Don’t screw this up. That’s pretty much the advice everyone gave Facebook when they acquired Instagram, and when Facebook said they were adding video function to Instagram, there was cause for concern that Facebook would ruin the features that makes Instagram appealing.

Somehow, Facebook mostly hit it out of the park with its 15-second videos. Instagram Video allows users to simply flip from taking a photo to taking a video. The tap-and-release technology we saw in Vine is back so you’ll continue to see creative stop motion videos. You can apply your obligatory filter to add cool and warm tones or turn your video black and white so it still has that Instagram appeal. You can choose a cover image to represent your video in the Instagram timeline, a feature which Vine doesn’t offer. Also unlike Vine, users don’t have to build their fan base from scratch with Instagram Video and your videos are viewable directly in the Facebook timeline–no need to click through to a separate site.

Using Instagram Video for your business is easy if you already use Instagram. The cult ice cream brand Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams used Instagram Video to show how they pipe their Technicolor macaroons. They’ve given life to an image they’ve posted before and the results are pretty cool. Here’s the original image:

adcac1b8d43b11e2aa5e22000a1f96ec 7

Embedly Powered

And here is the video version taken days later:

Embedly Powered

If you’re not utilizing Instagram for your business, now is a good time to try it out. You can post your photos and videos to your Facebook page for your followers to see, so if your customers don’t have an Instagram account but are fans on Facebook, they can still see your content. Here are some of the ways you can use Instagram for your business:

  • We’ve talked before about how Facebook is like a backyard BBQ. Instagram is a great way to capture the human side of your business. Instagram is an extension of that. Use the video feature to take a tour of your office. 
  • Businesses can show off new items in stock or announce sales. A video or photo is much more engaging to users than a text status update announcing a major sale. Bonus points for not having to use all caps since you got your message across visually.
  • Testimonials from customers are a great way to utilize Instagram Video. In addition to posting the video on your accounts, your customer will be sharing the video with their networks as well. There’s potential to reach a much larger audience.

In addition to reaching your customers in creative ways, you should be aware that Facebook will be launching video ads this fall. Advertising on Facebook  has worked well for some businesses and it will be interesting to see how video ads fit in to Facebook’s ad offerings. It’s apparent that Facebook is trying to be competitive with other social media networks, and the addition of Instagram Video is a big step forward for them.