Creating video posts for Instagram can be a fantastic way of keeping your feed fresh and engaging your followers. While it can seem like more effort to create a video rather than a photo, it’s worth the extra time if you are keeping your followers interested, and it might even attract new followers!

Videos can be anywhere from three seconds to 60 seconds; but it’s not necessarily the length that counts, it’s the quality. Before you start creating, keep in mind your goal – is it to gain new followers? Create a more authentic relationship with existing followers? Drive traffic to your blog or website?

Whatever your goal is, here are five hacks to creating engaging video posts on Instagram.

Hack #1 – Tell A Story

This is a hack that applies to almost every post you’ll ever create on Instagram, but especially so for a video post. It doesn’t require a hand-drawn storyboard for every second of the video, but you should think about what you want in the beginning, middle and end, and how long each segment will be.

Bear in mind, the videos play automatically and a user is only likely to stop scrolling and watch if the beginning entices them, and also note they will likely see this part without sound.

Hack #2 – Lighting Is Everything

Natural light is always best and should ideally be in front of you rather than behind, shining towards you. This acts as natural studio lighting but will look less artificial and more pleasing to the eye. If you need softer lighting, find a white poster board and use it as a reflector. Lighting is especially important in a video because you want them to watch until the end where you might have a call to action, for example, and if the lighting is too dark they’ll probably scroll past. Another consideration is that many people scroll Instagram in the evening and might have their screen ‘yellowed’, which will make a dark video appear even darker.

Hack #3 – One Idea Per Video

Don’t get excited and incorporate too many things into one video, pick a focus and stick to it. This could be a product feature where you showcase one product to show it in greater detail than you could in a standard post; it could be a how-to video or a behind-the-scenes video. It should have more substance to it than a photo and caption combo could offer, but not be so long that viewers lose interest. Keep it focused and informative and it should be a hit!

Hack #4 – Bring In People

Videos are a fantastic way to bring more faces into your Instagram feed and let your audience get to know them. Posts with faces tend to get more engagement than posts without faces, so capitalize on this in your video posts. It will also make your brand seem more personal if you show off the people behind your brand.

Ways to incorporate more people are tours of your office, warehouse, factory or studio to see the whole process of how your products are designed and made, and who makes it possible. You could record staff introductions, or spotlight an Employee of the Month, as a way for your audience to get to know your staff. Going backstage at special events is another good one, it makes your audience feel special like they are getting to find something out that unfollowers don’t. Behind-the-scenes action of the team developing a new product also has this effect – like you’re letting them in on a secret.

Hack #5 – Create A Series

If you hit on an idea for a video post that is going to be a lot longer than one minute, consider breaking it up into a series of 60-second segments. If you post them on a consistent day and time, followers will be able to anticipate them and tune in eagerly for the next instalment. This will up your engagement levels and keep your viewers interested.

There are many ways to use video posts to your advantage on Instagram, and so many content ideas from hyper-lapse videos and stop motion videos to product tutorials and product previews. Think about what your brand represents and what types of video posts your audience would enjoy most. Plan out what the goals are for your videos and shoot high-quality footage, and by using these five top hacks you should have a winning video marketing strategy in no time.