The Blog


When Instagram first debuted, the app was mainly pictures with editing features. Now, almost 10 years later, the app is still photo-oriented but video has become just as popular. 

Video can be shared in your Instagram feed, in stories, and through ad campaigns. Video is one of the best ways to engage with your customers digitally. It enables social sharing, creates conversation, and is more effective when used in social ads. Don’t believe me? Take a look at a case study done by Facebook Business insights on Rareform, a company that advertises on Facebook and Instagram. 

Instagram recently reported that there are at least 1 million advertisers on Instagram, so how do you get your business to stand out among the crowd? 

Some tips for effective video marketing on Instagram:

  • Keep it short and sweet, under 1 minute
  • Grab your viewers attention in the first 8 seconds
  • Make your videos visually beautiful
  • Change up your content frequently to reduce fatigue
  • Don’t rely on audio – Videos are auto played without sound, use your caption to your advantage

Do Remember:

  • Blend your video ads into user’s feeds for more of a natural, organic feel. Making your content too pushy and sales oriented could push your audience away before they even know who you are.
  • Apply the same color themes and consistency used in your photos, in your videos. Don’t confuse your audience with a new look. 

In this article, we are sharing some creative content ideas to use on your Instagram feed and in social ad campaigns. 

Product Video

Show, don’t tell. Instead of telling your audience what you can do or what your product does in writing, show them with a video. Ring is a perfect example of showing how their product works. 

Advertise and target a new demographic or a lookalike audience. Get your brand out in front of a new market. Product videos are promotional, should be visually appealing, and straight to the point. 

User-Generated Content (UGC)

People buy from people, not from companies. Putting your customer in the spotlight creates more of a conversation and a personal connection with your brand. On the flip side, as a business, you get a ton of extra content without using your resources. In addition, an increase in ROI and customer engagement.

Create a specific hashtag then have your customers use the hashtag when posting about your content. This makes it an easy way to track what people are saying about you. Collect all the UGC and create a video. Post it on your social media, through digital ads, on your website, and in newsletters. A few companies that are using UGC to their advantage are GoPro and Burt’s Bees.

Informational Content

Send your audience to your site with helpful content. Answer your customers questions. Here is a fun video answering customer questions, done by Rothys. Rothys incorporated graphics and user comments to questions I am sure many customers have about their shoes.

How-To Videos

Adobe has a full video library of how-to content. Here is one example on how to create an animated gif using a real time product demo. Adobe makes the process look seamless and easy, by only showcasing the areas of the software they’ll be using to make a gif.

How-to videos are the type of content getting a ton of re-shares and multiple replays. The best examples are the cooking how-to videos done by Tasty.

Behind the Scenes + Bloopers

Video is your chance to really help your target audience get to know you. Examples of this could be showing a behind the scenes of how your product is made. If you offer a service, then show a behind the scenes of what your team does. Trulia created a piece that goes behind the scenes with their marketing team, showing how they created one of their campaigns, Trulia Neighborhoods

Share these types of video in your main video, rather than through advertisements. This type of relationship building content is where you want people to comment, like, and reshare. Using fun videos such as behind the scenes and blooper reels makes for good conversation and likability.

Video marketing is a powerful tool when trying to capture the attention of your audience, especially when you’re targeting the younger generation.

According to the 2017 Social Admissions Report, 4 out of 5 students have watched a video while conducting their college search. 1 out of every 3 students use social media to research colleges before applying. It’s clear students decisions are largely based on a school’s digital marketing efforts and social media presence.

Give prospective students a visual representation for what your school is really like by highlighting your campus, student life, and academic programs. Not only is video good for students, but it’s very beneficial for parents to see where they are sending their children. Below are some video content ideas you can utilize to market your school.

Website Videos

Website banner videos are becoming increasingly popular. It’s understandable! When students are considering a college to apply to, not everyone has the luxury of visiting all the schools of their choice. Aerial video is the perfect tool to show students the campus and surrounding areas. Include campus beauty shots, athletics, student life, etc. in one video making it much more effective than photos scattered all over the website.

Here are a two great examples of video content to use on your website from Cornell and University of Virginia.

Athletics

There are a variety of creative ways to promote your athletic programs through video.

– Excite potential and current students through school spirit. Capture highlights from sporting events and games. Show the fans cheering, mascot dancing, and action shots. Hype videos are perfect for sharing on social media. Students will replay over and over again and also re-share on their social accounts.

– Follow a day in the life of a select few athletes. What is it really like to be a full time student and athlete? Begin from waking up in the dorm room, rushing to class, running to practice, and finishing the video studying with friends. A look into what life is like juggling both class and sports, while also highlighting other areas of campus.

Areas of Study

There are many students who are unsure of what area of study to focus on when enrolling in college courses. They begin school with an undeclared major or switch to a different focus later in their college career.

Creating videos that focus on certain areas of study could potentially help students better decide on their major. For example, what does the engineering major consist of? What type of classes are offered? Is it a hands on program? This video will better answer all the student questions that may arise, by envisioning themselves there.

Have Your Students Talk For You

What better way to market your school than having current and past students talk about their experience? Hearing what students are saying about their student life, classes, and extra curricular activities could hit a cord with those looking to apply to your institution. Capture student testimonials, a day in the life, walk around campus, etc.

Here a few examples of colleges that have enrolled students to speak on their behalf, University of South Carolina and University of Delaware.

Focus on Individual Student Achievements

Provide your audience with an inspirational look at how their students are succeeding. It’s a great way to highlight your school, with an uplifting, storytelling piece. You have a school full of inspiring kids, who face challenges, and have come from a variety of backgrounds. There are so many stories just waiting to be told.

University of Pennsylvania has created an array of video content focusing on their students achievements. This example is from one of their Presidential prize winners for Innovation.

Want to know more or discuss your video marketing ideas? Click here to schedule a consultation with our team!

We are a video content agency built to tell your story. We form meaningful relationships with our partners so we can really capture the essence of their story and consequently bring it to life. Our expertise in video design has led to Clutch listing Spiracle Media as one of the top video production companies in the country.

Clutch is a B2B ratings and review agency located in the heart of Washington, D.C. Clutch works to provide a platform for vendors and clients to connect.

Clutch analysts do this by assigning two scores to vendors and then ranking them according to location and industry. The Focus score is determined by successes and accomplishments of vendors and the Ability to Deliver score is determined by a vendor’s clients, reviews, market presence, and work experience. Analysts assign these two scores after holding personal interviews with vendor’s previous clients. These interviews are very important to guaranteeing accurate and unbiased reviews.

After interviews with our partners, Clutch has given us a score of 5 stars! Here are a couple quotes from our partner reviews:

“Their best ability is to listen to ideas and deliver and exceed those expectations. They know how to create a story—a message—that captivates.” -CEO, Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas

“They’re our one-stop shop. They can do all the creative execution, voiceover, and production. They’re excellent at creating powerful stories, editing, graphics, and design. Their quality is higher than many other vendors we’ve previously used. Their technical skill and insight are exceptional.” -Director of Marketing, EVERFI

In addition to Clutch’s platform, our company’s work is also featured on two sister sites of Clutch. The Manifest posts business summaries, reviews, pricing, and work experience. They have also honored Spiracle Media by declaring our company as one of top video production companies.

Contact us today for more information on our video services!

Hiring quality employees is essential. It’s especially important now in this competitive hiring environment.

Put yourself in the candidates shoes – when job searching how would you research companies you want to work for? Visit websites like Glassdoor to read employee reviews, go on LinkedIn to check out their latest posts, or find the accolades on their website. All great ways to research a potential company you’d like to work for, but are they really effective?

Candidates want to see what your company culture is like, the office space where they would be working in, and find out what truly sets you apart from your competition. How do you do this? Show your personality in a video, share it on your job posts, website and social platforms.

Here are a few ways to make an effective video to help recruit quality candidates for the position.

Focus on Your Culture

How a candidate fits with your company culture could make or break the decision for both parties. A video is the perfect tool to open the doors of everyday life at your company. They can visualize themselves working there through the video. Below you will find a few ways you can do so.

Highlight your Office Space

What does your office look like? Chances are if you have an updated office with a beautiful design, it will appeal to candidates. How your office is set up, whether it’s an open concept or with closed doors, is very important to prospective employees.

A person coming from a large tech company, who is used to the many amenities and perks of working there, may not be ideal for a company that is a bit more old school. In turn, an individual that likes to get their work done in an enclosed office might not enjoy working in an open space with games next to their desk. It’s all about preference. Showing what your office looks like could help weed out candidates that in the end may not be the best fit.

What are Your Employees Saying?

Incorporate employee testimonials. Hearing from real people who work at your company can help gain trust for potential candidates. Interviewing your employees, using bloopers, and b-roll of them interacting at work shows the fun side.

In all honesty, isn’t that what candidates want to see and hear? What it’s like behind closed doors? A candidate already knows what your company does by viewing your website. Your company is on their list of places they would like to work – but why?

Let’s hear what your employees are saying! Why do they love working there? What is the company culture really like? Show your employees personalities.

Highlight What Makes you Different from your Competitors

In this example from Dropbox, they use humor and cartoon characters to showcase their office space, work perks, and what the employees love about working at Dropbox. This video is a key differentiator from what their competitors have done in the past. It shows they are creative, love the work they do and don’t always take themselves too seriously.

What makes you different? Let’s see it!


Do you ever get to the third round of interviews and then realize this might not be a good fit? This happens frequently for both candidates and interviewers. Using video to help recruit better candidates, in result, could save many hours interviewing individuals who may not be the best fit for your company. Consider video to help recruit better quality candidates for your business.

Everyone is a video storyteller! That’s a false statement although you wouldn’t know it by the amount of claims being made in the creative space. Agencies, production houses and individuals are selling themselves as experts in that area. Some of those claims are accurate, but remain vigilant. We are surrounded by imposters that hope to stake their claim and in turn, stand to tarnish the reputation of storytellers everywhere.

Storytelling, specifically when it comes to video, has moved into the buzz word category and for good reason. It’s the best way to reach and engage a specific audience. The desired takeaway is a memorable experience that creates a much deeper connection. As you head into your next project, here are a few questions to consider when selecting your video execution partner.

Who are the team members?

The make up of the team is imperative. Most likely, you will deal with multiple individuals during different phases of the project. Experience matters! A team that’s comprised of former journalists, seasoned copy writers, animators, etc. is a great start. Their experience should make you feel confident and lead to solid ideas. Hopefully solid execution as well.

Do they actually tell stories or create content?

Video storytelling and video content are two different things. Anyone can create content. Think of the short ads you see on social media, broadcast TV or the flashy clip that shows up in your instagram feed. Storytelling is different in that the characters drive the narrative rather than the product. It’s about using a number of different elements in order to create an emotional reaction.

Do they have a fine-tuned process?

Process is critical. It ensures that everything runs as smooth as possible. Communication is key whether in person, on the phone or over email. You want to make sure that your team of choice is organized and dedicated to service, not just creative. A partnership approach will yield the best results while limiting anxiety. Top notch video comes with an investment. The worst thing that can happen is for your vendor to go dark for a few weeks without a response.

Is their work high quality?

Quality matters more than ever. Within a crowed space, it serves as a differentiator. This quality applies to the clarity of the audio, music, cinematography, variety of shots and so on. The message needs to be clearly digestible while holding the attention of the viewer. Look and feel need to match the overall theme of the story.

Content marketing is a type of inbound marketing in which a business creates content that’s both relevant to their offerings and informative to their target audience. A popular form of content marketing is video.

Every video you produce is an opportunity to captivate your audience. Using video in your content marketing strategy gives you a chance to educate, provide value and engage with customers like never before. It provides a much more effective and fun way to market your message.

Below are a few content ideas to spark some inspiration.

1. Brand Story

Each person has a story and so does every business. Tell yours because let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to hear a good story?

Begin with the excitement and challenges that you faced in the beginning stages. To the highs and lows, the learning curves, and what you overcame in the middle. The end of the story should leave us in the present day and with a glimpse of the future. 

We created a brand story piece for our partner, EVERFI, for their 10 year anniversary. This video is a great example of telling the story of their company. EVERFI went from three individuals with a vision to the company that currently employs hundreds in their Georgetown headquarters.

2. Brand Message

What is your brand message? What does your company stand for? Educate and connect with your audience to tell your brand message through a video. 

The message Wealthsimple is conveying is straightforward with “Tomorrow Begins Today.” In this one minute piece, they visit multiple scenarios where everyday people need to think about investing in their future.

3. Product Explainer

Who else Google’s “how to” videos? I know it’s not just me!

Video allows even the most complex financial products to be understood in a much simpler way. Show your customers how to use a new product or system with a clear  and concise how-to video.

Here is a perfect example with PayPal using actors and graphics to visualize how to set up a new account. 

4. Product Launch

Create excitement and awareness with a launch video for your new product or service. The tone and style of the video can be a promo, teaser, or explainer piece. Using video can assist in answering questions while introducing the new product to your customers. 

In this example video, the Navy Seal Foundation and EVERFI partnered to launch Honor Code. Honor Code is an online training program for bullying prevention. EVERFI hosted an event to showcase this new digital course. Our team was on the ground for the launch event to capture kids in real time using the product and interviews with their partners.

 

View more of our work, here.

Is your financial institution struggling to connect with your customers, especially when it comes to the younger generation? Traditional marketing by itself isn’t get ting the job done. If you don’t believe me, read the statistics on digital marketing here.

Video has quickly become one of the most effective forms of content. Why? It’s simple really, people today prefer to watch video over reading big blocks of text. Video helps companies build and increase brand awareness, boost engagement, and in turn increase ROI.

How can financial marketers use video marketing to improve their customers experience and increase brand awareness?

In this article, we are sharing different types of videos to spark some inspiration.

1. Client Testimonials

Your clients are your best advocates, use them to your advantage with client testimonial pieces. By marketing your client testimonials, it lets your audience hear how people just like them are using your product or service. This helps build trust. 

2. Company Culture

It’s safe to say, no one knows what goes on behind the scenes, unless you open your doors and show them. Company culture pieces make your business more relatable. By showcasing how your employees interact with each other and hearing about how much they love working for your business — it personalizes your brand. 

3. Giving Back

Creating video content that shows your organization giving back can result in building connection and like-ability with your audience. A good example is with Barclays Life Skills campaign. This campaign promotes a two way dialogue. It focuses on the younger generation and helping them build their financial knowledge. 

Showing your customers and focusing on their stories helps to make an emotional connection with your audience. The end result is delivering content your customers value and need. Then distribute these videos everywhere, on your website, social channels, etc. Chances are you’ll get positive reactions from a campaign similar to this. 

4. Company Values

Similar to a company culture piece, company values can also open the door to showcasing your brand’s personality. What are your company values?

In this example, Square created a campaign on one of their values. It concentrates on the stories of women who lead in “Build Her Up”. Remain authentic, on brand, and most importantly … inspiring. You have the opportunity to show the world what your company truly values.

View our work, here.

The goal of video storytelling is to produce a compelling piece that impacts the viewer. What is the best way to accomplish that? Pick a singular character to focus on.

Recently, we partnered with Read Charlotte to follow one such character. Mary provides the main voice in the piece to express why volunteers are important to Read Charlotte and how they can leave a lasting impact on a child’s life.

Read Charlotte is a ten-year (2015-2025) initiative that unites children, educators and partners to improve children’s literacy from an early age through third grade. Their goal is to double the percentage of third graders reading on grade level from 39% in 2015 to 80% by 2025.

Creative Specialist Austin Huddy joins Co-Founder Jarod Latch to share the thinking and execution behind the video.

The Idea

Austin’s goal was to tell the story and express emotion by eliminating sound in the first 30 seconds of the
piece. This was done to captivate the audience and leave them wanting more. What is Mary’s role in this organization? Why is everyone greeting her while smiling ear to ear?

By having an introduction that allows the viewer’s mind to wonder is an effective way to strike up interest right off the bat. On the flip side, having the message be too direct out the gate can squash this curiosity. In the case of Read Charlotte, we wanted to create the opposite. We wanted to arouse curiosity not only about the organization, but also have the viewer ask — how can I help?

The Execution

The success of this particular project stems from the time spent on pre-production. Austin met with the Read Charlotte team and the main character, Mary Bowman.  The presence of the main character, who is speaking and driving the video, in the creative meetings really helped set the tone for the project.

Why is pre-production a critical piece in the puzzle?

  • Meet the key characters and understand their purpose
  • Creative gets to know interviewee and vice versa, creating comfortability between all parties
  • Establish the tone and emotion that will be driving the project

What our Partners are Saying:

“There are lots of video storytelling companies out there but there just isn’t anyone who does it quite like Spiracle. I knew this latest piece would be great but (as usual) Austin and team exceeded all of my expectations. It’s the perfect example of how they are able to capture something that easily could have turned out sort of ordinary — tutors, kids in a school, etc– and make it extremely powerful. It has moved every single person who has watched it thus far.

The process of working with Spiracle is always collaborative and they truly listen to what we think we want out of it, but I also believe giving them the freedom to be creative is what takes it to the next level. That’s when the Spiracle magic really happens.”

– Elise Esasky, Communications Manager at Read Charlotte

We like to think that everything we do at Spiracle Media is done intentionally. We work toward the intended result by putting the necessary building blocks in place. At least we hope that’s the case. There is a prominent “why” in how we have assembled our team. It’s this “why” that supports our collective belief that we’re better than most when it comes to telling stories.

We’re a video content agency built to tell stories by using our journalistic background. The word “journalistic” is the differentiator. Our team is comprised of a number of former journalists and media minds, 6 of our 14 team members to be exact. Those that haven’t walked that treacherous path themselves have been empowered and influenced by that experience.

Let me clarify, we don’t just hire anyone with a TV background. We hire former journalists, news reporters, etc that understand the process of storytelling and shoot cinematically. Here are five reasons why former journalists, and specifically our team, excel in the storytelling environment.

Ask The Right Questions

Most video storytelling pieces are driven by real people. Real interviews. It is imperative in those settings that you ask the right questions that support the story. So often, interviewers spend a bulk of the time asking about points that have no chance of making it into the video. Pick 3-4 focal points and build around that. Keep it simple.

Follow the Story

Sometimes the best story is yet to be uncovered, but you have to be willing to follow the story. A good journalist looks for hints and when they see something that might enhance the piece, they poke and prod (in a polite way of course.) This can lead to emotional and compelling content that would have been left hidden.

Adaptability in the Field

Most people don’t like change. Former journalists thrive in a fast-paced and ever changing environment. This promotes a sense of peace with our partners when adversity enters the picture. It also allows us to keep an open mind. BTW – crunch time doesn’t bother us either.

Building a Story

A number of companies and individuals can shoot beautiful video, but they struggle to tell a story using what they’ve captured. It’s common these days to see something that resembles a music video with little or no narrative attached. Former journalists have the ability to select the right sound bites and add the rest of the elements in a way that brings forth emotion and personality.

Standing Out

Quality of storytelling matters more than ever. Everyone is adding video to the mix and they should. With that being the case, it’s time to trust those that tell the story best. A background in journalism mixed with a thorough understanding of the storytelling process, plenty of experience and strong dose of cinematography is a winning combination.

See more of our work here.

Do you often wonder how to maximize your investment in content marketing? Queens University is a prime example of getting the most bang for their buck, especially when it comes to video. After listening to this conversation, you are bound to learn a few tips and tricks on how to best leverage your content.

Welcome Whitney Combs to the Hive Life podcast. Whitney is a seasoned marketing professional with years of experience in the agency world. She is currently working on the client side as the Executive Director of Marketing & Communications at Queens University in Charlotte.

We sat down with Whitney to discuss the mixed use of storytelling for higher education, from long-form singular student stories to short-form content for advertising purposes. Video has played a pivotal role in showcasing the impact Queens University is making on its students.

The results of their marketing campaigns that include video have exceeded their expectations. It’s fascinating to learn the different avenues Queens has been using their video content, from admissions to fundraising events to advertising.

Thank you for joining us Whitney and giving a lot of quality information to our listeners.

Listen to the full conversation below or click here to download the podcast on iTunes!

On this episode:

Jarod Latch, Co-Founder & Director of Creative Content
Tim Baier, Co-Founder & Director of Business Development
Whitney Combs, Executive Director of Marketing Communications at Queens University of Charlotte

Meet our entire team.