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Tips for using the new Instagram video feature

It shouldn't come as a surprise that short-form video is becoming a communication juggernaut. Quick updates and video posts are essential to any communication strategy. It started with Twitter's Vine video app and continues with Facebook's recent video development on Instagram. The ability to quickly create video and distribute it across numerous digital channels nurtured this phenomenon, and it just became more powerful with the launch of Instagram's video feature. Content is king in a world where users devour thousands of messages a day. This is a huge opportunity for marketers to create visually compelling content and test another distribution channel. Here's why.
  • Video is even more evocative than photos. Data confirms that consumption of content is much higher in video format than photos. Facebook has steadily offered more options for marketers to get their messages across to users, starting with banners on the right side of the page, to brand pages and then photos, which can be turned into ads that run in people's central news feeds.
  • Compelling content drives more interaction. Suddenly there will be a lot more video on Facebook than there is now, since it will be radically easier to capture short clips and share them with friends. And these videos will, one assumes, be far more compelling to users.
  • Proceed with caution, however. Being the first to post on your brand account without putting thought and creativity into your video could lose some of your Instagram following.
  • Get creative. Instagram really considered the user experience, including such key features as filters, front-facing camera capabilities and a length of 15 seconds compared with Vine's six-second videos. Use these features to your benefit.
  • Avoid duplicate content. Having a content calendar and clear cadence is important no matter the platform. Don't entice an audience to be Twitter followers and Facebook friends by posting the same content at the same time and redirecting them to the same place. This applies to both Vine and Instagram videos. Determine your editorial strategy for each network, and take into consideration the audience as you grow.
  • More compelling ads+content=success. ReadWriteWeb said it best: "To make boatloads of money off of this, Facebook doesn't need to put ads on Instagram. Instead, smart marketers will post short videos to their Instagram accounts—presumably funny, watchable stuff—and cross-post them to Facebook. They'll then pay Facebook to boost the frequency with which people see those video clips." Need I say more?
  • Don't forget mobile. Jeremy Lockhorn, who leads the emerging media practice at Razorfish, suggested that Instagram's take on mobile video should appeal to marketers. "The extra time [versus Vine] could be better for storytelling without being too long, and the filters and stabilization capability may help create a more polished look and feel," Lockhorn said.
  • Reach a huge network of people creating content. Last time I checked, Facebook had over 1.1 billion users on its platform. You have a tremendous opportunity to reach a massive amount of people with compelling video content.
  • Filters always help. If you are new to video, Instagram has added filters to the feature. The company said there are 13 filters built specifically for video. When you post a video, you'll also be able to select your favorite scene from what you've recorded as a cover image.
  • More room to be creative. More time, more filters and features like Cinema and cover frame options are all ingredients of a recipe that enables users and brands to produce compelling content. The Instagram community also embraces creativity. Brands that are more artistic, humorous, original and sometimes weird will get much more attention than those that stick to a standard brand message.
Video creates a huge opportunity for marketers to create visually compelling content. The question remains, are you up for the challenge? Kyle Lacy is senior manager-content marketing and research at ExactTarget Inc. (www.exacttarget.com.) Follow Lacy on Twitter at @kyleplacy.
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