How to make your users the stars in your brand’s show with Instagram videos!

My kids and I just returned from a 3000km road trip from Brisbane to the Snowy Mountains and back again.

Just as we were about to hit the road, Facebook announced the new video feature on Instagram.

What a prime opportunity to road test (pardon the pun) this new feature!

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, Facebook and Instagram have just launched Instagram Videos, which enable you to create 15 second videos, apply cinematic filters to them, upload them onto Instagram, and share.

Videos are highly shareable, but what makes these videos super cool, is that they are like photos that move—Think Harry Potter style photos, only with sound added! They can also be stop/start edited and you get to choose the cover image.

Here’s a fun video we took at the start of our road trip:

Get the picture? (oh, I know!… baaaad).

Okay, so it looks like lots of fun, but how can you use Instagram videos as brand leverage?

The answer is provided by my 13 year old! Seriously!

My 13 year old son decided to capture our travel experience in Instagram videos, which we’ve titled “X Marks the Spot.” Basically, the secret to a brilliant Instagram video campaign is to let go and let your user do all the uploading and sharing.

Here’s the compilation of his videos.

Now, throw in a little chaos for good measure…

Instagram harnesses the power of fractal marketing. Fractal marketing is a concept based on Chaos Theory. You know… a butterfly flaps its wings in San Francisco and causes a tidal wave in China?

One of the principles of Chaos Theory is the idea that nobody truly has real control but that life is in a constant state of flux. If you want to know how this applies to content marketing, read on…

With tools like Instagram, Youtube and Twitter, marketers who have relied on carefully orchestrated campaigns in the past are suddenly confronted with the notion that they must hand control over to users. This is scary and exhilarating at the same time. Scary, because you don’t know what your audience will do with your message and exhilarating because you don’t know what your audience will do with your message.

Tourism Australia could have spent thousands on an ad campaign featuring a kid jumping up and down yelling “X Marks the Spot.” It would have been more polished and probably wouldn’t have featured a 13 year old who hasn’t changed out of his jeans for a week, but it also would have been less engaging because, well, human beings are hard wired to relate to what’s real and spontaneous, and carefully orchestrated ad campaigns are anything but!

Tourism Australia has actually embraced the idea of fractal marketing more than most. Check out their Facebook Page. The organisation openly welcomes people posting their travel images. It also has a page tab app that helps users share their stories, comments and images from their Aussie travels with their friends.

How to make your users the stars in your brand’s show with Instagram videos!

The key takeaway for you here is: Rather than create a carefully orchestrated marketing campaign showcasing your brand, create a carefully orchestrated brand-engagement opportunity for your users and let them create the buzz, the message and the engagement.

Here’s a few ideas to whet your appetite.

1. Run a hashtag competition on Instagram. Get users to post a selfie of themselves on Instagram using your designated hashtag.

How to make it work: Make sure your users know the hashtag. Make it obvious! Put it on all marketing collateral related to the comp.

2. Run an Instagram video competition.

Ask users to post an Instagram video of themselves doing an activity that relates to your brand or saying something specific like “Fivestar Surfboards are sick”.

How to make it work: Offer a cool prize your users will love, or showcase your users’ best videos on your Facebook Page.

3. Document your creative process!

If you’re an artist or designer, use Instagram video grabs to document your creative process. Stop and start your video to do a time-lapse version. Check out this blog post on Instagram for some more ideas: http://blog.instagram.com/post/53882656270/the-artistic-process-brought-to-life-through.

Get your creative juices flowing! How can you make your users the stars in your brand’s show? Share your comments below!