How To Use Video To Promote Your Business On Instagram
Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.
All sessions from #SMWONE, our four-week virtual conference program, are now available on-demand.
Text-based content is always going to be kicking around, even if it’s gone through a bit of a change recently. With the rise of voice assistants like Alexa Echo and Google Assistant, it’s clear that incorporating voice command into our website copy as well as increasing the amount of quality, conversational style content, are imperatives. However, the next challenge for marketers, if they have any hope of surviving on social media, is the adoption of the video format.
However, it’s important to know you can’t just ‘do’ video. There are an abundance of different ‘types’ of video and video content that is offered and applicable to each social network. However, today we’re looking at how you can use video to promote your business on Instagram as part of a well-organized social media strategy.
Best Practice for Instagram Video
Earlier this summer, the platform made it easier to use video to promote your business on Instagram. They announced that it was extending it’s video capabilities by giving users the ability to produce and post long-form video content. Instagram now allows video uploads of up to 60 seconds, giving brands and businesses considerably more time to sell themselves or their products and services to their audiences.
With Instagram video, you can shoot video from within the Instagram app itself or from your phone’s built-in camera. If you want you can go all fancy and use a ‘proper’ camera like a DSLR. However, whatever video content you’re producing and whatever camera you use, it needs to fit in with your brand’s already existing aesthetic on Instagram. If you’re a political or charitable organization, doing informal, hand-held selfie-style video’s with silly filters might not work for your image. It’s best to plan, pause and then post.
Video Content Formats On Instagram
1. A Visual Recipe – these can and often are sped or up even filmed as a timelapse to make them short, snappy and engaging. They take a little bit of planning, but they’re pretty effective, see for yourself!
2. Tutorials – There’s so much you can do with these. This BarryM makeup tutorial/product showcase is snappy and succinct, due to some timely transitions. Instagram videos like these are great at showcasing a product in action and detailing how it actually looks on. Much better than a static image!
3. Programme & Movie Previews – These bitesize mini snippets really are the future of trailers. Gone are the days of full-length, two-minute previews of films. People want quick, easy-to-consume content, a mini-preview that gets them pumped for a movie!
4. News Updates – Channels like BBC News have mastered the art of relaying the news to an Instagram audience. Their news updates are accessible, even with the sounds turned off as subtitles are featured throughout. They’ve adapted their usual verbal news style for a different kind of audience. Savvy!
5. Telling A Brand Story – These kinds of videos give the viewer a behind-the-scenes look at a brand and an opportunity for a company to convey some brand principles or features without boring their audience to death. Starbucks have found a fun and playful way to do this in their video.
Boomerang Is Boss
They’ve really taken this web by storm and it’s certainly a tool that makes it easier to use video to promote your business on Instagram and in a much more creative outlet. They’re so popular because their functionality is pretty close to the GIF, short, snappy and set on loop.
For brands, it’s a tool that allows them to encapsulate and show off their brand personality, offering a way to connect with consumers through richer content on a platform that is relevant. Plus they’re super inclusive, they’re not some high-tech marketing tool, anyone with a phone and the Insta app can capture a Boomerang!
How Have Brands Utilised The Boomerang?
Ritz used the Boomerang to relaunch and rebrand after a 30-year marketing hiatus, with their ‘Putting On The Ritz’ campaign. New and dynamic tools like the Boomerang, as well as the GIF, give audiences, brands and businesses alike, the ability to create new, exciting and engaging content with relatively little money and little time invested.
It also gives the brand a playful freshness that is fun and entertaining, even say mesmerizing at times. It certainly works to capture (and keep!) the attention of its audience.
Another fantastic feature of the Boomerang is its ability to show behind-the-scenes fun, creativity, and planning that go into producing a brand. This sneaky peak from high-street fashion retailer Forever 21 gives the brand and the models a human, relatable edge.
There’s just something about video that means it’s able to connect and resonate on a deeper level, really capturing the attention of the audience – possibly because the kinetic nature of the video mirrors real life more so than a static image.
Ideas for Using Boomerang
Businesses can use Boomerang to present their products, services, and culture in a really unique way. The possibilities are pretty much endless, here are some ideas on ways to put these fun animations to good use:
- A gym could Boomerang out of a person lifting weights.
- Hair salons can have customers show off their new look with a hair flip.
- Bakeries can feature someone biting enthusiastically into a cupcake.
This mashup between video and the ‘traditional’ Instagram picture content is a feature that some people are prepared to migrate from Snapchat for. Instagram has been relentless about bringing over some of Snapchat’s best features and tools — and often making its own refinements and improvements along the way. This is one of them.
It provides another platform to make creative content and ultimately hit home your business goal, whether that’s to have someone buy your clothes or read a blog post. With the ability to add links and mention users Instagram creates a culture of inclusion, rather than secrecy and exclusion. Instagram Stories are also searchable and appear publicly on a profile if a profile is set to public.
NASA is killing Stories. They’re telling a deep story behind each and every Instagram post which is one amazing feature of Stories. They’re informing about scientific discovery in a fun way, but directly engaging with their audience by running a pole which can be seen in the first slide.
As a business, Stories are an essential part of your marketing ammunition. Get confident with them and start using them!
TopTip: After you choose a final photo to share on Instagram, snap a couple of extra ones that go behind-the-scenes to further engage your audience.
Spice Up Your Story With Instagram Story Features
There are endless possibilities with Instagram Stories, here are the cool and quirky ways to can engage with your audience and use video to promote your business on Instagram. It’s an incredibly diverse tool. You can utilise…
- Selfie Stickers
- Writing pen
- Colour overlays
- Tagging people
It might be easy to forget about Instagram Live with the huge popularity of Facebook Live. However, it really works much the same. It’s a way for users to live stream video to followers in the moment. While Instagram Live used to be an even more ephemeral experience than Stories in that the live video disappears from your feed as soon as the video end, things have changed.
A recent update means Live video replays are now available allowing you, once your live video ends, to be able to share a replay of it with all the original comments and likes from the original posting.
For brands, using Instagram Live is a must. Not only can you add filters, including the highly sought after face filters, but Live video more generally enables you to quickly and efficiently connect with your Instagram audience. Here’s some inspiration from existing brands that’ll help you use video to promote your business on Instagram.
To celebrate the launch of its new Trips platform which hinged around the premise of offering ‘real’ experiences, Airbnb invited people around the world to participate via a one-day Live feed on Facebook and Instagram named ‘WE ARE HERE’.
For the duration of the 24-hour launch period, people could surf in LA, take part in performance art in Paris, experience live street dance in Seoul, transform themselves in Tokyo, and save the ocean in Cape Town – all transported via live video. The event even won a Facebook award for its creativity and innovation. Live video, when done right, has a tremendous power to bring people together and for brands to really connect with its audience in a genuine way.
While this is a strictly Facebook Live stream, the format can easily be rolled out using Instagram Live. The brand has been super smart, using live video to showcase its products and educate consumers in a series called ‘Tipsy Tricks’ which airs every Thursday. Hosts introduce products, techniques and field questions from people watching, attracting up to several thousand viewers on some broadcasts, all with a glass of wine in hand!
The videos are a more informal, capturing viewers with chit chat as well as specific makeup talk. It’s like TV, but less stuffy and distant because you can post questions on the video and they might very well be acknowledged by the hosts and other Live video viewers.
Using video to promote your business on Instagram should be second nature because there’s no real excuse. If you’re not feeling confident about the vulnerability of Live Video content, then there’s loads more from the video format to explore.
There’s so much range with social video that you’ll be sure to find something that works for your brand. Remember, stay on message, brand and tone – you can’t really go wrong, so push your marketing strategy to the max!
Jen Gwinnutt is digital marketing assistant at iWeb, a leading UK based eCommerce Agency. iWeb are certified Magento developers with over 22 years experience designing and developing eCommerce websites.
Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.
Write for Us
Interested in sharing your ideas and insights with the world? Become a SMW News contributor and reach 300k readers each month.