The Secret to Making Effective Promotional Instagram Videos


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These days, Instagram is a promotional powerhouse. It’s a high-performing branding platform that allows brands to launch very successful, layered non-intrusive video ads campaigns.

But Instagram has its fair share of secrets you must know and tips you should follow when it comes to effectively engage an audience with promotional videos. Otherwise, your videos won’t resonate with people, and will probably fall short of your expectations in terms of practical results.

In this piece, we’ll go over a number of insights and tips from the best production companies out there to help improve your Instagram video content. Making it easier for you to effectively promote your products without coming across as “too salesy”, and improve your reach, engagement, and presence on the platform.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Timeline, Stories, IGTV… Which One is the best?

Choosing a channel for your video content on Instagram depends on what your goals and needs as a user are. The question is not so much which option is the best. It’s more a matter of which one is the best fit for you considering your goals and needs.

If you are looking for a fun and lighthearted way to connect with your audience and amplify your engagement, you should use Stories. They are 15 seconds long though, so you have to be super concise and get to the point quickly.

If you need to reach more people, you should post your videos on your Instagram Feed. Your feed receives 3 to 4 times more visits than your stories and gets discovered by new people all the time. Your Feed also acts as your brand’s official face on the platform.

If you are creating long-form videos that you want to keep online then IGTV is your weapon of choice. This is an option when you create a YouTube video that you want to share on Instagram. IGTV is best for users who want to create a video channel and produce long-form videos frequently.

As you see, there isn’t one option that is better than the others. It’s all about a group of channels that are a better fit and perform the best when catering to your specific needs and goals.

The Best Types of Videos for Instagram

We are going to be focusing on two types of Instagram videos today: product videos and what you could call lifestyle or social videos, as these are two of the most effective and beloved video styles on the platform nowadays.

Product Videos:

These videos usually revolve around customers’ pain points, product reviews, manufacturing processes, and/or popular features.

They appear in most businesses’ video marketing strategies to promote their brands and products in compelling and interesting ways without wasting too much time, so they should be useful, eye-catching, and to the point.

When making product videos your primary goal should be getting your product out there and making your brand known. Even if your ultimate goal is to sell, the more subtle you go about it, the more effective your piece will be – especially on a platform like Instagram.

If you want to create these videos on your own, you could always experiment with different types of video software and tools.

Social Videos

Particularly useful for personal brands, content creators, and building awareness, this is a style of video that has made the platform so popular in terms of video marketing.

Now, in this umbrella category there are several content options, such as behind the scenes videos, memes, quick tutorials… But what sets this style apart is that these pieces are aimed at building up your follower base. As such, they should be fun, light-hearted and creative.

How Long should your videos be?

Nowadays, Instagram is helping shape customers’ habits, in fact, people are more likely to make a purchase after seeing a product or service on the platform. But that’s not to say that every delivery channel on Instagram works the same! And while they all have a lot in common, length seems to be one of the most crucial differences you should consider when developing your promotional videos.

For promotional purposes, Instagram Stories and Story Ads seem to be the most effective when creating shopping experiences that end in sales. Instagram Stories are 15 seconds long, so your videos here should be extremely concise and make an impact from the get-go.

Feed posts are longer; usually 60 to 120 seconds, they are permanent and present you with a nice space to showcase your company and its products. After all, your Feed’s videos will act as the face of your business on the platform. Your feed content should be less experimental and more planned than your stories, as these are the videos most often discovered by new audiences. Most people visit a business’s Feed for a quick view of your company’s products and services

Instagram direct, on the other hand, gives you a simple and practical way to reach out and talk to your customers directly. You can message individuals or groups and share your videos using this channel, and it’s really useful to answer client’s questions and allow them to keep in touch with your brand. Like stories, your videos here shouldn’t be longer than 15 seconds, and are often used to satisfy a customer’s need to get in touch with your brand before and after making a purchase.

IGTV provides the opportunity to extend the conversation with your customers and deepen your video storytelling strategy. It was developed for mobile phone users and it removes length and format limitations.

IGTV videos can last anywhere from 15 seconds to 60 minutes. It’s favored by mobile users and speaks to the user that has the habit of consuming long-form video content.

Keep in mind videos that last from 25 to 30 seconds are the most commented on the platform. This means users have a short attention span and a habit to check out a video and move on to the next. Shorter videos should be at the core of your video strategy.

Optimize for Better Reach and Engagement

Reach and engagement are two of the most important metrics, as measuring the popularity of your video content is the best way to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and organically grow the scope of your presence on the platform.

Luckily, Instagram provides a lot of opportunities for you to do so, so let’s go over some of the most important ones.

Optimizing Reach

Host contests and ask questions

Questions and contests are two powerful tools when working on increasing user participation. They make people wonder, think, and prompt them to participate to demonstrate their knowledge and value. Contests and giveaways give your followers the chance to participate as well, but with the added incentive of maybe winning something for their effort.

Both give your followers the chance to be a part of your brand’s experience.

Maximize user-generated content

User-generated content will help you keep your profile alive and fresh.

Find and showcase user-generated content by creating a unique hashtag and asking your fan base to contribute with their content. You can ask questions and share your followers’ content as well, to motivate them to keep creating more. There are also influencers who may enjoy your product that you can reach out to.

Most importantly, always make sure you ask for permission, give credit to the original creator and offer something in return.

Go live

Live entertainment has its own appeal. Think of concerts, stage plays and stand-up shows. They exist for a good reason. People want to experience the real deal first hand. Going live is a great way of reaching a crowd and generating comments in real-time.

Use Ads

Instagram has developed a powerful ad platform that rivals Pinterest, Twitter and Google ads. You should use Instagram ads to promote the videos that resonated the most with your followers. This way your ads can reach the people you promote to with the content already favored by your fan base.

Be an Active User and Know your Followers

This is a no-brainer. You have to be an active user to extend your reach and grow your follower base. Follow people, like content, create hashtags and participate. There’s no other way.

You must also know what your followers expect from your videos. And what they look for when they check your profile. Spend some time understanding your customer. It pays off.

Experiment with Video Types, Formats and Channels.

You should experiment with different video types and channels until you find what works for your brand. Instagram offers a variety of options and it’s always introducing innovations.

Recent research reports that mobile video consumption rises by 100% every year, a consequence of video outperforming all other media in different formats, types and devices.

To what extent? You may ask. Here’s a quote from Facebook research on the topic:

“Surveys show that people are 1.8x more likely to be inspired by mobile video on Facebook and Instagram than TV, and 1.5x more likely to feel excited by mobile video on Facebook and Instagram than TV.”

However, while video consumption online continues to rise everywhere, you must adjust your video production to your goals and needs, and understand which channel is the best for your brand at any given time. Check out the types of videos available and experiment to find what styles and formats keep your audience engaged and taking action.

Keep a Publication Schedule and be Mindful of Publishing Times

You have to publish regularly and you must know what time is the best time to publish your content. We are all creatures of habit, so try and provide your content at regular intervals or following a consistent schedule to enhance your results.

Pro tip: You can use your analytics to check your fan base’s most active time frame and publish on those times.

Maximizing Engagement

Mind your Channels

An omnichannel approach to marketing and promotion is key for brands these days. This means that your clients should find your content on every venue they visit receiving the value your brand provides without getting annoyed. This means that you have to learn to use Instagram video channels and find the right mix between channel selection and content.

Be Strategic about Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to communicate with your fan base. They are useful to drive traffic and build buzz. Unlike other social platform users, Instagram users can use up to thirty hashtags on a post! However, hashtags can be a double-edge sword. Too many random hashtags won’t bring quality traffic or make your post popular. On the contrary, that practice can hurt your strategy and muddle the metrics by which you measure success on the platform.

Be Clear

You must prompt people to participate, like and comment. Make sure you use your video captions to establish context for your videos. Try to explain what you want to accomplish when sharing that particular piece of content.

A Few More Tips for Better Performance

Even though your video performance is mostly tied to your content, there are a few extra things you can do to get better at video marketing on Instagram.

The specifics depend on your strategy’s goals, but there are a few common tips and practices that can quickly improve your content, and apply to all the videos you’ll use on the platform. Here are some important ones to keep in mind:

•Avoid using important audio at the start of your video.

•Use popular frames and themes when possible.

•Use relevant hashtags for better reach and visibility.

•Respect video specs and sizes.

•Use geotags to make your posts more discoverable.

•Tag relevant accounts and use popular story stickers.

• Introduce ads to grow your reach and engagement.

• Consider cross-promoting your videos on other social networks.

• Interact with your followers through comments.

Parting Thoughts

Video is the present and the future of promotion and marketing online. New apps and tools are introduced on Instagram and similar platforms on a regular basis, designed to create engagement and promote your brand. But you need to make sure you are ready for it!

Having clear goals and a thorough knowledge of what the platform has to offer in terms of promotional tools and strategies, will give you strategy much better chances of success.

Hopefully, what you’ve learned today will help you create videos that grow your traffic and expand your reach and engagement. Put these tips to good use, and you won’t be disappointed!

Victor Blasco
Víctor Blasco is the founder and CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. He is also an audiovisual designer and video marketing expert. Aside from running the business, he loves studying Chinese Philosophy and is a real geek for science fiction films and comics!


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