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Using Instagram Videos in Social Media Marketing

If a picture tells a story, what kind of tale can be told in six seconds? Plenty, as it turns out, as witnessed by the success of the video platform Vine on Twitter. Instagram has taken that a step further with its new video feature: If six seconds is enough time to tell a story, 15 seconds is enough time to spin an epic tale.

Launched in June, Instagram Video is Facebook’s answer to Twitter’s Vine, though Facebook claims development of the video app has been in the works for some time. While Vine’s video feature is basically a turbo-charged GIF, it fits well with the brevity necessary to navigate the Twitter-verse. In contrast, Instagram relies on eye-catching, artistic photos, and Instagram videos should be no different. Here are some tips on incorporating Instagram Video into your brand marketing plans:

Be instructional and informative

Above all, you want your business or brand to be on everyone’s mind. But this only helps if they also know and remember what you’re all about. Use videos to answer the question, “What does your product or service do?”

Women’s fitness clothing brand lululemon already boasts several videos on its Instagram feed. Some feature various company events while highlighting the brand, but one video stands out because it showcases the product in a unique way. It features a variety of locations with the same woman wearing the same lululemon yoga outfit and doing the same series of poses. The editing is good, but not perfect, which is part of what makes the film so compelling, and there’s a playful surprise at the end.

Get people talking

The clothing and home goods store Anthropologie featured a recent video of a tiny puppy in an Anthropologie shoe. The puppy definitely steals the show here, but the brand is still well represented. With 6,932 likes and 758 comments, this video got Anthropologie’s followers talking, and some commenters even mentioned the shoe. Another Anthropologie video shows several quick shots of what looks like a meal being prepared with the caption “Find out what’s in the bowl come August! #Italy #Anthropologie.” Followers like to engage, and one way to do this and encourage comments is to compel followers with a question or directive.

Create something compelling and beautiful

Verve Coffee Roasters has turned the simple act of making a latte into a compelling short film. The camera cuts from the espresso machine, to an extreme closeup of espresso being poured, to a far shot of the barista preparing the drink and back to a close shot of the finishing touches. Whomever is manning the Instagram account over at Verve really understands the potential of this social media platform, because another compelling video from the company features an impromptu skateboard session at a Verve location.

Tell a story

What’s summer travel all about? Virgin America will tell you in 15 seconds, but suffice it to say it includes crowded airports, cheerful ticket agents, attractive and engaging flight attendants, and of course a ride on a cool Virgin America plane. Virgin also brings followers into the company culture with videos of its float at the San Francisco Pride Parade.

Pull back the veil

Bring your followers inside and show how it’s done — let them see something special. Purveyor of the famous red-soled shoes Christian Louboutin recently posted a video at @LouboutinWorld showing only his hands and his sketchbook as he sketched a shoe and colored the bottom red.

Meanwhile, at Cirque du Soleil’s  Montreal headquarters, a juggler from the show Dralion is shown practicing his craft via Instagram Video.

Both of these videos help make followers feel like special insiders.

Make use of the features

While you may not become the next Stephen Spielberg or Wes Anderson, consider using your favorite film director as inspiration for how you want your video to look. Several features let you have some control over this, including 13 filter effects and “cinema mode,” a stabilizing feature. The app also supports editing and lets users delete and add clips to a video.

Other things to keep in mind:

While some big companies might be tempted to use Instagram Video to make a slick commercial, don’t fall into that trap or worry that your film isn’t polished enough. This genre is meant to offer an insider’s view and offer followers a unique, yet simple experience.
You don’t have to use the full 15 seconds.
Shoot from different angles and perspectives.

SEO professionals and marketing gurus are beginning to embrace the concept that a successful SEO marketing campaign includes social media integration. The point of using Instagram Video in your marketing scheme is to tell your brand’s story and bring your customer inside your business. People love being a part of something and if someone is following your company on Instagram, they are interested in your business. Instagram Video is a new way to keep viewers engaged, encourage interaction and keep your brand foremost in their minds. Make it funny, make it instructional, make it compelling, but most of all, make it yours.

About the author: Kristin Marino is a freelancer writer and Instagram enthusiast who writes about education, career, and SEO topics. She has a degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is also a contributor to

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