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July 1, 2013

TECH TALK: Using the new Instagram video feature for business

Instagram is an upstart social media network. It was purchased by Facebook in 2012 and has a strong and growing user base. Since being purchased by Facebook, Instagram has grown by more than 30 million users to now have over 130 million. The concept has been simple: upload, customize, and share photos via the mobile app with ease of sharing to other social networks, along with the ability to follow and comment on images of other users.

 With photos and media being a natural and popular means of sharing and communicating in online, digital media, Instagram has been a “go-to” app for mobile users wanting to customize and share photos. Just last week, however, Instagram recently unveiled a totally new video feature for its mobile app. This new video addition, combined  with the ease of sharing of Instagram photos to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr that already existed, makes it an online tech tool that business marketers should explore!

Instagram’s new video feature is a significant new advancement to offer short, custom, valuable, and easy-to-produce rich media clips. It offers key features including:

LENGTH: Instagram video offers up to 15 seconds of video recording. Twitter’s Vine app, in comparison, offers a maximum of only six seconds of recording. This 15-second length is great for a quick promotion to showcase a special offer, new product, or footage promoting an upcoming event.  It can capture interest, give a quick overview, and hold the attention of even the shortest attention spans!

EDITING: Instagram offers users the unique ability to easily delete a segment within the video before they produce the final version. This is a great feature to have as sometimes there is a clear need to do a “second take.” Instagram also allows users to add filters, similar to their photo options, to create a unique style for their video as well.

FACEBOOK INTEGRATION: Instagram videos play in-line on Facebook just like YouTube and native Facebook videos. This is great because it offers a seamless experience on the largest and most used social network in the world. When an Instagram video is shared on Facebook, the Facebook desktop user can watch the video right away on Facebook without leaving Facebook.  Since the app is owned by Facebook this is not surprising, but at the same time it is important as it opens up the use of Instagram to not only users on Instagram but the massive audience on Facebook, enabling businesses the efficiency to “create once and use in multiple places”. This is valuable to busy entrepreneurs needing to maximize the use of their marketing time.

COVER IMAGE SELECTION: An additional key feature that the new Instagram video tool offers is the ability to scroll through stills from the video and easily select the best cover photo for your video. This is important because it can entice your audience to click through to view the video, and it allows customization of the first impression. Twitter’s Vine App does not offer this feature.

Instagram video can be perfect for RV companies to do a quick walk-through of their newest model and for retailers on main street to showcase specials and new products. The new video features offers an opportunity in bite-size multimedia nuggets for a companies to visually their company, features, culture and style.  This can help differentiate a company from another.

While the new Instagram video feature was only very recently launched, the potential uses are vast!  With Instagram already having more than 130 million users and an active user base, this new toolset offers some rich possibilities for small and medium sized businesses.

Mike Gingerich leads the Social Application division of web design company, Digital Hill Multimedia (http://www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing with contests and promotions.  For more information on TabSite, please visit www.tabsite.com.

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