KG Design Consultancy

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Instagram Video for Business: What You Should Know Before You Post

Instagram has been the fastest rising social media platform in recent years. And although it’s been long stereotyped as the haven for foodies and travel photobloggers, it’s quickly becoming a big new platform for short video.

Instagram video can grab attention of your viewers amongst a sea of still images. But we’ve found that many businesses are at odds of how to get started, so we’ve compiled a list of the most basic do’s and don’ts for beginning your Instagram video presence.

First! Instagram Video 101

  1. Your videos can be 3 to 60 seconds long
  2. Audio is disabled unless the viewer 'taps for sound'
  3. Instagram is kinda winning the war against Snapchat, and as a result, Instagram video is booming.

So what does this mean for the video publisher?

Tailor your video for Instagram

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 Popular Instagram topics such as beauty and food, are conveyed clearly and immediately in these videos to help catch the eyes of their audience. Photo from thedigerati.com

Popular Instagram topics such as beauty and food, are conveyed clearly and immediately in these videos to help catch the eyes of their audience. Photo from thedigerati.com

It's said so many times before, but it can't really be overstated, you want your content to be tailored specifically for your platform, and not another. What appeals to a Facebook or YouTube user is very different to what interests the Instagram user, and vice versa. Here are the most common recommended design specifications for your video:

  • 1:1 aspect ratio
  • 125 character captions
  • .mp4 video format

But technical details aside, the real goal for Instagram videos is to make them visually appealing. This sounds so simple and obvious, but there’s a great degree of science and art to it. Employ colours that appeal to your audience, subjects, and objects that are relevant to your industry. 

Use Instagram for Brand Building

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Instagram video is for making noise and grabbing an audience. In fact, it’s excellent at doing that.

But when it comes to direct response and calls-to-action, not so much. Aside from a single clickable link in your bio, there really is not much you can do when it comes to conversion.

Instead of doing what lots of marketers do: avoid Instagram because there's 'not enough measurable conversion', instead take the opportunity the use Instagram for its original purpose - creative content that can build your brand.

Although Instagram isn't traditionally a 'click here' format, there are two exceptions to this rule: Instagram Stories and Instagram Ads:

Use Instagram Ads to Call Your Viewers to Action

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 A range of Instagram video ads with varying CTA's: Shop Now, Learn More or Install Now. Photo from engadget.com

A range of Instagram video ads with varying CTA's: Shop Now, Learn More or Install Now. Photo from engadget.com

Most Instagram ads are videos. Why? For one reason, they have more capacity to tell a story and promote a product, you want something that can get your audience to stop, and something that stands out above the rest, and for another reason, according to Instagram expert Jenn Hermann 'the best Instagram ad doesn't look like an ad'. 

Instagram ads platform not only allow your video to reach a wider scope, but it adds a nice call to action at the bottom to get your viewer out of Instagram and into somewhere else. By default, the Call to Action reads 'learn more', but your other CTA's are:

  • Download
  • Shop Now
  • Sign Up
  • Install Now
  • Book Now
  • Watch More
  •  Send Message

Or you can have none, but why miss out on a Call to Action?

Use Instagram Stories To Keep Your Audience Updated

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 An example of how Saucony has created a 10-panel story for new product promotion. Photo from Instapage.com

An example of how Saucony has created a 10-panel story for new product promotion. Photo from Instapage.com

Stories are very organic in nature. They shouldn't be overly edited, filtered or emblazoned with high production values. They are meant to tell a story, perhaps of you, your day or of an event.

However, Instagram stories do offer a few key benefits over standard Instagram posts. You can include links, allowing you to create Call To Actions and Tripwires, and you can also post vertical video with high visibility. Your story will always appear on the top, which will almost guarantee your content is being viewed, as Instagram stories is still in its early phase and less people using it means less competition for that valuable top-of-screen real estate.

Instagram stories are great for anything that is happening now, or in the moment - think events, sales, specials, or anything else that you want to bring the attention of your audience to and say ‘this is happening’.

Remember: Caption is King

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Like Facebook, the viewer needs to tap a button in order to play audio. With that considered, your video needs to be produced having audio in mind. Most Instagram video content is highly visual and eye-catching, but if you do choose to feature dialog, then you can add captions. Many times a viewer will potentially stop on the video because of a line of captions that caught their attention.

 In this type of captioning, Garyvee has chosen not to go with closed captions, instead using a heading caption to encourage people to tap the 'unmute' button and listen.

In this type of captioning, Garyvee has chosen not to go with closed captions, instead using a heading caption to encourage people to tap the 'unmute' button and listen.

However, unlike Facebook, Instagram doesn’t accommodate subtitle files (.srt). So if you’re looking to subtitle your videos, you’ll have to edit them in manually.

There are three types of captioning you will see with an Instagram video. First, there is the video caption. In the example to the right, the caption is just 'my $0.02'.

Then there is closed captioning, like the kind you would see in a movie. And finally, there are header/footer captions to give you a summary of a video. Just like the text in a YouTube thumbnail, it can sometimes be more effective at grabbing attention than the actual video title itself. But Garyvee has chosen to place the emphasis on the video header, edited into the video itself, to bring attention to the video.


So here's a brief summary of beginning with Instagram video:

  • Don't re-share from other platforms. Design your videos for use on Instagram only.
  • Keep your videos short, clear and relevant.
  • Focus on visuals, not audio.
  • Use regular video for brand building, and stories and ads for marketing.

If you would like to create video content for your brand, contact us at KG Design Consultancy. We produce short, ‘snackable’ videos to help you communicate your brand in a fun, visual format. You can check out some of our recent work on our website, or follow us on Facebook for our latest news and updates.