Instagram has just launched their new IGTV app and boy is this a GAME CHANGER. Let’s talk about what it is and why I’m so excited about it, as well as my best tips for how to use it.
What is IGTV?
IGTV is mobile TV platform that takes elements from YouTube, Snapchat and other platforms and puts them all in one place. It’s basically Instagram’s YouTube. Different than stories, this gives creators a way to post longer content. Videos on IGTV can be anywhere from 15 seconds (minimum) to an hour-long.
For now, videos can be 10 minutes for most accounts, and up to one hour for larger accounts, but Instagram has said that eventually there will be no time limit.
Anyone on Instagram can create their own IGTV channel, where they can share long-form videos with their followers.
You can watch IGTV videos in the Instagram app, in the standalone IGTV app, or by clicking the IGTV button on someone’s Instagram profile. When someone you follow posts a new video to IGTV, you’ll get a notification in the native Instagram app.
What makes IGTV different?
IGTV is made up of all vertical videos, which makes a lot of sense for a mobile platform. There’s just something about vertical video feels more personal. It’s how we video chat our friends and family. It’s how we take selfies and record messages for our friends. And we’re already used to telling personal, unscripted stories vertically through using Instagram stories or SnapChat.
Filming straight from your phone is less intimating and the camera quality of most phones is really good resulting in decent quality content that’s quick and easy to produce. This low barrier to entry means you’ll be seeing more content from your favorite creators who now have a way to get these out to their audience.
How can you use IGTV?
I think it’s very significant that they called this TV. They’re definitely pushing the idea of programs, channels, and TV “shows”. Just like Facebook has been encouraging, they want regular shows, scheduled so that your audience can depend on having your content released at a certain time.
Here’s my best tips to use IGTV for growing your audience:
Be consistent. All social media networks reward users for being consistent, and this will be no different. So if you want to use this new platform to grow your brand, I suggest you think about ways you can be regular and scheduled with your videos.
Post original content. There’s nothing wrong with re-purposing content from other platforms, but if you really want to stand out in this new IGTV space, you’ll need to produce new stuff that’s specifically for IGTV. This really shows the bold move they made in making it vertical because it’ll be hard to shoot video for this platform and use the same video for YouTube and/or Facebook. It’ll have to be one or the other. Yes, you can post a video to play sideways, or use cropping boxes to make your landscape video fit the portrait size, but it’s just not going to look as good, and it could affect views.
Link to show other content. Bloggers will want to note that video descriptions can include links that are clickable. Use this link-out option to drive traffic to your other social presences, websites, or eCommerce stores.
Keep it casual and personal. In their article Tech Crunch said that Instagram is focusing their promotions for IGTV on “web celebrities that made their name on mobile rather than more traditional, old-school publishers and TV studios that might come off too polished and processed”. What’s that mean? You don’t have to be perfect. Your videos don’t need to be overly processed and edited to do well on IGTV. Again, allowing creators to produce them quickly. Regular, simple content to get your message across.
Re-purpose content you have already. Ideally you should be making some fresh videos just for IGTV, but you don’t have to put too much pressure on yourself to create all new stuff. If you already have some good video content from other platforms or even IG stories, then you can edit them to make them fresh. I did this to one of my story highlights on a restaurant review. I took the video of the full story, (If you’re not already, always save the full video to your phone before it expires.) and added an intro, a outro and made a quick cover image on Canva app using the “stories” size. If you need to resize existing video content, there are many free apps that will let you edit to vertical sizing (9:16 ratio). I like InShot for simple editing and adding background music and text. Check this article for more info.
Don’t forget engagement. Having it integrated into the IG app makes this easy. All the comments and likes on the IGTV videos go into your regular notification feed as you see in the screenshot above right. You can reply to comments like a regular static post.
Remind your audience to check IGTV content. Just as many people will post in their stories when they have a new static post and vice versa, we will need to direct people to the new IGTV videos we upload. Especially while these are new. This is made easier by Instagram’s story links. Now when you go to add a swipe up link to stories you’ll see the option to direct link to your IGTV videos, and you just tap the one you want to direct link to. Also note that your IGTV videos are linked next to your highlight videos under your bio (see pic above left).
How will it do?
Time will tell. But Forbes already debuted an article with the headline YouTube Should be Worried. Instagram said that by 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic. There are so many people who have their largest following on Instagram, and now they have an easy way to reach them with video. Then add to that the level of frustration many people have now with YouTube. The constant changes and demonetization of their videos means it’s not worth their time to produce videos for YouTube anymore. IGTV could be the answer.
I’m excited to see where it goes. Hope these tips and info helped you guys, and if you’re not already, make sure you follow me on Instagram to see how I use IGTV.