Brand Story-Telling

The Instagram Television (IGTV) that launched on June 20 2018 has been an object of curiosity and experiment among users. There’s a lot going on there with most brands still quite clueless about how to use IGTV to their advantage. 

IGTV is a long-form vertical video platform on Instagram app where you can add videos of 15 seconds to 10 minutes long. Verified accounts with large follower count can even upload videos of up to 60 minutes. Even with just 10 minutes of engagement, here’s an opportunity waiting to be tapped.

The reason why the IGTV is better than Insta Stories and usual video posts is that they have a better chance of engagement and visibility. The Insta Stories disappear within 24 hours while video feed posts can get lost in the feed quite easily and quickly. IGTV, however, gives out notifications to every follower the minute a video is uploaded and the IGTV feeds are as of now less crowded.

This is precisely why, as a business, you need to focus on Instagram Television – the new age vertical television that most mobile phone users are watching today. The reason Instagram marketing and IGTV are important for businesses is because 80% Instagram accounts follow at least one business account. Instagram reports that 500 million+ Instagram accounts are active every day worldwide while 1 billion+ Instagram accounts worldwide are active every single month.

How’s IGTV Video Different From Usual Videos?

IGTV Brand Story-Telling
  • Length: 15 seconds to 10 minutes for any account; 15 seconds to 60 minutes for verified accounts with a large following
  • Video format: MP4
  • Size: 650MB for videos less than 10 minutes; 3.6GB for videos up to 60 minutes
  • Orientation: vertical (also known as portrait mode)
  • Aspect ratio: a minimum of 4:5 and a maximum of 9:16

Before I enlist how to use IGTV video to your marketing advantage, let’s talk a little about the nitty-gritty of actually shooting and editing an IGTV video. This is important because the format is different, the results look different and hence the video production is different too. These are some technical specifications that might help:

What Are The Challenges?

It’s very important to get the aspect ratio right when shooting a vertical video. You must have observed how videos look crystal clear on a video post but sort of becoming blur or miss out characters or backgrounds on IGTV. One of the easiest ways to get this right is to shoot on your smartphone (if shot vertically, it records on 9:16). If you have shot on a DSLR or any professional video camera, you will need to crop or edit your video during the post-production stage in order to get the correct aspect ratio for better clarity and vision.  

Tips To Use IGTV Videos For Great Brand Story-Telling

Remember that IGTV has not changed the definition of brand story-telling. It has only provided a wider medium that’s more appealing to today’s customers. If tapped correctly and quickly, IGTV can become an integral platform for your customers to feel entertained and become brand loyal.

Here’s how to use this medium for a great brand story-telling:

# 1 Pick Your Audience Before Your Story

Audience IGTV

You may have observed by now that several Instagram accounts simply post relatable IGTV videos that are not directly related to their brands. They actually serve ‘content’ to their audience as clickbait. Once that audience lands on their IGTV channel, they start to serve branding gradually.

Note that it’s crucial to keep your branding for later. First, invite and attract this audience to what they truly like. When you create your user profiles for Instagram TV, make sure it’s a large demographic that’s interested in buying or making purchase decisions online. One great example of this is how Netflix just created a fun inaugural IGTV video on Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) – a protagonist from one of their highest rated shows ‘Riverdale’. All he did in that video was eat burger.  Align your audience with your humour, fun and entertainment value first, then bring in your branding story.

# 2 Use Video Length Wisely

I would start with saying edit your videos very well. Just because you have a 10-minute slot available should not mean you should use it all on your first video.

Start with shorter videos first. They may just be a re-visit and edit of an already viral video on IGTV with your own branding twist. This is like testing the waters. Short, crisp and beautiful – that’s how your video length should be.

I personally recommend brands going in for less than one minute videos in order to engage audience. This does not mean long-form videos are not working. A report from Businesswire states that long-form videos (20+ minutes) exceeded 50% of the time watched on every device and screen. Make sure the video justifies its length. 

# 3 Use Instagram Story To Spill Teasers Of IGTV

Another fun aspect of brand story-telling on IGTV is the way you can use Insta Stories to create curiosity about your brand. If you are launching a new product, you can simply use just 16 seconds of your main IGTV video in your Insta Story. Create several Insta Stories on the video you are about to launch and tell those stories too in a form of step-by-step events. Now Instagram is allowing users to land on IGTV channel directly from Insta Stories, so this will only extend the curiosity and climax you are aiming at.

# 4 Be Choosy, Curate Your Channel Well

Video Channel

IGTV is like a YouTube channel. The videos will remain there until you decided to delete them. Make sure you upload only those videos that work in the longer scheme of your brand story-telling. While it’s wise to use occasions such as Thanksgiving or New Year’s to use IGTV, it’s also equally important that you don’t get carried away by just uploading videos even when you have nothing new to say.

Also, if you have uploaded some videos which you now feel no longer fit your brand story-telling, do not hesitate to take them down. We have often advised our clients to think it through before even launching their own IGTV channel. It only takes a few days of study and considering user-profiles to come up with a winning IGTV strategy. 

# 5 Use Relevant Hashtags

Again, refrain from click bait here. Use only a few carefully chosen hashtags that are relevant to the traffic you want to attract. For instance, if your brand story has Paris as a location, do not use #francetourism unless you have a travel product.

# 6 Consider User-Generated Content

I absolutely loved what Spotify recently did with some of its IGTV videos. It’s a great lesson in aligning your brand with your audience. There’s a series Spotify recently ran on IGTV called ’60 second concert’ where artists were asked to perform shorter versions or unplugged versions of their major hits. That way, both the artists as well as Spotify could make each of their IGTV videos viral easily on Instagram along with telling a great brand story.

Being in the business of video production company, I personally see IGTV as a goldmine. It’s a channel that’s designed in the way customers of any kind are watching videos. If you get this right, it’s probably the only medium you will need for your branding.

Rinku Chaudhary is a digital marketing enthusiast and an avid YouTube viewer. He currently heads the Digital Marketing department of Sinema Films - A TV Commercial production companies based in New York City. He has 10+ years of experience in social media and digital marketing.

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