If you’re looking to leverage the power of visual content, Instagram is the way to go.
Let’s face it — people love to engage with visuals. That’s why content demands nowadays revolves around images and video, and it’s a tendency that it will grow bigger every year. Most platforms are evolving to become more and more visual-centric, but Instagram’s definitely a pioneer in the field.
Because of its approach to content, Instagram is the perfect way for brands and content creators to showcase who they are to their potential customers and new audiences. And video content provides an ideal channel to stand out on the platform!
Behind-the-scenes pieces, how-tos, explainer videos, live broadcasts… in all shapes and sizes, Instagram videos give you a great way to grow an audience and establish yourself online.
So, let’s take a look at the things you need to do the right way!
Timeline, Story, IGTV. Which one to choose?
Over the years, Instagram has implemented different ways to share video content. It all started with the classic 1-minute video content on the timeline, but with the birth of Instagram stories, videos went vertical, became shorter, and much more concise.
Then, IGTV came, and the once-so-concise 15-second videos weren’t the newest way to consume video on the platform anymore. So timeline, stories, and IGTV, which one is the best?
It all depends on your goals, of course.
They work great for short-lived content, as they get deleted 24 hours later. Of course, you can highlight them on your profile to make them last longer, but people are quite used to watching content on their stories that feels natural, unplanned, and not highly produced.
It’s great for behind-the-scenes content and to promote things that might be too spammy on the newsfeed (like short animated videos showing special promos or offers).
Here, things start to get a bit more elaborate. We’re not talking about fleeting content anymore. Here things get more permanent, so your audience is expecting to see you make an effort.
This is the time when you should invest in video content that communicates valuable information to your audience — information that will keep your product in the top of their minds, or that will explain the bases of your brand or products.
The focus here is to communicate the core messages of your brand and create content that your audience wants to see on their timelines.
We started with the less produced types of video for Instagram, and we’ve built our way up to the most produced one. On Instagram TV, people are expecting to watch high-quality content, so now’s the time to ask for the help of a skilled video production company and create longer-form videos that capture the attention of your audience.
Instagram TV was created to be a competition for platforms like YouTube, and it’s, in fact, a platform in itself — one that’s associated with Instagram but that is governed by its own rules. Here, long-form content is the law: Don’t come here looking for fleeting content — you won’t find any.
Videos of people talking straight to the camera (like vlogs or any form of testimonial video content) are what works the best on IGTV. This kind of content helps your brand connect with its followers — it humanizes a brand.
One great feature of IGTV is that you can link it to your newsfeed! You just need to share it when you post your IGTV video, and a 60-second preview will be shared on your feed.
If you’re going to do this, remember to make those 60-seconds worth it: make your message engaging enough so that people want to see the rest of your video, but don’t give away all of your messages at once.
And the best type of video for Instagram is…
Again, it will depend on many factors — the type of audience that you have and the kind of impression that you want your brand to give. But some types of videos perform the best: how-to videos, behind-the-scenes, and explainer videos.
Why? How-to videos are short, dynamic, and people find them quite entertaining — it’s the most popular form of Instagram video content (closely followed by behind-the-scenes videos — people like to know what their favourite brands are up to!).
Explainer videos are also quite engaging on Instagram. This is the kind of video that people will be looking for when they enter your Instagram profile — if they’re potential customers of yours, they’ll want to know what your company does, what are your main products and what is your value proposition; all of which can be told by using explainer videos.
How long should your video be?
Honestly, as short as you can. The rules vary (you’re not going to make a 15-second-long IGTV video because a message that short could be shared in stories perfectly well), but you should know that, even though the platform lets you upload newsfeed videos of up-to 60 seconds-long, that might not always be the best idea.
On stories, it’s okay to use the whole 15-seconds (in fact, it’s recommended), but try not to film videos that are longer than that (making you upload more than one story to tell the whole message), because it looks sloppy and unplanned. Instead, make sure that your message takes the whole 15-seconds… and no more than that. (You’ll get used to it!).
For the timeline, make your videos short enough so that your audience gets to watch it entirely without getting bored (let’s face it — online users have very short attention spans). 30-45 seconds is a good length!
Optimization for better reach and engagement
How do you make sure that your videos reach all the right people? Use the power of hashtags — but not generic hashtags (they won’t help at all with engagement in the long run), but instead choose a couple of hashtags that are relevant to your content, and that will help people with common interests discover you.
Another way to increase engagement and reach is to feature real people in your videos: Instagram is a social media platform, and, at the end of the day, people respond better to photos and videos of other people.
So showcase members of your team, show the faces behind the brand, and you’ll see a big increase in engagement. Get personal!
Last but not least, make sure to schedule your videos so that they get uploaded during the times of the day when people are most connected on Instagram. During weekdays, for example, this usually means at lunchtime or after 6 pm, when people are commuting from work, and they’re most likely to be scrolling through their newsfeeds.
General tips for better performance
Yes, your videos need to be short and catchy — interesting enough so that they won’t lose your audience’s attention. But what else can you do to make them perform better?
If you want your videos to be effective, you should make sure that their message can be perfectly understood without sound. People usually don’t watch videos with sound, so when you make a video, make sure that you add subtitles or overlay texts that explain the main concepts of your video.
Also, you should make sure that the most important parts of your message are shown at the beginning of your video — as we mentioned before, people have short attention spans!
Instagram Video is here to stay — if you want your business to thrive on this social media platform, you need to jump on the bandwagon asap. Don’t worry; you don’t need a big fat budget to create engaging video content for Instagram; sometimes, even a video shot with an iPhone can be a good start.
It will all depend on your marketing goals, though. If you’re looking for fresh, raw content (your everyday backstage Instagram stories, for example), you can manage perfectly well with any camera.
Instead, if you’re looking to communicate messages that are a bit more institutional or you want to give off a polished impression, you’ll be better off hiring a video production company that helps you with that. High-quality video is essential if you want to build brand credibility!
But the important thing is to start — effective Instagram videos are not going to make themselves! Are you ready?
This is a guest post by Victor Blasco.
Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.
With Crowdfire, you can find curated content, schedule your posts, engage with your audience, deep-dive into analytics and create custom reports. Try it for free.