First thing’s first, it’s important to know what options you have when it comes to where on Instagram to share your video. Believe it or not, there are 3 different options for showcasing Instagram video content. These include the Instagram main feed that you know and love, with the addition of Instagram Stories and ITV.
If you’ve been using Instagram for a while, you’ve probably noticed that you have the option of posting either photos or videos to your Instagram feed. This Main Feed conglomerating both your and friends' posts can be found on the Instagram Home Page, while you can view your own or a friend’s posts exclusively through their profile. For standard Instagram accounts, these Instagram videos can range between 1 second to 1 minute. However, you can also post videos on Instagram creating a gallery of multiple videos for users to “swipe through” within a single post on the Main Feed if you’d like.
Instagram Stories are located at the top bar of the app when on the home page. You can also view a user's story when on their personal profile by tapping on their profile image.
Unlike the Instagram videos you’d post on your feed, each Instagram Story can only range between 1 - 15 seconds. These Instagram stories, like a post on the Instagram Main Feed, can be either a still image or video. Instagram stories only reside on your profile for 24 hours before disappearing from public view. However, this video content is still accessible by the creator through the user’s Archive.
Other key aspects of Instagram Stories to note are the Highlights and Instagram Live functions. Instagram users have the option of creating collections of previously posted Instagram Stories to be featured on their profiles in the ‘Highlights’ section under their profile’s ‘About’ section. These Highlights break the 24-hour rule of Instagram Stories and show up as bubbles which can be labeled by category and viewed by anyone visiting a user’s account.
Instagram Live videos are Stories that are recorded and broadcast live, rather than a previously recorded and uploaded Instagram video. These Instagram Live videos allow users to interact with one another in real time and offer viewers the opportunity to comment and send emoji reactions to the video creator. The creator can see who is watching their live Instagram video feed and respond accordingly.
IGTV (or Instagram TV) is the most recent addition to Instagram’s video content sharing options. To access this section of the Instagram from the home screen, look for the small television icon in the top right corner of your screen, next to the messages icon. IGTV videos can be between 15 seconds to 10 minutes for most Instagram users, but that maximum time limit can be expanded to 60 minutes for larger accounts.
Similar to regular television, the IGTV app has channels to choose from - each correlating to a different Instagram account. Instagram users can search for specific channels, or for videos based around certain keywords. Unlike the regular television, however, all users can actively comment, like, and share the IGTV videos as they would with Instagram video content on the Main Feed or Stories features.
With all of these excellent options for sharing video content on Instagram, it can begin to feel overwhelming. How should you determine which outlet is the right choice for the highest conversion rate for your videos? We answer that question based on the following factors:
Instagram Video Length
One of the biggest differences between Instagram’s three video content platform options is the amount of time allotted for each video. With each Story being capped at 15 seconds, Main Feed posts halted at 1 minute, and IGTV posts ending between 10 and 60 minutes, length becomes a very big consideration! If your video content is on the longer side, it might be a good idea to host it as an IGTV video, or edit the video into several 1-minute sections to post as a Main Feed video. If the video message you have in store is on the shorter side, consider opting for an Instagram Story (or series of Stories), or delegate it to the Main Feed. The last thing your followers want is to get engaged in one of your videos only to have it cut off due to lack of time. Keeping this factor in mind when selecting which venue to showcase your video content on will show your followers you care!
Instagram Video Content Type
The next consideration to tackle is the type of content you are posting. Is this video a quick update on your day? Or a complete short film that you produced? Understanding the type of content you’re publishing can also play a factor in which area you should share it in. IGTV is a great platform for sharing long-form, evergreen content that will provide value and amusement to viewers whether they watch it the day you post it or a year down the road. If you’re sharing tutorials, educational videos, interviews, musical performances, or launch videos, IGTV or Main Feed posts are your best bet. If you’re sharing a quick glimpse behind the scenes, just saying hello, or sharing about a new blog post/product, you may want to shy away from IGTV and make a Story post.
Goal of Video Content
The final, and arguably most important factor to keep in mind for your Instagram video content is the overall goal of the content. Are you trying to encourage viewers to buy a product? Sign up for a course? Do you want them to feel connected to your employees and brand vision? Raise awareness about an important cause? These goals dictate where the video should be placed. For an immediate, time-sensitive campaign, sharing on the Main Feed is a great idea, with the addition of a shout out on an Instagram Story. On the other hand, longer-term image management or large-scale initiatives can be delegated to the IGTV realm where they can be easily and frequently accessed as new users are reached through your marketing efforts.
When it comes to posting video content, it’s important to remember that the content can often be repackaged and edited to be shared on all three Instagram video platform options.
Now that you’ve determined your strategy behind where and how to post video content on Instagram, it’s important to make sure that the video content is high quality and entices users to engage with your brand! These are a few tips to keep in mind when producing content for your Instagram account:
Lighting - Make sure that all subjects in the video are well-lit. This means they shouldn’t be in shadows, or overly saturated and glowing due to too much exposure. Your viewers shouldn’t have to strain to see what’s going on in the video.
Visuals - It’s important that you’re using quality equipment when recording the video. Whether this is a smartphone with exceptional video capability or a professional video camera, make sure that the visuals are crisp and clear.
Sound - Along the same note, make sure the sound quality is high! Your video won’t perform well if users can’t clearly hear and understand the message being expressed. This can be accomplished through a microphone attachment as well as ensuring speakers enunciate their words and project the voice.
Clear Messaging - Make sure the purpose of the video and how it relates to audiences is clear. In the highly competitive social media world, most users won’t stick around if they can’t understand why your content is worth watching. Get the message across and provide a clear ‘ask’ that provides the audience with direction for the action you want them to take.
Brand Guidelines - just as you’d reference your brand guidelines when writing a blog post or updating your ads, it’s important to use them as a guide to producing your Instagram video content as well.
Editing - Though not always the most exciting part of the process, editing your video is crucial. Take the time to make sure each detail is just right so you can best represent your brand and the message you’re wanting to share!