Instagram_Icon_LargeYesterday Facebook announced that Instagram users could now record and share 15 second video clips over Instagram, complete with filters. This new functionality is a direct competition to Twitter’s own video network Vine. While Vine was launched as a separate application with integration into Twitter, Instagram now brings video to its 130 million users seamlessly into the interface they are already using.

Many blogs have covered the technological and functional implications of this new feature, but from a branding standpoint, video provides marketers many opportunities to connect with fans, followers, and customers on a much deeper level than photos can convey.

My feed was immediately filled with short snippets of cats playing, Nerf gun ambushes, and skateboard tricks, all seamlessly animated, complete with background audio. While a picture can capture a moment, hearing a laugh as a cat falls off a dresser, or the snap of a high-five after landing a complex trick completes the moment. We get the feeling we are all in the same room, even though a Nerf dart may be connecting with a coworkers head thousands of miles away.

Smart marketers will use this opportunity to share candid moments in their company: laughter at a team outing, triumphant high-fives for a job well done, or a well-deserved milestone hit. While many will look at Instagram’s video as a way to record 15 second commercials, the real power of this technology is to give followers a glimpse into why people should love your brand, not simply why they should buy your product.

In an age where consumers are connecting with brands increasingly on a one-to-one level, Instagram’s video offers a 15 second window in to the sights and sounds of your brand. Use it wisely!

Jon Spenceley