Why you should make Instagram videos

Ever thought of making Instagram videos? I hadn’t until a few weeks ago, but I gave it a try and in this post I’ll share why I did it and what I gained from it.

I enjoy making videos, but sometimes I resist making them. Why? Because they can be a lot of work. To make a good, useful video you need to to plan out a script or storyboard (even if it’s a simple one) work out its goals (are you aiming to get more views or subscribers on YouTube? Or build your mailing list? Or make a whole series and turn them into a course?), sort out you lighting, software, camera, mic, backdrop, hair and makeup, then record and edit.

But what you need to catch attention online is the opposite of that carefully structured approach. What catches attention is novelty, fun, creativity and imagination and often those come from spontantaneity.

So how do you balance both? That’s what I was getting to grips with a few weeks ago. So I decided to give myself a quick break from the careful video-making, have some fun and try new things. Which is why I decided to make Instagram videos.

Instagram video is the opposite of YouTube video because the videos have to be short and catch attention. I mean really short – just a few seconds. On the other hand, people tend to go to YouTube to learn how to do something, so they are more open to paying attention to a video for a few minutes. You still have to work to keep YouTube viewers engaged of course, but their expectations are very different to Instagram. With Instagram people are looking for fun, relief from boredom and to look at something that makes them say ‘wow’. Think flicking through a magazine.

Video tutorials are very much my thing, so it took me a bit or research and experimentation to get into the mindset you need to make Instagram videos, but I’m getting there. Here are some of the videos I’ve posted there:

My first tutorial…

This got a respectable number of views considering I’d only been using that Instagram account properly for a few days, but I still think it was too long and ‘too YouTube’.  After that I tried to make my shortest ever tutorial at just under 20 seconds:

I was getting more into the Instagram video vibe here. But I believe it would be a mistake to focus on teaching in Instagram, instead I want to get across ‘hey, did you know I make tutorial videos?’

This is great because I can now try lots of other fun stuff to catch attention and connect with people. So here’s what else I’ve tried:

In the video above I was just playing around with an animation smartphone app called Flipaclip. My results were pretty amateur, but it was fun and I had a few people asking me which software I’d used to create it. Incidentally, you can do amazing things with Flipaclip – take a look here – it’s going to take me a while to get to that standard! Then I tried another video with Flipaclip, which made on my Android phone in front of the TV one evening:

So it looks like I’m addicted to this animation app then! #animation #heart #video

A video posted by Helen Lindop (@totallycourses) on

As you can see Nick Park has nothing to worry about from me 🙂 but it’s had more views than any of my other videos.

I have more videos in the pipeline, so if you want to see how I get on you can follow me at Instagram.com/totallycourses.

So the take-aways for me are:

  1. It’s easy to get stale and stuck in a rut but not even notice. Every now and then you need to shake things up, have some fun and experiment.
  2. I’ve connected with a whole load of people on Instagram that I hadn’t found on Twitter or Facebook. Yes, you do need to take care to not spread yourself too thinly across too many social media platforms, but if you’re able to spread out a little then you can find entirely new people.
  3. Because it’s fast, I’m posting more often and that means more visibility. Blindingly obvious but true. I’ve started to get more Twitter action just because I’m sharing my Instagram posts to Twitter daily rather than just my blog posts weekly.
  4. Video definitely doesn’t have to be a long, complex process.

So why not  have a go yourself and make Instagram videos?

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