IGTV is a great feature to share video content. Instagram’s addictive algorithm and intuitive design make it easy to watch and share long-form content all within the app.
Though it was launched in 2018, it’s still fairly new, and there’s a learning curve when you first start to navigate it. This guide will walk you through step-by-step why and how you should be posting your video content to IGTV.
What is IGTV?
IGTV is Instagram’s answer to long-form content. While Instagram’s feed allows videos up to 60 seconds, IGTV is for video that’s between 1 and 10 minutes long. For larger accounts with a bigger following, that max time limit is even longer: up to 1 hour.
Similar to Youtube, you can create a channel on IGTV where you can upload your long-form video content. Your followers can watch that content through the Instagram app or through the standalone IGTV app.
When the platform originally launched in 2018, it only supported vertical video, but IGTV has since updated to support landscape video as well.
Why Should You Use IGTV?
IGTV, while still new, offers tons of great benefits for brands and businesses, including:
High-Performing Video Content
IGTV is first and foremost a video sharing platform, and video is the highest performing type of content on social media. In fact, video generates 1200% more shares than images and text combined.
And that doesn’t mean you need highly produced video either.
IGTV is meant to compete with Youtube, a platform whose most-watched creators are often vloggers. IGTV offers a new way for people to interact with their favorite brands and influencers, and that means the audience is expecting personal, behind-the-scenes style content.
This is great news for brands and creators! You don’t need a whole lot of time or budget to create high-performing videos for Instagram. You can film a selfie-style chat video with just your phone camera.
The Instagram Algorithm
IGTV is an Instagram creation. Because of this, its algorithm favors creators who utilize the feature. In fact, brands that use IGTV and then preview to feed have seen a 300% increase in video views. With the ability to now share your IGTV preview as a sticker in your story, you can easily promote your video and increase engagement.
And, as an added benefit, the views or comments received on your feed preview and your IGTV are counted together, increasing the chances of the algorithm showing your post at the top of someone’s feed.
The explore page on Instagram is also designed to encourage users to interact with IGTV videos. IGTV videos are 4x larger than other content on this page.
How Do You Use IGTV?
You can upload your IGTV video in a number of ways: through the Instagram app, IGTV app, or Facebook Creator Studio. Here’s the simplest way to upload if you’re already in the Instagram app:
Step 1: Click the “+” Button
At the bottom of your main screen, you should see a “+” button that is used to upload your normal Instagram content, but you can also use it to upload IGTV videos.
Step 2: Choose the Content You Want to Upload
You’ll be shown your phone’s image and video library. Click the IGTV video that you’d like to upload and choose “next” in the top right corner.
Important note: In order to upload your video to IGTV, it has to be over 1 minute. If you’ve created a shorter video, don’t worry!
Best practice is to simply loop the video. This means that, when the clip ends, it will start over from the beginning and play again. This will push the clip over 1-minute.
It’s also important to remember that IGTV videos need to be vertical or landscape. Instagram will crop your video when it’s previewed to your feed, and then again when on your actual profile, so we recommend you upload a vertical video. It’s often easier to plan where they will be cropped, and it looks cleaner in the end.
Here’s an example of the different crops that Instagram will do, so you can plan ahead:
Step 3: Choose to Share as a Long Video
After clicking “next” you will be prompted to choose between a short video and a long video. When you share as a short video, it will share only 1 minute of the video to your profile. However, if you choose to share as a long video, it will publish the entire video to IGTV.
Step 4: Upload a Custom Thumbnail
A thumbnail is a cover image that will display before your video begins. When you upload your video to IGTV you’ll be prompted to either choose a thumbnail from the clip you just uploaded or to upload your own, custom thumbnail.
Always upload a custom thumbnail, especially one with a compelling headline. At Repurpose House, we provide our clients with, not just the vertical asset to upload to IGTV, but a custom-designed thumbnail as well.
You want to make sure you keep the 3 crops that I mentioned earlier in mind for your thumbnails as well. Here’s an example of the thumbnail that we would upload:
Step 5: Add Your Title and Description
You will be prompted by 2 blank boxes to fill in your title and description.Make sure that your title is eye-catching and engaging.
It will appear at the top of your IGTV video within the IGTV app, but it will be the first few words of your caption when it’s previewed to your feed. In both instances, it should intrigue the viewer to watch your video and continue reading your description.
One awesome feature that IGTV offers is that within the IGTV app, links become clickable. While you have to have 10,000 followers to utilize the swipe up feature on your Instagram Stories, anyone can add a clickable link to the description of their IGTV video.
You’ll also want to utilize hashtags when writing your description. You’ll want to experiment with the number of hashtags that you use because your “perfect” number will depend on your audience and your industry.
We do recommend starting out with a small number: between 3-7 hashtags.
Step 6: Preview to Your Feed
The most important step in this process is to make sure that you check the box to preview to your feed. This will generate a 60-second preview of your IGTV video into the regular Instagram feed that your audience can click to take them to the longer-form video.
Can You Schedule IGTV?
Yes! Scheduling your IGTV videos (and the majority of your social media content) is a great way to make sure you consistently post across all of your platforms.
To schedule your IGTVs, you’ll use a platform called Facebook Creator Studio. To use this, you’ll need to have a Facebook Business page, and it will have to be connected to your Instagram Business Account.
Here’s a video on how you can schedule your IGTV videos through Facebook Creator Studio:
Need Help To Create Your IGTV Video Assets?
As part of our plans, we create optimized vertical video assets (in addition to the square and landscape assets) that are perfect for IGTV. Each asset is carefully formatted to ensure that, with each crop that Instagram does, your assets are still easy-to-read and engaging.
Each set of assets also comes with a customized IGTV thumbnail that you can upload when you post or schedule your IGTV assets.
To learn more about our repurposed assets and plans, book a call with us today.
You can also learn more about building an IGTV strategy (and over 20 other great social media strategies) through our up-to-date course, 21 Social Media Strategies in 21 days.
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Shaina Weisinger is the founder and CEO of Repurpose House, which turns your content into unlimited videos and images. Shaina is on a mission to show content creators the untapped potential and repurposing power of the content they already have. Shaina loves to laugh loudly, be obnoxiously competitive on the volleyball court, treat her dogs as her kin, and recover from tripping on or running into almost everything within a five-foot radius.