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How To Use Instagram Video to Grow Your Following

May 22, 2020

When Instagram launched in 2010, it was all about the pictures. Today, however, marketers will need to go beyond pictures and maximize all areas of the platform in order to build a following and increase brand awareness. Videos offer greater deeper storytelling opportunities that can’t be conveyed in a single image.

To help you get started on incorporating video to your Instagram strategy, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide. The article is broken down into three sections: for Instagram video posts, Instagram stories, and IGTV. Each section will include content ideas and best practices on these different formats to help you grow your Instagram following.

Instagram Video Posts

Instagram video posts have come a long way from when they were introduced in 2013. From being limited to 15 seconds, accounts can now post up to 60-second high-production videos to drive engagement. The best part is you no longer need expensive equipment to create a video. With a good video concept and your smartphone’s built-in camera, you’re on your way to putting out highly engaging videos.

Instagram Video Ideas

Due to the duration limit and the attention span of users while scrolling through their feed, you need to focus on content types that can easily deliver engagement. Here are some of them:

  • Product videos. Show off your product and its benefits in a quick video.
  • How-to videos. Add value to your followers’ lives and position yourself as an expert by providing short how-to videos that are relevant to your product or service.
  • Behind-the-scenes videos. Behind-the-scenes content humanizes brands and shows fans how a product is made, what the office culture is like, etc.

Instagram Video Best Practices

There are several ways to optimize your Instagram video posts for maximum results. Here are some things that you should consider:

  • Pick an attractive cover photo. Use the one that will make viewers stop from scrolling past your post and will make them want to tap on it if your video shows up on the Explore tab.
  • Make the video work without sound. Followers need to tap on a video on their feed to turn on the sound, so keep in mind that your videos need to be clearly understood even when muted.
  • Focus on the first 5 seconds. You need to be able to grab your audience’s attention within the first 3-5 seconds if you want them to keep watching.
  • Use captions. Don’t forget to include a caption with your call-to-action and campaign hashtag.

Instagram Stories

In 2016, Instagram stories found their way onto the app and everyone jumped into it. They are short clips make for highly entertaining content with its wide variety of features available to its users. From adding questions to posting polls and quizzes, there are a lot of interesting options you can add to your video Instagram stories.

Instagram Story Ideas

The Instagram video post content ideas work just as well for Instagram stories, but here are some additional types you may also want to consider.

  • Q&A. Post a story with the question sticker to give your followers a chance to ask you questions. Then make a series of 15-second videos to answer the questions.
  • Exclusive offer. Share a “followers only” promo code or an offer that creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity.
  • Feature fans. Your feed should stay on brand, but the short lifespan of stories enable you to share user-generated content from customers and followers.
  • Sneak peek. This is similar to behind-the-scenes, but shorter and not necessarily meticulously produced.

Instagram Story Best Practices

Instagram stories are a different animal from posts. Stories last for only 24 hours, and have a maximum duration of 15 seconds. To maximize your stories’ potential, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Shoot vertically. It might seem obvious, but definitely shoot your videos for Instagram stories with a vertical orientation. Most people won’t bother rotating their phones when viewing stories.
  • Tell stories sequentially. Take advantage of the progression of Instagram stories to tell a story with a clear sequence.
  • Use the design elements. Use stickers and GIFs to keep your stories fun. If you’re looking for interaction, consider the poll, question, and quizzes elements.
  • Highlight “forever” stories. While stories by default can only be viewed for a day, you can highlight them on your profile to showcase them longer.


IGTV may be new to the platform, but it’s already making waves in the world of Instagram marketing. This latest channel has added another opportunity for brands to present their products and showcase their creativity.

IGTV Content Ideas

IGTV lets users post up to 10 minutes of video content (60 minutes for verified accounts). One interesting thing about IGTV is that the videos, like on Instagram stories, don’t have to be polished or perfectly curated like the photos or videos on your feed. Here are some content ideas you’d want to consider:

  • How-to’s. Go more in-depth with your tutorials with the longer duration on IGTV.
  • Event coverage. Share event coverage from conferences or product launches so your online fans can experience them as well.
  • Behind-the-scenes. Do a factory or office tour, interview your team; showcase what you can given the available video duration.

IGTV Best Practices

IGTV is an excellent channel for your longer videos. Make the most out of your IGTV efforts by applying these techniques:

  • Get used to vertical video. Like stories, shooting and editing vertical videos are skills you will need to learn for IGTV.
  • Consider the video length. Although IGTV videos can be as long as 10 minutes, consider capping them at 5 minutes or even shorter. Definitely look at your IGTV analytics to know when viewers start to drop off.
  • Always think value. No matter what content type you bring to your IGTV, always consider if you are offering value to your audience.

Creating videos for Instagram might seem like a stressful undertaking, but it’s actually easy to execute. And with so many benefits for businesses, from building brand awareness to reaching new audiences and more, there’s really no reason not to get started with videos on Instagram if you haven’t already.

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