Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Video (Bonus!)

Jenny Pratt
October 14, 2016
Lasted Updated On

Instagram video content is all the rage and becoming pivotal in social media marketing. With that in mind, we decided to dig into this phenom to find out what the deal is with Instagram clips. We originally devised a 3-part series on the topic, but in true overachieving form, we couldn't resist bringing in a fourth leg to the trifecta. Teehee.

We previously discussed the highest performing categories, engaging video formats, as well as the important video metrics your marketing team should know and use to measure performance. This installment is putting strategy under the microscope. Below we'll be looking at various approaches and bringing you concrete examples of Instagram accounts that are using video content judiciously to take their narrative to the next level.

Now the Instagram video holy grail is complete.

Lesson of the day: always listen to Bey. Not that we didn't already.

It's all fun and good to know absolutely everything there is to know about Instagram video, but what good does that do if we didn't at least brush the topic of how to implement these findings? There are many ways in which businesses can use motion content to build their visual brand journey on Insta, but it's not as obvious as it seems. It's easy to forget that the great IG marketing tool does not fulfill a one-size-fits-all mold that can be executed time and again by various accounts across different industries.

As we examined in part 2 of our series, certain niches fare much better than others when it comes to publishing non-static posts. Then there's also the diversity of format options to consider, something we dug into in part 2 - a Boomerang might work well for one brand, but totally flop for another. Which is why evaluating the right metrics is an essential part of the Instagram video process. The key is to experiment and find interesting ways to add video content to an already robust Instagram strategy.

We're taking a look at 5 different angles taken by businesses that have been successful at propelling their followers on their brand's visual voyage.

Did Someone Say Strategy?

Take note of these 5 strategies to play around with and implement into your content plan as it relates to video. Static posts are so 2015. JK. Not really.

1. Behind The Scenes

This is a common practice observed particularly among TV networks and shows. It basically reels the fans in on a deeper level of intimacy - you just can't get that kind of connection in any other way. Think of it as the DVD extras right there on your phone. Hello, emotional attachment!

For example, cult TV show Pretty Little Liars knows their followers are fascinated with their stars and eat this kind of thing up. Add in America's crown jewel of sweethearts, Simone Biles, for an all-around slay fest.

@shaym with Olympic superstar @simonebiles? Wait, what? Let’s re-watch.

2. Captions

How many of us are on our phones in public (cough, at work, cough) with the sound turned off? You don't want to be that account that embarrasses one of their followers with cringeworthy audio. If your clip requires a narrative, opt for a caption explanation instead of relying on sound. What's that you say, the track makes the video? In that case, indicate fair warning by utilizing the caption (Volume up! But NSFW 🙊).

Either way, it's always wise to make use of the caption spot to add value to your post, whether it's cheeky humor, a statement of some kind, or a short descriptive to communicate something.

This post by @wholefoods is a great use of video: it's informative while being light and fun, it's on-brand and contains a clear message, which happens to be both enhanced and reaffirmed in the caption.

It “Sings with Seafood”. Sold.

3. Campaigns or Series

A fun way to grab the attention of your audience is by developing a series. You can concoct something really original to draw in your followers by taking storytelling to the next level. #ProTip: if you’re looking to drive engagement (who isn't), be sure to adequately space out the timing of the videos to give people ample time to digest marvel at each one.

A great example of this is Vogue's recent NYFW #FreedomNYC series. It features models of the moment wearing the collections in the streets of New York, strutting to the beat of George Michael's Freedom. This sequence hits all the right notes: the production quality is super high (cause Vogue, duh), the models look fresh, the content is dynamic, it feels candid and friendly, yet strikes just the right touch of dreamy and aspirational. Tying the whole thing together is the soundtrack: a cheeky nod at the supermodel angle, as well as a nostalgic beat that facilitates a deep connection with the viewers. Phew, go Vogue! (We highly recommend watching all 3 of these in order, volume up.)

[Vogue](http://instagram.com/voguemagazine)'s series makes you dream and takes you back - both attributes being engagement wins.

4. Influencer Interviews

Ok, name one person who doesn't love a good interview? Thought so - our voyeuristic tendencies can’t be helped. Play into that sentiment to leave your followers wanting more, more, more.

The folks over at @tiffanyandco are in the business of tugging at people's heartstrings, and that strong branding lends itself seamlessly to Instagram. This lovely interview they conducted with Grace Coddington is extremely effective in taking the Tiffany fan further into their world without being overly blatant about it. It weighs appropriately in every capacity.

Tell us, Grace, why do you like the color blue?

And the most popular influential figure award goes to... Yup, the cat lady with the mane on fire! Everyone's favorite Vogue editor is seemingly in high demand - here she is again dispersing her charm for @calvinklein's lens. Similar idea as above, similar impact, similar success, different brand. #GraceFTW

And how do you know Calvin?

5. Vertical Vids

First things first, we know that native Insta posts should not be treated the same as your vertical video game plan. While both formats offer really interesting podiums worth exploring, they highly differ in terms of how audiences consume the content that gets distributed on each one.

That said, with Instagram Stories and Snapchat having ushered in a new era of recording style, it's perfectly fine to occasionally post your otherwise ephemeral vertical clip to your permanent gallery. The portrait format stands out on Insta, especially due to the doodles that often adorn them; they’re bold and seemingly more authentic thanks to being associated with the Stories streams, whichever one you prefer.

Here, @prettylittlething demonstrates perfectly the platform cross-over strategy. The format can be fun and unexpected when it pops into a user's Instagram feed. On top of that, it educates their audience on their different active channels.

Um, way to induce FOMO, @prettylittlething

While the above strategies are quite distinctive, we constantly witness the emergence of content trends among the diverse brands taking part in them. At the end of the day, it all comes down to knowing your brand, your goals, and above all, your audience. What is best going to convey your message? Which format adequately optimizes your product, and would it be suited for tutorials or eye-catching motion? Are you looking to build a deeper level of intimacy with your followers? Perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind when experimenting with video content on Instagram is to assess how your audience is responding to what you put forth.

As companies and customers alike become more digitally savvy, trialling these formats is a really smart way to amplify a brand narrative on social media. Fans are looking to establish earnest connections with the companies they love, and creative, (very) short recordings have proven to be an effective way to forge that line of communication.

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