Instagram boasts about 500 million active monthly users, roughly one-third the size of Facebook, which bought the site in 2012 when Instagram had only 40 million such users. The site’s growth is due largely to the quality of photography and because it offers brands a way to express themselves with content other than words.

On Instagram, you can engage directly with customers and continue to keep your brand identity top-of-mind.

The site recently allowed uploading videos and GIFs in place of static images. Brands such as Starbucks and McDonald’s have taken advantage of this to promote themselves and tell a story. Here’s one example of the way McDonald’s uses a short video to appeal to users. You can produce engaging content for your audience following these guidelines:

  • Make the content beautiful. It must be easy on the eyes to keep your audience involved. If it doesn’t look professional, people will associate subpar quality with your brand.
  • Always tell a story. No matter how short the video, a message must be included. The McDonald’s example above tells viewers the coffee is hot. It’s simple but grabs attention.
  • Make the content unique. As McDonald’s uses coffee beans to denote that heat, seeing a whole bean tells us it’s fresh, too. That’s a unique way to convey a message on-brand and appealing to the viewer.

It’s important to keep these three points in mind when planning your Instagram presence. A static image can tell a story, but make sure to include videos.