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How can your brand tackle IGTV? Best practices and more

Instagram’s new long form video content platform is taking off, and it’s time that brands start getting into it. Only a month in, IGTV is slowly picking up pace with dozens of channels opening every day.

Recommended > Instagram strikes at YouTube with new long video form IGTV app

But brands continue to remain aloof with the platform due to being unsure on how to use it. The problem seems to be so common, with the platform releasing a helpful “Instagram Creator Handbook.”

There are a few successful brands already on the platform, testing and tweaking. So, the question is, how can your brands tackle IGTV?

For IGTV’s best practices, skip to the bottom.


IGTV Content Strategy

Filming Vertically

IGTV’s main feature is its use of the native mobile format.

Many still have problems with filming vertically but most are embracing the change. Scrolling through IGTV, most channels have accepted the vertical form. Unfortunately, there are still a few who have made the mistake of going horizontal.

Normally, most viewers won’t mind the flick of the wrist to watch videos, as with YouTube’s app, but IGTV has found a way to make this awkward. When turning the phone, the text and title don’t turn with it, making the viewing experience weird.

If you already have content, filmed horizontally, that you want to share on IGTV then simply resize the video to fit the platform’s requirements. When you do, use up the extra space you have, just as @Garyvee did for this video.


Exclusivity vs Repurposing Content

Just as with Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, brands will need to make a choice.

Will IGTV be an exclusive or repurposed platform for your brand?

We recommend that you share exclusive content on IGTV, as you should with Instagram vs your brand’s Facebook. It may take more time or effort, but having exclusive content means that people are more likely to engage with both social profiles.

Repurposing content may lead to more people seeing a piece of content, but they’ll be less inclined to follow you on different platforms for the same content. There won’t be a need for them to follow your new social network profile when they get the same content from another one they already follow.

And if they don’t feel the need to follow you on a new platform, then what’s the point of creating a new profile?


A Needed Name Change

IGTV’s categories are currently For You, Following and Popular. This makes it important for brands to already have a large following or great/popular content to be found on IGTV.

Unfortunately for most brands, IGTV’s search algorithm isn’t friendly.

Currently, the search algorithm will only search for a username or account name. For brands or new influencers who are aiming to focus on IGTV, this means a name makeover might be needed. If your brand is about a specific topic or a location, it would be best to include it to your IG handle.


It is unknown when or if Instagram will update the search to find hashtags or topics like the main app, so we suggest a quick addition to your IG name if you are planning on creating a lot of content for IGTV.


Think Episodic or Single Strong Content

IGTV is the vertical YouTube. You have a channel and now it’s time to decide what kind of content you want to post.

There are many types of content that could be suited for IGTV.

  • Scripted content
  • Tutorials
  • Commentary/rants
  • Behind the scenes
  • Product videos/unboxings
  • Team introductions/office tours
  • Event videos
  • And etc.

A main component in your content strategy for IGTV is this. What kind of content will you post, and will it be episodic or single standalone content pieces?

Episodic posts, or posts that consistently have similar themes, are great to keep viewers coming back for more. It’s just like branding efforts, be consistent.

Consistently allows viewers to know what they should expect from you, and to follow you if they like it. On the other hand, single strong pieces of content are most likely to go viral or viewed multiple times. This could be a great thing for your brand, but this also means viewers are less likely to check out your profile and then your business.

The best thing for both IGTV and any social network profile is to deliver consistent episodic-like content, while producing a few extremely strong content pieces in the middle to attract new viewers.


How to use Instagram and IGTV together

There are many ways to use these two technically-separated apps/platforms to cross promote each other.

Your brand can use its stories, as well as highlights, to engage audiences and send them to your IGTV channel. After posting something on your channel, share pieces of it on your stories to encourage people to watch the full version. Have your audience help create your video through polls and questions, and then release the full video on IGTV for them to see.

You could also simply post original content onto your normal Instagram, then use IGTV to show behind the scenes, or even vice versa.

An interesting note is that IGTV allows clickable links on the video descriptions. This provides a stronger advantage for video content on the two platforms to link directly to websites or products.


Best Practices

  • Always use subtitles (viewers may be in noisy locations)
  • Make sure the start of the video doesn’t abruptly start with loud sounds (Videos starts as soon as the app is opened, and brands shouldn’t have a jump scare as the first impression)
  • Film vertically
  • Film at a higher resolution than what you’ll upload
  • Edit or film in aspect ratio 9:16 (540 x 960)
  • Think evergreen content, like YouTube, not short videos such as stories and snaps
  • If you’re not filming vertically, resize the video to fit the width and then fill in the blank space with photos or text
  • Change your Instagram name to include your main topic to be easily found
  • Cross promote your content across Instagram and other social networks


Lastly, Wait and Watch

We still don’t know how well IGTV will do or how well it will improve brand awareness. There are still many variables that have been left unanswered, and only time can tell.

It is up to you whether or not you are willing to lead the way on IGTV, or if you would rather wait until it is a sure deal.

What is your favorite local brand on IGTV right now? Throw them a shout out in the comments!

Think Marketing

Knowledge Hub Specialized in Publishing Insights and Analytics Developed for Digital Marketing, Public Relations and Communications Experts.