Ever since Instagram introduced its video feature, brands are turning the art of the short film into the art of the super short film – 15 seconds to be exact – to catch customers’ attention. If you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer, and if you’ve ever thought, “Genius!” after watching Instagram videos and want to elicit the same response from your customer base, read on!
Do a quick rundown of videography techniques you admire, and think about ways in which you might be able to adapt them to the microvideo. Make a stop-motion: marketing director and designer Rachel Ryle created this adorable one that would be perfect for promoting a coffee shop. Conduct a very short interview: the person holding the camera asks one question, and the person being filmed answers it. In the caption, encourage followers to ask their questions about your brand, which you then answer in future posts. Transparency builds trust.
Write a Message
It can be as simple as someone’s hand writing a positive, fun, and brand relevant message on a plain piece of paper, or it can be spraypaint on a wall, or a pile of candy that you arrange to spell something out, or a bunch of balloons removed one by one to reveal a message. Use your imagination!
Perform a Demonstration
What you show doesn’t have to be glamorous or complicated, but it should be fun and inspirational. Jeni’s Ice Creams made a simple video of piping macaroons in the kitchen, and their followers loved getting to see how the somewhat mysterious pastries are made. Rachel Brathen, otherwise known as @yoga_girl, posts almost daily videos that demonstrate various challenging yoga poses, then she gives a how-to in the caption.
Give a Behind-the-Scenes Glimpse
People love to feel like they’re part of a special club, and by using Instagram videos to show some goings-on at your brand’s HQ, you can create the sense of an inner circle. Fashion brands have been leading the way with social media marketing, and one way they’ve done this is by taking customers where they otherwise would never go: behind the scenes at Fashion Week (Burberry), into the office (Refinery29 and Kate Spade), and even into factories (Everlane).
Cuteness + Products = Success
Seriously, try it. If you run an Etsy store that sells knitwear, show a clip of your dog running around (or sitting, or sleeping) in a knitted hat. Extra points for ear holes. If you’re an illustrator, stitch together photos of your cat with cute illustrations superimposed on top. See what this mom did with photos of her baby for inspiration.
Above all, Instagram is all about visual storytelling. If you already post photos to your brand’s account, you know this. But video provides an opportunity for an arc, a conflict, a call to action. Most of all, it begs for your brand’s personality to shine through. If you use the above techniques in a way that highlights your brand’s personality, and aren’t afraid to get a little cheeky, the double-taps will start flowing in.
Sara Collins is a writer for NerdWallet, a site dedicated to helping consumers learn about a wide range of personal finance topics, from smart banking to travel discounts.