Community Challenges

Instagram Challenge #1: Make a Video for the Feed

Lucas Killcoyne


For the first installment of our Instagram challenge, we asked you to create a video specifically for the Instagram feed. But before you get started, take some time to consider the kinds of videos you think will be successful on Instagram.

Why take a tailored approach to social content?

You can’t use a one-size-fits all approach to your social content and expect to have the same success that you’d have creating content specifically for each network.

You have different audiences on different networks

First, the most successful videos are created with a specific audience’s interests in mind. Your Facebook audience may love tutorials, but that sort of content may not interest your Instagram followers. Scroll through your profile and take note of what has worked in the past. What do past successes suggest about other sorts of content that they might like?

Your audience doesn’t want to see the same thing twice

And for those people that do follow you on both Facebook and Instagram, the last thing you want is to train them to expect repetitive content that they’ve already seen elsewhere.

That’s a recipe for your posts fading into the background. Varying your content is essential for keeping your audience engaged and interested in the content you’re working hard to create.

Your audience uses each network differently

And last but certainly not least, you have to consider the way that people use each network. Even if someone follows you on every single social platform, that doesn’t mean that they’re in the same headspace while using each one. Consider your own habits. What do you expect to see when you open up Facebook, Instagram, YouTube?

Our Chief Video Officer put together this cheat sheet which profiles the ways that people consume video on each network, which can be a helpful starting point as you map out your social content. Here’s what he has to say about Instagram:

IG Cheat Sheet Screencap

If your video appeals to the type of viewer described above, you’re putting yourself in a good position to succeed. Next we’ll dive into Instagram video best practices to best cater to this type of user.

Instagram Video: The Best Practices

Now that we’ve established why it makes sense to optimize your videos for the social network you’re posting to, let’s get down to business with the actual best practices for Instagram.

1. Visuals make a difference

Instagram remains an aesthetically-inclined platform, and your videos should be created with that in mind. If your post doesn’t look the part, video or not, you risk being ignored by people who otherwise might have been interested in what you had to say.

Cupcake Market, for example, used bright colors and an eye-catching opening to grab Instagram users’ attention from the moment they scrolled past the video. If you’re looking for inspiration here, consider the types of videos that stop you in your tracks and try and replicate those tactics in your video.

2. Keep it brief

Instagram supports videos up to a full minute long, but for the most part, asking IG users to stick around for :60 seconds is a tall order. As a rule, especially if you’re marketing something, try setting a goal for your video and working to accomplish that goal in as short a time frame as you can.

That doesn’t mean rushing or cramming words on the screen, but it does mean being conscious of what your audience needs to know, and what you can save for another video.

3. Start with a hook

Your first job is to convince your viewer to stop scrolling. If your video is interesting to look at, that’s a good first step. Once you’ve drawn your viewers in, then you can get to the meat of your content.

4. Use hashtags

On Instagram, where users can’t publicly repost your content, hashtags are the best way to get your videos shown to new audiences. Check out this post on Instagram growth hacking for more on using hashtags to your advantage on IG.

5. Set a cover image

This is an easy one to forget, but it’s essential, in part because you can’t go back and change your cover image once you’ve posted the video. This is the first thing your followers will see, both before the video starts playing as well as if they find the video on your profile. Check out a step-by-step process to setting your Instagram cover images on our blog.

IG Cover2

Ready to get started?

Feeling prepared and inspired? Click that button below to get started on your Instagram videos, and don’t forget to share them in our Facebook group, The Animoto Social Video Marketing Community, when you’re done. For more (a lot more) about Instagram video, head to our complete guide to Instagram video. If you have any questions about anything we covered here, feel free to leave a comment, or bring them back to the community as well! Happy video making!