Photo by Ajeet Mestry on Unsplash

If you’re reading this, then it’s safe to say that you’re part of the Big Billion Club. We’re talking about Instagram, of course! If being named the fastest growing social media network-surpassing giants like Twitter and parent company Facebook-wasn’t enough, Instagram’s milestone of crossing over one billion active users this year, is only a prelude to what’s ahead—a social media landscape that’s hungrier than ever-before for visual content.

Instagram’s story is unique. Unlike other large networks, IG started out as a mobile-focused channel, geared towards pushing the world into consuming media from their smartphones. With the rollout of the vertical-oriented Instagram TV, or IGTV, for streaming longer video content (ten minutes or up to an hour for verified accounts), the network is pushing for a largely mobile-centric social media era—a space where it already holds dominion. Even disregarding the stand-alone IGTV app, it’s still got plenty of views coming in from the Instagram app, where it’s only a tiny feature on the top menu.

Just four months since the feature debuted, Instagram has now launched IGTV Academy in London, conducting knowledge-sharing sessions for creators to learn how to use the feature better. Because of the video opportunities that it presents for the future, more brands are sampling the space to see if it’s going to rival the likes of video platforms like Youtube—or just fizzle out. Whatever the result, people are on it right now.

Let’s make a safe bet and confidently say that now is a good time to evaluate your visual marketing. If Instagram is part of your social media strategy, and you’re unsure about IGTV, we’re here to help you with that.

First, let’s figure out if you need IGTV at all

The first thing you need to figure out is whether your business will really benefit from kick-starting an IGTV presence, or if it’s going to be a flash in the pan that you made a lukewarm attempt at.

Sure, it’s an all-new space with the promise of monetization lurking just around the corner. But don’t let the glamor of novelty blind you. Since long-form video is not every brand’s cup of tea, take a look at this checklist to see if an IGTV strategy is something you need right now:

-> Creating visual content is a part of your overall marketing strategy.

-> Video content makes sense for your business.

-> You’re an active brand on Instagram already.

-> Your business has the time and monetary bandwidth.

-> You have experience in producing visual content and access to resources.

While IGTV looks like a natural progression for brands who’ve gone from Instagram posts to stories, and to Livestreams—it’s not necessarily the case here. Unlike the shorter shelf-life of content like Lives and Stories, IGTV demands more than that. It demands a content strategy.

Creating Content for IGTV

Now that you’ve checked the boxes and decided to go for it, here are some basic IGTV content tips that’ll help you find your footing:

1. Curating videos from existing content

If you simply can’t afford to channel more resources into building new videos, use what you already have. The most ideal content that can be rehashed for IGTV are from your Instagram Lives. Since IGTV content sits there on your brand’s page permanently, you can pick and curate the best of your lives, edit them, and put them up on your IGTV feed. You can also curate pieces of content for IGTV from other existing video channels you may have, from your websites or other video hosting platforms.

Heads up: If you’re using the same content across multiple platforms (like Youtube and IGTV for instance), ensure that you’re not merely duplicating content. While this is being done by some entities like the famous Youtube parody channel Screen Junkies, it could lose you views on Youtube if your followers migrate fully to Instagram and IGTV specifically, as it is yet to monetize.

2. Slice and serve

For brands who are already making marketing videos, it’s likely that a lot of content gets cut out in the process of editing. You’re left with a pile of rough cuts, extra footage… and sometimes good edits that didn’t fit in with the rest of your marketing content. Fret not, you can repurpose this content for your IGTV and it’ll work just like stories, only longer.

More often than not, if you’ve amassed even a small and loyal fan-base on Instagram, followers will click to see more about you. Just remember the golden rule: keep it interesting (thanks to Instagram’s infamously short attention. You can also use longer video content for IGTV while planning the images and smaller bite-sized content from the same videos for your Instagram stories and posts.

3. Build content around the brand

From DIY videos and promos to product walk-throughs, you can find a new home in IGTV for all your brand-related content. Currently, 2-10 minute video shorts that are instructional and fun are the biggest hits on IGTV (besides good ol’ National Geographic), especially channels with a consistent theme.

Model and internet celebrity Hannah Stocking’s IGTV-exclusive series ‘The Science of Beauty’ is one example. By crafting quick helpful videos around what she does best, Hannah has amassed millions of views for her science-leaning beauty series that averages 2-3 minutes per episode.

4. Taking creative risks

How do you feel about watching an hour-long video of actor Cole Sprouse eating a hamburger? Weird? Tell that to the tens of thousands of people who willingly sat through Netflix’s “art experiment,” a loop of exactly what we just described that’s already clocked in over 900k views at the time of writing this.

What’s the significance behind this bizarre burger loop, you ask? It’s that IGTV is still a fledgling concept and still holds the potential to grow in multiple directions. That translates into more leg-room for you to experiment with video ideas and see what works best for you—before IGTV gets monetized, becomes mainstream, and that leg-room suddenly shrinks!

Why? Because brands are still feeling it out on this young platform, and experimenting with content to see how far they can push the envelope. This means that the platform is open to interpretation and is a great place for your brand to try out new video strategies.

So go break a leg—or eat a cheeseburger or something!

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