What is Instagram?
Instagram is a social network built around sharing photos and videos. Using the Instagram app, users can take and edit photographs before sharing them with their followers. The social network has become famous for the use of filters to enhance photographs.

More recently, users have been able to shoot and share video clips of up to 15 seconds in length. These can be one continuous shot, or a mashup of shorter snippets spliced together to tell a story.

According to the most recent stats, over 400 million people use Instagram every month, accounting for almost 1 in 5 of all Internet users. Instagram is extremely popular with millennials – 90% of users are aged 35 and under. It is thought that 41% of users are under 24.

Instagram users are also 25% more likely than average Internet users to be in the top income quartile, making the platform even more attractive to marketers. Instagram has also been shown to have far higher engagement rates than any other platform, meaning that followers of your brand are more likely to like, share or comment on your content.

This combination of striking visuals and increased interaction provides brands with an opportunity to be more creative in the way that they engage followers. Marketers can use imagery to inspire their audience, making for a far richer social experience.

How to use Instagram for marketing
At the most basic level, successful marketing on Instagram relies on building a community of followers and creating unique content that they will want to share with their own followers. Instagram is very similar to its parent company Facebook, in terms of the way that users interact with each other. Although Instagram lacks any form of instant messenger, the comments left by users tend to be similarly ‘punchy’ and to-the-point. The audiences themselves are distinctly different however, and your photos and videos must reflect this truth.

Where Facebook is used by people of all ages to stay in touch with people they know, Instagram is particularly popular with younger people who have an interest in photography and express it by creating and viewing stunning imagery. Facebook users share a lot of family-oriented pictures, while Instagram shares are more focused on artistic snaps.

Pictures are a great way to share a small amount of information quickly on Instagram, but a 15 second video allows your message to go much deeper.

How to upload videos on Instagram
Producing and uploading videos to Instagram is very straightforward. From inside the app, simply press the camera button and then select the video recorder option. The app will then record footage until you press the stop button, or the clip reaches the 15-second maximum length.

Once you’re happy with the video, click ‘Next’ to apply any additional filters or effects. Once the editing process is complete, click the green checkmark to open the social sharing screen.

You can now add a caption to give some context to the video, or add a fun comment. You can also tag followers or other users using the @ format.

If you’ve enabled location services, you even have the option to tag where you took the photo.

Then, depending on what networks you’ve linked to Instagram, toggle the accounts to share across those platforms.

At this point the video is live on your feed, where it can be viewed by your followers.

How to share videos on Instagram and beyond
To maximize the value of your videos, the next stage of your Instagram marketing strategy should be to increase their reach. Instagram allows you to connect other social accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr, VK, Mixi and Weibo.

Check the Instagram account settings, and plug in your other account details to enable cross-platform sharing. Once connected, every video you share on Instagram will be pushed out to these connected networks. This ensures that your video is seen by as many of your followers as possible, regardless of which network they are using.

Pro tip: Craft the caption of your Instagram videos carefully because it will form the text of your tweets, including relevant hashtags and @mentions where required.

Taking Instagram marketing to the next level
Growing your Instagram following takes time, particularly as organic growth relies on people becoming aware of your feed through their own social circles, or promotion on other corporate marketing assets. Normally, your pictures will only be seen by that audience. However, by using Instagram ads you can help increase your reach immediately, ensuring that your videos appear in the feeds of people who don’t follow you, but who share similar interests.

Purchasing Instagram ads requires a Facebook account, and you can use the Power Editor tool to plan and execute campaigns. For greater insight, and to ease management of Instagram you can also connect Falcon with Power Editor, helping to centralize all of your social interactions and campaigns. Then, you can take it one step further with our Campaign Planner, integrating social with the rest of your marketing efforts.

Pro tip: When advertising on Instagram you have two choices of how to pay. Cost Per View (CPV) is how much you pay to have your promoted video appears in people’s timelines. Cost Per Mille (CPM) is slightly more expensive, but is only paid when your post is viewed 1000 times.

The Facebook Power Editor tool allows you to define a budget in advance, then automatically shows your ad to appropriate users for the duration of your campaign. Smart management means that your budget is stretched over the course of the term you define – a $100 dollar, ten day campaign will see your ad displayed each day, up to a maximum daily value of $10.

You can learn more about maximizing Instagram marketing spend here.

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