suppose you discover widespread use of both high-contrast and handheld shots. One way to stand out is to do the opposite. Make a version that uses both clean and static shots, and see if that style resonates with your audience. Of course, it’s possible your audience may simply like high-contrast and handheld shots, and that’s what made that style popular with them in the first place.
To define which techniques work best, test your ideas in the field to see what sticks. Sure, start with rich visuals and unconventional camera angles, but if you see everybody doing that, try something different. Then let your engagement metrics dictate what style you should pursue.
Use Vertical Videos for Stories and Horizontal Videos for the News Feed
At one time, filming video vertically was considered a bad aesthetic choice. However, that’s changed with the popularity of vertically held mobile devices.
Social networks have tailored the user experience to make it easier to capture, edit, and share all kinds of media on mobile devices. This means accepting vertical videos as a new standard. Shooting vertically is particularly fitting for Instagram Stories. Vertical video naturally fills up the entire screen, creating a more immersive viewing experience.
This isn’t the case with timeline videos, however. A vertical video will look both small and awkward in the timeline, making it more likely that viewers will turn away. A better option for timeline videos is to shoot horizontally, as in the example below.
Pique Interest With the Caption
For the video caption, be descriptive but don’t make it an encyclopedia entry. The idea is to let your audience know what the video is about in as few words as possible. Also, make it fun to spark your audience’s curiosity.
Use Relevant Hashtags
The more specific your hashtags are, the better. Relevant hashtags will make it easier for your target audience to find your posts. Although some research has shown there’s more engagement on posts with up to 11 hashtags, don’t overdo it. They can be annoying when misused.
While there’s no surefire way to make the perfect Instagram video, the tactics above can help you create more effective videos for your Instagram presence.
Remember that the examples featured in this article are just that: examples. What worked for these businesses might not necessarily work for you. You’ll have to find that out for yourself. Review engagement data regularly and apply the tactics users respond to most. Use this information to perfect your Instagram video.
What do you think? What types of Instagram videos work with your audience? Do your videos have a specific visual style? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.