The untapped potential of video on Instagram

December 7, 2015Uncategorized
Grace Gaylard, Editorial Assistant

Grace Gaylard, Editorial Assistant

When it comes to apps, it’s a case of evolve or die. Every day, familiar apps are evolving into multi-use platforms in an effort to keep up with our ever-shortening attention spans, so it’s no surprise that Instagram has jumped on the video bandwagon. I look at how brands can use Instagram’s video function to engage their followers in a new way.

Although the ability to upload video content onto Instagram has been around for a while, few users are taking advantage of its potential.

Whether you’re a company looking for a new way to create content, or an individual wanting to promote their work (or life), uploading video onto Instagram is a fantastic tool for standing out on the feed. They key is to not think too hard about educating or selling, but to concentrate on grabbing a user’s attention with short, fun and creative videos.

In terms of guidelines, Instagram videos can be between three and 15 seconds long, and either recorded through the app or uploaded from your phone library. As of August this year, users can also upload in both portrait and landscape formats, which has presented an opportunity for widescreen and more cinematic footage.

Added to this, Instagram has just launched Boomerang, an app that takes a bunch of photos and combines them into a video loop, with the images popping up for short, one-second bursts. Of course, this is easily shared to your Instagram feed, and is a simple and unintimidating way to introduce mini, GIF-like videos to your stream.

Ok, enough explaining. Let’s look at some Instagrammers who are killing it with video.

Jamie Oliver (jamieoliver) (jamiesfoodtube)

Jamie’s personal and food channels have cleverly cornered the cooking contingent on the ’Gram – although it’s also worth checking out buzzfeedfood for something a bit more sinful. The Naked Chef uploads videos that show short cooking demos, clever recipe ideas, food news and personal moments. The more produced videos are slick and engaging – and let’s not forget they’re all about food (*drool*) – but he’s certainly not afraid to have a bit of fun, which means his accounts come across as genuine and spontaneous.

Rachel Rye (rachelrye)

You can’t get more creative than Rachel Rye, a talented illustrator and animator who creates topical animated videos that are drawn entirely by hand. Her talents are genuinely jaw-dropping and the video function of Instagram is a brilliant way of promoting her work.

NBC – Saturday Night Live (nbcsnl)

Although NBC is essentially promoting a product here, it’s so entertaining that you hardly notice. These guys use the video function to build the hype for upcoming episodes, with teaser clips featuring that week’s cast and host. It’s a great way of creating shareable bite-size content.

Kylie Jenner (kyliejenner)

It wouldn’t be a blog about Instagram if we didn’t discuss the youngest member of the Jendashian clan. Although Kylie is known for her account as a whole, it’s the videos that really cement her connection to her followers. While not a typical ‘brand’ as such – although one could argue she is a one woman branding machine – Kylie (and her Instagram team) know what her fans want, and that is a glimpse into her day-to-day life. Her casual, behind-the-scenes videos feature her and other celebrities just ‘hanging out’. And before you scoff, she has more than 40 million followers. Bow down to the queen.