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Each month we publish a round-up of the best branded Instagram videos we’ve seen in the past 30 days or so.
These posts always seem to go down well, so I thought I’d put together a list of all the things I’ve learnt about Instagram branded videos from the countless hours I’ve spent trawling the site for examples.
So, read on to find out more, and don't neglect to read our other posts on 20+ Instagram stats marketers need to know and why Instagram should be the channel of choice for marketers.
Bring out the visual appeal of your brand
This one is not limited to video, but it is extremely important. The way you promote your brand on Instagram won’t necessarily be the same as on other social networks.
Needless to say: it’s all about imagery and nobody wants to be sold to.
For brands such as Red Bull, whose whole ethos around extreme sports translates seamlessly into eye-catching video content, this is relatively simple territory.
For brands whose subject matter is a little more ‘dry’, however, the prospect of creating exciting imagery might be somewhat daunting.
But I am of the firm belief that any brand, no matter what the industry, can find its place on Instagram and create some really eye-catching content.
There are plenty of examples of this, such as the outstanding effort from General Electric below.
Or this fantastic clip from IBM, another relatively ‘boring’ brand when compared with the likes of Nike or Lego.
All three of the above clips work because the brands have found an eye-catching way to express their products or values.
For Red Bull it’s a simple case of reflecting its association with extreme sports through relevant clips of, you guessed it, extreme sports.
But GE and IBM have achieved success on Instagram by finding the beauty in their products, or presenting them in perhaps an unusual or unexpected way.
Playing to the emotions is a good idea...
Think 15 seconds isn’t enough time to make a big emotional impact on your viewer?
You might change your mind when you see this clip from Save the Children designed to raise awareness about the plight of children in war-torn Syria.
Obviously it depends on your brand, but video that prompts an emotional reaction is one of the most shareable forms of content there is.
But a little bit of humour works too
Another way to get people engaging with your Instagram videos is to make them funny. Again this depends on your brand, but there are some great examples of this below.
As you can see from the clip below from Old Spice, it’s all about using the video description for added comedic effect.
This clip from MTV is another great example, and also uses hashtag hijacking, something I’ll cover in more detail below.
Failing that just go for a ‘How to…’
15 seconds is the perfect length for a snappy ‘how to’ video, and this type of content works for so many different brands.
Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, is the master of this. His 15-second ‘lean in 15’ recipe clips have taken Instagram by storm, earning him almost half a million followers in less than two years.
Create a series
One way to get people coming back to engage with your Instagram feed is to create a series of clips.
Gap did this with ‘The weirdest love story ever Instagrammed’: a 12-clip series following a young couple clad in the clothing company’s own products.
Another great example is the Colonel’s ‘Fryerside chats’ series from KFC, an aping of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous ‘fireside chats’ back in the 30s and 40s.
Don’t just post recycled ads or YouTube content
Nobody wants to see a cut-down clip of a TV ad. People go on Instagram to see original content, so it’s up to brands to give it to them.
It’s fine to share your Instagram videos across other platforms such as Twitter, but if you want to build an engaged audience and stay relevant and credible on this social network, you need to create exclusive content that fits the audience.
Hijack popular hashtags...
I mentioned hashtag hijacking above when I was talking about the MTV clip. This can be a really interesting way to get people looking at your content, but it has to be done properly.
A great example of this is when WaterAid UK used the #WHPfromwhereiwalk hashtag to post a clip of a Ghanaian woman walking to collect dirty water from a lake.
But keep it relevant
Though not from Instagram, below is an example of what you should never do, i.e. arbitrarily link your brand with whatever hashtag is trending at the time.
Go behind the scenes
Everyone loves a bit of behind-the-scenes footage, and the 15-second video length is just the right amount to provide a teaser without giving too much away.
HBO did this brilliantly in the run-up to the Game of Thrones season five premiere, showing short clips of people working on props for the show.
Final tip: be personable
Whatever the industry, the brands that seem to do well with Instagram video are the ones that come across as human.
There is absolutely no room for corporate nonsense or sales pitches on this site. People want to feel some kind of emotional connection with your video, so achieving that, rather than making a sale, should always be your primary aim.
If you can make people feel a personal connection with your videos then they’re likely to feel it with your brand, too, and that can be extremely valuable.