Keep customers watching with IGTV for business

14 min read
Ashley Grant

If you’re anything like me, when trying to market your business, you’ll look for every possible avenue to get the word out about what you do and why people need it. You may already be using blogging, Facebook, podcasting, Instagram, Pinterest or a combination of all of the above to spread the message of your company. But, are you using IGTV for business? If not, you could be missing out on hundreds, if not thousands of potential customers.

IGTV is quickly becoming a great way to help your audience get to know you better.

Some of my clients have only recently started using it, and are already enjoying the ability to engage with their potential customers on a deeper level.

Blogger and influencer friends as well as many of the marketers I admire are also using IGTV for marketing their online businesses. I’m so impressed with their results I’m working on an IGTV strategy of my own that I hope to implement in the near future.

If you want to do the same, keep reading. In this post, we’re going to cover the following:

  1. What IGTV is, and how it can help your business.
  2. Creating an IGTV for business account.
  3. Tips and tricks for getting the most out of IGTV.
  4. Why you need to clean up your Instagram bio.
  5. How to stay on-brand with IGTV videos.
  6. Why consistency is key.
  7. Your next steps for IGTV success.

There’s a lot to unpack, and no time to waste. Let’s dive in!

Related: How to manage a business Instagram

What IGTV is, and how it can help your business

Direct from the horse’s mouth, “IGTV is long-form, immersive video. It isn't limited to one minute, and takes over your entire screen.”

Though IGTV has its own tab on your profile, you can share the previews of your videos in your Instagram feed and in your Instagram Stories as well to direct users to your full-length videos.

How can you use IGTV for business?

According to Instagram, using “long-form video makes it even easier to tell your brand's story, connect with your audience, and reach more people.”

By creating videos, you give your audience another way to interact with and learn about your business.

Put another way, video gives you a way to bring your business to life.

Editor's note: Creative, eye-catching visuals are key to getting attention on social media. GoDaddy Studio can help you design high-quality, professional-looking images for social posts, infographics and more.

Creating an IGTV for a business account

If you already have an Instagram account, you can start creating IGTV videos right away.

The only recommendation I would make if you already have an account is to transition it to a business account if you’ve not yet done so.

Instagram business accounts have more features than personal accounts, including the ability to run Instagram ads, schedule posts ahead of time via Facebook's Creator Studio, track performance of your posts with Instagram Insights, use Instagram Shoppable Posts and more.

To create an Instagram account, simply download the Instagram app for iOS from the App Store, the Android app from Google Play store, or for your Windows Phone from the Windows Phone Store. Once the app is installed on your mobile phone, tap to open it.

From there, follow the prompts to create a user name, add an email address, choose a password, etc. Then, within the app, go to the settings page and scroll down to “Switch to Business Account.”

Once you have a business account, you can add your business information such as your hours, address and phone number if you choose to.

Related: Sell on Instagram and your website — effortlessly

Tips and tricks for getting the most out of IGTV for marketing

I went searching for entrepreneurs who are using IGTV for business to find their best tips and tricks on using the platform to engage with customers. They shared some fabulous advice about how to use IGTV to keep customers watching, and to drum up new revenue.

Here’s what they said:

Don’t worry about whether your videos are vertical or horizontal

At one point, Instagram was clipping videos that weren’t in a 9:16 ratio. Because the platform is vertical, videos on IGTV also had to be vertical. Luckily, with a 2019 update, horizontal videos can now also be played on the app.

If you’re creating new videos that you only want to use on IGTV, you might want to film vertically so that it takes up the entire phone screen.

But, if you’re repurposing content from other platforms don’t sweat it if the videos are horizontal.

However, thumbnails for IGTV still need to appear in a 9:16 ratio to avoid awkward cropping in your feed and on your IGTV channel tab.

Content strategist Kate Emiley (on IG at @kateemiley) says that you should make sure you create a custom thumbnail/cover photo for your videos.

The reason for this is that your cover photo is what will be displayed in your Instagram feed to promote your video. Therefore, you want to ensure that it has the same aesthetic you've created for your Instagram feed so it won't stick out like a sore thumb.

Using a text overlay that explains what is in the video may be a good idea as well so that you can grab the attention of people scrolling through your feed.

Another important tip regarding thumbnails comes from marketer Desiree Martinez who says that you need to think about how your image will appear as a cropped square too. Though what you’re loading as your IGTV thumbnail will appear in a 9:16 ratio on the IGTV tab on your profile, on your Instagram feed, the image will be cropped to a 1:1 square.

Keep your videos short and sweet—but not too short

Shane Sams of The Flipped Lifestyle Podcast (on IG at @flippedls) says that he has found the sweet spot is a five- to seven-minute video. He uses short hype videos to drum up interest in his podcast.

The trick, however, is not to just create a video of highlights.

Instead, he literally edits them down to the core value so that people will be intrigued enough to watch the entire thing, and potentially click through to the full-length episode afterward.

Kate says you should aim for videos that are at least three to five minutes in length so that you have time to actually engage with your audience. Anything less than that and your audience won’t be able to fully connect with you.

At the time of publication, Instagram allows unverified business accounts to post videos that are between one minute and 10 minutes in length. Verified users can post videos that are up to one hour.

Be authentic, and not salesy

IGTV For Business Josh Elledge
Josh Ellegde of Up My Influence

Josh Ellegde of Up My Influence (on IG @upmyinfluence) says, “Audiences are craving authenticity. Video is simply the best way to deliver that on social media. Instagram has a brilliant platform for sharing videos through IGTV. Brands and marketers who embrace it and give Instagram audiences what they want (entertainment and education) can really boost their engagement.”

He also says that no matter what, you must resist the urge to sell in your videos. Instead, just share what you’d share with your friends.

Deliver maximum value so that they will think to themselves, “If he’s willing to give me all of this information for free, I wonder what I would get by paying for his products and services.”

Influencer Amber Vilhauer (on IG @ambervilhauer) agrees with the importance of adding value. She says, “Find out what your audience needs, and then offer them a solution in under five minutes. Give them actionable value that they can digest quickly to keep them coming back for more.

The more you’re adding value to your audience and showing them what you do, rather than telling them, the more your audience will be invested in your company and the products/services you offer."

Use IGTV to answer your audience’s most frequently asked questions

Jon Ball, also known as the Basketball Card Guy (on IG @basketballcardguy) says he uses IGTV to answer questions about the products, and showcase the specific ones people are looking for.

For Ball, the real-time interaction of using Instagram Live, IGTV and Instagram’s Q&A function has worked really well for his business. He says that using IGTV for business has allowed him to expand his audience each week for the past few months.

IGTV For Business Tiffany Lopez
Tiffany Lopez of Barista Lab

Tiffany Lopez of Barista Lab (on IG @brewbaristalab) says, “In my business, we spend a good amount of time researching trends and industry topics to create content for our IGTV that will have our customers engaged or educated. We look for click-bait/must-see headlines to draw in our market and hook them to the experience of watching our IGTV.”

She says her best advice is to stay current and creative.

Thinking outside of the box will “leave viewers wanting more or willing to post their experience in the comments.”

Repurpose videos from YouTube and Facebook

Desiree Martinez says if you have already been creating videos for YouTube and Facebook, using that existing content is the easiest way to get started with IGTV for business.

She adds, "You've already spent so much time putting this together, you might as well get more mileage out of this content. Work smarter, not harder.”

While we’re talking about repurposing content, it’s a good idea to cross-share the videos you’re creating for IGTV on Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter too.

Instagram says, “By 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic.”

Therefore, you should get your videos onto as many platforms as possible to take advantage of that traffic potential.

Use IGTV to build community

CC Cordero of Cordero Consulting says that for her client, the Mitchell Hill Gallery (on IG @mitchellhillcharleston), IGTV has been their best option for building a community of fans and art enthusiasts from their very own living room.

For the past 10 years, 80% of the sales for owners Tyler Hill and Michael Mitchell was a direct result of foot traffic. With the COVID-19 pandemic, foot traffic wasn’t possible, so they turned to IGTV for marketing.

IGTV For Business Tyler Hill And Michael Mitchell
Tyler Hill, left, and Michael Mitchell, right, are owners of Mitchell Hill Gallery.

Since March 12, 2020, they've hosted more than 130 interviews on Tuesdays and Thursdays and have repurposed many of those videos into long-form IGTV content. They’ve interviewed local media, local museums, jewelry stores, a plant nursery and restaurants about topics including business tips, marketing and social media.

Not only has this helped Mitchell Hill Gallery gain attention, but it has also helped them build a community of local artists and fans. As a result, they’ve also enjoyed a new way of selling the pieces that people once had to walk into the gallery to purchase.

Don’t forget the hashtags

Kate Emiley says IGTV videos are given greater priority in the Explore page of Instagram, so don't forget to include relevant hashtags so more people have the opportunity to find your content.

Like a post in the Instagram feed, you can include up to 30 hashtags on your IGTV video description. Most content creators advise against using all 30 when using IGTV for marketing, however.

Hubspot, for example, suggests using roughly 20 hashtags, or somewhere in that neighborhood for better results. Otherwise, your posts could come off as spammy.

Include a call to action

You have to tell your viewers what to do in order to persuade them to do it. As marketing blog The Next Scoop says, you have to make it clear to your audience what you want them to do after watching.

"What’s their next step after viewing your videos? Perhaps you want them to comment? Or to follow you on Instagram or sign up for your email list?"

Without the call to action, you’ve lost the opportunity to engage with them further.

Why you need to clean up your Instagram bio

Your Instagram bio is limited to 150 characters. The first two lines of your bio show up as your profile description for your IGTV videos.

Though this section is often an afterthought, it’s prime real estate, and should be treated as such.

You need a really good profile photo, a username that fits your brand, a clickable URL that will send visitors to any website/link you want to drive traffic to and a brief message about your business.

Don't worry about adding your email address, street address or phone number because you can add call-to-action buttons to your profile for that information.

If your bio isn’t a direct reflection of what you do, sell or offer, you should clean it up so that new visitors can immediately determine why they should care about your business.

How to stay on-brand with IGTV videos

The best way to stay on brand when using IGTV for business is to only put out content that is relevant to your users.

For example, if you’ve been sharing how to make the jewelry you sell in your Etsy shop, it wouldn’t make much sense to suddenly start sharing videos about what you eat in a day.

Or if you are creating videos about the fabrics and designs in your clothing business, sharing workout videos most likely wouldn’t be on brand either. That is unless you’re a designer for workout clothing and you want to show how it performs in action.

While there’s not exactly a formula for determining whether or not your IGTV for marketing videos are on brand or not, ask yourself if your audience would be confused by what you’re sharing with them.

Think about the products and services you are trying to sell. Think about the message you’re trying to convey. If the content you’re creating isn’t directly related to those two things, then it’s probably not on brand, and shouldn’t be on your IGTV channel.

Why consistency is key

Both in terms of quality and quantity, consistency is key to keep customers watching your IGTV channel.

If they are expecting videos every Friday, you need to deliver every Friday.

Otherwise, your audience could abandon ship. However, if you can’t deliver the same level of quality, it’s not a good idea to rush it just to load new content.

That’s why batching your content is a good idea. It gives you the ability to film multiple videos at once, and have them all look and feel the same when they are loaded to your IGTV for business account.

Remember, you’re ultimately trying to sell to your audience, so deliver quality content regularly to keep them coming back for more.

Your next steps for IGTV success

IGTV was launched in June 2018. It’s not even a toddler yet, but it’s gaining momentum rapidly. Not everyone has jumped on the IGTV for business train yet, so there is still time to hop on and take advantage of it for your business.

If you haven’t transitioned to a business account on Instagram yet, there’s no time like the present.

Your audience wants to connect with you. They want to know more about you. But, if you’re not showing up where they are hanging out, they can’t find you.

So what are you waiting for? Get on IGTV today!