Instagram got its start with still images, so it’s no surprise that those remain the platform’s bread and butter. To this day, still photos are still the most popular type of content on Instagram. In fact, images boast pretty high engagement rates at 1.74%.
But that certainly doesn’t mean you should ignore video. Though still images continue to edge out video in terms of popularity, video isn’t far behind. Instagram feed videos have an engagement rate of 1.45% — and more marketers are starting to increase their investment in video because of its growing popularity.
Video is one marketing trend you don’t want to ignore, and that’s why we’re going to show you how to get started with video clips for your brand’s Instagram profile.
Understanding the 4 Types of Instagram Videos
To start, it’s crucial to understand that there are four different types of Instagram videos. This is important because you can’t just create any old videos for this platform. Instead, each video should be tailored to one of the four types — not just in terms of content, but in specifications, too.
As of 2021, IGTV became Instagram Video — but despite the rebrand, it still serves much the same purpose. These are the videos that you upload to your main feed rather than to Stories or elsewhere.
What’s great about these videos is that they’re pretty flexible in terms of content and video length. You’ve got a full hour of runtime to work with, which means that if you want to create longer videos on Instagram, this is the place to do it.
Required Video Specs
- Resolution: 1080 x 1920
- Minimum resolution: 720
- Supported aspect ratios: 9:16 (recommended) or 16:9
- Minimum 1-minute runtime
- Maximum 15-minute length when uploaded on mobile
- Maximum 1-hour length when uploaded from desktop
- Maximum video file size for videos under 10 minutes is 650 MB
- Maximum file size for videos over 10 minutes but under 60 minutes is 3.6 GB
- Required file format is MP4
How to upload to Instagram Video:
- Use Instagram’s built-in camera to record or upload a video from your phone’s library.
- Follow the on-screen prompts to create a video preview (up to 60 seconds long) that you can post to your feed.
- Additional prompts will give you options for editing, tagging, and more.
- When finished, post! Your video will appear in the dedicated Video section on your profile.
Remember that just because you have a whole hour to work with, that doesn’t mean you need to create hour-long videos. For the most part, people still prefer short videos. The recommended length of Instagram Video posts is between two and five minutes.
Instagram Stories are among the most popular Instagram video formats out there — and they’re pretty unique in how they work, too. These are 15-second videos that only display for 24 hours. After that, they automatically disappear unless you save them to your brand’s Highlights section.
There’s so much you can do with Instagram Stories. You can include filters, emojis, stickers, and hashtags, and this is also one of few spots where Instagram allows links — and that’s important, because it’s a huge way to drive leads to your company’s website or ecommerce store. A survey by Instagram indicates that at least 50% of respondents have visited a website after seeing a link to a product or service in Stories.
Required Video Specs
- Resolution: 1080 x 1080
- Aspect ratio: 9:16
- Max file size: 4 GB
- Recommended formats include MP4 and MOV
- Max length: 2 minutes for ads and 15 seconds for organic
How to post an Instagram Story:
- Use Instagram’s camera or upload from your photo reel.
- Customize your video with emoji, stickers, and other elements. Be sure to include a link if you have one, since this is one of few spots where Instagram allows them.
- After your Story expires, visit the archive tab, tap on the Story and save it so that it shows up in your Highlights reel.
Take advantage of all the little add-ons like emojis, stickers, and filters that you can use with Stories. Use these well, and they can add a trendy sense of fun and personality to your stories.
Also be sure to save your Stories to your brand’s Highlights so that people can binge-watch older Stories whenever they want.
Got an important event coming up? Consider livestreaming it via Instagram Live! It’s a great place to draw in viewers when you’ve got product launches, interviews, workshops, and other buzz-worthy events for people to tune in to.
To your viewers, the livestream will appear in front of the Stories bar with a special Live icon to show that you’re streaming. You also have control over commenting, with the ability to pin comments, moderate, or shut them off. These videos stick around so that you can share them for up to 30 days. After that, they are deleted.
Required Video Specs
- Length: Up to 4 hours
- Resolution: 1080 x 1920
- Aspect ratio: 9:16
- Fast internet connection required to avoid interruptions
How to start Live videos:
- Tap the plus icon
- Toggle to “Live”
- That’s it — you’re good to go!
Don’t just start a Live event and hope that people show up for it. You can schedule Live broadcasts up to 90 days in advance. Make sure to do so as early as possible so that you have plenty of time to get the word out and get lots of viewers for your event.
What are Instagram Reels? They’re similar to TikToks — but on Instagram, instead. Much like TikTok videos, these are short clips that are meant to be buzzworthy and shareable.
In keeping with the similarities to TikTok, Instagram Reels give you plenty of features to leverage to jazz up your content. These include AR filters, green screen mode, timed text, an audio library, speed controls, a timer, and more.
In your brand’s profile, you’ll find them under a dedicated Reels tab.
Required Video Specs
- Resolution: 1080×1080
- Aspect ratio: 9:16
- Length: Either 15 or 30 seconds
- Max file size: 4 GB
- Formats: MP4 or MOV
How to upload an Instagram Reel:
- Open up the IG Reels tab to create a new post, then either upload a clip or record using Instagram’s camera.
- Add music, special effects, and edit using Instagram’s tools (you can also use your own music by recording your Reel with it).
- Preview your post, and add text or AR effects, then share it!
Get the most out of your Reels by using in-app effects and sounds to create more visually appealing content with a greater chance of trending.
Another important thing to remember is that Instagram crops Reels slightly, so while you may film using the above specs, the actual video will display slightly smaller at 1080 x 1350 resolution with a 4:5 aspect ratio. Keep this in mind so that you don’t accidentally crop out important parts of your shot.
Instagram Video: 8 Tips to Fuel Engagement With Your Audience
Ready to start creating videos for your brand? Here are some tips and tricks to help you optimize them for Instagram.
1) First, Consider a Third-Party Content Creation Team
While there’s nothing wrong with taking the DIY route, creating great Instagram video content can take a lot of time and energy — and you likely already have a full plate. Working with a third-party content creation team can result in better videos that fit into your content marketing strategy more cohesively.
If possible, bring in experts to help you with content creation. Popular Pays can help you vet the best possible candidates with expertise in the areas you need, which is an easy way to build your content creation dream team.
2) Produce High-Quality Video Content
When we say “quality,” we’re not referring to content — at least, not here. We’ll talk about that below. In this case, we’re looking at creating content using decent equipment with good technical specs. To keep your brand looking professional, videos should be crisp and clear, perfectly in focus, with audio that is easy to understand.
To do that, you may need to invest the following:
- Smartphone with a high-quality camera and great video recording capabilities
- Camera with excellent video capabilities and a microphone to capture good audio
- Lighting, like a ring light or stand lights if you plan to film indoors and need to eliminate shadows
- Backdrop or “filming zone” so that you can keep everything in the video looking great, including the background
3) Entertain, Educate, or Inspire
Now let’s talk about content quality in terms of the content itself. With so much video content out there, your brand’s videos have to offer something of value in order to stand out from the crowd — or people will scroll right past it.
This means that one way or another, you need to entertain, educate, or inspire. If you can do two or all three of those things in a video, even better!
Things like quick tutorials that are both entertaining and educational are great examples of valuable content. Product-use guides that inspire people to try something new while showing them how to do it are another excellent way to provide value to your followers.
4) Always Add Subtitles or Captions to Your Videos
Why add subtitles or captions? Because forecasts show that by 2023, an estimated 2.72 billion people will be watching video on mobile phones. That’s a lot of people watching videos from anywhere and everywhere — including places where they may not be able to listen to audio.
Imagine people browsing your brand’s Instagram feed while standing in line at the store or riding the subway. Sometimes, people even watch videos on mute in their own homes so as to not disturb others. Not to mention, captions and subtitles make videos much more accessible to people with hearing impairments.
Regardless of the reasons, captions and subtitles are all about accessibility. Make it easy for everyone to watch, and you’ll find that more people tune in.
5) Post Videos Regularly
Scheduling is a tricky subject. Most big brands post about 1.5 times per day to Instagram, on average. In other words, one to two posts per day is ideal. But, not all of those posts need to be videos.
The number of videos that you post really depends on your brand and your audience. Most of your posts can be still images — and be sure to post them regularly to keep your followers engaged. Long gaps between posts can result in less engagement, or an uptick in unfollows.
Where video is concerned, aim for one or two per week if your audience is older. For Millennial and Gen Z audiences, both of whom prefer video, you can post upwards of three or more videos per week, depending on your marketing budget.
6) Make Sure Each Video Has a Hook
A hook is what captures people and makes them want to watch your video. If you want people to watch your videos from start to finish, you need to have a good hook. Without one, it’s much too easy to scroll right by.
A good hook is designed to prevent this. When people are scrolling through their feeds, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention so that they pause to watch your content. Make sure that the first few seconds of your video is attention-grabbing and enticing so that you keep those viewers to the end.
7) Provide Value With Every One of Your Videos
In your own personal social feeds, have you ever unfollowed brands or individuals because the content wasn’t doing anything for you? You’re not alone. There’s so much digital marketing happening these days — plus all the updates from friends and family — that social media feeds are incredibly cluttered. People readily unsubscribe from accounts that clog their feeds and don’t offer value.
For your brand, this means it’s your responsibility to provide something valuable in every video that you post. Comedy, helpful information, something thought-provoking — it could be any of these (or something else) depending on your brand, products, and audience.
8) Choose an Interesting Thumbnail
Lots of people scroll through their feeds fast enough that all they see is the thumbnail. This means you need to have an interesting and engaging thumbnail that makes people pause to give your video a chance.
To do this, you need to create a thumbnail that is attractive and hints that the video content contains something of value. For example, if you’re posting a tutorial, make sure your thumbnail includes a beautiful shot of the finished product.
What you shouldn’t do is create a clickbait thumbnail. This means you need to avoid the common tropes that cause people to roll their eyes, like crazy facial expressions or unbelievable claims. You also want to avoid over-promising — your thumbnail should accurately reflect what people will get from the video. If it promises too much and people leave disappointed, they’ll be less likely to follow or interact in the future.
Best Tools for Creating Better Instagram Videos
For a personal feed, creating videos for Instagram is easy. But when you’re creating content for your brand’s feed, you need to make every effort to create professional-looking videos. That doesn’t mean you need to go all-out and hire a movie studio, but it does mean that you should look into some tools that can help. We’ve got some suggestions below.
Want to add awesome graphics to your Instagram Stories? Canva gives you drag-and-drop design, plus lots of fonts, purchasable graphics, and editing tools to improve the look of the images that you plan to include in your videos.
You can’t always record videos to the exact right length for your Instagram Stories. In fact, most of the time you’ll probably end up trimming it down.
CutStory is the perfect tool to help you do that. Load a video of any length and use the app to cut it to the length you need. You can also use CutStory to add music, text, stencils, stickers, and more.
Creating and editing is only half the battle. As mentioned above, to keep engagement high, you need to keep posts coming regularly — and a post-scheduling tool can help.
Onlypult is an app that lets you manage and schedule posts across multiple social media platforms, including Instagram. It’s a good way to manage posts that you want on more than one of your brand’s social profiles, and can help keep each platform’s schedule organized.
If you want to create captivating Instagram videos with stellar special effects, Videoleap is the way to go. Videoleap is a powerful, all-in-one video editing tool that gives users access to high-end editing features: layer-based editing, color correction, transition, chroma key compositing, text effects, and plenty more.
It’s user-friendly and intuitive, so it’s easy for creators of all skill levels to make engaging, high quality content that’s fun to watch.
Create Engaging Videos for Instagram With Popular Pays
Content marketing on Instagram is a fantastic way to help popularize your brand. But it can also be a lot of work, and you might need the assistance of some Instagram influencers to help get the word out about your brand.
If you’re ready to consider working with a professional content creator to help with your Instagram videos, Popular Pays can help. Our service is designed to help you find and connect with the right social media influencers to promote your brand and products. Request a demo here to give us a try!