Left and right, up and down and frankly all around, you can hear passionate praises that build up the hype around videos on Instagram. More views, they say! Greater engagement! Bigger, better interactions! And the declarations don’t stop here.

Videos have been called “the future of content marketing” or, in an attempt to be even expressive and all-encapsulating, they have been proclaimed both “the present and the future”. Whoah, that’s something else! That’s why, if you don’t want to get stuck in the past, you need to take a strong hold of this fantastic creature that’s video content.

So, let’s tear the mystery apart and reveal what’s behind the curtains of a successful Instagram video. From content strategies to visual aesthetics, ideal lengths, perfect video ratios and appropriate captions, we’re going to cover it all in what follows. Unfortunately, we don’t have a video for it, so you’ll have to read. But we assure you, it’s going to be a very engaging read.


1. Draft a videos strategy to cover all Instagram tools

Let’s start with the beginning. If you want a video content strategy that will bring you the most out of what Instagram has to offer, you need to make sure you cover all the tools. That means you need to take into account Instagram Story Videos, Instagram Story Ads Videos and Instagram Feed Videos which can also be organic or paid.

At a first glance, these might all appear to be one and the same. Aren’t they all videos in the end? Well…mmm…yes, but no! Each of these tools or channels requires a specific mood and hence, approach. Not to mention that they can each aid with different parts of your strategy, sometimes targeting different types of followers or, at least, in different ways.

Specifically, Instagram Stories Videos need to capture the genuine side of life, without too much editing, whereas Instagram Stories Ads Videos can have a touch of edits and cuts, as long as they uphold to the the general lifeline of ephemeral Stories. On the other hand, when it comes to feed videos, these require more editing attention and need to be flawless and in line with your feed aesthetics.

Not to mention that you have to plan for different lengths and various video ratios. Instagram Stories Videos need to be filmed on portrait, while Instagram Feed videos are recommended to have a widescreen ratio or 1:1. Duration is also different, as in Stories you only have a few seconds to get your point across, whereas feed videos are more generous with the time they offer.


2. Always assume your followers have the sound off

We have nothing against videos with sounds. Actually, please go ahead! But do bear in mind that the majority of followers always have their sounds off. Thus, you need to make some extra efforts in order to entice them to turn the sound on. Otherwise, if you put all your info in trust of the sound of the video, you might be disappointed.

Luckily, with the enhancement tools from Instagram Stories, you can easily add “subtitle-like” texts over your videos and create some visually-appealing captions to dub your videos. You can also opt for the old method of announcing “sound-on” in a manner that will raise curiosity.

In case of feed videos, things are a bit different, as more editing will be needed to turn them into a masterpiece that can easily fit into your feed overall appearance. However, the same general rules apply as in the case of the videos posted in Stories.


3. Don’t be afraid to share imperfect videos on Instagram Stories

That’s not to say your videos should be low quality or badly lit. No, it just means they need to capture the imperfection of everyday life and celebrate it to the max! You already know that Instagram Stories are all about the “genuine”. That’s why you can get away with posting footage you just filmed and keep it uncut!

Great examples of this come from travel bloggers. They use Instagram Stories to capture glimpses of the places they visit and share them with their followers on-the-spot. Sure, a perfect scenery makes for a perfect video, but it is still rough in its most lovable form.

Another great content strategy for Instagram Stories is sharing behind-the-scenes short moments. These are meant to show the real side of your business and create closer connections with your followers. So, if you know fun things are about to happen in your office/headquarters, keep a camera or even your phone on hand to make sure you hit record. Then, share, share, share.

As a general guideline, all the videos shared on Instagram Stories should have a feeling of “this just happened now and I would like to share it with you”. Here, there’s little room for planning by the book content and you should leave more space for the unexpected to happen (but be ready to record it). You can also capture “unexpected” moments in advance, as long as you keep a fresh and authentic feel to them.

Oh, lives are also a must and a great way to engage with your audience, allowing them to ask questions and get a first-hand feel of your values. You can also opt to have a representative influencer take over your Instagram Stories video if you want to mix things up.

Also, don’t forget to make use of all the great tools in Instagram Stories: the location tag, hashtags, emojis and even text. All these will upgrade your videos to the next level and they will make them fit right in the Stories feed.


4. Make your Instagram Stories Ads Videos a little bit posher

Okay, so you got rid of your obsession with perfection with the Instagram Story Videos. Now you can jump right back into having things your way because with Stories Ads you have much more editing freedom. What we mean is that Ads in Stories can have a more “this was filmed before” feel to them.

HOWEVER (and this is a big “however”), don’t make them seem too posh, too soon. Instagram Stories are so cool especially because they are not perfect and fleeting. So, use the tools of Instagram Stories to make them feel as much as part of Stories as possible and less like ads as possible. Instagram Carousel Ads for Stories is a great way to look at the problem and solve it. You might want to read more into that for more successful video ads on Instagram Stories.


5. Create a coherent aesthetics for your Instagram Feed Videos

Here is where your editors can work their magic and shine their wands to create some spectacular content. Unlike Instagram Stories Videos, feed videos need to play by the rules of perfection. Take into account the overall appearance of our feed when creating the videos. Once you got the visual-feeling agreed on, it’s time to move to its content.

Here you can choose to highlight your products at their best. Beauty-shops, zoom-ins, zoom outs and what not! Work your imagination and come up with the best concept that will capture the exact essence of your products. Remember, here you have full-editing power!

Feed videos are also great for DIY examples. If your brand is into that, of course. Goodful does an awesome job at creating tons of videos that spread the joy of good food and good mood.

Of course, commercials and all type of ads are welcomed in feed videos. Here you can choose to recreate ads that run on other channels or if you have the resources, we recommend you actually spend the time to make the cut for Instagram.


6. Top everything off with a well-thought caption and relevant hashtags

Listen, videos don’t cut your job in half. Sure, moving pictures say a thousand words more than static pictures. And, as we all know, static pictures are worth a thousand words themselves. However, both require caption nonetheless. Thus, don’t make the mistake to ignore your caption by believing it’s not necessary anymore. It is! How to write it? We’ve discussed everything about that here.

Oh, and hashtags! Yes, yes, whatever you do, hashtag it. Read how that’s must be done in 2018 right here.


Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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