Instagram used to only allow for pictures, but that has very much changed in recent years. Instagram has now embraced various formats for their users to post videos and the popularity is quite clear. Each of these formats provide different opportunities for content creation and audience engagement. Instagram is now a great platform for posting social media video content.

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But before you start posting videos on Instagram, consider the goal for each post. Is it to satisfy your existing audience? Reach potential customers? Enhance your brand? Or start a trend? Depending on your objective, there are several options for posting videos on Instagram that you should consider. First, let’s look at the types of video content Instagram allows for on their platform.

Types of Videos on Instagram

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories appear above a user’s feed and are up to 15-seconds long. They are temporary and disappear after 24 hours. Instagram Stories lend themselves to frequent posting, which might mean not paying as much attention to quality but instead quantity. Finding the balance between quality and quantity is important and ideally you want both. Stories are a great way to keep your audience regularly engaged and updated. Emojis, filters, stickers, and tags can also be used with Instagram Stories. These are important elements to utilize in order to enhance your video and further connect with your audience.

Instagram Videos

Instagram used to only allow for 60-second videos, but it has now made it possible to post a video up to 60 minutes long! The first 60 seconds serves as a preview, while the rest of the video can be viewed in a user’s profile. Depending on the type of video you’re posting, particularly if it’s lengthy, Instagram Video may be the best option. It’s important to keep in mind that the longer the video, the higher the production value should be. Each video allows for filters, captions, location, and other tags.

Reels

Inspired by Tik Tok’s format, Reels are 15-30 second clips that include additional effects like timed text and greenscreen mode. They also allow for the same tags as videos and photos. Viewers can also like, comment, and share the video on their own stories or via direct message. Reels are ideal for adding a little more production value, while also being able to frequently post video content.

Instagram Live

Once you have an audience, you may want to use Instagram Live. Let your viewers know in advance that you will be posting a live video and ask them to join. Let them know well in advance. Build some hype. Don’t be late. Try to be interactive by responding to questions in real time. Instagram Live videos can last up to 4 hours and can be shared for 30 days before they are deleted.

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Remember to have a purpose for the live-stream. Maybe you’re trying to perform a demonstration of a new product. Perhaps you want to address a particular issue related to your company. Or maybe you just want to give your audience an opportunity to ask some questions and collectively hear your response. Doing a live stream adds a layer of personal connection and accessibility. And users always enjoy hearing their @handle mentioned live as you respond to their comments and questions.

Start a User-Generated Content Campaign

What makes Instagram ideal for a User-Generated Content (UGC) campaign is its use of hashtags. Hashtags allow for users to file content in a specific digital “folder” so other users can access all of the content that has used that hashtag. Hashtags help keep specific content in one place.

UGC allows consumers to take the wheel and post content related to specific promotional campaigns and advertisements. Various companies have used UGC on Instagram by posting engaging content with a unique hashtag, then asking their followers to post their own content with that same hashtag. People faithful to a brand are more than happy to engage in UGC campaigns and play along.

GoPro is perhaps one of the better examples of this because they make small durable cameras designed for capturing extreme sports – perfect for sharing stimulating content. GoPro asked their customers to post their video content with the hashtags #GoPro, #GoProCommunity, and #GoProAwards. GoPro users continue to heed the call and post all sorts of awe-inspiring video content with those hashtags. GoPro wisely includes the possibility of earning cash and awards for the best content. In addition to user-engagement, UGC campaigns like this also allow the features of your product to be showcased. It’s definitely a win-win.

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User-generated content has the potential to go viral, all without your business spending more time and money on advertising. This makes user-generated content a terrific social media marketing tool.

Social Media Video Marketing

Another way Instagram can be used is for social media video marketing. Below are five examples of how this can be done.

Product Video

A product video is intended to highlight the features of a particular product. Depending on what that product is, you’ll want to shoot it in an engaging way. Whether it’s a gadget with a sleek design or artwork with popping colors, using certain video production elements can help make your product shine. Other effects like slow-motion, extreme angles, lighting, and dynamic camera movements can also help bring out the awesomeness of a product.

Explainer Video

An explainer video intends to teach your audience about your company’s service, brand, or product. A strong explainer video focuses on what makes the company unique. It may emphasize a particular problem that your company solves.
Since they can be up to a few minutes in length, using Instagram Video would be the best option for an explainer video.

Social Content

Social content lends itself more to the short-form options on Instagram (Stories and Reels) because they tend to be shorter in length, fun, and meant to be shared. These videos should have a strong hook. You will also want to utilize some of the other production options Instagram has to offer, whether it’s using emojis, stickers, text, or greenscreen. And, as always, you’ll want to use the right hashtags.

Testimonial

A testimonial is the positive review of a customer for your product or service. These can be powerful videos for acquiring new customers as many people rely on prior consumer’s reviews before purchasing anything. A strong testimonial speaks to the uniqueness of a product and what problem it solves. You may want to shoot a professional video production of several testimonials edited together in one  video. Or, if you have an established customer base, maybe you start a user-generated content campaign and ask consumers to post their own testimonials with a specific hashtag.

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Commercial

We’re all familiar with commercials. They are designed to sell a product or service and are usually no more than 30-seconds long. Since a commercial is something you’ll probably share more than once, it should be shot by a professional video production team. It should have a strong hook, be clever, and have broad appeal. Using humor is also recommended  as you want to leave the audience feeling so good about your product that they’re willing to go out and buy it.

Tell a Story

People love stories. And we tell them all the time without fully realizing it. Many social media posts, even stupid or silly ones, tell a story. When possible, try to have your video content tell a tale, even if it’s a short one. In the most basic terms, stories should have a beginning, middle, and end. Develop a strong hook and make sure the story you’re telling is clear. Without clarity, nothing else matters.

Think of a trick-shot video. They usually start with a seemingly unachievable goal as they get into position (the beginning). Then, we watch them miss over and over, sometimes getting painfully close (the middle). Then, finally, and usually in dramatic slow-motion, we see the attempt that accomplishes the goal followed by a cathartic celebration (the end). Stories give viewers a structure that their brains can make sense of and enjoy.

Behind-the-Scenes Content

Sometimes, an audience does want to see how the sausage is made. Showing behind-the-scenes content can help personalize the people behind your company or product. It can also create more of an emotional connection between clients and the business. Additionally, it may reveal the dedication of your employees to servicing clients. When clients see all of the hard work being done to give them what they want, they’re likely to develop a greater appreciation for the service. You don’t want to stray too far from the product itself, but offering a glimpse behind-the-scenes every now and again can be fun and informative for your audience.

Use Text on Screen

Another tip for your Instagram video is to use text on screen. Since people are scrolling through their social media feeds in public spaces or around other people (who are also on their phones) adding text to the screen allows your message to still come through even when the volume is down. Make sure it’s clearly legible and doesn’t blend with the background color. Don’t make it too wordy. Keep it clear and concise.

Make Your Video Visually-Engaging

There are numerous tips to make your video visually engaging. Depending on the type of video you’re posting, it’s important to know all of the different effects at your disposal. Of course, working with a professional video production company can help you maximize certain effects, but many effects already exist on your smartphone. You can use slow-motion, lighting, contrast, and other visual effects. In addition to the built-in effects, be mindful of how you shoot your video. Stabilize your camera with a tripod, use proper lightning, and switch up the angles. Each of these effects can make your video more engaging, watchable, and more likely to be shared.

#Hashtag Everything

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Hashtags are super-important on Instagram. You can either use one that already exists or create your own. If you’re still building your audience, it may be wise to hop onto a

hashtag that is already popular in order to recruit new followers. Once you have an established audience, you can certainly create your own. Many temporary events use hashtags now, like weddings or art exhibits. Attendees can share their photos and use that hashtag in order for everyone’s experience of the event to be in one place. #prettycool!

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many options for posting video content on Instagram. Determine the intent for the video, your target audience, and the outcome you want to achieve. Then, figure out which type of Instagram video you want to post: Video, Story, Reel, or Live. Whether you’re trying to engage with an existing audience, reach new customers, enhance your brand, or start a trend, there are numerous video production methods and tools that can help you get there. A video production company like Tailor Made Media can help you achieve the highest quality possible, so if the goal is some sort of social media video marketing, this may be the best option. Examine all of the types of videos and decide on the best category. Make your video content engaging, fun, and clear. Remember to use text and a killer hashtag. You may opt for a user-generated content campaign or a call-to-action. Whatever your goal, I hope you find these tips useful for posting videos on Instagram.