If a picture is worth a thousand words, and video is recorded at 30 pictures (frames) per second, then a 15-second video can communicate almost as much information as the novel War and Peace.
While the old adage probably isn’t meant to be a mathematical formula, it does provide some food for thought. Visual content has always been more engaging than simple text, and videos, even short ones, can grab an audience’s interest more easily than still pictures. Which is probably the main reason why Instagram, the popular image hosting and social networking site, has now expanded to support video content.
The decision to branch into the video market didn’t come out of the blue. In January of this year, Twitter introduced Vine, a video site which, in keeping with their “bite-sized social media” philosophy, hosts videos of only six seconds, which play on a continuous loop. And since its debut, millions of users, from ordinary people to celebrities, have used those six seconds to express themselves in all sorts of different ways, creating entire stories and worlds within that brief time frame.
Instagram Video, which launched last month, allows users to post videos of up to 15 seconds, which, they hope, will expand the creative possibilities even further. And of course, it wouldn’t be Instagram if those videos didn’t come with a whole range of filters to lend them a variety of unique and creative looks.
But the question is, how can you use this new tool to drive traffic and promote your brand? Already, a number of prominent companies have created videos for Instagram, showcasing the new tool’s versatility for content. It can be used for brand-centric artistic endeavors, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and much more. While Vine’s content tends to have a raw, almost frantic quality to it, those few extra seconds that Instagram provides allow for more thoughtful experimentation, to create something that feels more careful and polished, while still retaining the underlying homemade, behind-the-scenes vibe.
If you’re already on Instagram, you’ve got a built-in audience to promote your videos to and increase your following. If you’re not on Instagram yet, there’s no better time than right now, when this new innovation is still in its infancy. If your brand can carve out a niche for itself now, at the beginning of this movement, it has the potential to be a thought leader at the forefront of video innovation for years to come.
While some might see the 15-second time frame as a limitation, it can actually be used as an advantage. A video blog on YouTube typically runs at least four or five minutes, and can run much, much longer. Not everyone has time to sit through even a short YouTube video in today’s fast-paced world. But everyone has 15 seconds. If you can make your point in 15 seconds, and make it truly memorable, then you can gain interest and build up a following while cementing your brand in people’s minds (and if you CAN’T make your point in 15 seconds, maybe it’s time to consider a different line of work).
Jim Henson got his start making commercials that were only about 10 to 15 seconds long. They were quick, funny, clever and memorable. That’s the potential that Instagram Video offers you. In 15 seconds, you can tell a whole story. And the stories you choose to tell are what will drive traffic and promote your brand.