You may have noticed — until very recently — the little TV icon with a squiggly line on the upper right corner of your Instagram screen and wondered what it was. Maybe you clicked on it and were a bit confused by the separate interface.
IGTV is a relatively new section of Instagram, and it plays by somewhat different rules than the Feed or Stories. Here’s everything you need to know about IGTV and how you can leverage its unique features to grow your business.
What is IGTV?
Why, you may wonder, do we need another Instagram app for video sharing, if we can already share videos on the Feed, on Stories, or by going live?
If you’ve been using Instagram for videos, you might already guess the answer: Feed and Story videos are so short! IGTV allows users to share longer videos — up to 10 minutes for most users — that have been prepared and edited ahead of time.
The idea of IGTV is to serve as a separate place on Instagram for uploading long-form videos that are high-quality and well-planned. The major difference between IGTV and, say, the long-form video-sharing features of YouTube and Facebook, is that IGTV videos are designed to be viewed vertically on a smartphone screen.
How it works
Instead of searching for content via topic or scrolling through your feed, IGTV works more like turning on your television: channels created by the accounts you already follow will automatically start to play, and you can flip through them as you please.
This model creates a bit of a challenge for small businesses who are used to reaching out to audiences on other social media platforms. People can’t search for your content via hashtag or topic, so it’s much harder to reach new followers organically with IGTV.
But it’s really a question of how you frame it. IGTV is less of a way to reach new followers, and more of a way to provide additional, more engaging, more in-depth content for the people who already follow you.
In other words, IGTV isn’t for the Awareness stage in your sales funnel. It’s for moving potential clients from the Interest stage to the Decision stage. It helps your followers get to know you and your product better than they could from a 15- or 60-second video.
What kinds of businesses can benefit from using IGTV?
The businesses that have the most success with IGTV are the ones that already have a large following. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it if you’re a small business — on the contrary!
IGTV gives you room to provide more in-depth content, and that content may be more valuable to your followers than the short videos you can share on the Feed or in Stories.
What’s more, you can use IGTV as a sort of extension of your shorter videos. There’s an option to post a 60-second “preview” of an IGTV video straight to your feed. When you do that, followers will see an IGTV icon right on the clip. Tapping the icon will take them straight to the full video on IGTV.
So if you’ve been feeling frustrated and limited by the 60-second video length on the Instagram Feed, IGTV might be the answer to your prayers.
A few ideas for IGTV content
Ready to give it a try? Here are a few ideas for video content you can post on IGTV:
- AMA (Ask Me Anything) session: Post to your Feed or Story asking your followers to ask you any question they like, and then make a video answering their questions. (Protip: the Question sticker on a Story can be especially helpful for this!)
- FAQ session: If you already get asked certain questions fairly often, make a video of yourself answering them.
- Tutorial: If you’ve struggled to post a tutorial because 15 or 60 seconds isn’t long enough, IGTV is the perfect solution. Here’s some tutorial inspiration from @icingartist:
- Behind the scenes: Take your followers behind the scenes at your studio, office, or factory.
- Create a recurring show: Since your content will be mostly consumed by people who already follow you, creating a recurring show on a topic related to your brand will help build customer loyalty. Here’s an episode from @hannahstocking‘s standout IGTV series Science of Beauty:
- Upload user-created content: Ask your loyal customers to create a video of their own — a tutorial, a review, or a story about how your business has affected them — and post it on your IGTV channel.
Remember, IGTV is meant to be viewed vertically on a smartphone, so recycling old YouTube videos may not work! Your IGTV videos should be recorded vertically (see here for full details on IGTV video dimensions and sizing). With an app like VideoBoost, you can create a video in multiple orientations to meet the requirements of different platforms.
1. Create an IGTV channel: Download the IGTV app, sign into your IG account, go to the settings, and tap “Create channel.”
2. Watch some IGTV content: Watch videos being uploaded to other channels to get a feel for the kind of content businesses like yours are creating for it.
3. Create an IGTV video: Choose one of the suggestions above if you like, and create a vertical video of up to 10 minutes in length. Use an app like VideoBoost to edit and spruce it up.
4. Upload your video, and before posting, select a clip to post as a preview to your feed.
5. Experiment and have fun!