How to Use IGTV to Increase Instagram Engagement

By Rhonda Bradley / 04 October 2018

Find out how to use IGTV, Instagram’s new long-form video platform, to increase your engagement on Instagram – without breaking the bank.

In July 2018, Instagram launched a brand-new app and platform called IGTV (Instagram Television). 

The dedicated video app made a splash in the social media world, landing headlines across every major business news site.

During its first weeks, IGTV was largely misunderstood to be an “Instagram version of YouTube” or a platform intended for long-form 60-minute videos.

As the weeks rolled by, brands like Red Bull and BBC set high standards for the platform. A new concept began to take shape.

And, though the new platform is still growing and finding its way into the mainstream, we find ourselves a couple months down the road – with lessons already learned.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use IGTV to increase your engagement across Instagram. 

We’ll show you:

  1. How to get started with IGTV
  2. IGTV beginner tips
  3. How to use IGTV to increase your Instagram engagement rates

3 Things Beginners Need to Know About IGTV

Here are the most important things new users should know about IGTV.

1. IGTV is Is Auto-Connected to Instagram

IGTV is a dedicated app, but the videos you publish on the IGTV platform also show up in your Instagram followers’ feeds. Likewise, you'll see IGTV videos from brands that you follow appear on your regular Instagram feed.

IGTV videos can also be shared in post links and to your Instagram Stories.

When published to IGTV, your videos don’t expire or disappear after 24 hours the way that typical Instagram videos do.

This offers many new opportunities to engage your target audience with the videos they love to see.

2. IGTV is a Vertical-Video Platform for Pre-Recorded Videos

What makes IGTV stand out is its unique vertical format. 

Vertical alignment is a different way of looking at videos than what most people have become accustomed to, and this brings with it unique and creative opportunities.

It’s possible to make high-quality videos for IGTV on a budget using a good camera phone paired with editing apps.

However, it’s important to be mindful of the vertical format

While it’s technically possible to host horizontal videos on IGTV, it’s not advisable. You do want to aim for the highest-quality experience possible, which for this platform means filming with your camera in the vertical position.

There are a few apps that can help you convert horizontal videos to vertical format, such as:

  • Crop Video: This app can help you quickly convert horizontal videos to vertical format. Its smart technology suggests cropping angles and also handles the conversion process.

Crop Video app

  • Videoleap: Videoleap allows you to edit and add Instagram-worthy special effects to your videos such as text, emojis, coloring, and more.

Videoleap app

  • Spark Camera: The Spark Camera app offers sophisticated video editing with a highly-intuitive user interface that allows you to create stunning videos quickly, even if you have no editing experience.

There are many more apps, including iMovie (Apple) and Video Show (Android) that can help you produce gorgeous video for IGTV’s vertical format.

3. IGTV Videos Are Between 15 Seconds to 10 Minutes Long for Most Brands

When IGTV was first launched, many marketers reported it to be a platform similar to television in which brands could post 30 to 60-minute videos. That idea was quickly squashed as brands discovered that only verified businesses are allow to post videos greater than 10 minutes in length.

Getting verified by Instagram is a long and difficult process, and is generally done only by enterprise-level businesses or celebrities.

So, unless you’re a big company or are in some other way famous, your videos should be between 15 seconds to 10 minutes long. 

However, before you start brainstorming possibilities for 10-minute videos, read on:

Videos should be only as long as they are engaging.

In other words, how long can you keep viewers fully-engaged before they switch channels or move on to another video? 

Length matters, because when viewers watch 100% of your video it gives your brand an edge in the algorithm. This helps boost your content’s visibility in the Instagram feed.

Test your audience to find out what works best. If your 30-second videos keep viewers glued to the screen, but 6-minute videos have them channel-jumping, then offer shorter videos with a wide selection.

You shouldn’t rush to create super long-form content that’s not absolutely fascinating to your target audience. 

Publish only what you can do with excellence and what will keep your audience fully engaged.

How to Get Started With IGTV

The best part about IGTV is the fact that it’s a new platform and viewers are hungry for high-quality content.

Since IGTV is a mobile-first platform, be sure to consider angles, colors, and effects that stand out on mobile devices.

There are many ways to engage Instagram viewers. Below are a few ideas for the types of videos that work well on IGTV.

1. Informational Videos

Though the title may sound a bit dry, the genre is anything but. 

Brands using IGTV to create tutorials and how-to videos are turning up the dial on film quality, and Instagrammers are engaging. Its vertical format offers limitless creative opportunities, especially when used for close-up shots.

For example, The Food Network offers a wide selection of how-to videos in a “silent-movie”-type format. Although there is music dubbed into the video, there is no speech. 

Food Network story screenshot

Instead of voice-overs or verbal directions, the Food Network tutorials feature step-by-step instructions using impressive close up views paired with fast-paced film that captures viewers’ attention.

Ipsy beauty brand also posts how-to style videos that cater to their audience, such as hair and makeup tutorials.

Ipsy story screenshot

Tutorials are an excellent way to make use of IGTV. To make your videos stand out, experiment with camera angles, special effects, and colors that make your visuals pop.

2. Entertaining Videos

If you know your audience well enough to keep them engaged with entertaining videos, IGTV is the perfect platform. 

Some content has no higher purpose other than to allow a peek into something wacky, fascinating, or trending.

For example, Nickelodeon TV shares clips from their shows plus fun stunts that their viewers - kids - love to see. 

One video called “Chris Paul Slo-Mo Sliming” is a simple video that shows a man getting buckets of green slime poured on top of him.

Nickelodeon story screenshot

The video was a hit with its audience and garnered over 23,000 views.

3. More of What You Already Do

If you have videos on other channels or on Instagram that are already successful with your audience, try something similar on IGTV. 

The vertical format may offer challenges or opportunities, depending on your content. 

CNN story screenshot

For example, CNN News shares clips that are especially visual. The example above is a news story about an iceberg that happens to include breathtaking video footage.

There’s a lot to learn from brands who have discovered ways to engage their target audience with great precision. 

CNN is currently “crushing it” on IGTV, thanks to their audience-first approach to content.

Create Visually Oriented Vertical Videos for IGTV

There are many types of videos you can broadcast on IGTV that will encourage interaction from your followers. It’s a platform that encourages your creative team to express in an more visually-heavy way than usual.

Take the opportunity to find creative ways to promote your products, share behind-the-scenes views of your company, or offer information and entertainment in a visually-elevated format.

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