July 25, 2013 E3

How to Use Instagram Video to Market Your Business

The early verdict is in – users love Instagram Video. Many businesses and brands that had been effectively using Instagram classic were poised to benefit from Instagram Video when it launched earlier this summer.  Some others, however, may still be unsure how to use Instagram video effectively.   Video is one of the best ways to connect with your customer base – that’s why TV commercials have been around for so long. Just like television marketing, there is no one right way or best way to go about marketing through Instagram. But before you produce an Instagram video or video series, it may help to understand a little bit more about the platform itself.

Features of Instagram Video

There are several features of Instagram video that have already made it popular with brands:

  • Large Potential Audience: Instagram boasts 130 million users and counting.
  • 15 Second Video Length: The same length as most television commercials.
  • Editing Capabilities: You can delete segments from your video, rather than having to chuck the entire thing if you make a mistake.
  • Filters: Instagram is famous for photo filers, but video users are also able to take advantage of this feature
  • Choose Your Own Thumbnails: You can scroll through your stills to choose the best cover or thumbnail for your video.
  • The Facebook Connection: Facebook owns Instagram, which means when you upload an Instagram Video, you can tap directly into your Facebook following. Users don’t have to leave Facebook in order to see your content.

How to Use Instagram Video for Marketing

If you’re looking for some ideas on how to use Instagram video for your company, it can help to stop thinking like a marketer and think more about relating to your customers. Instagram users young, hip, and savvy. They know when they are being sold to – and they don’t necessarily mind, as long as you have something worthwhile to say.

#1 Provide a Behind the Scenes Peek at Your Brand

People love to go “behind the scenes.”  They want to feel special – like they are getting bonus content that the average customer is not. Part of the reason people still purchase DVDs and Blu-Ray discs are because of the special “bonus features” that are only available in those formats.

If you produce a product, you could show your production process or parts of the process. You could preview a new product or give sneak peeks into product improvements and development.  If you are a service-based business, you could show your unique office space and highlight some interesting employees.

#2 Create Special Offers

Another way to make Instagram users feel special is to announce offers, promotions, and special events exclusively on Instagram Video. Be sure to include hashtags to extend the reach of your special offer or event.

#3 User-Generated Contests

You can get your fans and followers to create video for you by opening a video contest. Announce the contest on Instagram with your own video, and be sure to provide the proper instructions. Create a hashtag that viewers can use to “submit” their video. This not only engages your audience, but creates instant brand ambassadors who will promote your business across their own networks.

#4 Customer Testimonials With Cross-Promotion

Similar to contests, customer testimonials can be a great way to spread the word about your brand. If a client or customer is extremely happy with something you’ve done, and the customer is active on Instagram, ask if she would mind producing a quick testimonial video and sharing it with her network. Ask her to plug both you and her own business in the short spot, and then you can both push the video out, giving each other access to one another’s networks.

#5 Answer FAQs

More and more people are flocking to video to have their how-to questions answered. So many, in fact, that YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world. Take advantage of this trend by answering your customers’ frequently asked questions in an Instagram Video series.

#6 Whatever You Do – Don’t be Boring

No matter what type of videos you choose to produce, they will go nowhere and get you nothing if they are flat, boring, or ineffective.  The blessing and the curse of social media platforms is that you can’t force any type of content to go viral. It can be tempting to just pop any old video onto your Instagram account just so you can be part of the party. But it’s worthwhile to take the time to plan videos that are meaningful and humanize your brand.

Have you used Instagram video to market your business? Have you seen any great examples of Instagram video marketing? Have you seen any bad examples? Let us know in the comments.


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