How often do you find yourself watching a video online? If you’re like most people, it’s probably quite a bit. In fact, video viewing accounts for about one-third of all online activity, and that number is predicted to grow.
Not everything we watch online involves animals doing silly things (even though those are pretty cute). Video is a huge marketing tool for businesses which want to provide a more immersive customer experience.
YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook are already very popular video advertising platforms, and now Instagram is upping their game with Instagram TV (IGTV). It gives users the opportunity to create their own “channels” they can upload longer videos to.
Here’s an example of an IGTV channel. Notice the list of videos available to watch are below the video you’re watching.
So why should you use IGTV for small business? Let’s unpack it and take a look at how its features can work for you.
Unlike Instagram Stories, IGTV allows you to film longer videos.
Instagram’s Stories feature has three main caveats — videos can’t be longer than 15 seconds, must be filmed within the app itself, and they disappear after 24 hours.
However, IGTV removes all three of these limitations. You can film videos up to 10 minutes long and must upload them from an outside source into the app. Lastly, they don’t disappear after 24 hours. They stay put unless you choose to delete them at a later date.
This makes IGTV great for small businesses, because it lets them really showcase something consumers can engage with. If you run a hair salon, offer an tutorial on how to create the perfect blowout. If you own an HVAC company, provide DIY insulation tips to help consumers save money on energy bills. Get the idea?
Be sure whatever you’re featuring has a clear goal in mind. Whether it’s an educational video or a product showcase, let consumers know right away what the purpose of the video is and how it achieves that purpose.
IGTV displays video vertically, the way you naturally hold your phone.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever caught flack for filming a video vertically. (Come on, you know you’ve done it.)
Well, I’ve done it too. We’ve all been told video is viewed best when you film horizontally, so it’s now become the norm.
But IGTV requires that you film vertically, which is actually pretty intuitive when you think about it. When you use your smartphone, how do you hold it? If you answered, “vertically”, you’re not alone. 94% of people hold their smartphones vertically when taking pictures or video. And it’s not just for selfies anymore.
Because of the increase in mobile device use, vertical video is enjoying a boost in popularity. Every second counts when you’re trying to catch someone’s eye. And even the act of rotating a phone to where it’s horizontal can be too inconvenient for someone to do at a given moment, resulting in a missed opportunity.
Going vertical also allows you to add a human element to your videos. Did you know people respond better to videos featuring faces? Take advantage of this by creating videos starring yourself (or an outgoing staff member, if you’re camera-shy).
Check out how ipsy uses real people to share their tips instead of simply narrating them.
IGTV lets you link from your videos to your website.
One neat feature of IGTV is the ability to link to your website. You can’t do this with regular Instagram posts, which is one reason this is such a big deal.
Say you own a pest control company, and you’re making an IGTV video to teach consumers how to tell if their house has termite damage. Once they’ve watched your video and realized they might have a termite problem, you want to make it easy for them to contact you.
Well, now you can add a link to your site in your video description, so the viewer can call you to get rid of their pesky termite problem. The video established you as an authority on termites, and this makes the viewer more likely to trust you and do business with you. Help them out by adding a link for them to contact you.
You can also use links to get people to subscribe to your emails or fill out a form to request information on products or services. If you want more traffic, links are a great way to get it.
IGTV is great for small budgets.
Not all business owners have the kind of advertising dollars companies like Coca-Cola have in their coffers. But using IGTV for small business doesn’t cost a fortune. In fact, it doesn’t cost anything at all. All you need is your existing Instagram account.
You also don’t need a full production studio to make a video consumers find compelling. A little imperfection actually humanizes you and your brand. So don’t worry if you’re not always holding your phone camera perfectly straight when filming. Of course, grab a friend or staff member to help if you really need it.
If you want to get creative with your videos, go for it! There’s lots of budget-friendly video editing software available to spiff them up. You can also repurpose any videos you’ve uploaded to Instagram Stories and publish them to IGTV, so they stick around past the 24-hour mark.
Pro Tip: You can upload your videos to IGTV via Instagram.com on a desktop computer if you don’t want to use a mobile device to film or make edits to your videos.
You can share IGTV videos outside of Instagram.
You might think IGTV videos are limited to Instagram, but you can actually share them outside the app.
Each video has a link you can copy and paste into a text, email, or other social media site that supports links. If you have a Facebook Business Page, link it to your Instagram account and automatically set the video to post there when you publish to IGTV.
Regardless of whether you keep your videos on Instagram or share them outside the app, it’s important to measure your results. You want to see which videos perform best with your audience and make adjustments to those that don’t do as well.
Trying to log in to all your social accounts to gauge how your posts are doing probably sounds like too much work. But it doesn’t have to be a chore. Choose a tool like Thryv that simplifies the process by allowing you to see how your posts are doing on multiple sites from one single place.
You’ve got very little competition right now.
IGTV launched in June of 2018, so it’s still in its infancy. This means the field of competition isn’t all that big right now. So it’s important to establish your brand as early as possible, so you can build your channel and reputation.
Here’s an interesting little tidbit of information. IGTV hasn’t enabled ads…yet. This isn’t appealing to big businesses which have no problem paying to plaster their ads on other users’ videos as they already do on YouTube.
This is a great reason to try IGTV for small business service or product features. The current absence of ads there means viewers’ attention is focused on your content, without someone else’s ad competing for it.