With Instagram’s recent uproar-causing announcement about changing the way it will display users’ posts, it was probably a good move to release some positive news, too—they’re adding a 60-second video-posting option.
If you’ve been an avid Instagram user, you’re likely familiar with the current 15-second video limit. Although the shorter timeframe makes sense for a platform that is primarily still-image focused, extending the video length allotment to 60 seconds provides users with an opportunity to expand their library of videos. We may still see hyper-speed DIY videos, but the new feature allows users to create longer explanation videos that will satisfy followers far better than when they were forced to click on a profile link to learn more.
With Instagram changing the way users’ posts will be displayed (by algorithm vs. by time posted), brands will have an opportunity to use their popularity to be first on users’ feeds. And to keep users from skimming through their posts (or worse, yet, unfollowing them), they will have to become even more creative with still images and videos. If you’re one of these brands, here are some ways you can take advantage of Instagram’s newest feature.
· Tell a story—If you’re a brand that’s been around for years, or even decades, tell users your story in a documentary-style video. You’ll likely need to split it up into episodes, but showing your consumers your roots is a way to build credibility and connect on a personal level. Think of how you’ll set it up, split it out, and create an engaging message that keeps consumers coming back for more. And don’t forget the subtitles! Instagram’s default is to mute their videos, and if people are viewing them in quieter environments (at work or a library, for example), subtitles will go a long way in keeping users from thumbing past your posts.
Take Kate Spade, for instance. In 2015, they took a leap by creating a short miniseries featuring Anna Kendrick wearing (and using) their products. They were fun, flirty, and humorous, and people really enjoyed watching them. Just this month, Kate Spade did it again by creating similar videos—this time longer in length and with multiple celebrities. Not only are the short videos eye pleasing (have you seen Kate Spade’s adorable products?), but they are also entertaining! Kate Spade’s Instagram account uses 15-second clips of the miniseries to tease users and promote the full version on their site. Even if consumers aren’t encouraged to buy your product or service right away, they will be waiting on the edge of their seats for the next episode! And that’s something we can all hope for.
If you haven’t seen Kate Spade’s latest “TV shows,” check out this article by Adweek.
· Show a hack—We’ve all seen them: tasty videos. BuzzFeed, the social news and entertainment site, has capitalized on our weakness for (and love of) food with eye-catching, drool-worthy, and easy-to-make tutorials. Who hasn’t been scrolling through their Facebook feed only to come to a screeching halt because of the ooey gooey brownie Oreo bites (or whatever) that were being mixed before your very eyes? Guilty.
Why not create something similar? Brands have been taking advantage of this for a few years now, but that doesn’t mean that they are out of date or irrelevant. People are always looking for ways to simplify their lives. Give them a reason to stop and stare. If they feel like you’re giving them something they can use, you will likely stay top of mind the next time they need a product or service like yours.
· Make a star—Matt from Whine About It. (You’re welcome). If you had the pleasure of being pulled into Matt’s weekly video series, you were #blessed. Well, at least entertained. His drunken rants about things that are “the worst” kept 3.5 million people engaged and wanting more each week. He was grumpy, funny, and even downright offensive, but people loved it! Unfortunately for us, he signed with an agent and the Buzzfeed series was put on pause, but we are hoping he makes a comeback some time soon.
The point is that you should seriously consider finding your own Matt. Misery love company. And if you can make light of challenging situations, all the better. People are more interested in hearing something funny than something depressing. Think of what you can do in 60 seconds to grab users’ attention! The possibilities are endless.
· Let them in—Finally, people love behind-the-scenes action. Whether it’s an office tour, a quick shot of a client’s project, or just a video showing your team out having drinks for happy hour, people love to feel like they are “in the know” and that your company is “normal.”
If you can show consumers that you’re just like them, they are more likely to be interested in your product or service. So don’t be scared. Invite them into your world. We promise, it won’t be that bad.
Moral of the story? Embrace this new Instagram change. Reach inside your creative cap and capitalize on the opportunity. Don’t waste it or ignore it. If you do, you’ll only be passed over for brands that are participating and grabbing the Internet’s attention in the process.
About Ebonn Hixson
Ebonn Hixson (@ebonny_sans_y) is Communications Director for Storylift (@getStorylift). The company’s Content Distribution Platform reaches over 200 million US readers and features the industry’s most advanced audience-targeting capabilities. Ebonn promotes the platform & Storylift | The Magazine, which publishes research and innovative strategies to over 110,000 content marketing professionals each month.