Instagram has grown enormously over the years, and it continues to broaden its horizons. Whether it’s brunch, business, or the beach - it’s Instagrammable! BTW, have you tried the IGTV videos feature yet?! The introduction of IGTV by Instagram was a phenomenal addition to the already powerful social media platform.
Growing at a breakneck speed globally with almost 1 billion active users, every month, in 2020, the photo and video-sharing social networking service has come a long way from once being a favorite for travelers sharing their holiday pictures to now appealing to influencers, advertisers, and brands. The introduction of IGTV has taken Instagram video to the next level and brought great and unique opportunities for brands and influencers to build an audience, encourage engagement through meaningful conversations using video as a medium, and promote services that the target audience may be interested in purchasing or trying.
If you're wondering how to create a video marketing strategy, look no further! Long-form video content for IGTV is your answer to driving real business results. In this blog post, we will give you a detailed breakdown of Instagram IGTV, best practices on how to use it for your business, how to post on IGTV, and more. Our blog will lay a foundation on how to implement IGTV into your overall social video strategy.
What Is IGTV?
Instagram TV, popularly known as IGTV, is a feature for sharing long-form videos on social media platform. The best part –Instagram limits the duration of videos to 60 seconds for Feed, while IGTV allows you to upload up to 60 minutes of video from the web (or 15 minutes if you upload from mobile). This feature alone gives you a much better opportunity to tell engaging and compelling stories through the video format. But what sets it apart is the fact that, unlike the videos or Stories that you’re able to post on Instagram for 24 hours only, IGTV allows you to upload long-form videos which won’t disappear ever! Another winning feature is that videos are uploaded in full screen and vertical format.
And finally a dash of good news for influencers with a following - every IGTV channel is linked to a corresponding Instagram account which means, all your Instagram followers can view your IGTV channel. Consider Instagram and IGTV like Facebook and Facebook Messenger. While these are two separate apps that can function individually, they exist side by side and, together, make up the complete package!
How To Create An IGTV Channel
Ready to start sharing your videos with the world - you need to first create an Instagram TV account. Instagram has made the whole process super easy! Follow these steps:
- 1. Start with downloading the IGTV app from the App Store or Google Play.
- 2. Sign up to the IGTV app. If you’re already logged in to your Instagram account, the app will automatically sync and use your profile.
- 3. Click on the settings icon placed in the right-hand corner, and then click “create channel”. And you’re in - quick and easy!
How To Upload An IGTV Video
Once your account has been set up, uploading an IGTV video is very simple. Follow these simple steps to upload a video successfully:
- 1. Click on your avatar (from the main page) to head to your Instagram account.
- 2. Click the “+” symbol placed in the right-hand corner to add a new video.
- 3. Select a vertical video from your gallery/camera roll.
- 4. Add the title and description. Pro tip: To make sure your videos are “searchable”, add relevant keywords.
- 5. Next, link your video to an external page. You could link to your website, portfolio or your online store.
- 6. Create a thumbnail for your video to stay neat and organized.
- 7. Hit the “post” button and you’re all set!
Bonus tip: You can check your IGTV stats by clicking on the “…” button next to the like, comment, share section. Here, select “view insights” to gain access to key information such as number of views, likes, and comments.
How To Create An IGTV Series
While uploading the video, the above-mentioned steps will remain the same. Just a few additions are required to create an IGTV series. Follow these steps:
- 1. Right at the window where you fill out your title and description, tap on “Add to Series”.
- 2. Tap “Create Your First Series”.
- 3. Fill out your series title and description, and tap the blue checkmark in the top right.
- 4. Select the series you want your video to be a part of, then tap “Done” in the top right corner.
- 5. Done! You just created a new IGTV series.
IGTV Video Specs
File format: MP4
Video length: Minimum 1 minute long
Maximum video length using mobile upload: 15 minutes
Maximum video length using the web to upload: 1 hour
Vertical aspect ratio: 9:16
Horizontal aspect ratio: 16:9
Minimum frame rate in frames per second: 30 FPS
Minimum resolution: 720 pixels
Maximum size for videos that are 10 minutes or less: 650MB
Maximum size for videos up to 60 minutes: 3.6GB
Ideal cover photo size: 420px by 654px (1:1.55 ratio)
Guidelines To Share IGTV Previews On Your Instagram Feed
Pick your cover picture wisely
The cover picture of your IGTV preview appears on your profile as well as on your followers’ feeds, so you must select this picture wisely. Ideally, the picture should be attractive enough to grab the attention of your followers and simultaneously go well with your profile’s aesthetics too. Most importantly, the picture should have the right dimensions and size for an optimal viewing experience. Instagram allows both vertical and horizontal videos for IGTV with aspect ratios 9:16 and 16:9, respectively. For cover photos, a size of 420 pixels by 654 pixels and an aspect ratio of 1:1.55 is recommended.
Pro Tip: This cover image is shown at different places with different sizes and aspect ratios. For example, when shown on your followers’ feed it is cropped to the portrait size with the aspect ratio of 4:5, and, on your Instagram profile grid, it appears in an aspect ratio of 1:1. So, select a picture that works in all of these sizes without getting cropped the wrong way. The trick is to ensure that your picture’s focus should be right in the center. Several Instagram image creator tools, like Canva, show the different Instagram image sizes and templates. You can check these out to see how your image looks in different formats.
Write good captions
A caption is worth a thousand words in the Instagram world! When you post an IGTV preview, the video’s title automatically becomes the caption of that preview. Therefore, you need to pick a title that creatively describes what the video is about.
Pro Tip: You can change your caption or make it more descriptive by going back and editing it after you have posted the IGTV preview. Previously, Instagram did not allow one to change or edit the caption after posting, but now they have rolled out this option. In short, if you don’t want your IGTV video title as your caption, you can go back and edit it!
Edit your IGTV previews strategically
The entire purpose of IGTV previews is to get your viewers’ attention with something engaging and then encourage them to watch the full video on your IGTV channel. This directs your followers to your channel. Therefore, you must select the content of your 1-minute previews strategically to ensure that it engages the viewer enough to want to see more. To get your viewers invested in the video, build suspense or suggest something exciting around the one-minute mark.
Pro Tip: Adding a cliffhanger around the 1-minute mark is a fantastic way to get the audience to watch the entire video. Plan your content in a way that it creates curiosity and excitement in the beginning and has a cliffhanger around the 1-minute mark.
Post at the right times
A good strategy to get the best results from your IGTV previews is to post at the right times - times when you can get the maximum engagement. Typically, Wednesdays and Fridays are the days when you can get the maximum engagement, and, in general, the best times to post are between 9am and 1pm. You can use these as your baseline and then fine-tune it based on your audience insights.
Figure 1: Instagram Global Engagement, 2020. Source
Pro Tip: Use your Instagram Insights to see when your audience is online the most, and select those times to post your IGTV videos and previews.
Most people turn the sound off for videos that they watch on Instagram. This is an excellent strategy for all of the videos that you post on Instagram as using subtitles for videos not only allows people to understand your video better but gets you an increased number of views as more people can watch it. Consider this – most of the time people scroll through their Instagram feed from their workplace or a quiet setting where they can’t play videos with the sound on. Subtitles allow people to watch and understand your videos even in such situations, thus boosting your views.
Pro Tip: Following this as best practice with IGTV videos as well as the IGTV previews, will help you get more views and more people to watch your IGTV videos.
5 Ways To Use IGTV For Business
Tutorial videos are a great way to build engagement. Typically, called “how-to videos”, these can cover a variety of different topics in your industry. For example, if your organization sells a product, you can create a how-to video focused on how to use that product.
Host a Q&A session
A question and answer (Q&A) session with your audience is a great way to answer any queries or questions your followers might have. You can start by creating a post on your Instagram feed and Story to promote your Q&A session, beforehand, and ask your followers for questions in the post. Use these during the IGTV recording.
Go behind the scenes
Build transparency into your brand by going behind the scenes. Give your audience a look at how your company works - interviewing workers or simply touring your workspace. This humanizes your brand to viewers and eventually results in more trust between the audience and your organization.
Stream an event
Streaming an event is a great opportunity to allow your viewers to “attend” a convention or a seminar, virtually. Your viewers will value it for its worth, and you can offer them content they can engage with.
Host a talk show
Did you know that you can host a talk show on your IGTV that’s centered on your brand? Invite guests who are influencers and thought leaders in your industry, to get your audience interested.
IGTV Best Practices
Whenever you start posting to any new channel, it is best practice to inform your followers on other channels what you’re up to, in case they want to follow you there too. This holds especially true for IGTV, as some people will have to download a new app to view your content. IGTV offers different cross-promotion options, including Preview and link to an IGTV video from your Instagram Stories; Share one-minute previews of your IGTV videos to your Instagram feed and profile; Share IGTV videos to a connected Facebook page. Outside of Instagram, you can cross-promote your IGTV channel with: Twitter; email newsletter; Facebook Page
Optimize for silent viewing
Chances are if people are watching a video in the IGTV app, they’ll turn the “sound on”. For the videos that play automatically in the app default to “sound off” you will need to optimize these for silent viewing – with easily visible subtitles.
Include the most important info upfront
Include the most important info upfront as people scroll through their feeds quickly. Realistically, you only have 15 seconds to grab their attention, so make sure your IGTV video hooks your viewers as soon as possible. Think of the first minute of your video as an introduction to a blog post, and answering these questions as soon as possible will guarantee longer and higher-quality views. Ask - What is this video about? Why should you keep watching? Who is this video for? How long will it be?
Use hashtags in your description
Ensure your videos are also seen by non-followers by including relevant hashtags in your description. Your videos will show up on the corresponding hashtag page on Instagram, and people following that hashtag will be able to discover your content.
Post content that warrants a longer format
If you want people to follow you, you need to give them a good reason to do so. This means developing new and creative content that fits a longer format. While your Instagram Stories are designed to fit within snappy 15-second clips, long-form IGTV content is popular. Some brands have even developed entire TV series for the app!
Use your business branding
Let your audience know that you’re the same old you, just on a different channel. This can be done by sticking to the same branding, which includes colors, fonts, themes, tone, and vibe. Doing so will help your IGTV content seamlessly fit into your feed too.
The hard truth is that IGTV videos don’t often get as many views or as much engagement as your normal Instagram posts and Stories. People simply don’t make the effort to go to the IGTV channel and watch videos. Therefore, you need to promote your IGTV videos and direct your followers to your IGTV channel.
In this blog, we’ve summed up some of the most critical things you need to know about Instagram TV. Follow these best practices and use these ideas to create a winning IGTV strategy for your brand. If you’ve got any further questions, we are happy to help you. At atisfyreach we provide services that help brands establish a strong presence across social media platforms, and connect them with influencers through tailored marketing campaigns. Get in touch, and let us help you build a true connection with your audience.