Instagram continues to be a crucial tool for marketers looking to engage with consumers, with many brands racking up hundreds of thousands and sometimes even millions of followers.
While lots of brands have found their footing when it comes to posting images on the platform, many are just starting to get serious about their Instagram video strategy.
According to eMarketer, adults in the U.S. spent an average time of 39 minutes watching video on their mobile devices last year, up from nine minutes in 2012 and 30 minutes in 2014 – proving that consumer appetite for digital video is on the rise.
Below, you’ll find seven tips on how to create effective Instagram videos along with examples of brands who are finding creative ways to use video on the social platform.
1. Use Instagram’s ‘Hyperlapse’ function to get more bang for your buck.
One perk of Instagram’s 15-second video limit is that it forces brands to create succinct, eye-catching clips. But it can also leave marketers scratching their heads when they’re looking to create a more nuanced video or tell a compelling story.
Here’s where Instagram’s ‘Hyperlapse’ app can come in handy. It lets users create time-lapse videos that will play up to 12x their original speed, making it easier to create short films that don’t skimp on content.
Lowe’s has been using this tool for the past year as part of its ‘Hypermade’ campaign, which shows viewers how to complete do-it-yourself projects at home. In 15-seconds, the brand’s clips show you how to create a wall Christmas tree, spruce up your Super Bowl party, or decorate your porch for the fall.
2. Capitalize on what people are already talking about.
From the #snowpocalypse to this year’s presidential elections, 2016 is already shaping up to be an unforgettable year. It’s not always easy for brands to jump into conversations on social in a way that doesn’t feel forced, but if done right, Instagram videos can be the perfect way to engage with fans.
Take Jolly Rancher, for example. The candy brand’s Instagram is full of short animated videos that playfully combine its tagline ‘Keep On Sucking!’ with things that people are talking about in real-time, like football games, holidays and the Monday blues. In one video, a disgruntled blueberry cleans up after an apple and watermelon’s beach ball game, while the caption reads ‘Having to work on Labor Day sucks.’
Jolly Rancher’s Instagram has nearly 14,000 followers, no small feat for a brand that has only had a presence on the social platform for about six months.
3. Show off your brand’s star power.
Most big brands have celebrity spokespeople, whether they’re Hollywood actors or YouTube stars. Instagram video can be a great way for brands to leverage these relationships if they’re looking for a place to show off behind-the-scenes footage or post clips of their celeb partners interacting with and promoting their products.
After Ellen DeGeneres launched her kids clothing line with the Gap last year, the retailer posted video clips from the talk show host’s segment on its Instagram to help generate some excitement around the collaboration. One showed Ellen chatting with kids at one of the Gap’s NYC stores, while another featured a 10-year-old dancer clad in Gap clothing breaking it down on her show.
4. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
There’s lots of room for innovation with Instagram video, whether you’re using it to entertain, tell a story or teach viewers something new.
Last year, Land Rover decided to leverage Instagram’s photo tile format by stitching together hundreds of images and videos to create one giant panoramic photo. Viewers could scroll across horizontally and watch a scene unfold from daytime until night, with the ability to click on each video to delve deeper into the story. The brand created two of these under separate accounts, @SolitudeInSawtooth and @BrotherhoodOfWonderstone. One followed a young couple exploring Idaho’s Sawtooth National Forest, while the other captured the journey of two brothers as they traveled through the canyons of Kanab, Utah.
When viewers clicked on the videos, they would find instructional short films like ‘How to Ford a Body of Water’ or ‘How to Make a Compass’ as well as others that documented nature’s sights and sounds. If you’re a brand looking to be seen as an innovator in the digital space, creating a one-of-a-kind experience on a growing social network like Instagram could be a step in the right direction.
5. Remember that simple can be just as effective.
In today’s overwhelming social media environment, where new platforms and tools seem to pop up every minute, marketers may be wary of adding video to their Instagram if they feel like they don’t have the proper amount of time and money to invest into it.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes short, sweet videos get just as much, if not more, engagement as images and don’t take much time or resources at all to create.
Mattress company Casper has mastered the art of simplicity with its short, cheeky Instagram videos that aim to remind viewers that sometimes sleep is the best cure for a hangover. From a shower-cap-wearing cactus to a giant-sized Aspirin, the brand uses simple, everyday objects in its quirky videos to try and make viewers laugh while driving home its message.
A shower a day keeps the hangover at bay. (So does a nap.) A video posted by Casper (@casper) on
6. Draw attention to what your brand is doing outside the social realm.
While it’s easy to get caught up in how brands can effectively use social media, a lot of companies are doing really cool things in the physical world, especially in cities like LA and NYC. Using Instagram videos, marketers can document what they’re up to and share with followers all around the globe.
With more than 34 million Instagram followers, it’s clear that Nike has a passionate base of fans who want to keep up with what the brand is doing and launching. So aside from its product and athlete shots, Nike uses Instagram videos to show its millions of followers some of the cool events and experiences it is hosting in cities around the world.
To give viewers a peek of its pop-up ‘Nike SNKRS Station’ in NYC last year, the brand posted a hyperlapse video of the colorful installation on its Instagram page, drawing in more than 500,000 likes and thousands of comments.
7. Be on the lookout for trends.
Anyone who has been on Facebook recently has more than likely seen one of Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos, which use time-lapse techniques to show viewers how to make a variety of meals and desserts.
Last month, Kohl’s rolled out a time-lapse video of its own on Instagram to promote the NutriBullet, where it showed viewers how to make a banana smoothie.
The moral of the story: If you spot something that consumers are responding well to, do a little investigating and see if there’s a way you can incorporate elements of it into your brand’s own Instagram video strategy. What resonates with another brand’s audience might work for yours too.