Instagram has become an essential tool for creating and maintaining your business’ online presence. In 2019, there are over 1 billion active users every month, with over 25 million active business accounts. The potential reach is huge, and it’s clear Instagram holds the top spot as the ultimate tool for visually showcasing your business.

In 2018 we saw Instagram put more of a focus on video content, through the introduction of IGTV and the multiple features added to personalise your Instagram stories, such as searchable hashtags and polls. That same progress is expected to continue throughout 2019, so whilst we’re still early in the year, here are our 5 top tips on how to switch it up and reap the benefits of video over the next 12 months & beyond.

Here’s a quick rundown of the ways in which you can use video on Instagram:

  1. Post DIY video & user generated content
  2. Upload a short commercial
  3. Show off your business using stories
  4. Go live on your story
  5. Create a video ad
  6. Instagram has two main platforms to share your content, one being via your profile with the content being shared to your followers’ feeds (limited to 1-minute of video), the other as a story which is essentially a shorter 15-second highlight or update. Neither should be ignored when it comes to posting video and they can both work hand-in-hand for maximum benefit, find out how below.

#1 POST DIY VIDEO & USER GENERATED CONTENT
DIY video is becoming increasingly popular as an effective approach to uploading video content, without the expense of a professional production! But it’s not only a way to save you some money. It’s proven that consumers love transparency of the business providing the product or service they’re spending their hard-earned cash on. This means showing off what goes on behind the scenes and what goes into making your products, providing your service and running a business. It’s also a great approach to introducing your customer to the team, putting faces to the various departments and adding depth to your business.

Your business could also request and post user-generated content. That is, videos created and uploaded by your customers who’re showing off your products themselves. A great way to channel this content into one feed is to request that content be uploaded by users, using a specific hashtag related to your business or product. @airbnb use almost 100% user-generated content from posts using the hashtag #Airbnb. Most Instagram users are more than happy to allow their content to be used by the brand they’re reviewing or mentioning, but remember to @mention the user’s account in the post and remove it if requested by the content’s owner.

#2 UPLOAD A SHORT COMMERCIAL
This is the type of content most businesses feel they should be uploading to best present their product or service. However, it can be difficult to have regular, professionally-produced content, at the ready that fits in with your posting schedule, whether that be daily or every couple of days. We’ve discussed how user-generated and DIY videos can work as posts, and these can be accompanied by slicker, more professional, commercials too. Videos posted to your feed are limited to 1-minute in duration, although you could use the multiple-image/video feature (click the overlapping squares icon when selecting your content) to upload sequential or various cuts from the full-length video.

Because producing these short commercials are often costlier than DIY content, it’s best to use this type of video at key opportunities, such as the release of a new product, or to explain the background of your company. The benefit of uploading professionally produced video is that it’s much more likely to grab your audience’s attention, in amongst a feed full of user-generated, amateur content. Our tip is to use square or portrait video when posting to your feed, as the larger ratio covers more of the user’s screen than landscape video.

#3 SHOWCASE YOUR BUSINESS USING STORIES
As explained in the introduction, a story highlight is limited to 15-seconds of content, showed sequentially to your followers for 24 hours after posting. A maximum number of 100 stories can be posted at any one time, although we would not recommend having any more than 3, as more can risk your content’s engagement. Stories can be used to capture video live to be uploaded straight away, or to post videos that have been captured previously and are saved in your camera roll. Once selected, you can add GIFs, locations, hashtags, annotations & much more.

We would recommend utilising stories for video, by uploading short clips that inform your viewers of any updates to your products or service, such as a new offer. It’s also best used to keep in regular contact with your customer base. A simple idea is to shoot a boomerang of your product and post a question on your story that your audience can answer – a great way to receive instant feedback. At Northern Visuals, we often post 2 or 3 15-second clips from a 1-minute video that we have recently posted on our profile. These short snippets act as teasers and lead the viewer to our profile to watch more, they often interact further with other posts too.

Once your story is posted, you can see a list of users who have viewed it by swiping up on the story. It is likely that you will see far more engagement with your story than the posts on your feed, simply because they are far more accessible and it has become habit for most users to flick through stories after opening Instagram, prior to scrolling through the feed.

#4 GO LIVE ON YOUR STORY
Live-streaming video is expected to take-over on social media over the next couple of years, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t jump on it now! We’re seeing an increasing amount of content be uploaded to Instagram and be shared across Facebook respectively (Facebook acquired Instagram back in 2012). Around 80% of social media users would rather watch a live-stream video than a regular social media post, meaning you should see much higher engagement with your live videos. Similarly, as mentioned in the first tip, going live on Instagram adds an element of transparency that consumers love, as they’re getting real-time engagement with the businesses they’re interested in purchasing from.

If you’re considering taking the leap and going live with your audience, it’s always worth asking your viewers questions, creating conversation and responding to any comments that users may post whilst watching. You can also share your live video as a story once you’re done, meaning those who may have missed you, have another chance to view it over the following 24 hours. To go live on Instagram, simply tap the camera icon at the top left of your feed and swipe right across the bottom options, until you reach ‘live’. When you’re ready, just click ‘Go Live’.

Instagram story from Northern Visuals' profile

#5 CREATE A VIDEO AD
Maybe you have a commercial you want to shout about, or uploaded a DIY video to your feed that you want to push out even further beyond your following, creating a sponsored advert for these is a great way to reach new audiences. Due to Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, you will need to create your ad on Facebook and select for it to be displayed only on Instagram (and Facebook if you choose to). Facebook’s advertising platform allows for your audience to be tailored to those you want to reach, such as those in a specific location with certain interests.

There are many benefits to using video ads on Instagram. Here are a few:

  • Reach users who do not currently follow you. You can target various types of consumers, those who you wish to interact with your brand.
  • Increase webpage visitors. You can direct users from your ad on Instagram, straight to a page on your website, increasing the chance of conversions.
  • Consumer insights. You can use the information reported in Facebook’s campaign manager to find out more about your audience. You may find those of a certain age group are interacting more than you anticipated with your ad, allowing you to tailor your future posts to this audience.

CONCLUSION
We hope it’s clear by now that there are various routes you can go down when posting video to Instagram and how each of these will benefit your business. You may feel that one of these approaches will work best for your brand, but we think it’s worth incorporating all 5 methods to maximise the potential Instagram can have. The platform has ensured that the different ways of posting can complement each other. Next time you post a video on your feed, add a snippet to your story too, and maybe even update your followers with a short DIY recording of you adding some context to your recent post. Let us know how any of these methods work out for you by dropping us a message on our Instagram, @northern_visuals

 

iPhone with Northern Visuals profile