**Updated as of September 2019**
IGTV for business is here! If you have heard it once, you’ve probably heard it a thousand times by now… video is the future of the internet and social media. For the last several years experts, analysts, and researchers have predicted that a majority of mobile web traffic would be video by 2020. And actually, a recent stat that I saw in Adweek said that 80% of mobile web traffic will be video by 2019, which is practically here.
Video is everywhere now! YouTube was the original video platform, but now with literally every social media platform supporting video, it is getting easier and less scary for creators to jump on the video wagon.
Instagram Stories and Snapchat eased us all in to creating video only requiring us to put our faces in front of the camera for a few seconds at a time. The ultimate warm up, no?
Instagram Stories and Snapchat have also been instrumental in popularizing vertical video. Remember back in the good old days (like 2014) when you would shoot some video on your phone and then – UGH – realize that you had your phone vertically instead of horizontally? You would reshoot so you didn’t have to upload it and feel like an idiot. “Oh, she forgot to turn her phone….”
Well, now it’s actually socially acceptable to hold your phone to record, and even share vertical videos now. In fact, apparently 94% of people hold their phone vertically to capture video! Who would have thought?
How to Use This Article
This article will be a living resource, and as I write more about IGTV it will be updated to include links to all of the other content I create about it. There is a lot here, so I’ve created a “Table of Contents” to make it easy for you to click and jump to the section you want.
1. Do I need to jump on IGTV Now?
2. About IGTV (6 special features I’m excited about!)
3. IGTV: Best Practices for Content Creation
4. How to Create Your IGTV Channel
5. How to Upload Videos to IGTV (Mobile & Desktop)
6. How to Use IGTV Insights
7. More Resources for IGTV
Do I Need to Jump on IGTV Now?
First, I want to stress that there is no indication that uploading video to IGTV will help your posts in the main feed. A few months ago, Instagram opened up about their algorithm, and one thing they said was that using Stories did not impact your position in the main feed. I’m using this to deduce that it will be the same for IGTV.
In talking about IGTV, Instagram has said that this is just another way for creators to connect with their audience, so think about it in this way. This is just another avenue for you to create and share content that helps your audience.
However, Instagram always loves their new features. IGTV will be something that they really want people to adopt, so they will prioritize it by making it prominent throughout the app. I believe it is always smart to adopt early while competition is low!
If you get on IGTV now and start creating content, you have a better chance of being found, than when everyone else is on it too!
IGTV is not YouTube, and it has its own quirks and nuances. Here are a few of the IGTV features that I am most excited about!
It lives “forever” – everyone keeps saying that it is “like YouTube,” and while there are many big differences, that is a convenient way to explain it. You upload a video and it lives on your channel until you take it off.
You can upload videos up to 15 minutes long from your phone, and up to one hour long from your desktop.
Not Just for Businesses
You don’t have to have a business account to enjoy the benefits of an IGTV channel, even personal accounts can create their IGTV channel.
Vertical & Horizontal Video is Supported
IGTV will let you upload video in either a vertical or horizontal format.
IGTV Content Appears on Your Profile
As soon as you upload your first IGTV video, an IGTV icon will appear on your profile next to your Story Highlights (if you have any.)
Just think, when someone visits your profile for the first time to decide if they want to follow you, they can dive right in and get lost in your video content!
Glorious, Glorious Links!
Did you know that links you include in your video descriptions are live? Meaning, users can click on links and be taken to a web page within the Instagram app. Put links to a full blog post, or your opt-in, or…. whatever you want people to click on for more information. This works on personal and business accounts with any number of followers. Hallelujah!
Add Them to Stories
Anyone can link to their IGTV videos in their Stories (yes, even if you don’t have web links!)
When you add a segment to Stories (either a photo or a video), and click the “Link” icon, you now have two options: to either add a URL, or pick an IGTV video to send people to.
When I add a new video to IGTV, I like to go to my Instagram Stories to record a little 15-second “teaser,” then link the IGTV video to that segment. It’s a great way to direct people to your new videos.
How to Get Discovered on IGTV
In my opinion, discovery on IGTV is pretty limited. If you start to type in keywords about something you want to watch in the “Search IGTV” space, Instagram profiles populate by username/name field.
So if you are looking for “Paleo Recipes,” you better hope that an account with killer IGTV content around paleo recipes is including those EXACT words in either their username or name field on their Instagram Profile.
On the main IGTV screen you can scroll over to “Popular” but these appear to be selected especially for you, by Instagram (using an algorithm, of course!) I logged in to five different Instagram accounts and got five different “Popular” results. I’ve talked about the “Explore” tab on Instagram before, and how the content here is based on the content you follow and interact with on Instagram. IGTV Popular is no different!
IGTV for Business Content Best Practices
In Instagram’s own words, “This an exciting opportunity for you to get closer to your fans, explore your creativity, grow your audience, and build your brand.” Yes! All these things.
To really make the most of your IGTV content, I’ve put together 9 “best practices” or helpful ideas to get you started rocking IGTV right away.
1. Titles & Descriptions
IGTV Video Titles
Even though, as of the publishing of this article, there is no way to search for content based on the keywords in the title and description of a video, I still think you should work hard on these.
If you are already spending time carefully naming your blog posts and YouTube videos with appropriate keywords for getting found, why not apply that here?
Please, please, please name your videos with a title that clearly tells us what the content of the video is. I can’t tell you how many, “LOL! This was so funny (emoji, emoji, emoji)” titles I’ve seen. Uh, SKIP. If you want people to pay attention, tell them what you have to offer.
IGTV Video Descriptions
The same goes for descriptions! Give us a little summary of what you are sharing in the article. Start with something attention grabbing, just like you would for a great Instagram caption, or a scroll-stopper at the beginning of an Instagram or Facebook ad. The first line should pique interest and get us to want to watch your video.
Did you know that any URL that you put in the description is actually clickable? Heck yes. Put a link to your freebie or opt-in, a link to your website, your latest blog post, or… the sky is the limit. Remember that with your free marketing content, you just want to get people to take the next logical step with you. So what is that next step?
2. Stellar Video Content
When it comes to the actual content of your video, there are hundreds of ideas.
- Tutorials and how-tos
- Answer FAQs
- Give free tips
- Unbox a product
- Give a review of a product
- Interview someone
- Show behind the scenes of your business
- Share something personal
In order to keep up a regular posting cadence, I love the idea of having some features. For instance, on my IGTV, I share a social media tip on “Tip Tuesday,” and I repurpose something from my YouTube channel on Thursdays. Soon, I’ll be starting a new Wednesday series called “3 Things You Need to Know About….”
3. Great Audio Quality
When we talk about video content, we put a lot of emphasis on the visual aspect, but honestly, crappy audio is a HUGE no-no. I really believe that people will put up with sub-par lighting or video quality if they can hear what you have to share. At least that way they can still get the information.
However, if the audio is bad, too quiet or there is a lot of background noise, most people will give up.
Invest in an inexpensive lapel microphone. This is the one I use (this is an affiliate link): Movo PM10 Deluxe Lavalier Lapel Clip-on Microphone. Anything helps and it doesn’t have to be fancy.
4. Use Apps for Creating & Editing
I love to use the iOS app called MoviePro. It is $4.99 on the App Store and it gives me more control over lighting, zoom, etc. than the native phone camera on my iPhone 6 (I know I need to upgrade!)
If you are looking for more suggestions, or apps for Android, I suggest downloading Instagram’s IGTV Creator Guide. It’s amazing and goes even more in depth on creating and editing video content for IGTV!
There are also several apps out there that are great for editing and adding some bling to your video, if you are not planning on editing your video on a desktop with software. (Better yet, hire someone else to do it for you!!)
5. Custom Thumbnails
Just like on YouTube, you have the option of uploading a custom thumbnail for your videos. Sure, you can just pick a random frame from your video of your face all scrunched up, OR you can design something nice and simple in Canva, and use that instead. Take control of your brand and do the custom thumbnail!
6. Let Your Instagram LIVE Survive!
When you are finished with an Instagram live, don’t forget to save it to your phone’s camera roll! If it is less than 15 minutes (or 10 minutes, depending on what IG allows you to do), you can upload that right back up on IGTV. Woohoo!
7. Create a Channel Trailer Video
I feel like I keep talking about YouTube here, but another best practice idea taken from YouTube marketers is to create your own “channel trailer” to instantly tell people what you are all about. Think of it as an introduction.
When people find you or meet you for the first time, what do they need to know? Answer the “who, what, when, where, why” questions. Tell them who you are, why you are credible, what you talk about, what is in it for them, and when you will post content.
I love this post about how to create an amazing YouTube channel trailer by Sunny Lendarduzzi
8. Ask for Feedback
Engagement is ON PURPOSE. It can be created by you! Ask people to tell you something or answer a question by sending you a comment. Comments aren’t public to others, but when you can create 2-way conversations with your crowd, something amazing happens to your relationships.
A bonus tip here is to also include a call to action in each video. Make sure you remind people to subscribe and/or check out the link in the video description!
9. Share, Promote & Distribute
Just like anything else, if you want IGTV to grow, you need to promote it. Creating a video to upload and then just sitting back and expecting people to show up isn’t going to work here.
There are so many ways to share your IGTV content! Here are a few of my favorite ideas:
- Share in your Stories. If you have the ability to add links in your Story (business accounts with 10k+ followers), then include a link to your latest IGTV video. If you can’t insert links in your Stories, then just pop on to let people know they should head over to your IGTV channel.
- When you upload your video, tick the “Share on Facebook” toggle so that the video will go to your Facebook page (or potentially Facebook Watch.) Keep in mind that your title/description will become the caption on Facebook.
- Embed your IGTV videos on your website! You need to look at your IGTV video on a desktop, but click the ellipses and you’ll see an “Embed” option.
- Grab the link to your IGTV video and…
- Include it in an email.
- Pin it to Pinterest (yes, this works!)
- Share it on your other social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
How to Create Your IGTV Channel
It’s just a few taps to create your own IGTV Channel. If you haven’t done this yet, you can set it up now by:
- Head to your home feed.
- Click on the IGTV icon
- Tap the gear icon
- Click “create channel”
- Swipe through the 3-panel wizard and click the “create channel” button
- That’s it! When in IGTV, just click on your Avatar (that’s your little profile photo) to be taken to your IGTV channel at any time.
How to Upload a Video to IGTV
IGTV on Mobile
It’s so easy to upload a video from your phone’s cameral roll:
- Head to IGTV (via IGTV app or Instagram app).
- Click on your Avatar (profile photo) to go to your channel.
- Click the “+” toward the upper right.
- Select the video you would like uploaded.
- Edit cover by either uploading an image file from your camera roll or picking a frame (tricky if you don’t like weird facial expressions ;))
IGTV on Desktop
If you prefer, you can also upload IGTV videos on desktop. Sometimes this option is nice for writing your descriptions and such.
- Head to your account on Instagram.com
- Click on IGTV below your profile information.
- Click on the blue “Upload” button (if it’s your first time.)
- Upload your video, a custom thumbnail, and fill out the title and description information.
- Click Post to push it live or you can “Save Draft.”
For now, Insights available for IGTV are separate from the rest of your Instagram Insights (like for your posts or Stories.) To access them, you’ll need to go to the individual video and click on it to play. To get FULL analytics for your video, you need to click on the ellipses, then click on “View Insights.” (If all you care about is views and who has liked your video, you can just click on the part that says “# views.”)
Once you’ve clicked on View Insights, you can see the number of views, the number of likes and/or comments, and the average percentage watched. Under the average percentage watched, you can scroll down to see where people were dropping off.
How to Use Your Insights
Insights are only informational until you take action. There are a few things that are important to pay attention to and monitor here.
- Views: If you want to grow your IGTV, you’ll want these to be going up. You can try various ways to drive traffic to your videos and watch what happens with viewership. Is it effective to share them in your Stories? What about a link directly to the video in an email? You can even embed videos on your website (see more about this under “IGTV Content Best Practices”.) Set goals for your viewership and create a plan to get there!
- Audience Retention: Instagram shows you the average amount of a given video that was watched, by a percentage. And below that, they show you a graph that shows where the major drop offs are. A “good” average watch time is really difficult to pin down because there are so many factors: length of video, the amount of value you are providing, the intent of the watcher/searcher, your industry or niche… the list goes on! Where you see significant “drops” in your video, go back and see what you were sharing at that time, and try to figure out why people stopped watching!
More IGTV Resources
Here are a few of the resources that I suggest you check out to really dive deep in to all that IGTV has to offer us as creators and business owners!
- Instagram’s Guide to IGTV for Creators
- Official IGTV announcement from Instagram
- AdWeek article on video trends
Molly Marshall teaches small business owners and online entrepreneurs how to systematically and simply grow a profitable online presence through social media. Get your FREE Instagram Strategy Guide now!