How to use Instagram videos to create excitement for your products
Barely a decade old, Instagram is already an established cultural phenomenon and entrenched medium of modern communication. As the world’s fourth most popular mobile app with one billion monthly users, it also represents an undeniable marketing mother lode, especially for new products seeking to make a splash.
Though launched as a social network, Instagram has proven surprisingly friendly to brands – rather than resenting intrusion, consumers appear to value the platform’s commercial information and interaction.
One half of users report heightened product interest generated by Instagram posts, 72% have purchased products found on the site and 90% follow at least one business account, according to internal numbers.
Read on to learn about the different tools Instagram offers, the best techniques and the different types of tales to be told to bring customers to a cause.
Instagram video tools
With Instagram now featuring much more than photos, positive interactions have only grown: videos now garner twice the engagement of static images on the app.
Clearly Instagram videos are an invaluable tool for any new product trying to make an impression. But with 25 million business accounts vying for the same eyeballs and most planning to expand their campaigns, how can users stand out?
“Instagram video” is actually a catch-all term encompassing a growing array of offerings. In its drive to expand available tools (and keep pace with competitors), the platform has rolled out a number of video options spanning various length, lifespan and best-case uses:
Instagram stories: Instagram’s overt emulation of Snapchat, stories are limited to 15 seconds (though several may be strung together) and disappear after 24 hours. Heavily promoted by Instagram with prominent screen-top placement, Stories tally 500M interactions each day and allow embedded links and calls to action.
Instagram feed video: The original, basic video that hits timelines with other posts. Lasting between three seconds and a minute, these include GIFs, Boomerangs, check-ins and straightforward informational messages – essentially the go-to option on a regular basis.
Instagram live: As the name suggests, this is Instagram’s live streaming option that resembles the popular utility on stable-mate Facebook (and competes with YouTube’s version). Followers are notified when users go live, allowing for real-time feedback and interactions. Sessions can last up to four hours, incorporate four separate account feeds and be archived for later viewing.
Instagram TV: Another format discoverable in regular feeds, IGTV videos can be 60 minutes long and must be pre-recorded. Great for longer-from stories, edited/spliced video, archived live streams, extended tutorials, interviews, etc.
Instagram reels: Instagram’s newest addition, Reels are unmistakably an answer to TikTok. Quick visual hits limited to 30 seconds with plenty of addable effects, these are hailed as catnip for Gen Z and can be posted both in the main feed and a dedicated profile section.
Since each video type conveys a different vibe and appeals to a different crowd, picking the right tool for the job will depend on audience, products and message (though often campaigns will involve several approaches).
Selecting the best match is a choice best worked out in consultation with promotional video professionals but whichever path chosen, there are techniques that will improve your results.
Instagram video techniques
Each type of Instagram video has different features and goals, so guidelines for each will vary slightly, though certain careful practices will help users consistently stand apart:
Use thumbnails: With auto-play turned off, many users will only see a first frame as they scroll by – make it a good one that draws them in by using a thumbnail as a title card, clarifying content and compelling them to play on.
Use subtitles: Those with hearing impairments, watching in bed, watching in public or sneaking a peak at work may have the sound turned down, so be sure to add subtitles that keep viewers informed. For those using IGTV, the video can be automatically captioned in several languages.
Keep short videos SHORT: There’s a reason that stories and reels have tiny time limits – because quick hits are often what sells to social media scrollers and their diminishing attention spans. Even where feed videos allow 60 seconds, don’t feel compelled to use them all; research suggests that 26 seconds is the optimal target length.
Grab ‘em quick: Viewers tend to quickly decide whether to commit time to longer videos, so users need an immediate hook. Instagram metrics suggest that if videos don’t grab attention or pique interest in three seconds, swipers are on to something else. Use catchy visuals, tight promises or an intriguing angle to make sure they stick around.
Show screen awareness: Depending on the video type and device, up to 14% of the top/bottom of the screen could be obscured by profile pics or calls to action, so don’t put vital info on the borders.
Post regularly: This is a tip that is true of any type of social media campaign, but even more important and difficult to maintain with productions like videos. Don’t lose momentum, keep a social media calendar and stick to it!
Include a link to the product page: Make it easy for users who watch the video to navigate to the page of the product (such as including a link to the product page on a card in the corner of the video). Likewise make it as simple as possible for customers to make a purchase by incorporating payment processing software that comes with critical features such as multiple payment options and low transaction fees.
Get creative: Remember about looking to stick out from the crowd, be innovative, creative, daring. Go outside the org and enlist creators who shoot social media videos for a living and are familiar with the marketplace.
Now there’s a firm grasp of the tools and the techniques, it’s time to decide just what kind of content is going to be put out there.
Instagram video types
When planning a Instagram video campaign, never feel constrained by categories or chained to one kind of message. But among the variety of popular posts, there are certain patterns that clearly emerge.
The type(s) of videos produced should mesh with your brand identity, target audience tastes and marketing goals and will probably fit one of these descriptions:
Product videos: This is the most basic video approach, but highly effective depending upon the nature of the product. Those selling tangible merchandise that can be shown/demonstrated/worn and looks good on-camera, then a simple introduction and showcase is a great straightforward approach. Also great for displaying eye-catching innovations or connecting with products that solve common everyday problems.
Lifestyle videos: Those not just selling an individual item, but marketing a brand, a feeling, a way of life, then cool, glamorous videos sparking identification and envy are a proven way to go. Especially effective for luxury brands, food/wine accounts and new products with pop culture cachet, lifestyle videos will include a p roduct but not necessarily feature it, as the subtext is all about dreams and desires.
How-to videos: One of the most popular video types on Instagram, tutorials are a great way to engage an audience, entice new customers and show off a brand at the same time. Particularly effective for products requiring some implementation by the consumer (cosmetics, fashion, fitness, cooking), how-to videos demonstrate appeal, ease-of-use and verifiable results. Unless these are quick-tips (<60 seconds), these will usually be executed as IGTV entries.
Brand-building videos: These posts are often favoured by new players on the scene. Rather than focusing on a product or a sales pitch, they raise brand awareness and recruit followers by building a connection with viewers. A signature visual style and content that emphasises entertainment over marketing may not produce immediate sales, but can generate interest and a following that will pay off with ROI down the road. This is a great way to show off creativity and go viral with shorter clips.
User-generated content (UGC): Sharing videos submitted by customers is not only cost-efficient but highly-effective marketing that conveys authenticity and taps into consumers’ natural trust of peers. This content can take several forms: perhaps clients review a product, demonstrate it in real-world settings or orchestrate a viral challenge that simultaneously generates interest, content, sales and earned media exposure.
Live interactions: Extended posts on Instagram Live are a perfect forum for infusing dynamic energy, demonstrating a product in real time and interacting with a customer base. There are many ways to use this forum, but Q&A sessions are particularly popular and drive information both ways: giving more insight to consumers while also gauging their interests/concerns. The immediacy of the real-time action compels followers to tune in, and the video can also later be posted to an IGTV channel.
Promotion videos: One way to make a splash and jump-start sales for a new product is with introductory offers. Videos that promote sale prices for a limited time or tout the release of a limited edition can generate urgency and drive clicks/purchases from those who might otherwise hesitate. Even if such offers cut into immediate profits, they can amass followers and fill-out mailing lists that drive long-term revenues, especially those who expect recurring customers.
Influencer videos: Influencer partnerships are a red-hot social media marketing practice perfectly tailored for Instagram videos. Like UGC, the videos are produced by outside parties and carry an extra element of trust, but production is a cooperative effort with a popular figure who brings their own followers to the table.
Influencer campaigns are highly effective but can also be delicate, requiring enough coordination to protect a brand but not so much influence as to infringe independence. Keep in mind that facilitating such a joint effort involving branding materials and video assets assembled from multiple locations is a job best-suited for the cloud.
As Barbara Ericson of Cloud Defense explains, “Cloud computing allows individual users to benefit from the shared resources of distant connected networks, with computation and collaboration over the Internet and storage in remote databases.”
That’s quite a full menu option. Don’t think of all the possibilities as overwhelming, but embrace them as empowering. Generating buzz for a new product is best-accomplished through a wide-ranging campaign that incorporates several of these elements and then uses the platform’s deep metrics as feedback to make adjustments and emphasise what’s working.
Don’t be intimidated, just get the help of professionals who not only have experience, but templates for different video formats that will accelerate your start-up.
With vast reach, varied tools and vital social media presence, Instagram is an indispensable part of any modern marketing plan.
From catchy viral hits that generate brand awareness to demonstrations showcasing attractive products to influencer partnerships that draw in new audiences and live streaming sessions that connect with them, this marketing channel is all about generating buzz – especially for new products.
Now users have a feel for these powerful tools and their diverse uses, start shooting, posting and selling.
The editorial unit