In June, Instagram launched Instagram TV or IGTV, a mobile video platform some are speculating has the potential to compete with YouTube. It is available through an icon in the Instagram app or as a standalone download.
Unlike other video platforms, IGTV uses vertical video optimized for mobile devices. It autoplays as soon as you open the app. Users can create their own channels and post videos. And IGTV allows for longer videos—up to 60 minutes as compared with Instagram videos, which are capped at a minute.
While it's too early to tell if IGTV will be a success, it has potential. On the day Instagram unveiled IGTV, the company's co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom also announced the Instagram community had reached 1 billion users.
Video is continuing to climb in popularity. According to a 2017 industry report by Cisco, video accounted for 60 percent of mobile data traffic. And they're projecting a steady climb to 78 percent by 2021.
Is IGTV Right for Your Business?
With such promising statistics, it might be tempting to jump on the IGTV bandwagon. But before you create a presence on any new platform—and devote significant staff hours to doing it properly—it's important to assess if it's the right strategic decision for your business.
To find out, consider asking yourself these questions:
Where are my customers, and how do they prefer to consume data?
With a community the size of Instagram's, you might assume your customers are using the platform. But you need to do market research and find out for sure. In addition to finding out if they're using the platform, you also need to delve into how they're using it.
The same goes for video. Sure, it's a driver of content marketing, but it has to speak to your audience. So find out their viewing habits and what type of content they'd be willing to watch on a platform like IGTV.
Is there a way to tell my brand story visually?
There is a way for most brands to tell their story visually. But, as with any medium, it's important to find the right stories to tell and to consistently execute on your strategy.
Can I provide value by using it?
As with other platforms, it's important to provide valuable content in order to engage customers on IGTV. Remember, these are brand promotion platforms, not sales platforms.
Focus on creative ways to provide your audience with educational information and entertaining content. I believe that should be your first priority. Mixing in promotional content along the way can come second.
Creative Ways to Use IGTV
If you've considered the questions above and believe an IGTV strategy will be valuable to your customers and beneficial to your brand, the next step is deciding how to use it.
Here are five ways you can tell your story on IGTV:
- Product demonstrations. Video can be a good medium for showing how your products work. It's the next best thing to demoing them in person, has a much broader reach and is more cost effective than traveling to trade shows. Just remember to be fun and engaging while running through your product's features and specs.
- Interviews and testimonials. The value of customer interviews and testimonials can't be overstated. People regularly check customer reviews before purchasing products. Consider using IGTV video to show your audience who your customers are. Not only is it more credible than you telling them, but it can also get them to start imagining themselves using your products or services.
- Provide business updates. Are you opening a new store, releasing a new product or winning awards? In addition to sending out news releases, think about announcing your news through IGTV. Be careful not to overuse this tactic, as too many company announcements may be viewed as self-serving.
- Communicate your values. Customers become loyal to businesses they feel a personal connection to. You can share stories and clips of what's important to you and your reason for doing what you do. IGTV is a great platform for showcasing the passion you have for your business and industry. Are you stoked about a new technique you learned for decorating wedding cakes? Did you partner with a shelter to teach residents job-finding skills? Do you take on interns to show them the ins and outs of real estate? Share it.
- Showcase company culture. People want to know they're doing business with reputable organizations that have happy employees who want to help them. Get creative when creating videos that feature your people, office space or retail location. Position employees as experts through video Q&A sessions or show your softer side by getting the whole team involved in the Internet challenge of the week.
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