Apple and Android customers have a new way of sharing their stories. The Instagram team announced yesterday that users of the application can upload their own videos in addition to still images.
Since its start in 2010, the application has been known for its users’ still images and “selfies” – a nickname given to pictures you post of yourself, all made more striking by their selection of film-like filters.
Instagram’s new video feature won’t disappoint on that end — with 13 video filters to choose from.
And when your followers scroll past your post, they won’t just see a blur. You can select your favorite still from your recording and use it as a cover image. Users with iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 can also enjoy the “Cinema feature,” which helps them stabilize a shaky video after it has already been taken. The Instagram team wants to make sure that your videos are beautiful even when they’re not playing.
Your videos will also have the same security as your photos: you will have a chance to review your posts before publishing, and once you’ve published them, you own them. Only the people who you allow to see your posts will be able to see them.
So, all the features sound great. But how can you use this new capability to benefit your business?
Here are four ways you can generate leads with Instagram:
1. Post a video giving a tour of your office and introducing your employees. You could also begin an “employee of the week” feature, posting a photo or video of one employee each week with a short bio as the caption. The more relatable you are to your leads, the better. People probably don’t want to buy products or services from old, boring working stiffs. They will most likely take comfort in knowing that you’re real people with faces and personalities.
2. Host a video conference or forum. Record a few short questions you would like to pose to your followers and let them comment with their responses or even record their own response video. You could begin a video series, posting one vlog per week. Again, showing your faces reassures your followers that you are real people who are interested in engaging in communication with them – not just a faceless person posting one-sided marketing ploys. Not to mention, it’s a great way to get feedback.
3. Repost or suggest other users’ useful photos and videos to your followers. Like with other social media channels, you want your presence to be educational and entertaining to your followers in hopes of converting them to leads and, eventually, customers. Re-posting other people’s photos or videos shows that you have your followers’ best interests in mind – not just your own. It also shows that you don’t have tunnel vision toward your company, you are thinking about your industry as a whole. Posting thought-provoking content that is relevant to your company will distinguish you as an industry thought-leader.
For example: A web store could repost pictures of customers wearing their merchandise; post pictures of shoes or accessories that would look good with their clothing; or post photos of celebrities whose style they admire.
4. Invite your followers to participate in a contest. It could be as simple as asking your followers to re-post one of your photos and then selecting a winning re-poster at random. You could also ask them to post photos or videos of themselves using your product – or even record a video of them reviewing it – and whoever does it the most creatively can receive a prize. Contests spread the word about your brand by extending your network to your followers’ followers. It also engages them to interact with you and your brand and is another way of showing them that you care about their interests and opinions.