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Your Guide To Using Instagram's Video Formats

When it comes to marketing your business, it is so easy to get swept away on a tidal wave of different tools, platforms and content formats. But with a surge in the consumption of video, it’s important that brands harness its power to engage with audiences and share their story in a creative and captivating way. Here is your pocket guide to using Instagram's video formats!

With over a billion Instagram users and an 80% increase in the time that they spend watching videos on the platform, it’s a no-brainer to promote your business via Instagram videos. So let’s dive into the four different video formats available on the social platform, and how you can harness the power of them all!

Instagram Reels

Reels is Instagram’s take on TikTok’s short and fun video clips to grab attention. They are a lot of fun to make and a reel-y engaging (sorry, couldn't help myself) way to introduce yourself, share what you do or promote your products!

Similar to TikTok, you can add effects such as timed text, green screen mode, sounds and AR filters so make sure you set aside some time to produce them! You can use original sounds (like your own voice) or if you have a Creator profile, you have access to a whole library of music clips and effects. In order to gain more reach, it’s best to use trending sounds if you can which you can spot by scrolling through reels and looking out for a little 'arrow' sign next to where the audio title on the Reel appears - don't miss this trick, it'll massively help boost your Reels performance.

Reels can be 15, 30 or 60 seconds long and the clips can be created with Instagram’s camera or uploaded from your photo gallery. You can add multiple clips to make up the final Reel and Reels can include captions, hashtags and product tags too - perfect!

Creating Reels is an epic way to gain more reach because they can be seen in users’ feeds, the Reels tab, and a dedicated profile tab.

Bonus Tip: Make sure you save Reels to your phone as you go along, just in case there are any Instagram glitches or it fails to upload, otherwise all that wonderful effort will be lost (I've been there!).

So Reels gets a 5-shell rating from Aloha due to the powerful effects it can have for brands and businesses, plus we're loving how creative people are getting on there - never fails to entertain us!

Instagram Stories

Inspired by Snapchat, Instagram Stories are 15-second videos that disappear after 24 hours. Did you know that more than 500 million people watch Stories every day and 33% of the most viewed stories on Instagram are created by businesses?

With a range of interactive elements such as questions, polls, quizzes and product tags, stories can also be a lot of fun to produce while getting to know your audience, and they, get to know you!

One of the most awesome updates of the past year has to be that the long-awaited link sticker is now available to accounts with under 10,000 followers so viewers can head straight to your website or online shop directly from Stories.

If you have set up an Instagram shop, adding a product tag to a story is an epic way to promote certain items and by clicking on the sticker, potential customers can find out more and purchase directly from the app. The question and poll stickers are ideal for gauging customer feedback too, so you can use it as a form of customer service and to gather popular FAQs.

For many brands, Stories are an integral way to drive organic leads and conversions. 58% of people surveyed by Facebook say Stories have piqued their interest in a brand or product - so Instagram Stories should most definitely be part of your social marketing strategy!

We recommend that you post to stories at least once per day and using different stickers to increase engagement.

Bonus Tip: Create Story Highlights (circles above the grid) so that they can continue to be viewed beyond 24 hours.

We LOVE Instagram stories and have seen through Aloha Social's and client's profiles, just how impacting this video tool can be. So it's 5-shells from Aloha.

Instagram Live

With so many of us working remotely, Instagram Live has seen a real tidal wave in 2020 and 2021. Brands have used it to host workshops, guest interviews, live shopping events, to fundraise and more, all leading to a 70% increase in views between February and March 2020 - WOW.

How long can you host a livestream for?

Live streams can last up to four hours (woah) and can be hosted by one or two accounts. You can invite up to three guests to join your Live or you can ask to join someone else’s Live.

When an account goes live, their profile picture will appear at the top of the feed (where the stories are) with a colourful ring around it and the word 'Live'. You should also receive a notification to let you know that they are now live streaming. So if you're going live with someone else, then it's double the impact! Well worth doing, and it's much more engaging to watch two people than just one person in our opinion.

How is Instagram Live engaging for viewers?

Viewers can engage during a Live by commenting and using the heart reaction. Comments can be pinned, moderated with keyword filters or turned off completely. You will also be able to see how many people are watching at the top!

Once you’ve finished streaming, it’s a good idea to share your Live as a video post for further engagement if you feel it is 'evergreen' or relative to a current campaign.

We completely understand that going Live can be scary at first so ease yourself in by practising with regular filming, setting yourself a Live itinerary and having some cues handy to help you keep your Live structured while speaking.

Bonus Tip: Let your audience know when you’re planning to go live and perhaps ask them to think of a few questions to ask through Instagram Stories or a promotional Instagram Video.

How about that for your video strategy? Smooth sailing social media is just on the horizon for you now!

To begin using one of Instagram's four video tools, tap the ‘plus’ icon on the top right of your profile to create all video types! Remember, you don’t need to include all video formats in your strategy - figure out which fits well with your brand and ideal audience.

Good luck Instagram voyagers! Let me know how you get on and if you need someone to help you navigate through social media waters, take a look at my coaching plans to steer you into calmer seas!

Even more tips for creating video for Instagram

  1. Set aside time and batch-create different types of videos in one go

  2. For further engagement, share videos and Reels of your stories

  3. It’s best to produce video content for Instagram with your camera in a vertical orientation so they can be easily viewed and shared

  4. To make your videos more accessible, it’s a good idea to add subtitles (there is now a Caption sticker on Instagram Stories)


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