IGTV launched about three years ago, and at the time, it was a source of mystery and intrigue, a possible counterpoint to Youtube, and a viable strategy to build your brand. In our first blog about IGTV, we talked through the first two points, and now that IGTV is here to stay, we’re adding our strategy pointers for optimizing your IGTV videos.
If you’ve sat back silently, watching and waiting to make your move, now is the time to create your first video, but before we get into the ins and outs of video creation, let’s review what IGTV is and its many uses to support your content marketing strategy.
What Is IGTV?
IGTV is an Instagram feature. It allows users to add full-screen, mobile-friendly videos to their Instagram profiles. While you previously could only upload vertical videos, horizontal is fair game now, too. And you can create a channel to upload ongoing content, but you have to download the IGTV app to do it.
How to find IGTV:
- Open your Instagram app
- Go to the home button
- Click on the magnifying glass icon
- Select “IGTV” from the options up top to view recent videos
You can search for specific topics or creators, as well as see people posting live right now. Below the live videos, you’ll see “Videos For You,” which functions kind of like your explore feed. From there, you can click the + sign on the upper right-hand corner and add your IGTV video. You can also create an IGTV video directly from your profile. Click on your profile, select the + icon in the upper-righthand corner, and choose “IGTV Video.”
It’s quite simple! Enjoy watching the vloggers you follow create videos and content, or create your own. The cool part about channels on IGTV is that the individual influencers and creators are the actual channels. It’s a unique spin on the “TV” idea.
WHO CAN USE IT?
Anyone can use the IGTV application, but it comes with restrictions for certain people. Suppose you’re an influencer with a certain amount of followers (10,000 or more). In that case, you can use the app to its full capabilities by uploading a video that’s up to an hour-long, but the people at Instagram are working towards removing all time limitations. Stay tuned for that update.
If you’re a regular user, your videos need to be between 15 seconds and up to 10 minutes long, so as you can see, it’s much shorter than influencers. Similarly, influencers can add a “Swipe Up” link to their stories with a link to a specific blog or landing page, but regular users cannot. There are extra privileges and features when you have a lot of followers. The good news is that however many followers you have, it’s easy to learn and incredibly user-friendly.
What Does It Mean For Marketing?
IGTV is another visual platform that gives you the ability to connect with an audience. It has a lot of flexibility built-in and is primed for getting the creative juices flowing. Instagram stories have been great, and reels have their benefits, but with IGTV, marketers have the opportunity to shoot longer videos on their channels and leave them there for all their users to see. Plus, there are many different topics that work great with this longer-form feature.
Consider doing Q&As about your brand or company, offer tips and insights, interview thought leaders at your company or in your industry—the sky is the limit! There are so many opportunities with IGTV that marketers need to seize. And one of the benefits is anybody can use IGTV. Yes, anyone; you don’t need formal video production experience to create compelling IGTV content. And people prefer relatable, raw, candid content anyway.
Once you have your talent (you), you just need to follow a quick blueprint for making sure your video includes all the key elements. Let’s walk through a blueprint for creating an IGTV video.
HOW TO USE IGTV
From titles to topics, there are a few elements of IGTV video creation that you gotta make sure you include. Let’s talk through these.
- Topic: If you’re using IGTV to build your brand, center your topics around your offerings, role in the community, and benefits for your audience. As we mentioned before, you can create videos that walk through how-tos—such as the best way to use your product—as well as interviews with subject matter experts, which can lend credibility to what you do. If there are questions, you frequently get from customers, answer them via IGTV. Ask loyal customers to be your social proof—and be Insta famous. You can also fill gaps in your industry. What’s that one thing nobody is talking about? Be the first. Do you know that excited feeling you get when a new episode or season of your favorite show is about to launch? You can create that feeling on IGTV by posting a series of videos. Encourage your followers to tune in for each video.
- Title: Your title is your opportunity to grab people’s attention and keep it. Use intriguing language and action-oriented words. Appeal to emotion, questions people are afraid to ask, solutions to their problems.
- Description: Your description is another opportunity to draw people in and make your video sound so interesting they can’t help but watch. Think of it like a movie synopsis. There’s adventure. There’s mystery. There’s a link to click on at the end. Yes, IGTV is one of the only places besides your main profile bio where you can include links, if you are not an influencer. Use that to your advantage! You can also tag other accounts and use hashtags in this space.
- Cover Image: Your cover image should be a real crowd-pleaser. Make it 420 x 560 pixels, feature human faces, and include compelling but brief copy. It doesn’t have to be a thumbnail from the video; you can use design programs like Canva to create your own. And if you’re doing a series, consider creating a template for your cover images to build your brand identity and be consistent across all of your videos.
- Length: While it would be great to give you exact recommendations for things like length, post times, and post days, there is a bit of trial and error. Generally speaking, shorter videos do better. We’re talking a few minutes total. But you can test and see what lengths resonate best with your audience—more on that below.
- Feed Preview: You only have a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention with your feed preview, so make it count. Your feed preview is 60 seconds in total, so you will want to make sure it’s the best 60 seconds it can be.
HOW DO YOU KNOW
YOUR VIDEO LANDED?
IGTV includes an analytics feature where you can track your engagement, hone in on your sweet spot for video length, and monitor which topics hit the mark over and over again. Track your data over time to gauge the success of your content strategy. You can track metrics like likes, comments, views, average percentage watched, and what percentage of views come from specific parts of your video. You can set goals for your analytics and monitor your progress over time. If your goal is to increase video engagement, there are ways you can increase your chances of people tune in and watch.
HOW DO YOU
Nobody wants to send their IGTV videos into the void. The goal is for them to resonate with your audience and maintain positive relationships. How do you do that? Here are our top strategies for increasing your engagement:
- Connect your video feed to your Facebook page to show your IGTV content to an even larger audience.
- Post at consistent times. Do you remember when new episodes of Friends would air every Thursday evening in the 90s? People would look forward to new episodes every week *raises hand*. You can do the same with your IGTV feed, especially if you’re doing a regular series. Make it fun and part of your branding. Think of an outdoor enthusiast sharing how-to videos every Friday before their weekend hikes.
- Interact with your audience! Respond to comments. Don’t leave people hanging.
- Let people know when you post, in-app, or on your other channels. On Instagram, you can post new videos in your stories. Add your video to your feed. Do you have a LinkedIn company page? Let your followers know you create engaging IGTV videos and ask them to follow you there. Post your IGTV videos on Twitter.
- Post regularly. We can tell you about the state of the algorithm right now, but it will probably change in a few weeks. Generally speaking, regular posting of any kind is the best practice on any social media platform.
Are you ready to get posting? Remember, the first few times might feel baby-giraffe-awkward, but once you get your sea legs, we know you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of IGTV for your content marketing.
Caitlin Lead Copywriter
Caitlin Knudsen is a writer, editor, and food photographer based in the Midwest. With a background in nursing and decades spent writing, she is a published eBook author and knows a thing or two about communicating complex concepts in easy-to-understand language. Caitlin spends her free time developing gluten-free recipes, reading psychology books, and wrangling two pugs and a Dutch rabbit.more posts by Caitlin →