Wondering how to use IGTV? IGTV was introduced in 2018 but it didn’t initially take off. View counts were low and Instagram creators were hesitant to start creating separate videos just for this platform.
Instagram quickly rolled out updates and it has started to become more common. Now that Reels are the new kid in town, it’s important to make sure you don’t get left behind with IGTV if it’s right for your business.
I’m going to walk you through what you need to know about how to use IGTV and help you understand more about whether using IGTV is right for your business.
What does Facebook have to do with it?
First, it’s important to know that one of Facebook’s biggest competitors is YouTube. And if you didn’t know, Facebook owns Instagram.
IGTV is Facebook’s answer to this ongoing competition. Facebook has been trying to take over the online video game for a long time and has been actively working against YouTube in the process.
Have you ever noticed that if you share a YouTube video to Facebook it only shows a static image of the video? That’s because Facebook wants to encourage users to upload videos directly onto their platform instead of on YouTube. They want people to spend more time on Facebook and not be driven off to another site like YouTube.
With IGTV, Facebook is taking another step forward in its competition with YouTube (while Reels are the answer to TikTok). Videos on Instagram have been popular for a while but there has been a time limit. IGTV now allows for much longer videos. You can post videos that are shorter than a minute in the normal feed but anything that’s longer needs to be an IGTV.
While there is a IGTV app, you don’t need to use it to use IGTV. Initially, Instagram rolled this out separately. Most likely, this separate app will go away eventually.
Honestly though, the best way to upload videos to IGTV is on desktop. It’s rare that something with Instagram works best on desktop but that’s the case here. Since video files are so large, you might not have those on your phone anyways.
You can certainly watch IGTV on your normal Instagram app as well. You’ll probably see these videos in your feed, in the discover section, or when you’re looking directly at a brand’s profile.
Uploading a video to IGTV
Like I mentioned, it’s probably easiest to upload the video from your computer instead of your phone. When you log in, check your profile. You’ll see something that says posts and then next to it something that says IGTV. There, you’ll be able to upload.
Keep in mind that you’ll be prompted to pick a cover photo for the video. This cover photo is what shows up in your feed when someone is just scrolling through. Make sure it’s engaging and that it fits well with the rest of your feed.
There will be an option to post a preview on your Instagram account. You can share an IGTV without it being part of your feed but then it might be hard to find. I would recommend always using that preview option. It puts a snippet of your video in the normal Instagram feed and prompts people to click on to the full video.
Tips to Keep in Mind for IGTV
Now that you understand a bit more about where to upload your videos, I’m going to give you a few key tips to keep in mind.
Your videos must be pre-recorded
Don’t expect to just turn on your camera and start recording within the IGTV app. You have to record the video first and then upload it into IGTV. It’s not like a story or a live video in that sense.
Titles get cut off after 20-25 characters
That’s characters, not words. You can go past that character limit but most people won’t see the full title when they scroll through their feed so try to make it shorter.
Titles and descriptions can’t be edited after the fact on mobile
If you struggle with typos on mobile, you might want to stick with uploading your videos on desktop. When you upload on IGTV mobile, you won’t be able to edit the title or the description after it’s posted.
You can put links in the video descriptions
Links are notoriously difficult on Instagram. People use the “link in bio,” linktree, or a variety of other options to try and get around Instagram’s limitation on links. However, IGTV makes it simple. Put a link in the description and it will become clickable when you post it. Note: If the link is really long, we recommend using a link shortener like bit.ly.
Keep using hashtags
You can and should use hashtags in the description of your IGTV videos. It will help others find your video if you use the appropriate hashtags.
Should you use IGTV?
If you have videos that you’ve been posting elsewhere, you should definitely give IGTV a try. If you’re not sure you’re into having long videos, then maybe you should look into Reels instead or just stick with regular posting.
Like anything social media related, test it out if you aren’t sure. See how your audience responds. You can always transition away from it if you find that it’s not working how you’d like.