9 Instagram Video Strategies

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 07 Aug, 2013

The latest trend floating around the social sphere is sharing short, captivating videos. Although Twitter's Vine app was on the forefront of this trend, it became even more mainstream once videos arrived on Instagram back in June.


The challenge for brands, however, is that Instagram's maximum 15-second video length means that videos must not only be straight to the point, but also be creative enough to capture viewers' attention. After all, the goal of these videos is typically to increase exposure for the company through interactions such as comments, likes and shares.


That said, being creative is sometimes easier said than done, which is why it can be helpful to look at other brands' strategies. So before you get your creative juices flowing, get inspired with these 9 short (and social) video strategies:


1. Merchandising

If you are a brand on social media, your first instinct (and rightfully so) should be to promote your products. The challenge with video, though, is to make your merchandising efforts visually appealing. Macy's does a good job with this by showing off new boots in a simple and effective way. Victoria's Secret, however, hit it out of the park with their merchandising video. This video shows off a variety of products by mixing numerous swimsuits together and ends with branding items and a hashtag, further promoting the company's social efforts.






2. Teaser

If you want to make sure to capture your audience's attention, take a play out of Taco Bell's book. The company, which has had major success with its Doritos Locos Tacos, is not stopping at just Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch. In order to relay this message to its followers, Taco Bell came out with a short Instagram video that teases the launch date of its newest Doritos Locos item. Plus, the company includes a hashtag at the end of the video to give the campaign an even greater chance of going viral. This strategy gets people talking about Taco Bell and what Doritos chip its newest item might be made out of. It also ensures that consumers will revisit the company's social properties or website in order to find out on Aug. 22.




3. Behind the Scenes

Taking your customers behind the scenes of your company is always a good idea, because it makes your company seem more transparent and relatable. Plus, the beauty of this strategy is nearly any company can execute it. General Electric, for example, shared a nighttime water ingestion test with its followers, while Ben and Jerry's shares how it makes New York City's City Churned flavor icecream.






4. Tutorial

You've got to be pretty creative to make a 15-second tutorial, but Urban Decay executes this strategy perfectly. The video goes through the steps consumers must take in order to get "UD Ultra Definition Skin". Each step is clearly titled at the top of the video slide alongside its appropriate product. Then, the company finishes the tutorial with an image of one of their models to show what the finished process looks like. In order to make this video even more conversion friendly, the beauty company added a link to its website in the text of its post.




5. Celebrity Interviews

Although every brand isn't as fortunate as Urban Outfitters or the Today Show, who have the opportunity to interview and showcase celebrities in their Instagram videos, that doesn't mean that your brand can't leverage this strategy with a unique twist. For example, if you own a pet store and have access to a professional dog trainer or prominent vet in your community, ask them to be part of your brand's celebrity video strategy. Not only can they provide valuable information for your audience, but it also helps your brand gain more authority on the Web. Plus, these "celebrities" are likely to share the video with their networks, which increases your brand's overall social reach - and that's the goal, right?






6. Unfair Use of Pets (or Babies)

Marketers know that success is right around the corner anytime they can incorporate cute furry animals or precious little babies into their strategies. This is because the human race tends to have a soft spot for the innocence and sweetness of these subjects. Nissan shamelessly leveraged this tactic in an effort to promote the Versa Note. The video's main focus is on a cute little Pug and includes corresponding hashtags #pug and #pets. This tactic increases the brand's reach to not only its current audience, but also to Instagram users who follow pet-related hashtags.




7. Just for Fun

Sometimes there is no method to the madness - or is there? Zappos leaves us wondering with this delightful video of the Lacoste crocodile eating a piece of pizza. While this video isn't overly promotional, it does feature a brand that Zappos sells on its site, and it is also so silly that it grabs the attention of audience members and gets people talking. Plus, it is no fun to be serious all the time, and sometimes your audience just needs a nice chuckle.




8. Relevant Events

Relevance should be a big part of any content plan, however, this doesn't mean you can't spice it up. While some brands might want to take the holiday route like Michael Kors did in its Fourth of July video that features items to keep in a purse for the holiday, others may prefer Volkswagen's strategy, which is less predictable. The automobile company leveraged the popularity of Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" to promote its Beetle Convertible. Similar to Nissan's strategy, VW is using this content to not only capture the attention of its audience, but also by using the hashtag #SharkWeek, the company is likely hopeful that this video will also attract new prospects to follow its brand.






9. DIY Video Series

This next video features an out-of-the-box approach to Instagram video, scoring points for innovation and time and effort. Office supply retailer ReStockIt decided to leverage Instagram's new feature to start its own video series. Just like Taco Bell's "teasing" concept, this approach leaves audience members waiting and coming back for more. The series, dubbed "Revenge of the Interns" started on July 2, has 12 episodes in total and ended on July 24. Although some brands may not have the time to write, produce and edit their own video series, this is a great tactic for persuading your audience to revisit your brand's social profiles.