Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom stood on a stage with influencers, declaring it was “time for video to move forwards and evolve.” Vertical video was the future. 

It was time for everyone to get on board with IGTV, the next big thing expected to rival YouTube. The hype didn’t last long; low views combined with the extra effort it required led many creators and brands to abandon ship.

Thanks to Stories, businesses have had plenty of time to get familiar with vertical video. But there’s a big difference between creating a 15-second vertical story and creating a highly-produced 20-minute video. This partly explains why IGTV’s numbers have been so low. Long-form video content is still new territory for most people. 

It’s a steep learning curve that takes dedicated resources and time to master. Not everyone is willing to take a leap of faith and spend hours creating unique content for IGTV, especially given the channel’s weak viewership. When we break it down, it’s about effort versus reward. Does it really make sense to spend hours shooting and editing a video that (probably) won’t perform well to one channel?

What does this mean for your business?

Longer vertical videos on Instagram make it even easier to get closer to your audience and be discovered by new people.

  • Be the first.

    Be among the first to lead the future of video.
  • Get closer.

    Remember that Instagram Stories are only temporary, and with IGTV, you can create content that sticks around. Use longer, permanent video for deeper storytelling and build stronger connections with potential customers. Showcase other dimensions of your business without being limited to one type of content.
  • Leverage your community.

    IGTV, like Stories, is built on Instagram leveraging a global community of more than 800 million people. When your followers open IGTV, they will instantly see original content from you, and new people can also discover your brand.

There are no initial/direct benefits or downsides to using IGTV at this point; it’s still in the building stages and it takes extra effort. As business owners, we know that is half the battle. 

Because of Snapchat, many users are used to engaging with content created vertically; it doesn’t seem like a huge issue. Yet the demographic primarily using Snapchat won’t be the dominant demographic on IG for a while. They will, however, be the ones to utilize IGTV more if the rest of the perks follow suit (monetization, user-friendly adaptations, etc.). As far as Instagram is concerned, IGTV is here for the long haul.

Tips for IGTV

Market to your demographic.

Just like any other social strategy, you’ll want to have a grasp on what you’re already doing on Instagram and where it’s best serving you.

Cross-post between platforms. 

Most importantly, you can share IGTV videos on your regular Instagram page. Be super clear that you are posting on IGTV and for your followers to find you there. Maintain consistency in terms of branding, visuals, and a posting schedule.

Watch your time.

Make sure your videos are between 15 seconds and 10 minutes. Depending on your product and message, a 3- to 4-minute video will likely do. Your audience has on average a 1-minute attention span; be completely clear at the start about what you’re saying. 

Use clickable links in your descriptions.

Similar to YouTube, this is extremely useful for driving traffic to your landing page or any part of your website you’d like to feature.

Hashtag with care.

Be strategic. Use only a few relevant tags, and put them in the video description for better SEO traction.

Study your analytics.

Review your IGTV insights regularly to see how posts are performing. Remember, this is a new platform –  if you see lower numbers than you expect, just give it some time. 

Test it out!

IGTV is a worthwhile platform to test out if you have a video-heavy page and large Instagram following. If you’re not making videos yet, or your videos are still quite short, YouTube and Stories will definitely work.

You also have a lot of room to produce and share creative and educational videos; IGTV could give your brand a whole new level of meaning to a certain subset of users. Why not give it a try?

3 Keys to Mastering Social Media for your Business

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