The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Video for Businesses in 2019

Businesses are cashing in with online video.

In fact, studies show that 54 percent of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support. So, it’s no surprise that video is on the rise.

Plus, while photos generally outperform videos in terms of engagement, video engagement is growing at a faster rate than photos.

And with more than 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram deserves your attention. Since Instagram’s video application, IGTV, is still in the early stages of widespread adoption, those who get on board now could reap the rewards later.

This guide will share everything you need to know to start using Instagram video to grow your business.

Let’s dive in.

The 4 Types of Instagram Video

Yep – there are four different types of video on Instagram alone.

And it’s important to understand the differences and quirks.

Each type of Instagram video has different specifications and suits some situations more than others, although the best Instagram video format is MP4.

Here’s a quick rundown of the four types of Instagram video and the recommended specifications for each.

1. Feed Instagram Videos

Standard Instagram videos have been viewable in the Instagram feed since way back in 2013. You’ll see them while scrolling down your feed or browsing the explore tab.

Most brands use feed videos to share their more professional and planned-out Instagram videos.

These videos can be vertical, square, or horizontal.

  • Length: Ranges from 3 seconds to 60 seconds
  • Orientation: Vertical, square, or horizontal
  • Aspect Ratio: A minimum of 1.91:1 and a maximum of 4:5
  • Dimensions: 1080 by 608 pixels for portrait / 1080 by 1350 pixels for landscape

2. Instagram Video Stories

Instagram Stories launched in 2016 to compete with Snapchat Stories.

These vertical video snippets tend to be rougher around the edges than feed videos. Many accounts use Instagram Story videos to showcase the more personal side of their brand to their Instagram followers.

  • Length: Up to 15 seconds per Instagram Story video
  • Orientation: Vertical
  • Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • Dimensions: 1080 by 1920 pixels

3. Live Instagram Videos

Instagram Live lets you broadcast a live video stream to your followers.

This is a fantastic way to interact with your audience in real-time in an effort to deepen customer relationships.

Like Instagram Stories, Instagram Live videos are often spontaneous and uncut. As a result, most viewers won’t expect an Instagram Live video to be as professional or as polished as a Feed video.

Instead, it’s all about genuine connection and authenticity.

  • Length: Instagram Live video can be up to 60-minutes long
  • Orientation: Vertical
  • Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • Dimensions: 1080 by 1920 pixels

4. IGTV Videos

IGTV is a relatively new Instagram video format that was launched in 2018 in an effort to meet the growing demands of video content consumption.

The service can be accessed from the Instagram app or from a dedicated IGTV app.

IGTV is still in the early stages of widespread adoption, but it’s likely that IGTV will continue to grow as more Instagram users start using the medium.

  • Length: Between 15-seconds and 10-minutes long (unless you have a lot of followers or get verified, in which case videos can be up to 60-minutes long)
  • Orientation: Vertical
  • Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • Dimensions: 1080 by 1920 pixels

How to Post a Video on Instagram

Follow these eight simple steps to upload a video to Instagram.

1. Go to the Instagram app.

2. Tap the “+” icon at the bottom of the screen.

3. Select the video you want to upload, and tap “Next.”

4. Choose an Instagram video filter, and tap “Next.”

5. If your Instagram video is more than  60 seconds long, trim your clip, and then tap “Next.”

6. Select an Instagram video cover image, and tap “Next.”

7. Write an engaging caption, tag people, add a location, and select the other social networks you’dlike to share your Instagram video to.

8. Tap “Share” to publish your Instagram video.

9 Instagram Video Ideas

Now that you have the basics figured out, let’s take a look at nine different Instagram ideas that you can use to grow your business.

1. Share Something Entertaining

Give the gift of a smile.

Many Instagram users are simply scrolling down their feed looking to be entertained. So, entertain them!

The best part is that entertaining Instagram videos are the perfect opportunity to showcase your brand personality. In turn, this helps you to deepen relationships with your followers.

Plus, if you actually make your followers laugh, they’re far more likely to interact with the Instagram video. They might like it, share it with a friend, or leave a comment – all of which help to boost your standing with Instagram’s algorithm.

It doesn’t need to have blockbuster effects or production quality either. For example, check out this video from the apparel brand Chubbies that perfectly conveys their fun, vibrant brand personality.

View this post on Instagram

#chubbies

A post shared by Chubbies (@chubbies) on

2. Share Something Inspiring

Similarly, people love to be inspired.

So, create inspiring videos that will inspire and motivate your followers to feel better, go after their dreams, and get more out of life – without being too cheesy.

These types of Instagram videos are a perfect way to showcase your brand values and let followers know what you care about, and they should resonate deeply with your target audience.

Here’s a fantastic example of how Nike used an Instagram video to inspire and resonate with its female followers.

3. Tell a Story

Stories are a powerful way to connect with people.

From a young age, we learn fables, fairy tales, and stories – it’s what makes us human.

The famous copywriter and salesperson Gary Halbert once said, “Do you know what is the most-often missing ingredient in a sales message? It’s the sales message that doesn’t tell an interesting story. Storytelling … good storytelling … is a vital component of a marketing campaign.”

In this Instagram video, watch-brand Daniel Wellington shares a story from brand ambassador and actor Drew Ray Tanner.

4. Teach Something

You can also create an Instagram video to share and teach your followers something new related to your brand.

If you sell fitness gear, you could share workout routines. If you sell makeup products, you could offer makeup tips. Whatever your business does, there’ll be something you can teach your followers.

It doesn’t have to be a skill either. You could also share wisdom, advice, or a thought-provoking idea.

Let’s look at a great example from the apparel brand So Worth Loving. This brand is all about promoting love, compassion, and acceptance.

5. Promote Your Existing Products

You can also create Instagram videos to promote your existing products, which can be incredibly effective.

There are tons of different ways to do this. You could get technical and show the ins and outs of your product’s best features. You could show your products being used out in the world. You could also share a customer review or testimonial of a specific product.

In this video, entrepreneur Kylie Jenner showcases her makeup products.

6. Tease and Launch New Products

Instagram is a great place to promote new product launches.

You can use Instagram Stories to share teasers for an upcoming product or line. You could create mini-trailers to showcase your product’s benefits and features. Then, you could launch the product on Instagram Live to build hype and interest.

Check out this product launch video from razor and cosmetics brand Dollar Shave Club.

7. Share a Behind-the-Scenes Video

It’s always interesting to find out what goes on behind closed doors. So, why not take your followers on a journey into the inner workings of your business or life?

This is a great way to deepen your customer relationships and build brand trust. And don’t be afraid to get personal – authenticity and transparency are key.

In this example, fitness apparel brand Gymshark offers its Instagram followers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into its renowned pop-up events.

8. Promote a Sale or Promotion

Promoting a discount is a quick and powerful way to boost sales.

However, make sure to do so sparingly. Constant sales can devalue your brand and reduce the impact of urgency and scarcity tactics.

In this Instagram video from Luxy Hair extensions, the brand promotes a $10 discount to coincide with prom.

9. Conduct a Poll or Ask a Question

Instagram videos can also be a great way to gather feedback from your followers while also promoting your products.

You can use the dedicated Instagram Stories poll or question stickers to make it easy for your followers to interact with your Instagram video.

Here’s a great example from Kylie Cosmetics that invites followers to share their opinions in the comment section.

8 Instagram Video Tips

Now that you have some ideas under your belt, let’s take a look at eight tips to bear in mind when creating and sharing Instagram videos.

1. Get Comfortable With Vertical Video

Although horizontal video looks and feels more natural, the way that people consume video on mobile devices is changing the landscape of video. In other words, vertical video is taking over. A whopping 57 percent of video views worldwide come from mobile devices. Plus, mobile devices are held vertically 94 percent of the time.

And Instagram is a mobile application.

What’s more, IGTV and Instagram Stories are purely vertical formats. So, if you’re not already comfortable with vertical video, it’s time to hop on the bandwagon.

2. First Impressions Count

There’s an incredible amount of interesting and engaging content on Instagram. So, why should your followers watch your Instagram videos when there’s an infinite amount of alternatives available?

You have to earn their attention.

When a user is scrolling down their feed, you only have a split second to catch their attention and entice them to watch and engage with your Instagram video.

So, make sure the first few seconds of your Instagram videos are compelling and eye-catching.

Here’s a great example of a powerful start from camera makers GoPro. The view from the top of the mountain tempts us and makes us want to see what happens next.

3. Don’t Always Rely on Sound

Many people watch social media videos without listening to the sound. In fact, a massive 85 percent of Facebook video is watched without sound.

What’s more, Instagram feed videos play automatically – without sound. Users have to tap the video to enable the sound, and the majority just won’t bother.

In other words, you need to make sure many of your videos work just as well without sound. For example, most of GoPro’s videos work fine without sound because they feature action shots.

However, when your Instagram videos feature people talking, it’s often a good idea to add captions like in this video from Oberlo’s Instagram account.

4. Brand Your Instagram Videos

Branding is an effective way to stand out from your competitor’s Instagram videos.

A powerful brand aesthetic requires consistency over time. By sticking to the same colors, fonts, style, tone, and formats, your Instagram videos will begin to feel more familiar to your followers.

One of the simplest ways to do this is to use Instagram templates.

Your branding doesn’t need to be over-the-top either. For example, Shopify has chosen to end each Instagram video with its logo.

5. Use Apps to Edit Your Instagram Videos

There are countless amazing Instagram apps that can help you create incredible Instagram videos.

You can use apps to edit video clips together, add captions to your videos, or create templates for branding.

Here’s a list of five amazing video editing apps for Instagram.

  1. Clipomatic: Allows you to add captions to your videos.
  2. Jump Rope: Perfect for creating “how-to” videos.
  3. Adobe Premiere Clip: Great for automatic video editing.
  4. KineMaster: Enables you to create multicam edits on the go.
  5. PicPlayPost: Awesome for creating video collages and acapella videos.

For recommendations, check out our guide to 29 life-changing Instagram Story apps.

6. Use Stickers, GIFs, Emojis, and More

Instagram provides tons of tools to help you keep your audience engaged, such as GIFs, text overlays, stickers, emojis, and other design elements.

For example, overlaying text onto Instagram stories can help drive home the message you want to convey. Or why not use the “Sound On” sticker to prompt viewers to turn the sound on?

As mentioned, the poll and question stickers can be incredibly useful when trying to boost engagement on Instagram.

In the Instagram Story below, watch as brand MVMT uses a text overlay, emoji, and the poll sticker to engage viewers.

7. Pick an Eye-Catching Cover Photo

When you upload an Instagram video, you have the option of choosing a cover photo.

This is important.

Although Instagram videos autoplay in the feed, your cover photo is responsible for enticing viewers to tap and watch your videos in IGTV.

After you’ve spent ages creating the perfect Instagram video, don’t fall at the last hurdle by using a bad cover photo.

So, don’t just pick a random frame from your video.

Take the time to choose a great image. You should also make sure that your Instagram video cover photo clearly represents the overall message and content of the video – no one likes clickbait.

Take note from Calvin Klein’s Instagram video cover photos, which are simple and inviting.

8. Put Your Instagram Insights to Use

If you’re not putting your Instagram Insights to use, you’re missing out.

This free analytics tool is available to every Instagram business profile, and it will reveal how your Instagram videos and pictures are performing.

When you check your Instagram Insights regularly, you’ll be able to tell what works and what doesn’t. It’ll be clear which type of Instagram videos your followers enjoy the most, and you’ll be able to spot clear trends.

Then, you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

The result? Your following will grow and people will engage with your content more.

To access Instagram Insights you need to have a business profile. For more help, check out our guide on how to use Instagram Insights to fuel growth.

Summary

Instagram video marketing is an effective way to reach your target market and grow your business.

But it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd.

To do so, you need to consistently share compelling Instagram videos that engage and delight your target audience.

Entertain and inspire your followers, teach something, promote your products, and engage viewers directly with questions and polls.

When creating Instagram videos, bear in mind these eight tips:

  1. Get comfortable with creating vertical videos – most users hold their devices in the upright position.
  2. Focus on the first few seconds of your video – you need to catch people’s attention and entice them to watch.
  3. Don’t rely on sound – feed videos autoplay without sound, and many viewers watch videos without the sound on.
  4. Brand your Instagram videos – develop a consistent brand look to make your videos stand out and feel familiar to your followers.
  5. Take advantage of apps – there’s plenty of apps that can help you to create incredible Instagram videos.
  6. Use GIFs, stickers, emojis, and more to engage viewers.
  7. Take some time to choose a great Instagram video cover photo – people judge books by their covers.
  8. Put your Instagram Insights to use. These analytics can provide invaluable information about how to improve your Instagram video content and strategy.

Lastly, don’t forget to have fun!

When you enjoy creating videos and engaging with your audience, you’ll almost certainly put more time and effort in. Plus, you’ll develop more genuine and authentic customer relationships.

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