Type A Conference in Atlanta was as filled with in depth information as ever. It’s always an amazing experience, and the session on Instagram and Vine – short form video content – with Janelle McCoy (@jnelmccoy) and Leticia Barr (@techsavvymama) was the first of many amazing sessions I attended over the last several days.
As always, I am recapping the sessions I attended. This time around, the sessions aren’t verbatim recaps but my summaries of their sessions, which I think still gets the point across. Now if only my Samsung SII would let me record Instagram videos instead of just watching them. Or Vine would finally release their Android version. Or better yet, if I were to upgrade my phone.
Why Short Form Video Content?
People want to watch something quickly, and it’s time for us to be a part of that and grow with it. 55% of web traffic is video. It’s so easy to make the video via Vine and Instagram. It’s so much easier than taking photos, and it’s so easy to make a powerful show of how something works rather than telling it using words. There are great apps available, and it’s great to connect with others. If you aren’t sharing the video content yourself, others will search it out and share.
There are embeddable URLs for Instagram and Vine that you can grab and insert them into your blog posts. It enriches your content. It’s a growing space, so we don’t know where these things are going in terms of what capabilities they’ll develop, what will and won’t be popular, and which apps will allow us to share most easily. Right now, some apps have limited sharing abilities, but that will be coming more in the future.
Vine or Instagram?
Obviously, the two big players in the short form video content are Instagram and Vine. These are two ways to do short form video sharing, and there are already communities on each platform, so you can join an existing community or start your own. It’s a great way to share and build your voice.
Although the platforms are similar between Instagram and Vine, you can be on both and many people are. You can choose what you’re more comfortable with and what fits you. We can say that Instagram has 130 million users right now, and you may have built your voice and community there because you share pictures already, which makes it easy to just add video to your existing profile and community. Vine has 13 million users and is growing. Either way, you won’t go wrong.
One difference between the platforms is that Vine is 6 seconds long and Instagram is 15. Depending on what you need time for, you can choose which platform makes the most sense for you. Instagram has great filters that you can add to your videos that can make them a little fun and unique, provided you don’t overdo it. Vine will loop videos repeatedly and has a better search functionality that limits searches to just video, making it easier to find your video for people who are searching for a particular type of video.
One suggestion is to go on Vine to make your videos and they will automatically save it to your library on your device, then you can upload to Instagram. Instagram allows you to upload preexisting videos, while Vine requires that you create the video within Vine and you can’t upload videos you already created. Right now, it’s a fine approach to upload to both Instagram and Vine, just make sure you start with Vine.
Hashtags are very prominent in Vine. Look at what trending categories are and then add those hashtags into your videos to get in the searches automatically. This will help build your community, as well. Hashtags are huge to get noticed and found.
Why use Vine and Instagram as bloggers?
It’s a valuable platform to show a lot of powerful information in a short amount of time. It’s a great way to grow your online community and presence. It increases your reach – you never know how will see your videos. It fosters engagement with readers and strengthens influence.
You can tell a company that not only did you write a blog post, but you want to another level and showed how it works, which adds another dimension to the campaign and to your appeal. It’s a great way to tease content. It also is an opportunity to showcase the core goals of your blog. Don’t see it as an add on, see it as part of your overall strategy.
- Download the app and explore. Take some time, look into them, and just explore.
- A best practice on Instagram and Vine is to choose a cover photo for the video that tells the story upfront. For the smoothie example in the presentation, the creator shows the smoothie after it’s completed because you then know it’s going to be a how to.
- When recording, try to use two hands to stabilize your phone while shooting or use a tripod to get a sturdy video quality.
- Take advantage of multiple scenes. It doesn’t have to be one flowing piece. They can be cut up to make the whole story.
- Take advantage of sound, which means you have to turn on the volume on your phone, especially if it’s an iPhone. The noise of a blender or music can be really fun to put in there.
- Incorporate the hashtags. People click on those and you’ll appear in search.
- Tag others and get people looking. Every time people like or comment, it shows up in other people’s feeds. It helps get engagement. It creates a two way dialogue.
- Consistently post and join conversations. If you’re going to post, don’t just leave it. Engage in the conversation. You don’t have to engage with everyone who comments, but you don’t want to never come back to it. Make sure your users know they can look forward to it and that you’ll engage with them.
- Create a two way conversation. It isn’t just you pushing out content, but comment and like on other people’s videos. It’s a two way street.
- Share share share – there’s a reason that it’s social media. Push it out to Twitter and to Facebook. Make sure you’re taking advantage of that.
- Think about what your blog consists of and what your core audience is. If you have a craft blog, your audience wants to see how you did a craft. Show how you got from beginning to end in a simple way using short form content.
- Incorporate these as an add on for brands to make yourself more attractive. How many followers do you have? How many comments on likes do you get on average? It’s important.
- Don’t lose the links to your Vine and Instagram videos. Post them on your about page, showing 5 of your favorites on your about page or media kit so the word gets out there that you can do this. It’s valuable to brands and showcases what you can do.
- With any social platform, there isn’t a “real” protocol. You want to have a link to your blog on your Vine and Instagram accounts so that people can be led to you. When they see stuff they like, they may click over. You can add your blog to the description, too.
- If this is a way you want to work with brands, think about what makes you most professional, especially with video. If you’re doing something for a brand and want sound, make sure there is no other branding or clutter in the video and that sound is clear. You know in your gut what is good and what isn’t. If it isn’t, it’s ok – make another video. Stay true to your voice because you know who you are. Why do you do something different in video?
- Vine has a feature that you can stop frames for you so you can take it and move to the next still. This creates almost a stop motion effect that can be very effective.
- With Instagram that you can record then delete your last clip as you lift your finger. It has at least a bit of editing capabilities. Because you can also upload prerecorded videos to Instagram, you can record and edit then upload to Instagram.
- Use short form video as a tease to your post. Write your blog on a piece of paper and have that as a one second clip in your video.
- Storyboard your videos. You can do a lot of damage in six seconds. But you can also do a lot of good. It isn’t enough to convey a lot, but it’s a great way to make it an appetizer to the main dish. It’s such a short amount of time to create it, but you want to storyboard and plan how you’re going to show what you are going to capture. And figure out how it will be incorporated into your blog writing. As this becomes part of your process, you start to plan and it becomes easier so videos look more thought out and well done.
Short form video is part of the joy and discovery of something new. As you try it and use it, you figure out what works the best for you. Searching tutorials via Google and watching other Instagram and Vine videos can be a big help. Learning from other is great, but they may not be doing the same type of things that you’re doing. If you don’t like it, do it again. If you put it up there and don’t like it or don’t feel it’s a good expression of you, just do it again. As you use it more and more, you’ll become more comfortable.
So are you a Vine or Instagram video user? What tips and tricks can you share?
Liked my recap? I have more! At Type A this year, I also wrote about:
Pinterest and Instagram: A Tutorial
How to Navigate Google+
Semantic Markup and Webmaster Tools
You can find all my Type A recaps from this and previous conferences under my Type A recap link
And every conference I’ve attended that had good content has been written up under my conference recap category