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Ultimate Guide to Creating Engaging Instagram Video Content

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So, it’s 2021, and we’re far from the opinion that Instagram is some indie app for photographers, artists, and creatives. 

All of the latest updates show a serious commitment to business and entrepreneurs trying to make it big using Instagram as their primary marketing and, as of recently, sales channel. 

As we’re on the myth-busting territory, it’s time to resolve another popular misconception about Instagram. Instagram video content to be more precise. 

Contrary to popular opinion, Insta video is not only reserved for big-budget companies or artists that are tech-savvy. Quite the opposite. With the overwhelming number of influencers and aspiring creators entering the Insta playing field, we’re becoming more aware of the shift to more relaxed and under-edited video formats. Those are still very much business-oriented, don’t get us wrong. 

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And who can forget the spike in Instagram Live videos with the pandemic outbreak of Covid-19

Long story short, users love watching videos, and businesses and creators are beginning to focus more efforts on making the most amazing Instagram video content to keep their audiences entertained. 

If you’re still not sold on the Instagram video opportunities, consider this – 54% of consumers report they want to see more video content from their favorite brands. 

What are you waiting for? Put on that director suit, and let’s start rolling. 

Instagram video types

Let’s first break down all the different video types currently available on Instagram. 

Instagram Stories

Their majesty – IG Stories have been around for long enough to become a staple in any business or creator Instagram strategy. More so, their versatility and easy accessibility allow for more user engagement and interest. 

You can record an Insta Story by swiping right from the home screen, or you can click the plus icon and select Stories. There’s also the option to upload a pre-recorded Story from your Photo Library. 

These fun, 15-second ephemeral videos have seen many additions over the years. You can expand the shelf-life of your favorite Stories by saving them to the customizable Highlights section. This is an amazing option for businesses to add more variety to their IG content while leveraging older content to get additional engagement. 

Brands and influencers are using popular emojis and stickers to add interactivity to the mix. The audiences are here for it. Around four million brands use different polls, Q&A stickers, and product tags to maximize their Stories’ potential. 

The popular Swipe up feature in Stories truly revolutionized the way businesses are using the platform. In addition to one clickable link in Instagram Bio, the Swipe up feature in Stories allows professional accounts with 10,000+ followers to add as many links to as many Stories as they want. And we all know how well this translates into organic conversions. 

Finally, let’s not forget the Stories top-of-the-feed location and their relaxed vibe, contributing to the feature’s overall popularity. 

Instagram in-feed video

The first video format on Instagram is the in-feed video. This three to sixty seconds long video is labeled with the camera icon at the top right of the post. Feed video is uploaded as any other feed post – you can either upload it from your Photo Library or recorded it from the Instagram camera. 

Boomerangs, GIFs, and other in-feed videos can contain filters, locations, and product tags. Like with regular post images, users can engage with feed videos by leaving comments, likes or sharing them via DMs or Stories. 

Instagram Live videos

Instagram Live streams allow users to do live streams via the built-in camera. With the last year’s pandemic outbreak, we’ve seen a 70% increase in the Live feature usage. 

Businesses, creators, and regular folks were all going live to maintain close relationships with their communities and provide some entertainment during the tough pandemic-ridden days. 

To access the Live feature, you can simply swipe right or tap the plus icon and navigate to the Live option. 

You can now Live stream for up to four hours and have two profiles hosting the stream. Your followers will get a notification once you start the Live stream, and your Live icon will get the first spot at the Stories bar. Lives can be shared for up to 30 days before they are deleted, or you can save them to IGTV and have them on your profile for as long as you want. 

You can easily track the number of viewers that appear at the top of the Live screen. Users engage with comments and emojis, which appear on-screen in real-time. 

Instagram Live feature has been upgraded with Live Badges to support creators. The 2020 IG updates also include Live Donations options and Live Shopping tags. For a more in-depth insight into the Live feature, head on over to our ultimate Live guide on the blog. 

IGTV

Instagram TV is another cool addition to the Instagram video category. Building upon its predecessor – in-feed video, IGTV allows for a longer, pre-recorded video format. With up to 60-minute video length, IGTV offers more to businesses and creators looking to do more in-depth video content. 

IGTV videos are given extra attention with a dedicated tab on profiles and a section on the Explore tab. Creators can create a series of IGTV videos and show 15-second teaser previews

Creators are allowed valuable engagement opportunities with users liking, commenting, saving, or sharing their favorite IGTV videos.

For more on all things IGTV, visit our blog post – IGTV Vs. YouTube: Which Is Best for Your Business, Plus How to Leverage IGTV as A Brand.

Instagram Reels

The new kid on the Instagram block, Reels, brings a fresh dose of fun and excitement to the platform. Inspired by the TikTok video frenzy, Reels are packing a ton of options into 15-30 second videos

Creators can either use the in-built Instagram camera or upload from their Photo Library. The vertically oriented Reels videos support hashtags, captions, and even product tags. They can be found anywhere – from users’ tabs and feed to the dedicated Reels tab. 

The real power of IG Reels lies in their versatility options provided by features like AR filters, green screen mode, speed control, and more. 

How to make the most of your Instagram video content

Now that we’ve listed all the Instagram video formats, it’s time to break down the best tips on how to make them work for you. 

Although the formats differ, you can use the same rules and strategies when creating each of the five. 

Create with the best user experience in mind

First things first, you have to keep in mind that most Instagram users consume content on mobile. Therefore, it’s best to film your videos using vertical orientation. As you usually would, but when you’re filming before and planning to upload the video to Instagram, it’s best to keep this in mind. 

Unless you’re filming IGTV videos. The video length here allows for horizontal orientation.

Optimize for silent mode

Keep in mind that people are checking their Instagram at work, at an event, in public transport, and in many other contexts where they would have the sound turned off. Also, make sure to make your video accessible to people with hearing impairments. 

How?

Add captions to your videos. It’s super simple, actually. IGTV has the automatic caption option, while IG Stories and Reels support timed text. 

Also, let’s not forget that 60% of users watch videos with sound on, as Instagram reported. So, be sure to add sound, effects, or songs, to highlight your videos and capture your audience’s attention.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Instagram’s @Creators (@creators)

Be of service

To really boost your engagement with your Instagram video content, you have to be purposeful about it. 

Each time you’re planning a video, have a clear goal in mind. And the goal has to be about the value for the users. Whether it solves some of their most common problems, explains your service or product in more detail, gives instructions on how to do something, answers their most common questions, or simply entertains, it’s only valuable if it’s of service to your users. 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sephora (@sephora)

Grab their attention early on

You’ve got only one chance to make the first impression, and when it comes to Instagram videos, it’s three seconds before they scroll away. 

So, you better act fast and create the best opening to keep them hooked from the beginning. 

  • Add stunning visuals
  • Add engaging titles
  • Create captivating teasers
  • Add the element of surprise in the intro
  • Craft an amazing caption to lure them in.
 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sarah Nicole Landry (@thebirdspapaya)

Consistency is key

Get your audience accustomed to your posting schedule to develop a sense of expectancy. This, of course, means you’ll have to keep a regular presence and upload frequently. 

Although it’s pretty time-consuming, it’s very well worth the effort. In addition to keeping your audience engaged, the consistent upload will get you to Instagram’s good side. And you know what this means for your discoverability. 

Boost your discoverability

Besides consistent posting, you can do several other things to improve your chances of getting a new audience involved. 

Don’t let any piece of your unique IG video content get unnoticed. 

  • Use hashtags for better optimization. Use our Ultimate Hashtag guide to learn how to make the most of IG hashtags. 
  • Add location tags to engage local audiences.
  • Tag your guest and co-host accounts to target their audience.
  • Use other content forms to announce your big video pieces.
  • Promote your videos on Instagram and other social media platforms alike.
  • Post video teasers to IG Stories, Twitter, or Facebook. Save your Lives to IGTV and create series. 

Use any opportunity to get more eyes on your Instagram videos and watch how your engagement metrics skyrocket. 

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Takeaway

With the new additions to the Instagram video format being introduced quarterly, to say that video is high in demand is a major understatement. Businesses big and small are taking notice, and we can see more efforts being made in this space. To ensure your business stays relevant and engaging, use our guide to craft a killer Instagram video content plan. 

And don’t forget to share your takeaway.

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