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What is IGTV for Business and Should You Use It?

Posted by Andrea Keating on November 16, 2018

If you’re a regular Instagram user, business or personal, you have probably noticed the new button in your top navigation. It’s right next to the direct message arrow, shaped like a small television. If you didn’t already know, that button is the access point for Instagram TV, the social platform’s new long-form, live-streaming feature. IGTV for business may also be the future of your company’s social media video production.

What is IGTV?

It only makes sense that Instagram would expand its live-streaming capabilities, as live video in general continues to grow as a major trend for video production and consumption. Instagram first expanded to include video five years ago, but IGTV is a major move on its own.

Mobile device filming on tripod. As a standalone surface that features longer videos, the company feels IGTV is re-envisioning mobile video. All videos on the channel are shot via mobile devices, uploaded and optimized in vertical format – the way most users watch videos on their phones.

We are re-envisioning mobile video with a new standalone surface that features longer videos and easy discoverability through channels, all in a vertical format that sits upright, in the palm of your hand.

In marketing IGTV’s launch, Instagram is leaning into the idea that mobile video is next on the horizon for video consumption:

“We’re evolving with the times; these days, people are watching less TV and more digital video. By 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic. And we’ve learned that younger audiences are spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals.”

Quick IGTV Facts and Features:

  • Optimized for mobile live streaming, uploads are vertical video.
  • Videos can range from a few minutes to up to one hour.
  • Just like regular video posts, IGTV is constantly playing while the app is opened.
  • There is an intuitive search, but browsing is open and curated based on content you like and creators you already follow.
  • Anyone can access IGTV as a creator. Videos can be viewed and uploaded mobile via the separate IGTV app or through the regular Instagram app.

How Can Businesses Use IGTV?

Just like you, your company, or brand uses Instagram for business, IGTV for business could completely change how you approach video marketing. If you’re already using Instagram, odds are you also use or have used Facebook and Twitter. Both work fairly well in tandem with each other, and Facebook’s own live-streaming features have grown in recent years. So IGTV is just the next logical step in mobile live streaming for your company.

IGTV is extremely easy to set up and get started. And since anyone can be a creator on IGTV, it’s easy for businesses to produce content quickly out of the gate. A lack of barriers for entry is always an advantage.

But what are some of the other advantages and possible disadvantages of using IGTV for business?

Pros

This new venture is not even six months old, and the landscape for what live streaming could look is wide open. Every company is competing to have their content noticed while also trying to create authentic, meaningful customer engagement. The fact that IGTV is so new is a definite advantage to using it. With both creators and consumers still catching up to figure out what constant live, mobile video looks like, there’s real opportunity for individuals and companies to possibly break new ground. Happy people gathered around a mobile device.

For anyone who also has a busy Instagram channel with strong user and customer engagement and regularly updated video content, IGTV for business is a no-brainer. It’s the chance to continue producing the same type of video content that audiences love, for longer periods of time. Just like written content, longer videos give you the opportunity to create an even deeper connection with existing audiences. Content that just scratched the surface is no longer limited to strict time limits.

It’s also another means to be discovered by new audiences and customers. IGTV for business allows users to add direct links right in the content. Put your company site or the ticket registration to your event in a live feed. Or, link to your other video projects. Additionally, you can link to your IGTV through other, normal Instagram posts. Control all of your social content in one place, keep building an audience, and watch as your business leads grow!

Cons

IGTV for business definitely benefits those creators, companies, and brands that already have a large, loyal audience and steady stream of quality content. In that case, it rewards those who are already successful with more tools and a larger spotlight. However, for someone just trying to gain a little traction, live streaming in general may be difficult to get off the ground successfully.

Additionally, since most IGTV streams are shot on mobile devices, quality is a big concern. A lot of videos are even shot on the front-facing cameras, which usually has a lower resolution than the standard mobile cameras.

It’s always possible to control certain aspects to improve production quality. Sets can be changed, better equipment implemented, and proper art direction can all make the IGTV experience great. But there are always certain risks inherent with live content, and IGTV for business is no different.

The Verdict

Whether or not you, your brand, or company decide that IGTV is right for business is really going to depend on you. Your current social media efforts combined with the type of video content you normally produce are all going to factor in.

How large is your current social media (particularly Instagram) audience? Does livestream even make sense for your normal content? Is there an audience for it and potential for new business? Can you or someone in your organization be a successful, likable figure to head a regular livestream effort? These are all possible questions that you’ll need to answer.

Regardless, mobile devices are dominating how people consume content and entertainment. And that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Arguably, it will only continue to move farther in that direction. If you cater some of your video content efforts towards a platform like IGTV, you could help usher your company into the next age of media consumption.

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