Never one to shy away from innovation, Instagram has recently announced a brand-new platform. Called IGTV, this desktop and mobile app is set to contend for YouTube’s crown as the social video platform. In this feature, we look at exactly what IGTV is, how it’ll work and tactics for grabbing attention, increasing customer loyalty and driving digital footfall into your online store, website, or product pages.
On the 20th June 2018, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom stepped excitedly onto the stage in San Francisco. Streamed live over Instagram, he had something to say, something that had been cycling through the marketing rumour mills since early June: “We’re announcing our most exciting feature to date: IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favourite Instagram creators, like LaurDIY posting her newest project or King Bach sharing his latest comedy skit. While there’s a stand-alone IGTV app, you’ll also be able to watch from within the Instagram app so the entire community of one billion can use it from the very start.”
Before we dig into the details as to how IGTV will work (and how you can make the most of it for your equine brand), let’s take a step back to appreciate what Instagram does and can do for your bottom line.
Instagram – far more than Kardashian pouts and preening
Instagram was set up on a relative shoe-string budget (at least in the world of start-ups). With $500,000 of investor funding, two entrepreneurs had an idea that today, a mere seven years later, has led to a user base of 1 billion users as of June 2018.
This platform has long since shook off its reputation as a medium exclusively for models, the young and the famous. However, if you’re yet to be convinced about the value of Instagram as a business marketing channel, you may want to take a read of these stats:
– “80% of Users Follow a Business on Instagram” – Business Instagram
– “An estimated 71% of businesses use Instagram (almost double the number of businesses (48.8%) that used Instagram in 2016)” – EMarketer
– “65% of top-performing Instagram posts feature products” – Gartner L2
– “60% of users say they’ve used the platform to learn about a product or service” – Gartner L2
IGTV – The details
While going after the same broad target market as YouTube, IGTV is setting itself apart in a few core areas. First, it will be built for how people use their phone – displaying them in full, on a vertical screen. Second, as mentioned, they’ll be no one-minute time limit (as is the case with Instagram) – allowing for up to 60 minutes of video. Third, IGTV will be a simple, separate app (though it will be accessible from a button on the Instagram home screen).
They’ll be no need for users to search for content from the businesses, brands and people they follow on Instagram, as their feed will already reflect who they follow on the main Instagram app. IGTV will also present video suggestions based on what Instagram knows about each user’s interests and preferences.
Users will swipe up to explore – switching between For You, Following, Popular and Continue Watching. Users can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct, just like Instagram.
Finally, IGTV will also provide you with the platform to create your own channel which your audience can subscribe to – allowing for links in the description of each video to drive traffic to your website, landing pages and products.
How to get started on IGTV
Step one – Download IGTV
If you’re yet to download the app, you can do so in the App Store and Google Play.
Step two – Log in using your Instagram or Facebook account
Once downloaded, you’ll login to IGTV using either your Instagram or Facebook account. As soon as you’ve logged in, you’ll see that a video immediately begins to play, and immediately after one video finishes, another starts.
Step three – Get to know the IGTV interface
Imagine that the IGTV app is a remote control for flicking through IGTV – all in all, there are seven buttons dedicated to exploring and watching videos:
1. For You: This will present videos IGTV believes you’ll like (working in a similar way to your Instagram feed on the Instagram app)
2. Following: For watching videos of those you follow on Instagram
3. Popular: Watch videos of people you don’t follow (this is comparable to the ‘Explore’ page on Instagram)
4. Continue Watching: Just like Netflix, you’ll find that any videos you’ve not finished watching will appear in the ‘continue watching’ area.
5. The Search Bar: Accessible via the magnifying icon, search allows you to track down your favourite channels or search for content using terms such as “equine news” or “equine business”.
6. Your Profile Photo: Over on the right, you’ll see your profile picture from your main Instagram account. Tapping on it will take you to your channel.
7. The Settings: In the settings, you’ll be able to follow Instagram accounts, link your IGTV channel to your Facebook profile (you can also set your IGTV to automatically post to your Facebook page) and do other tasks, such as reporting an issue or logging out of the app.
Tips, tricks and tactics for tackling IGTV
Make best use of vertical video
First, a basic rule – you need to record with an aspect ratio of 9:16. Let’s keep this simple – recording on your smartphone vertically will handle this for you.
Now for the trickier part – creating content that naturally lends itself and capitalises upon the vertical format.
Keep it short
That’s right, despite IGTV allowing for videos of up to one hour in length, research consistently shows that videos between two and three minutes in length result in the best engagement. That said, there are some instances where long form content is the obvious choice – such as interviews, exhibition reports and in-depth industry analysis.
Make your video content useful and unique
Your videos need to serve up content that is defined by two foundations – it must be unique and it must be useful. These two factors apply whenever you make video content, whatever the platform you’re making it for.
A simple way to create a video content plan is to study your competitors’ blogs and your own blog to understand what content has proven to be the most popular. What has got people talking? What download guides, reports or whitepapers have built your email list most significantly? Look at the amount of social shares, your own website analytics and the level of engagement on social media – indicated by comments, likes and retweets.
Then, with this knowledge in hand, consider how you can transform this content into video – and (of critical importance) think about how presenting this content in video format will bring something fresh to your audience.
IGTV features an insight tool. Use it.
Any type of marketing should involve analysis, and handily enough IGTV hands you an analytics tool for reviewing the effectiveness of your videos.
In order to view your video insights, you’ll need to tap on the three-dot button on any of your videos and select ‘Insights’. Here, you’ll be able to explore key facts and stats, such as how much engagement your video generated and viewer retention rates.
Embrace your brand
You have (or at least should have) a brand – a tone of voice, a visual style and personality. These things should be evident in your video content – reflected in the words you (or someone else) speaks, any branded background behind them, and your overall message.
Ask yourself – what are you hoping to convey? Are you a voice of friendly authority? Do you want to build a community of fellow equine business owners? Answer these questions before you so much as even think about the content you’re going to create, and how it will align with your brand.
IGTV is in extreme infancy – you should continue to look at how others are harnessing this medium and using it to drive results for their business. At PressPoint, we can’t wait to watch how the story of IGTV will play out.
If the thought of creating 60 entire minutes of video for IGTV leaves you feeling unimaginative and (frankly) rather intimidated, PressPoint Countryside & Equestrian is here to help. We know your marketplace, and we understand your target customer. We can engage, inspire and educate your audience on IGTV – getting there before your competitors have even put together their content plan. Call our team on: +44 (0)1953 851513 or email us: [email protected]