IGTV is currently the most underused tool on Instagram by small businesses. In this article Content Marketing and Instagram Expert, Sam Burgess shares why this marketing channel is essential for your business as well as the ‘how to’s’ to make your IGTV stand out from the rest.
In June 2018, Instagram launched the latest addition to the platform – IGTV (Instagram TV) a rival to YouTube. It appeared out of nowhere and landed flat with the community. What the heck was it for? What are we supposed to post to it? How did you find videos to watch? Ermmm how does this differ to Stories?!
It was a flop. Instagram knew this and in 2019 we’ve seen some major improvements to the platform. It still has a long way to go, and I personally don’t see it ever being a true rival to YouTube but it does have a purpose and with Instagram pushing users to engage with IGTV videos, now is a fabulous time to be getting involved.
Later, recently broadcast LaterCon an online conference all about Instagram, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think it was great and the advice from most of the speakers was really aimed at influencers just with ‘business’ inserted here and there but there was one stand-out presentation from Jon Youshaei, Product Marketing Manager at Instagram and ex-Head of New Monetisation Marketing at YouTube.
Jon talked us through what to think about when creating IGTV content, it was yet again geared towards Influencers, but I have deciphered it to make it relevant to small business owners. Read on to read top tips from Instagram themselves and mine to help you start creating IGTV content today!
When IGTV launched you could only upload video content in portrait format but as of 2019 you can upload in landscape too, which means you don’t need to film multiple formats for Facebook, Youtube and Instagram and you may even have some videos you can share to Instagram.
When thinking about what to share to IGTV you want to think ‘series’ rather than ‘snippet’. Stories are the place for ‘snippets’ for daily vlogs and updates, IGTV is for longer-form video. Some users are able to upload up to 60-minutes of content, others only ten-minutes, this appears to be a roll-out, but that is still much longer than the 15-seconds we get on Instagram Stories.
When it comes to thinking ‘series’ you want to treat IGTV a bit like you might treat YouTube, what ‘series’ could you put up that would engage and interest your audience. Jon suggested cooking videos but this isn’t going to work for every business, my suggestions are:
If you’re unsure what content to create, use Stories to ask your audience. You can use the Questions sticker to gather ideas, or the Poll to get your audience to choose between two options.
When creating content, or repurposing older videos, edit for IGTV.
The first three seconds of your video is crucial to peak interest. In the opening scene, you want to set the expectation for what is to come; this gives the viewer the opportunity to swipe away if it’s not for them.
Open with a strong line – what is this video about? It can be as simple as “In this video, I am sharing XYZ” or “Would you like to be able to XYZ, continue watching to find out how”.
Insert a title screen if this is part of a series so it’s clear on-screen as to what the video is about. So far I haven’t made any series related videos but going forward I will be sure to title all my videos. You could even colour code the titles depending on what the video is about and match it to your thumbnail (more on this shortly) This is simply a text overlay on-screen to tell you what the video is about. M&S do this really well, introducing the person presenting the video.
When you upload your video to IGTV (and only at this time!) you get the opportunity to share your video to your feed with a 60-second preview, you absolutely what to do this! When uploading your preview you get to choose which 60-second segment you want to share, I always choose the first minute as it feels most natural for someone to watch the first 60-seconds and then click to watch the rest on IGTV without it jumping back to the beginning of the video. With this in mind, you want a ‘cliff-hanger’ at the 60-second mark to encourage viewers to keep watching. When recording, try to have a natural break at roughly 58/59 seconds before you continue with the rest of the video.
In this video where I share a Heart Activation Breathing Exercise to calm your mind, you can see what I mean by a cliff hanger at the 60-second mark.
One of the really awesome things about IGTV videos is that in the video description you can have CLICKABLE LINKS! That means you can link out of your video to your website or anywhere else you choose.
The CTA at the end of your video should encourage your viewers to take one action, whether that be clicking the link in your description (e.g. to sign up to your newsletter, find out more about the product/service you mentioned) or simply to share using the paper plane icon and send the video to a friend or just share it to their Instagram Stories. When you are first starting out with IGTV your focus should be on sharing. It is, of course, worth mentioning in the video that they can click the title of the video to drop down the description box to find links to XYZ mentioned in your video, but you want to encourage them to hit that paper plane and share your video to get more eyes on your content.
In addition to asking your audience to share your video, you want to put effort into promoting your video using all the channels available across Instagram and Facebook.
Let’s breakdown two of the key components of shareable content:
A video thumbnail is the first thing that most people see when they interact with a video. The thumbnail is also what is shown in search results, what will show on your grid when you share your video and also what will show on Stories or in DM when followers share your video. With this in mind, you do not want to just use a clip from your video, you want a designated thumbnail.
So far, I have chosen to just have a smiling face – but as I create series content, I will have overlays to fully describe the content of the video. Brands that are doing this well are Planoly, M&S, Stylist Magazine and Jay Shetty. You can use a free tool such as Canva or Adobe Spark to create free thumbnails.
The headline is the title of the video – you get 75 characters, but after roughly the first three words it truncates. Think carefully about what three words would engage your audience to click to learn more.
Recently I put up a video promoting my Instagram Challenge for October, and by taking part you could win £500 of online mentoring with me. Now, I had to choose between “Instagram Challenge” for my title or “Win £500 of Mentoring” knowing which was going to get more views was crucial, I decided to go with “Win £500 of Online Mentoring”.
To promote your video you want to use all the tools Instagram has to offer – Stories, Feed/Grid and Live and use them more than once to promote your video.
In your description, you are able to use hashtags just as you would with a normal feed post. Unlike my usual advice for posts, go BIG with some of the hashtags (one million-plus post density) to really increase the views of your IGTV video. As always though, think quality over quantity when it comes to choosing your tags.
So far, there are no definite insights, and it is expected to vary between users. Some users find longer-form videos work best, others a couple of minutes better suits their audience. Others are finding regular weekly uploads are popular, whilst others are finding occasional IGTV videos work best for them. You need to test to find your sweet spot by reviewing your Insights, and of course, asking your audience what they want.
I hope you found this article useful and are excited to get started making IGTV videos. We are finding at the moment that IGTV videos by those we follow leap to the top of our newsfeeds so its a surefire way to increase engagement and get back on the radar of your followers.
If you’d like to join in my Instagram Challenge this October and be in with a chance of winning £500 of online mentoring with me, sign up to my newsletter before the end of September to receive the prompts.
Sam is the founder of Small and Mighty Co. (previously known as Social Mouth) and leading expert in content marketing, independent retail and modern-day consumer behaviour with a career spanning over 15 years in the industry, with features on the BBC and iNewspaper. In addition to consulting, Sam is the host of an iTunes top 40 business podcast “Small and Mighty Conversations” celebrating the small business owner and creative entrepreneur.