8 Instagram video marketing tips – Social Media Video series

11th February 2016

Instagram video has been a social media success story with usage doubling over the last two years. The social media platform enjoys a particularly high engagement with a younger demographic in the UK and US markets (Global web index). In September last year, Instagram monthly active users reached 400 million, beating Twitter. So, are you creating video content to share on Instagram? Here are our top tips for brands to create video marketing content for Instagram.

#1 Silent Instagram videos

Sound does not automatically come on with Instagram autoplay. Therefore it’s vital that your messages are communicated visually without sound. You don’t have sound effects or dialogue to pull your reader in, so your visuals need to work even harder to make an impact. The expressions and action must be tightly focused to tell your brand story.

Take this silent example from Starbucks which keys into the trend for colouring books for adults to promote an offer.

Fashion brands like TopShop and Burberry mix up their audience’s love for music and fashion in their Instagram feeds. In this example from TopShop, the audience is encouraged to listen as they know it’s a music post, but they can still enjoy the fashion styling in silence. The pink suit in the video is highlighted in the post, drawing the audience’s attention to it.

#2 Length and loop with Instagram video

Instagram users and brands have a maximum of 15 seconds to tell their stories in their feeds. Therefore it is important to hone your story down to the basics and grab attention quickly. The story also has to work in a loop.

For advertisers, Instagram’s snack-sized video have just doubled in length. Now brands have up to one minute to tell their story. We tend to advise that less is more, so would continue to suggest that you don’t waste time, and attract attention in the first 15 seconds.

Typically, GoPro gets straight in with the action:

The power of storytelling is always important whether you’re creating a feature film or content for Instagram or YouTube. The restrictions on time can actually help you become more creative. Indeed one British film director has set himself the challenge of creating a Instagram film in 15s installments throughout February in The Shield 5.

#3 Lead with emotions

We often talk of the ELE narrative in video making – starting with an emotional appeal, bringing in logical arguments, and then ending on emotions. But with the short time-frame of social video, it can be more effective to stick to either emotional or logical.

Take this latest ad from Guinness which took a social first approach with a one minute Instagram ad. It reinforces brand values by drawing on an emotional, real story about overcoming prejudice. The viewer is taken straight into 1930s Harlem, immersed in the action of jiving dance moves. Once they’re gripped, they follow the story of how a radio producer, John Hammond, defied racial segregation.

 #4 Content that delights or informs

In this social media space, where users are curating their lives, it’s important to have fun and delight your audience than pushing your products directly. Take this ad for automotive brand, Nissan, which features a pro BMX rider rather than telling us about the benefits for their product.

The Instagram post below from charity, WWF, is worlds away from the content above but here is another example of a video that its audience will want to share and watch on a loop.

Brands can also provide useful information via Instagram such as quick hacks. Here’s a good example from Sainsbury’s that gives its audience the easiest, quickest apple pie recipe ever.

Why not use this social channel to take your viewers behind the scenes of your company? This could be a cost-effective way to make your brand more approachable and develop trust. The production values do not need to be as high as in this Instagram video from Beyonce’s rehearsals before this year’s Superbowl.

#5 Integrated social media marketing campaigns

To maximise the effectiveness of any marketing campaign, it is important to integrate the messages across platforms. You can repurpose content via Instagram video but just ensure that you’re maximising the benefits of this channel. For instance use targeted hashtags, follow relevant influencers and audiences, and monitor what is working well for your brand.

This video from Dove integrates well with their Real Beauty campaign:

Are you thinking of offering Instagram tips? Then film them all in one go to save time and then drip feed them each week with a hashtag that you promote.

#6 Use Instagram features

Make sure that you experiment with Instagram filters. You can also use Hyperlapse, which can create timelapse films, which could be particularly useful for events marketing.

Here is a really nice example of a fun video from TopShop’s feed which uses the changing background to highlight their product.

Innocent Smoothies incorporate the filming feature of slowmo in this fun post.

Oreo’s have mastered the short and snappy Instagram video format. Here’s a stylish and fun Instagram cinemagraph to promote their new product:

#7 Ask the community

Effective social media for brands means engaging with the community and following its rules. It’s a conversation rather than a one-way push. Instagram users share others’ content by regramming, and brands should do this too in order to appear like a peer rather than a salesy brand pushing into the social space. Fans also love it when brands mark out their content as good enough to share.

Therefore, think like a curator and share interesting, relevant content from your fans as well as encouraging user-generated content from your community by running competitions with branded hashtags.

Take the example from Ben and Jerrys below: the image has been regrammed from a fan and it fits into the brand’s content perfectly.

Ensure that you’re using the right hashtags, engaging and growing your community as you would on any social media channel. Here’s an example from T-Mobile using an editorial calendar to engage with the #GroundhogDay theme.

Anyone else binge-watching the same movie over and over and over on #GroundhogDay? #BingeOn

A video posted by tmobile (@tmobile) on

 #8 Be ready for real-time marketing

With all social media channels, it’s important to react and be in the moment. We advise using an editorial calendar in order to plan your content and keep focused on your marketing targets. However this also allows your brand to have the time to create content on the fly if the need arises. We’ll be looking out for content from the Oscars at the end of this month…

We hope you feel ready to get creative with Instagram video. If you have any questions or comments about social video marketing or Instagram video in particular, let us know.

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