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IGTV tips for marketers

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom. Image source: Instagram

Only a few weeks after Instagram introduced long-form video app IGTV digital marketing experts are describing best practices for longer videos on the social media app.

While typical Instagram videos can run for only up to a minute, IGTV video length can be up to 10 minutes. Influencers with 10,000 or more followers can post videos up to an hour long. The long-form video hub offers a new platform for influencers, media publishers and marketers. Observers say IGTV presents a direct challenge to YouTube, the dominant long-form video platform, and may draw audiences away from traditional television.

“For businesses, IGTV is very exciting and a great new feature in the landscape of digital marketing. We can’t wait to see how everything unfolds,” says digital marketer Mana Ionescu at Lightspan Digital. The videos can be used for product promotion, corporate communications, customer education or training.

IGTV has key differences from other networks. Marketing experts offer these tips for creating and promoting IGTV videos.

Technical requirements. IGTV is designed for mobile phones: The videos are shot and shared vertically. “So, everything you know about shooting video horizontally (essentially in a widescreen format) can be tossed out the window,” says Jenna Ott, IMPACT Marketing Strategist.

The ideal video size has a 9:16 aspect ratio. Videos in other sizes may be viewable, but won’t fill the screen. Videos must be at least 15 seconds long. That means Instagramers can’t upload individual videos from their Instagram stories.

Titles. Give your video a descriptive title that will intrigue viewers, recommends social media trainer Jenn Herman in Social Media Examiner. Titles get cropped from the thumbnail if longer than 20-25 characters. Keep the title short or include the most descriptive information at the beginning of the title.

Call to action. Include a call to action to tell viewers to open the description and click on the link, Herman advises. Because IGTV is new, many people may not realize they can click on a link or that there’s a description they can read. Include the CTA earlier in your video to ensure more people will take action.

What about sound? Because videos auto play, avoid loud introductions and distracting audio that may annoy viewers or bystanders. Conversations, interviews and voiceovers offer good strategies. On the other hand, some experts recommend including subtitles because many viewers turn off the sound.

Don’t go too long. Just because you can post a 10-minute video, doesn’t mean you should. Unless you have 10 minutes worth of interesting content, keep videos to about two to three minutes, says digital marketing expert Frederick Trovatten.

Hashtags. Include hashtags in descriptions to promote videos. Abundant hashtag use has long been essential for Instagram marketing and that tactic will likely continue on IGTV. However, stuffing posts with irrelevant hashtags can backfire. Add about five hashtags and stick to relevant words and phrases.

Get necessary accessories. In its new 48-page guide for IGTV creators, Instagram recommends a slew of apps and accessories to produce high-quality videos. It evidentially understands that creating a quality video means more than pressing the smartphone’s record button.

Measure results. Examine Instagram Insights to analyze audience retention and engagement metrics. A social media monitoring service will provide a more complete view of overall social media marketing efforts.

Bottom Line: IGTV intrigues digital marketers. Social media marketers who understand the power of video are eager to try Instagram’s new long-form video app. As brands pile into the app, competition will probably increase swiftly. Obtaining views and maintaining viewer interest will require far more than just posting longer videos. Interesting content and quality video will command the most attention.

William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.