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5 Things You Need to Make Effective Instagram Videos

In this article, we’ll break down some of those essential elements to consider when creating videos specifically for Instagram, to help users create more effective content on the platform.

By Victor BlascoPublished 4 years ago 6 min read

Once primarily a photo-based platform, Instagram videos now garner such interaction levels that no company, thought leader, and content creator can afford to ignore.

Whether you want to use video to promote your business, showcase your craftmanship, or share your thoughts on food or mental health, you can be sure there's an audience there waiting for you!

But making compelling Instagram videos is a multi-layered task, as the platform has many features you may not be initially aware of. So, to help you, we've chosen five key areas you need to attend to for a successful run on the platform. Keep these as a checklist when you're ready to go for it.

Timeline, Story, IGTV - Which One’s Best?

The proof that it's long past time since Instagram was merely a photo-based platform is that it holds several formats you can choose from to upload your video content. You have three basic venues where to post your pieces. But how to use them? Let's compare them one by one to evaluate their advantages.

• Timeline. Think of your feed as your business card: this is where you want to have your strategy’s core videos. Here, you don't have to settle for one kind of content: whether you want to share your company intro video or short exercise plans, there's a place for all of that in your feed.

• Stories. Instagram story videos quickly come and go. Of course, you want to use them to promote your content. But considered on their own, stories are perfect for announcing your news, showcasing your promos and offers, or simply sharing your spontaneous thoughts as you go about your day. Their fun and straightforward format is excellent for generating constant interaction and engagement.

• IGTV. You’ll probably want to produce videos where you go in-depth with your ideas, for which a gallery or a few Story Cards are not enough. With IGTV you can go longer and explain in full detail what you’re all about. Having this content available will establish you as a trustworthy thought leader.

But here’s the trick: you don't have to choose just one of those channels. Rather, be strategic about it. Use them all together to offer a variety of videos and lead people to your past and new posts.

Types of Videos That Perform Best

Choosing where to post is one thing. But what kind of videos are most useful for getting likes and reposts? That will depend on your goals. In this section, we present four types of video content that you frequently find (and see succeeding) on Instagram.

Preview Videos

You want to offer snippets of your latest news. Whether it's an upcoming event, your new product line, or your film production trailer, a short 30-second piece will be a fantastic means of generating excitement.

Product Videos

As audiences increasingly use social media to discover products, it's a good idea to harness Instagram's potential to showcase your offerings. Whether you simply want to display your product's details or explain its features to address sales objections, a product video will always be useful to both your followers and curious users.

How-To Videos

Now, you who use Instagram: how many great recipes have you picked up from there? Or how many hours have you spent watching people teach skills like woodcarving in real-time?

I know I've invested a lot of time watching How-To videos. As well as thousands of users who expect not only to consume cool videos but to learn something new that they themselves can put into practice.

Animated Videos

In social media, users are always on the lookout for the new and the creative—especially when that content is helpful and relevant to their needs and interests. That's why animated videos designed in a stunning style and visuals that focus on a strong message are so popular.

With this kind of piece, you can express yourself in a friendlier way and provide the entertainment that your followers are looking for.

How Long Should Your Video Be?

While regular Instagram posts allow you to upload up to one minute of video, IGTV enables you to go as long as 60 minutes. Similarly, there's no limit to the number of stories you can upload per day, each with a maximum of 15 seconds per Story Card.

But as with most matters, quantity doesn't imply quality. Just because you can go for the maximum length allowed by the platform doesn't mean you should. Instead, you need to experiment with your content and discover for yourself what strategy works best for you.

Here, we have some observations for you to bear in mind:

• Main feed. Yes, even 60 seconds can be demanding for your followers sometimes. This is part of the reason why Reels have shown to be so popular today: all the fun you can get in a longer video can be packed into a 15-second piece.

• Stories. Sure, some content creators have earned their reputation for uploading dozens of stories a day. But just looking at so many Story Cards is overwhelming for some users. However, an average of three to five story clips is a good rule of thumb to follow. Always prioritizing your most important messages first.

• IGTV. Not all followers will be willing to sit down for an hour to watch your post. Very few will, in fact. So, please remember that you can always break your content up into 5-to-10-minute pieces. If you find yourself needing to express your message at length, why not consider creating a series?

Know When Your Audience Is Most Active.

It's really frustrating to work hard on a post that ultimately goes unnoticed. But don't be so quick and harsh in judging yourself, your audience, or the algorithm: you may have simply posted your video at the wrong time.

There's a popular myth surrounding the "best time" to post your content as if this were an absolute rule that applies in every context. The truth is that, depending on your niche, time zone, and type of content and followers, the right time to upload your video will vary. And you must be prepared to embrace this challenge.

We recommend you take a scientific approach to this issue.

• Through your Account Insights, Instagram allows you to see and analyze the hour-by-hour time frame your audience is most active in. But don't immediately settle for the time that looks the most promising!

• Start by testing your performance. For a few weeks, post your videos in three basic times—let's say noon, afternoon, and night. While you're at it, record your results on a chart and compare them to each other.

By doing this task on your own, you will get a first-hand estimate of when it’s most convenient to post your content.

General Tips for Better Performance

As you've seen, there's no mystery about the success or failure of your video's engagement. So, don't just sit there wondering what went wrong: instead, try to get a clear understanding of the process at work. This will allow you to improve your content's reach next time.

Thankfully, Instagram offers a number of tools that help you effectively work on promoting your videos. Use them, and you will see your influence grow.

• Use Instagram’s editing features to encourage interactions. The platform hosts a whole catalog of GIFs, filters, stickers, and text and polling features that you can add to your posts or stories. These are amazing for giving nice looks to your videos. But if you want your followers to interact with your content, use them as cues to prompt their action.

• Pick Eye-Catching Thumbnails. Instead of choosing the platform's automatically generated images, upload an awesome cover photo to generate curiosity in your post. A great thumbnail is not only excellent for adding your brand colors, fonts, or design style to your feed. At their best, they are an interesting first introduction to your video.

• Design for sound-off views. All your videos will start auto-playing without sound and not all users will take the trouble to turn it on. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to caption your piece with subtitles: this way, your followers can get your message in all kinds of situations.

Summing Up!

As a social platform, Instagram offers many tools and features that are very appealing to video content creators. The key is to know how to use them well for more optimal performance. On this point, we have two takeaways:

1. Don't be afraid to use all Instagram options simultaneously. As we saw, a mixed strategy—in types of videos or where you post them, for example—can bring more visibility to all your content.

2. Focus on offering value, but also requests. If you want your followers to interact or share your videos, or to visit your other channels, let them know through clear CTAs.

Keep these tips in mind—plus the strategic areas we've reviewed—and you'll see your content reach new horizons.

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About the Creator

Victor Blasco

Victor Blasco is a digital marketing expert, co-founder & CEO of the Explainer Video company Yum Yum Videos and Yum Yum Digital.

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