If you’re looking to increase the reach and boost the engagement of your Instagram videos, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you’re an advertiser interested in leveraging the platform’s marketing potential or a content creator who wants to build your audience, following some basic best practices will significantly increase the odds that your Instagram videos engage your target audience.
There are almost endless ways to improve video metrics, but these are seven of the most effective and easy to implement.
1. Define Your Target Audience
Before you start creating your videos, it’s critical to know who you’re trying to reach. Consider factors like your ideal audience’s demographics, interests, and behaviors, and then tailor your content accordingly.
Keep in mind that Instagram users skew younger and that food, travel, and music consistently hold the top positions in terms of audience interests.
In other words, content like recipe videos aimed at a millennial audience might be popular, but there will also be stiff competition. In contrast, book reviews for the 65 and older crowd might have trouble gaining a following — but could also represent an untapped niche.
2. Plan and Script Your Video
While some types of content depend on being unscripted or ad-hoc, most creators will benefit from planning their videos so that they feel more structured and organized.
Audiences tend to prefer videos with a clear beginning, middle, and end, but this is especially important for narrative videos that are trying to tell a story. It’s also essential if you are trying to communicate a specific message, such as a call to action that encourages viewers to check out a product or service.
Whether you’re making educational content or crafting direct video advertisements, don’t forget to plan for Instagram’s ideal technical specifications. Details ranging from video resolution and frame rate to Instagram ad size and aspect ratio should be planned in advance to avoid wasting precious time and resources.
3. Keep It Short
It’s no secret that social media has shortened attention spans, so it’s a good idea to keep your videos brief and to the point.
While Instagram viewers spend slightly more time on average watching videos than users on platforms like TikTok or Twitter, a general rule of thumb is to aim for video lengths of 30 to 60 seconds and adjust from there based on viewer metrics.
4. Prioritize Powerful Visuals
Video is primarily a visual medium, so it’s probably no surprise that emphasizing eye-catching visuals is key in creating Instagram videos that capture your audience’s attention and keep them coming back for more.
Invest some time into learning the basics of composition, color theory, and video editing to give your content that professional touch and stand out from the crowd.
5. Add Captions
An often overlooked tactic for boosting engagement is to add captions to your videos. A surprising number of Instagram and other social media platform users explore content with the sound turned off, and captions are a relatively simple way to increase the odds that someone who sees your video will stop scrolling long enough for you to get your message across.
Captions also make your content more accessible, and because the text can be crawled and indexed by search engines, they can even give your videos an SEO advantage.
6. Take Advantage of Instagram’s Features
Instagram has a number of native features that can help make your videos more engaging, such as the ability to create polls and Q&As, tag other users, record stories, save highlights, and add other creative elements like emojis and stickers.
In particular, stories are one of the platform’s defining features — and one of the few places on Instagram where you can post direct links.
Taking advantage of these unique features is key to making the most of Instagram and driving engagement, so don’t underestimate the competitive edge they’ll provide after you spend some time learning how to use them to their fullest potential.
7. Encourage Viewer Interaction
Platforms like Instagram live and die based on audience engagement, and one of the best ways to leverage that for your benefit is to encourage your audience to like, share, or comment on your content.
But don’t forget that this is a two-way street! Taking time to respond to comments and messages can also help foster a sense of community and prove that you’re interested in more than just viewer numbers or advertising dollars.
While there’s no guaranteed recipe for success on any social media platform, these tips have stood the test of time and consistently helped content creators publish engaging videos, even as Instagram’s audience grows and its algorithms evolve.