Tips for creating an engaging, shareable Instagram video

The visual platform is teeming with new posts and content-hungry consumers. Here’s guidance on what to focus on to gran and hold viewers’ attention.

How to make good Instagram videos

Instagram users consume video at higher and faster rates than in previous years.

More than 500 million users share 80 million posts every day—and that’s a great reason to tailor videos for Instagram. Plus, 25% of Instagram ads are in a video format.

Here are a few tips to translate your message into shareable video content:

Keep length in mind.

Instagram allows in-feed videos of up to 60 seconds. In real life, a minute seems fleeting; online, shorter attention spans abound, and longer videos can seem boring and quickly turn potential customers sour.

The ideal video length on Instagram, as stated by some reports, is 30 seconds. Your video should be bright, direct and dynamic and should target your marketing goals, while aligning with your follower’s feed.

For Stories, you can upload content up to the 15-second mark, or up to a minute divided into four stories. For IGTV you can create videos up to 10 minutes for regular accounts, and up to an hour for some verified accounts with a lot of followers.

See what works for your niche and audience, and conform to optimum lengths for the given channel.

Prioritize quality.

Lighting is key. Your live videos should always be well lighted so users needn’t strain to see and understand your content. Opt for natural lighting when possible, and avoid overhead lights.

Different formats, shapes and sizes will perform to varying degrees depending on content and medium. Square, portrait and landscape orientations tend to work best for in-feed content; IGTV is all about vertical video.

Adding effects can boost a video’s quality, and the right cover photo will increase its appeal. Select one that’s in tune with your overall message and brand theme.

Do not, however, overcrowd your videos with GIFs, stickers, effects and words. Select only the right enhancements, and use them sparingly.

Tell a story.

Just as in a film script or novel, you should format your video in three acts (even a short video): introduction, development/obstacle, and solution/call to action.

That’s the perfect formula for outstanding marketing videos, such as whiteboard animations.

Try to appear less like an ad and more like a storyteller. Ask yourself, “What aspect of my product, service or image would connect best with my audience’s emotions?” Then base the content around it.

Include a short caption with details of your content next to the video.

Make them useful.

If a product, service or message doesn’t lend itself to a storyline, focus on utility. A makeup tutorial or quick cooking preparation video has little in the ways of narrative, but it can be engaging and can prompt people to share.

Stay true to your brand identity.

Your audience should feel your content is authentic and that it reflects what your brand is all about. Otherwise, you risk losing their interest right out of the gate.

Colors, music, text, effects, everything adds up and should mesh with other elements and with your brand’s image.

Grab viewers right away.

Leave suspense and intrigue to Hollywood; your videos should open fast and to the point, full of movement and attention-grabbing value. If not, users will keep scrolling down their feed and ignore it completely.

Most users will decide within 10 seconds whether to watch the entire piece. Spend ample time polishing the beginning.

The default setting for Instagram videos is muted, making the first visual impact even more crucial. You can supplement initial images with on-screen captions to enhance that vital first impression.

Find ways to stand out.

Going behind the scenes to give your audience a sneak peek behind the scenes can be a great option. Let them hear details of the shooting from the cast and crew, insights into the studio that worked on your piece, or the laughs you’ve shared from creating it.

You’re looking for engagement, connection and shares. Give the viewers a reason to care and distribute your video to their friends.

Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos.

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