Six Unmissable Tips to Create an Effective Instagram Video

Keep your audience engaged with creative, thumb-stopping video content.

If you’re a forward-thinking brand, it’s worth taking the time to familiarize yourself with Instagram. The social media platform now boasts over 1 billion monthly users, and 90% of these people follow at least one business account. These stats make Instagram the must-use social media platform for growing your business. 

200 million people visit at least one business profile on Instagram daily. A Facebook survey reports that 79% of Instagram users search for more information about a product after seeing it on IG. 65% of these users then directly visit the brand’s website.62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Instagram Stories.

And the excitement doesn’t end there. By partnering Instagram with video content, you’re on your way to creating engaging visuals that’ll help you reach a new audience, convince and convert sales, and drive consumer engagement. But merely creating video content for the sake of it isn’t good enough — you need to be smart and follow this advice on how to craft thumb-stopping Instagram videos that reach your business goals.

1. First Impressions are Everything

The average consumer scrolls through 91 meters of social media daily — the same size as a hockey pitch. That’s a lot of content. To compete on this playing field, you need to ensure that your business gives the audience a solid reason to pause at your Instagram video post. Not only that, if you’re working with video content, you need to hook the audience into your video clip inside the first three seconds — otherwise, their attention will wane, the scrolling will continue, and you’ve lost the game.

Make Your Content Visually Appealing

Create unique and energetic visuals that capture audience attention and pauses their scrolling pattern. Use a strong color palette — if your brand has a distinctive colour scheme, make sure you use it. Instagram has a neutral background, so adding high-contrast typography will also help your content stand out. Lastly, choose a powerful, engaging static image for the first scene of your video. 

Remember that if someone engages with your video, they’re likely to click-through to your brand profile. This is another huge opportunity to make an excellent first impression. Utilize techniques such as creating an aesthetically pleasing grid layout and consistent filters to nail down your brand style.

Video by Bucyfon

Video by Hefr

Connect with Viewers’ Emotions

Emotions break the scrolling cycle — who hasn’t stopped on a post that’s made you laugh, think, or cry? An emotional response doesn’t only get a user to pause; it also creates a personal connection. Brands use this strategy to connect with their audience all the time, and here’s why:

Connection influences purchases. 43% of U.S. customers spend more with the brands and companies they are loyal to. Developing a connection with your audience will increase advocacy for your brand and help increase sales.

Strong bond, strong prices. Nike and Apple are great examples here. Each business has such incredibly solid brand loyalty and connection that customers don’t seem to mind if their prices increase. 

Connection > values. A study by Deloitte found that 3% of consumers (!) would recommend a company based on their values or principles, compared to 44% would recommend a company based on emotional criteria.

As a brand that wants to connect with its audience and start planting seeds of emotion, a great place to start it by creating a sense of community and belonging. Think about who is in your tribe? We’ve seen brands fall back on this fail-safe strategy time and time again. Vancouver-based fitness studio Tight Club does this via their general Instagram aesthetic and posting regular video content with a community focus.

Video by Fizkes

Video by KinoMasterskaya

Establish Strong Branding

In marketing, it’s widely known that a customer will go through seven touchpoints with your brand before making a purchase decision. Therefore, you must craft a strong, memorable brand identity for your Instagram video content and help consumers recall your business on their various interactions and touchpoints with your brand. Here are a few tips to help brand your video content: 

Establish a solid brand tone of voice that’s the same throughout all of your video content.Brand your video content with a watermark or your brand hashtag.Use consistent brand colours across your video content.Add voiceover to your videos to make them relatable and recognizable as your own. 

These starting points will help you establish a strong brand identity that will build consumer confidence in your business.

2. Add Text for Can’t-Miss Messaging

We live in a mobile-first world, and people are constantly watching videos on-the-go where viewing with sound isn’t an option — in fact, a study by Verizon found that 92% of mobile views are watched with no sound at all. On Instagram, video content is muted by default, so both these points signal a tremendous opportunity to add text to your videos to ensure your message is fully received.

For the best user experience, text should be concise — less is certainly more. You don’t want to overwhelm the audience. Be concise, sharp, and to the point. Adding too much text to your Instagram video can have the opposite effect, and your messaging can get lost in the mix. You might feel pressured to fit all your messaging in one post, but you can certainly tell a whole story with just a few words. Check out how Ben & Jerry’s did it

Not the next Spielberg? You can combine image and text-based slides into dynamic slideshows using quick cuts. These posts are beginner-friendly and can take your Instagram to the next level without the need for a production crew. Check out this example by Trade Street Jam Co. You can quickly and easily create posts like this using an online video editor.

3. Play with Storytelling Formats

Mix up your storytelling format to strengthen your message. Different video formats can highlight various aspects of your business, and some are better than others for certain types of video content. We’ve compiled a list of formats for you to try, based on the content and goal you’re trying to achieve. 

Stop Motion

Stop motion is an artistic style that compiles multiple still images of moving objects and replays them at a faster frame rate. This editing technique gives the illusion of animation for the finished video. A huge benefit of stop motion is that format is easy to replicate, typically only needing a single camera and photo compilation software. This makes it one of the simplest and low-cost options for video creation — providing you have the budget for a camera and software. 

For short and snappy Instagram content that’ll capture audience attention, stop motion is useful for living up static product shots, showing the unboxing of a product uniquely, creating looping shots, or creating eye-catching ads like this one for Xbox

User-Generated Content (UGC)

UGC is exactly what it sounds like — content that’s created by your users. Typically, UGC is brand loyalists creating video content that demos, reviews, or simply shows off your product. There’s a whole host of benefits that come with hunting down UGC videos.

UGC is a format that can go viral because the videos appear less “sales-y” than other content. UGC has the added benefit of a positive review built right into the content. The unique, customer-centric format acts as a trust signal, therefore increasing confidence in your brand. 

A great example of UGC is this clip from Chipotle, who used UGC to promote their queso. 

If you know where to look, finding UGC is relatively simple. Using a social listening such as Brandwatch or Buzzsumo to tap into what your audience is saying about your brand and uncover any content worth sharing to your social channels. On Instagram, you can also look at your tagged photos to see if any users have tagged you in content and reshare those posts.

If you’re having trouble finding UGC for your brand, incentivize customers through giveaways and Instagram challenges. It also helps to make your branded hashtags easily accessible and encourage customers to use them whenever possible.

Behind-the-Scenes Looks

Behind-the-scenes (sometimes abbreviated to BTS) content that’s filmed on the fly and edited together using video creation software can be beneficial to showing your audience a more authentic side to your brand. BTS videos are a quick and easy way to build trust with your audience because they make your brand feel more human and relatable. Behind-the-scenes videos can be produced at a low price point while also giving your audience the feeling of having access to exclusive access to your business’s inner workings. Fashion brand Anthropologie mastered this technique during the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. When In Doubt, Look to Trends

Social media runs on trends, and the better your brand can capitalize on a trend (while it’s still trending!) the more visibility you’ll receive. Larger visual trends inform many of the styles and visuals you repeatedly see on Instagram. To see if there’s a 2020 style you haven’t tapped into yet, look at the Shutterstock annual Creative Trends report.

Using an online video creator, you can create and post video content in minutes, allowing you to react quickly to changing trends instead of going through weeks of creative approvals. Reacting swiftly to trends will ensure that your brand is perceived as relatable and accessible.

5. Stick to One Clear Call-to-Action

Social media users tend to take the path of least resistance — meaning that your content needs to make it as easy as possible for the audience to take the desired action. For this to happen, your call-to-action (CTA) must be extremely clear. For example, let’s say that your Instagram video’s goal is to drive subscribers to your newsletter. Using action-oriented words such as “swipe up” or “click the link in our bio” will encourage your audience to take the intended action. 

When it comes to adding your CTA to your video content, we recommend placing it throughout your video content — not just at the end. This strategy will help to capture viewers who might not watch all the way through to the final scenes of your video.

6. Take Advantage of Stories and Highlights

Instagram Stories offer your audience daily content to snack on without clogging up their main news feed. Stories are vertical photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours and help keep your brand fresh and current. You can add text, stickers, filters, and animations that make them a fun alternative to your more polished and branded news feed posts. Use Instagram Stories for teasers, first looks, behind-the-scenes, and more. It’s also customary to feature posts from followers, creators, and even other brands in your Story, which creates powerful brand affinity within your industry. Shutterstock used their Instagram Story to highlight a new tool within Shutterstock Editor, and Lumen5 used their Instagram Stories to show off their new logo and then saved it in a specialized highlight devoted to products.

To engage your audience with compelling video content on social and leverage the power of Shutterstock and Lumen5, a video maker for social media marketing, visit:


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