social media how toDo you want to share short visual stories with your fans?

Have you experimented with Instagram video?

They recently unveiled a video feature for their mobile app that transforms their already-powerful photo sharing network into a multimedia dynamo!

Combine that with the fact that Instagram offers ease of sharing on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, and the future looks bright for marketers who take advantage of the new format to reach their online community.

In this article, we’ll explore 6 ways that you can use the new video feature to create visually compelling stories and promote your brand and marketing message online.

instagram intro

Instagram video has some interesting features for social media marketers.

What Instagram Has to Offer

While potentially viewed by outsiders simply as Facebook “catching up” to Twitter’s Vine app, the new Instagram video feature actually offers capabilities that social media marketers will want to note. Here’s a look at what Instagram has to offer.

  • Length: Instagram Video offers up to 15 seconds of video recording. Vine offers a maximum of 6 seconds.
  • Editing: Instagram offers users the ability to delete a segment from their video. With Vine, users must delete the entire video and start over.
  • Filters: Instagram brings their unique set of custom photo filters to their video tool, enabling users to add a filter to their video. Vine offers no filters at this time.
  • Audience: Instagram is currently used by over 130 million people. Vine’s audience is counted at 13 million users.
  • Integration: The Instagram video feature is housed within the existing Instagram app, making it immediately accessible to all users who update the app. Vine is a stand-alone app.
  • Cover Image Selection: Instagram lets you scroll through stills from the video and easily select the best cover photo for your video. This is important because the first impression can entice your audience to click through to view the video. Vine does not offer this feature.
  • Facebook In-Line Viewing: One of the most important differences is that Instagram videos play in-line on Facebook for desktop users. Like YouTube and Facebook videos, a Facebook user can click and watch the clip right within Facebook. Vine videos must be viewed by clicking out of Facebook. Conversely, it’s worth noting that Instagram videos must be viewed on Twitter by clicking out of Twitter.
    instagram in facebook

    Instagram videos play in-line on Facebook.

Six Ways Marketers Can Use Instagram’s New Video Tool

With its photo features, Instagram already had significant uses for digital marketers. But with the addition of video, that value just grew exponentially!

Here’s an outline of ways you can capitalize on Instagram’s video feature for business.

#1: Shoot a Product Demo and Answer FAQs

Sometimes, a simple how-to video can answer your customers’ questions quickly and efficiently. Make a list of the most-asked questions your customer service department gets and use Instagram shorts to answer them.

For example, show how simple your product is to set up. Shoot step-by-step installation video segments and add narrations to give your viewers additional helpful information about your product.

product demo

Product demonstration videos can be easily created.

Answering your customers’ questions with a short how-to video is a great way to add value for your community.

#2: Create a Visual Portfolio of Your Work

If a picture of your work is worth a thousand words, imagine what 15 seconds of video communicates.

Shoot videos of the work you’ve done for recent clients to create a video look-book for potential customers to browse through.

From a coffee shop showcasing the skill of their barista, to a salon showcasing client makeovers, the uses are unlimited!

verve on instagram

Capturing creativity can inspire in-store visits.

A short video portfolio is a great way to highlight your work and stand out.

#3: Highlight Special Offers and Events

Fifteen seconds is a significant amount of time to promote your special offer or event with video. Flip the camera view mode to add a personal message to the footage of your product special.

Use the description field to emphasize and reinforce the video message and add a hashtag to track conversions or extend your reach.

event promotion

Example of event promotion with Instagram video.

A short video of what you have to offer might be just the type of content you need to reach certain audiences.

#4: Invite Fan and Follower Submissions via Hashtags

Invite your audience to submit Instagram video with a hashtag to enter a contest, submit a hiring pitch or promote your live event.

Comedian Louie Anderson asked people to compete for a spot as his opening act in Las Vegas by submitting an audition video with the hashtag #Open4Louie. Louie’s team tracked the hashtag to review each video and reach out to the creators of those they liked.

louie anderson invitation

Louie Anderson audition invitation.

Is your audience on Instagram? If so, this might be a great way to engage with them.

#5: Humanize Your Brand

We often hear about how brands “need to become human.” Social media has blurred the lines with real-time, real-life engagement between companies and customers, creating a need for companies to be transparent and more open.

Instagram videos offer an opportunity for brands to do this in bite-sized, easily digestible nuggets that showcase their culture and style. They can help differentiate your company from its competitors.


HubSpot sharing a video of their new office space.

#6: Increase Engagement on Facebook

Videos and photos inspire the most engagement (comments, likes and shares) on Facebook. With Facebook integrating Instagram videos from inception, this can be a tool smart marketers use to boost community interaction on Facebook.

post to facebook profile

Facebook users can easily post videos to their Facebook profiles.

fan page sharing

You can also simply use Instagram to copy the video URL and use the Instagram video in a Facebook Page post.

Instagram videos provide another tool for savvy Facebook marketers to use to build engagement with their community.


While the new Instagram video feature was only recently launched, the potential uses are vast! With Instagram already having an active user base of over 130 million users, this new tool offers some rich possibilities for marketers.

What do you think? Have you created any Instagram videos for your company? What results have you seen? Please share your ideas and examples below!

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  • #1 really resonates with me. So often what customers want is the answer to their problem — a solution. They want to be educated and informed. And in our ever-more connected world, if businesses do that well enough, the communication part of the equation is easier to solve.

  • Ben Risinger

    I think your list is right on. I especially love the use of hashtags. Thanks for the blog.

  • LainEhmann

    Very cool ideas. Wish we could actually watch the videos above as I think that would hammer the points home more. Thank you for the great overview – I’ll be using some of these!

  • You are welcome @408c6ddcae8db546c717f93c13a0e896:disqus! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • Yes, @patrickmcfadden:disqus! 15 second videos can be a real asset to provide a quick “how to” video that answers hundreds of potential questions.

  • Thanks @LainEhmann:disqus! Yes, one thing needed yet is a simple way to embed Instagram Videos into web pages. I”ll try to gather the link list and post.

  • Trizzy

    How do I download Instragram? It isn’t in the app store

  • Hi. It is a mobile app and you can download for an Apple or Android device by going here and clicking the link to the app for device of your choice:

  • Brilliant move by Facebook to allow recording of up to 15 seconds. Won’t be long before you see Instagram videos as :15 second traditional TV spots for some brands.

  • AngieVanDenzen

    #3 is a great use for this platform also. I can definitely see how this could effectively drive traffic to your other platforms where you’d like a specific action to be taken. Thanks for the post!

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  • Sure thing @dcce5d7904a4bb4de5eba1b6d2bf7422:disqus! Yes, using Instagram Video as another means to get the word out about a special offer or event is a great method to increase the reach and offer a personal message.

  • Hey @eae73a996e561826e378f933c78eacec:disqus! Good to connect here on the SME blog! I agree, it is a great move by Facebook. Yes, I think we will see brands posting spots similar to what they’ve done for TV very shortly! 15 seconds offers a lot of space for getting a message out. Creative agencies like yours can already see the potential!

  • Agreed, @Mike Gingerich :disqus – but I also think you’ll see brands using the video content they’re creating & posting to Instagram as their actual :15 second spot they use for broadcast media.

  • Great point. This type of video option offers that type of new media shift!

  • @LainEhmann:disqus I was able to compile the example videos I used and post the bulk here for you to view:

  • I love it..I have all but ignored my it gives me a great reason to start using it again. Thanks Mike..

  • Glad to @ADonkus:disqus! The ease of sharing with Instagram to Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter is quite valuable.

  • eastvillagesiren

    My biggest question is: who “owns” the Instagram video, me or Instagram? That is the stickler for us not posting our work on Instagram.

  • Pingback: 6 Ways to Use the New Instagram Videos | Social Media Examiner - StoneWeb()

  • Andrea

    From Instagram’s support page:

    “Our service is a bit unique because we do not claim ANY ownership over
    what you post on Instagram. That means you retain the ownership rights
    to the content you upload. Since users own the rights to the photos and
    videos they have shared, we ask that that same spirit of copyright
    ownership is respected by everyone. If you want to express your
    excitement over a beautiful post, it’s best to double tap on the image
    to like it!”

  • Eric Leszkowicz

    I agree that this would be great….I am just not sure that it is in Instagram (Facebook’s) strategy.

    It would be nice if they would make it more business friendly (something they were way to slow to do with Facebook itself.)

  • Does anyone have a suggestion of what you can use to hold your phone steady when shooting a video? Like a tripod for Android? I shoot a tons of videos with my phone for YouTube. No matter how hard I try, the camera always shakes a little.

  • Thanks @Andrea! Appreciate the info to help answer that question!

  • Hi Mike thanks for the information on Instagram video. To be honest I haven’t actually looked much into Instagram as another way to promote or use visuals for my business. I’m finding the Social Media world getting exceptionally busier and a challenge to stay up with. Thanks Kim

  • Hey Mike! Thanks for the great comparison right up front with Instagram video vs. Vine – that was very helpful. Also, I really love the idea of using Instagram video to answer FAQ’s. If set up right, this could be a very powerful tool to help your customers in a personal way without taking up a lot of their time, or yours.

  • Pingback: Instagram Video Marketing in Durban | Stephen Strydom Marketing | Stephen Strydom Marketing()

  • Agreed @JohnLeeDumas:disqus! Lots of simple uses that can have big impact.

  • @webconsultant:disqus Hi Kim. Yes, lots of information to absorb. Hopefully posts like this give you bite-size nuggets to help you learn and stay up-to-date. That’s one advantage of this, it’s pretty simple. Download the mobile app, take a quick video and post. That’s it to get started.

  • One of the biggest benefits of using Instagram as a brand is the ability
    to plug a Call to Action (CTA) into many posts. Brands are taking
    advantage of this by promoting sales, promo codes, new products,
    contests, events, and other related topics, and followers are
    responding. Brands that attach deals to their Instagram photos may see
    an increase in their followers, and some muse that it may be a good way
    to retain followers as well.

  • PoppyredLife

    I’ll try both, but wonder if the link with Twitter gives Vine a bit more edge

  • This article is really useful if a brand wants to use Instagram Videos to its best. Specially point no. 1, showcasing the demo of various products. Not only this, I feel they can actually create an ad of 15 seconds displaying their brand in gist. Since a lot of people are engaging more on Social Media platforms. So that no brand would miss out on Social-savvy people.

    Overall, this article has given all the tips for using Instagram videos.

  • Thanks @AgencyPlatform:disqus! Glad it was helpful.

  • Lauren Hernandez

    The clothing company Topshop used Instagram video in a really neat and creative way. Check it out, it’s their latest video (has a light blue background).

  • Excellent! Thanks for sharing @laurenhernandez:disqus!

  • Good tips @evarajput:disqus!

  • BREAKING NEWS: Instagram releases easy video embed tool from their website making it simple to create and then embed videos into a web page, blog, and more!

  • @LainEhmann:disqus and @ericleszkowicz:disqus – Looks like Instagram/Facebook is quickly improving the features with a new web embed option:

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  • Eric Leszkowicz

    Yes. I agree. It is now possible to link to the things in Instagram such as the video or image.

    This is a good step.

  • How does Instagram video compare with Vine in recent study? Very well!

  • Sofia Kolokotroni


  • Exactly @sofiakolokotroni:disqus!

  • Charllene Wang

    Hi! Mike,
    We love videos, we even had a video for our Friday Giveaway drawing on facebook, the feedback was good. One question, what are the differences between YouTube videos and Instragram Videos? I know the length difference, but except for this, anything else?

  • Key differences are the length, where your users spend time (which network), instagram allows you to add filters, youtube adds more description and tags for seo value, etc. Both have value, it might be a “both” strategy but is determined by our audience interests and needs.

  • Luke

    Any idea how brands like @TheHundreds are posting edited high def videos?

  • Pingback: Connect With Your Technology Marketing Audience with Instagram - Simplexity - Intelligent Systems Marketing Made Simple()

  • I don’t have insight on that. I’ll open it up to the community to give input as well.

  • Looks like Instagram now released a updated where videos can be imported into Instagram! New innovations all the time!

  • Instagram continues to innovate with the release of 4.1 with ability to import video, auto-straightening in iOS for pics, and Android Ice Cream Sandwich integration now implemented! Watch for Instagram Video use growth!

  • I realize this is an older article but I recently ran across it while sifting through some of my archived email newsletters. Any insight or advice for someone who manages several Facebook Pages, along with several Instagram profiles? Specifically, I’d like to share-out content from the Instagram profiles to Facebook, but currently if I do that the Instagram posts will push out to my personal Facebook account. Is there a workaround, or something I’m not considering?

  • Hi @Ashley! Currently there is no direct method to publish from Instagram to a Facebook page. You can, however have a tab on a Facebook page using a app like TabSite Instagram app that pulls in all photos from a Instagram account or hashtag. See the Minnesota Timberwolves tab on their Page for an example.

  • Here’s the next innovation of Instagram video, a full-length movie created using only Instagram video clips and filters