As we approach its 7th birthday, Instagram has proven that it has staying power and can contend with some of the older social media kids on the block such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. While most of us (yours truly included) use Instagram to show off our cute cats and dogs, or over-saturate our followers’ feeds with #foodporn, this social medium has huge potential for marketers, especially in terms of video.
What makes Instagram perfect for marketing is the inherent visual nature of the medium - each post is a picture, a graphic, or a video - in essence, an ad for your company, organization, or product. When used correctly Instagram can help raise brand awareness, create brand affinity, engage your audience, and even entice them to take action. Like most social media though, one single post typically won’t work, it needs to be seen as an aggregate of all your efforts across the platform.
If Instagram is right for you then you’ll want to make sure your account is optimized appropriately. This is as simple as setting a profile picture and adding some information about your business or organization. Make sure the image reflects you or your business since it’s a constant visual representation of it. If you want your audience to have an option to visit your website, another social media account, etc., then feel free to include that link in your profile as well. Keep this section brief though.
Once you get that done come up with some ideas for posts. My suggestion here is to create a strategy, and a schedule, for your posts, with some space built in for things that pop up unexpectedly. You don’t need to post every single hour, or even every single day, but you do need to post regularly. If you can post once a day, great, do it, if you can only post once a week, awesome, do that - just make sure you stick to it. And keep in mind, utilizing social media of any kind is a marathon, not a sprint - so don’t post every single day for 2 weeks, only to run out of content and let your account stagnate. Think ahead, schedule things strategically, and aim for regular posts as often as you can.
You might be thinking “Adam, you’ve just described a bunch of stuff that have very little to do with video. What gives?” Well I wanted to give you a sense of what kind of posts you should expect to do as you’re developing your marketing strategy on Instagram. On to the video portion!
Once you’ve created your schedule let’s look at a few tips for producing awesome Instagram videos. You won’t need $10k and a bunch of high-end equipment to produce these, (but if you have that kind of cash laying around for marketing purposes contact me immediately), all you need is your phone, and some content. So let’s get going:
Tip #1: Show, don’t tell.
This adage is as old as moving pictures, and rightfully so: it’s the essence of film and video. Show your audience what you want them to see rather than describing it to them. Do you make the best cupcakes in town? Show me the process, show me the finished products, show me a smile on the face of a customer after eating one - don’t just sit on camera and describe them, that’s what titles, descriptions, and other media are for. Show me the cupcakes!
Tip #2: Go behind the scenes.
Most likely your business, service, or organization has an outward facing portion that your clients, customers, or partners see, and then some internal portions that only you and your employees see. For instance if you work at a hospital most people likely only see a fraction of the entire facility (lucky for them), so show them something they might not ever see or know about - for instance is the food really good, is the equipment really space-agey, do you have an awesome staff that you could do profiles on, or is there an awesome Pinterest-worthy storage system in your backroom? Show your audience something they might not get the chance to see otherwise.
Tip #3: Slow it down
Slow-motion video, or slow-mo video, is really popular and even more accessible than ever. Current smart phones, and most low- and mid-level cameras offer slow-motion capabilities, and lots of DSLRs and other cameras offer some form of this. Slow-motion gives us a neat perspective that we can’t replicate with our own eyes/perception. Making hand-tossed crust pizzas? Shoot the crust-toss in mid flight. Pouring a beer? Shoot the pour and slow it down. Slow motion is really neat and isn’t something we can’t make ourselves see out in the real world.
Tip #4: Speed it up
Timelapse videos are a great way to showcase yet another thing we can’t perceive: time. Want to see the sunset in 5 seconds? You can with a timelapse video. Timelapses can show us something that happens over minutes, hours, days, weeks, even years, in a matter of seconds. Decorating a cake? Take a timelapse video and show it happening in 10 seconds. Brewing beer? Make a timelapse and show the weeks of fermentation in a minute. Most cameras offer some form of time-lapse video function, but for in-depth work you’ll want a DSLR or another camera with an intervalometer function.
Tip #5: Get up close….
Macro shots, or extreme closeups, are yet another way to show your audience something they might not get a chance to see with their own two eyes. Get up close and show us something unique about your product. Do you make jewelry? Show us some extreme closeups of the jewels or gems sparkling with light. Work in a coffee shop? Show us an extreme close up of some fresh coffee being ground. Find something your audience might not normally see and bring them into your world.
Tip #6: ….and Personal
Show your personality - humanize your organization. Have the best damn office staff in the world? Show them working. Surprise each of your workers and get a candid smile on camera. Have a fun inter-office game people play? Make a montage of the game and show us how fun it is to work there. You know your organization better than we do, so film it and show us what makes you YOU.
Now that you’ve got a handle on just a few of the many things you can do with your Instagram videos, plan some ideas out and see how they work. If you’ve never done video before, have an interest in learning more, or want to begin incorporating it into your marketing strategy, please don’t hesitate to connect with us. If you’ve worked with Instagram or video before, are there are any tips you would consider adding to this list? Let us know!
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