Video Content For Instagram: How To Captivate & Communicate Effectively

By in Social Media, Marketing Tips Jan 24, 2018

How to Utilize Instagram Video Marketing to Grow Your Business

Moving image is fast becoming the more eye-catching format for Instagram content.

Who would settle for a static image when Instagram marketers can upload videos as easily as photos?

Here, we detail why Instagram video marketing is taking storm, as well as how to create videos that will captivate and communicate your brand’s marketing messages without succumbing to the dreaded user thumb-scroll.

Why Instagram Video Marketing?

Video has been around on Instagram’s platform since mid-2013, when 15 second videos were introduced onto the platform, shaking up everyone’s favourite photo sharing app.

Currently, Instagram users can upload videos that are as short as 3 seconds, right up to a full 60-second video file, which allows for audio too.

In today’s fast-paced digital media world, video is becoming the most appealing format when it comes to engagement.

As cited by social media monitoring platform Newswhip, while the average engagements for photos have increased by 46.4 percent in financial year 2016/2017, the average engagements for video posts have increased by 53 percent.

In addition to this, video posts are averaging more comments than static image posts, indicating that they have a higher likelihood of going viral when users tag friends and other fans in the comments of posts.

Clearly, video content is building momentum, making it big news for social media marketers in 2018.

With interest growing in video posts across the board, how can brands and content marketers capitalise on audiences’ love for moving image?

How To Make Engaging Video Content For Instagram

Making videos for Instagram is a much more complex process than creating static imagery, however the same principles apply.

Here are 10 tips for Instagram marketers who are intent on getting the most out of video on Instagram.

Instagram Video Marketing Tip #1: Ensure That Your Video Has An Objective

It might sound like we’re stating the obvious, however many beautiful pieces of moving image content fail because they don’t have a key objective in mind.

Remember, like any good piece of digital marketing, your Instagram video should have a key objective.

While this factor is important, not every video has to have an earth-shatteringly profound objective.

After all, your brand might not be launching a new product every week, or making major news announcements regularly.

Whatever the objective may be, try to think of ways that moving image content can be used to amplify or exaggerate the objective, and if your ideas begin to get cluttered, consider making two short videos that each explore a different objective.

Instagram Video Marketing Tip #2: Ensure That Your Video Is Inspiring Emotion

Think about the last time you shared a video on social media.

Was it funny?

Was it touchingly beautiful?

Was it incredibly moving?

All video content for Instagram should be designed to evoke one key emotion within the viewer, so as to create meaningful impact and to increase the video post’s chance of being shared by the viewer with their friends.

Once you understand what the objective of your video is, think about the feeling you want associated with the marketing message and set about researching techniques or visual language that will allow you to convey that emotion quickly and easily.

Is your company aligning with playful emotions, and geared at teens and young adults?

Consider using bold colours and playful motifs such as balloons in your video content.

Nutella, as a fun, indulgent food brand, adopts bright colours in its how-to videos, making for endearing viewing:

Is your company associating itself with ambitious goals and self-realisation? Consider using inspirational travel imagery that features go-getting individuals.

Nike is one of the best brands in the business for creating engaging video content that motivates and resonates deeply:

In every step. With every breath. #airmovesyou

A post shared by nike (@nike) on

Whatever the key emotional draw is, invest time in thinking creatively about the motifs that will look amazing in motion that you can capture in motion, or that you can find in stock footage libraries… More on that later!

Instagram Video Marketing Tip #3: Ensure That Your Video Has A Clear Call To Action

One of our top tips for Instagram marketers using video content is to ensure that there is a clear call to action; what do you want the viewer to do after watching the video?

Remember, this call to action doesn’t have to be included in the video itself, but once you have got Instagram fans’ attention, it’s up to you to provide them with a logical next step.

Maybe you are aiming to build your brand’s Instagram following.

If so, ensure that your caption reminds users to follow your Instagram page for more as you’ll be posting updates over the next week.

Maybe you are keen to have fans share content with like-minded users.

If this is the case, one of our top Instagram video marketing tips is to remind fans to ‘tag a friend’ in the comments.

As a marketer, be creative with this language and include a caption that taps into the product or service you are promoting, such as ‘tag someone who needs to see this’, or ‘tag a friend who needs this in their life/feed’.

Instagram Video Marketing Tip #4: Keep It Short And Snappy

While Instagram does allow you to post up to 60 seconds of video in any singular video post—and to post up to 10 videos using the gallery function—keeping videos short and sweet, and focusing on one message (even though your brand may have several!) is important.

Successful videos can be anywhere in length from 15 seconds to the full 60 seconds (the longest length now permitted for Instagram ads).

However, the importance of promoting a single, strong message is still prevalent no matter what the total length for your video.

Perhaps the brand you are creating Instagram marketing content for has launched a new product; does it come in a variety of colours, or sizes? If so, don’t try to cover all product features and variants in the one video!

Instead, create one video post that profiles the singular product with a variety of beautiful angles, lifestyle shots, and video segments that show the item in use.

Then, create another video showcasing the variety of colours that the product comes in, to be released after the first video has been promoted in market and gained traction.

This way, rather than creating one long piece of content that confuses the viewer, you are feeding them information in bite-size chunks which will stick in their mind more easily.

Instagram Video Marketing Tip #5: Front-Load, Front-Load, Front-Load!

Like Facebook, Instagram videos need to ensure they capture viewers’ attention within the first 2 seconds of airtime.

Yep, that’s right.

As a successful Instagram marketer, you only have 2 seconds to capture a viewer’s attention before they decide to swipe on in search of more interesting content.

Front-loading your video with beautiful, engaging imagery is important, but this doesn’t always mean frontloading with visuals of your brand’s product or service.

In fact, Instagram fans are much more likely to be drawn in by

You’ll also notice that videos rely on the all-important frame that is featured in users feeds, before the video starts.

Unfortunately, Instagram is limited in the options it gives Instagram video marketers for choosing which image to lead with.

You have two options; you can choose to set your Instagram account to show the default first frame of the video, or to choose the middle frame of the video to show (to find out how to set your options, click here).

A hidden test account, unaffiliated with your brand, will let you test videos privately to see which frame is more engaging.

Leading with the first frame isn’t always the best option, however it is the safest option if you are time-poor and need to brief in a videographer to produce a series of sure-fire moving image winners to be delivered in a short time frame.

You may find that, in fact, leading with the middle frame is more engaging as the change from middle frame to first frame of the video when it starts to play is jarring and catches users’ eyes.

Experiment with this yourself, and run some manual A/B tests from which you can collect data to determine what’s working best on your brand’s feed.

Instagram Video Marketing Tip #6: Be Topical

Like all good Instagram content marketers, any self-respecting video creator should keep an eye on up-coming calendars for dates that you can leverage as content opportunities.

You should also keep an eye on current affairs and pop culture; opportunities to create a quick, topical video can appear at any time, and could expose your brand to a whole new audience through topical visuals and hashtagging.

A great example of this is Bleacher Report’s Harambe-inspired basketball post commenting on the Cleveland Cavaliers signing of basketball superstar Kevin Durant.

This topical post, posted in September 2016, has been seen over 2.6 million times!

The Cavs' answer to the Warriors signing Kevin Durant. #Harambe

A post shared by Bleacher Report (@bleacherreport) on

Similarly brands all over Australia recently embraced the ‘yes’ vote for marriage equality with cute, colourful videos, engaging in a very topical conversation with fans:

LOVE IS LOVE 💜 ❤️ 💙 💚

A post shared by The Urban List Melbourne (@urbanlistmelb) on

Instagram Video Marketing Tip #7: Build Your Own Footage Library

As an Instagram marketer with a fanbase that consumes content faster than you can create it, you’re not going to have the opportunity to shoot original video content for each and every video that you post.

The secret to keeping any good Instagram video marketing strategy feeling fresh is to have a variety of affordable stock footage at your fingertips, and to keep track of your own footage libraries.

When keeping track of footage you have commissioned or shot yourself, be sure to create a back-up system that allows you to find footage easily.

You could save footage under the product collection, the date, the marketing campaign name… Whatever your system is, be diligent about sticking to it!

For stock footage, we have recommended a few of our favourite resources for Instagram video content below:

Instagram Video Marketing Tip #8: Develop An On-The-Go Studio

Shooting footage yourself can be daunting, but with a simple set-up you can create some incredible footage that captures live events, the inner workings of your brand, and other unique opportunities.

You can even capture Instagram-quality footage on your phone—think of it as a video camera that’s always in your pocket.

If you do begin to shoot a lot of footage yourself on smartphone, investing in a simple kit including portable pocket-sized lighting and a simple tripod are worth adding to your day-to-day kit.

Be sure to look for products that are easily recharged, and that are light enough for you to carry around wherever you are.

Instagram Video Marketing Tip #9: Shake Up The Norm

We’ve all heard the phrase, “When they zig, you zag.”

Sometimes the most effective way of grabbing fans’ attention and generating impact is to do the unexpected, and Instagram video treatments are no different.

Video techniques such as glitching, short staccato cuts that mimic video errors, and black screens can be used to create a jarring effect, snapping users out of their usual scrolling habits.

While techniques such as these needs to used sparingly, less they lose their impact, they are useful tools to be aware of, especially when using stock footage that in itself errs on the side of becoming generic.

Topshop’s opposite scroll animation of their collections effectively uses an unusual technique to stop users from scrolling past:

Make a list of visually arresting video treatment techniques, and trial these in intervals to see if they shake up your viewers and cause them to watch for longer or interact more.

If they do, remember the techniques for sporadic use when your following and engagement needs a boost.

Looking for other ways to boost your engagement? Read 5 Surefire Ways to Increase Instagram Engagement and Get Brand Advocates.

Instagram Video Marketing Tip #10: Audio Isn’t A Make-Or-Break, But It Is Becoming More Important!

As most social media marketers know, the majority of Instagram videos are watched without the sound on.

However, a new feature now means that if an Instagram user opts to turn the sound on for a video in their feed, the sound will remain on for all subsequent videos that they view, before they actively turn the sound off again.

As a result, while sound isn’t the make-or-break factor of any Instagram video content (that’s the striking, must-watch visuals…), sound is becoming a more significant factor in brand storytelling on Instagram, and in encouraging viewers to keep watching.

Choosing a track that fits with the pacing of your video, as well as with your brand’s attitude, will result in a richer piece of media that will create a deeper impression.

Keen to keep on top of the latest Instagram trends? Check out Social Media Trends for 2018: Which Trends to Incorporate Now.