Instagram Videos: Breakdown & Best Practices

Instagram videos are a great way to give your audience an authentic look at your brand, but all those different options can also be overwhelming for small business owners trying to do their own marketing. Instagram began exploring more video features in 2016 with stories, and they haven’t slowed down since by adding Live, IGTV, and Reels too. It’s easy to get them all mixed up, so let’s break down the differences, best practices, and how you can hopefully increase engagement through them!

Stories are a collection of photos and 15 second videos that disappear after 24 hours. On the home feed, these are the rotation of circle icons located at the top. To look at your own stories or create a new one, click on your icon when looking at your home feed or profile.

This is a great option for behind-the-scenes content such as a sneak peek of a building renovation, a new product, team bonding, and more. Events also make great content for stories; take photos & videos and upload with captions to make the viewer feel as if they’re at the event. To establish your credentials as an industry leader, use the stickers to engage viewers through Q&As, polls, and quizzes. If you want to create an archive since they disappear after 24 hours, then create some highlights on your profile.

Reels were created to rival TikTok’s popularity, so many users are cross posting the same video between the two platforms. However, most trends originate on TikTok first, so marketers will often do their trending research on that platform. When you click on the Reels icon on your app, you’ll find scrolling videos formulated to show you content that’s similar to what you’ve engaged with in the past. These videos are 15-30 seconds and are the best format to reach new viewers.

Like a normal Instagram feed post, you’re able to add captions and hashtags to your reel. If you owned a bakery, for example, you could upload a time lapse of someone decorating a cake. These videos rely on attention-grabbing aspects: you want the viewer to stop scrolling and see what you’ve posted through engaging visuals or sound.

Live is just as it sounds: using this feature broadcasts a live video to any viewers who join the stream. This form of video lets you engage with your followers in real time. You’ll be able to see viewers’ comments while you’re streaming, so you can react to and address them.

Let’s say you want to go live for a Q&A session. If you don’t have a topic plan already in place, then you can use your stories to ask your audience what they want to see or discuss. Then, you can come prepared with answers and topics you know the viewers want to hear. This format makes your business feel more personal; followers like seeing the faces behind the business and knowing that their voices are being heard. Once the live has ended, you can choose to save it to your profile.

IGTV: Instagram TV is the platform’s long-form option for videos that exceed 60 seconds. These videos will still show up on your followers’ feed, but after 15 seconds, they will be prompted to continue watching on IGTV. Your videos must be pre-recorded and uploaded from your camera unlike story or live videos which can be recorded from the Instagram app.

A useful feature on the IGTV that businesses can take advantage of: series. Using the example of the bakery business, the decorators could begin a series of videos showing how to use different piping tips and the designs that can be created.

As with any other social media platform, staying on top of trends and molding them to your company’ brand will help your business stay relevant and keep followers engaged! If you’re still having trouble understanding all the complexities of social media marketing, we’re here to help. TMIM focuses on small business marketing and becomes Your Marketing Team for Hire.