Instagram Video: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Engaging Content (2/2)

Last Updated on December 11th, 2019 at 11:13 am

Instagram video

After understanding all types of Instagram video, here, we have got the best practices for each and examples to encourage you. And if you’re ready to leave the nest, we have some suggestions for our favorite video modifying apps.

Instagram video best practices

Tell unique stories

Video has very compelling numbers to back it up, however, before you go ahead and put a bird on it pivot to video, consider the medium. Is this story actually best told as a video, and not an ebook or an image carousel? (Or a YouTube video, or a Tiktok video, for that matter?)

You need to have good answers for all 3 questions: why video, why Instagram, and why are you telling this story now?

On Instagram in particular, brands face tough competition. Your video needs to stand out to viewers and the algorithm both. Will people comment on it? Will they share it with their friends on Instagram Threads?

A world-class example of unique storytelling is Nike’s Birthplace of Dreams series. Those mini-documentaries bring a few of the world’s biggest athletes back to their childhood neighborhoods to recall the desires that got them to today. They are gritty, poignant and inspiring: very Nike, very wow.

Instagram feed video from Nike
Source: @nike

Begin with the most engaging clip

People scroll fast, and our brains are conditioned to skip anything that looks like an ad. To ensure your cover picture and your first 2-3 seconds are eye-grabbing. (Yes, even if it technically shows up later in the video, begin with the clip that people are going to wish to have a look at twice.)

Instagram feed video from Apple TV that starts with a shot of a cute baby
Source: @appletv

Include subtitles

Yes, 60% of Instagram Stories are viewed with the sound on, however, since the majority of Instagram’s traffic is mobile, it’s better to plan for both sound on and off the view.

Of course, you want your videos accessible to everybody, and subtitles are crucial for comprehension and accessibility. Your video deserves to attract as much of that hard-earned followers as possible.

Instagram feed video of Lady Gaga playing piano with subtitles (but the subtitles are wrong)
Supply: @badlipreading

Spin out a series

You have gone to the trouble of thinking up a good idea, so why not discover it thoroughly? Plus, some series are ideal candidates for batch-filming. Angle your two ferns in the sunlight and interview three different experts, and you have 3 times as much content to roll out.

Intrigued? Look at your analytics: if one of your videos did super well with your audience, there may be demand for more.

IGTV video from the series Apartment Takeover by Apartment Therapy
Source: @apartmenttherapy

Tease your videos before they go up

Whether your product is fashion backpacks, EDM tracks, or productivity software if you’have spent a portion of your budget on a professional-grade video you are going to wish to make full use of it.

So take a cue from the large guns (you know, Hollywood), and give your audience a taste of what’s coming.

Teasers do not just build buzz, they fill out your content calendar with high-quality, on-brand video. Three high-engagement posts are better than one, yes?

Instagram feed video by Drunk History with subtitles, paused on "There's no way Comedy Centra's gonna pay"
Source: @drunkhistory

Professional tip: advance promotion is especially necessary for live video. You want your audience to know that it’s happening, and when to tune in, but also why they need to watch it. Give all of them the information they need.

Cross-promote your videos when they are up

With so many different video formats on Instagram alone, do not be surprised to find yourself promoting your feed videos in your Stories, and your IGTV in your feed and your Live videos, and your Stories, um, all over.

Instagram will even do it for you, in some cases:

Source: @Hootsuite

Especially with live video, ensure to publish it to your Stories so people could catch what they missed. If it is a really big deal for your brand, using highlight function for that Story to your profile.

After getting Instagram covered, get that video onto the rest of your channels: Twitter, Fb, email, blog. However please do not post the same message everywhere: cross-promotion definitely requires finesse.

A/B test different types of videos

Sure, how-tos are the most prevalent kind of video content on Instagram, however, you know what? There are lots of how-to videos. (Would you like to create an egg bigger than before?)

Experiment to find out what type of video your audience actually wants. Documentaries, before-and-afters, interviews—you can even add a poll in a Story and get people to vote for their favorite idea.

And in the meantime, yes, you could always post some more how-to videos:

Instagram feed video by 5 min crafts screenshot
Source: @5.min.crafts

Play to your values

What’s trending on Instagram right now? Brands taking stands, for one.

Whether it’s climate change, gun control, or rocking the vote, people prefer brands that act on their values. Something to remember as you decide how and where to invest in your video content.

Source: @REIs

Instagram video apps

Okay, you have got your video figured out and filmed. However, what do you do with all that raw footage? Especially when it is all on your phone.

Instagram video editing is simpler than ever. Here is the list of best-in-class smartphone apps to polish up your videos:


  • Cost: Free
  • Download: iOS only
  • Use it for: Timelapse videos

This minimalist, the professional app is an offering from Instagram itself. The promise here is that the app’s stabilization function is so good that anybody could “capture an entire sunrise in 10 seconds—even from the back of a moving motorcycle.” You could also select the speed of the timelapse: the app goes up to 12x faster.


  • Cost: Free, however, some filters require in-app buy; there are also monthly or annual memberships.
  • Download: Android & iOS
  • Use it for Stunning filters

When you are already utilizing VSCO to filter your pictures, you are forward of the game. However, ensure to run your videos through this treatment as well.


  • Cost: $4.99
  • Download: iOS only
  • Use it for: Adding captions

We listed Clipomatic in our list of Instagram apps for business, too, because it’s really easy it’s worth repeating. Subtitling is necessary for video on Instagram, and while for big projects you may wish to go ahead and invest in a subtitling service if we are just talking an off-the-cuff Story video, Clipomatic is faster and cheaper.

Source: Clipomatic on The App Store


  • Cost: $4.99 monthly, $29.99 professional; $59.99 business
  • Download: Android & iOS
  • Use it for: Video editing for newbies, with a catalog of stock content

Magisto is Vimeo’s editing app, and while it isn’t the cheapest app out there, we are including it because it’s ridiculously simple. There is no real editing involved: the app essentially compiles your clips, pictures and soundtrack into a video that’s something like a slideshow.

It additionally offers you access to royalty-free music and stock video. And when you do not quite trust your own cinematography skills—or have access to as many cute animals as you’d like—it could be quite useful.

Adobe Premiere Rush for Video

  • Cost: $9.99 monthly
  • Download: Android & iOS
  • Use it for: Professional-grade video editing

Adobe is the top name in visual software, and it is no surprise that Adobe Premiere Rush is best in class for mobile video editing. This app was built with social media managers in mind, and we appreciate the control it gives us.

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