Video is the lifeblood of the Internet. It fuels our entertainment, lets us advertise products, and even has the potential to teach, inspire, and change the world. Now, even Instagram is getting into the game and letting people record longer clips.
Instagram actually has one of the most robust video platforms on the market (aside from YouTube, of course). You can upload a very short video to your permanent feed, go live, or upload longer-form videos to IGTV.
Take a look at this guide to find out.
What is Instagram Live?
Instagram live is similar to Facebook live in that you can use it to stream a real-time video to friends on your personal timeline or fans on your formal pages. The main difference is that Instagram treats live videos more like stories, deleting them after 24 hours. This creates a sense of urgency.
While you can use Instagram live for marketing purposes, it won’t have the same long-lasting impact as a pre-recorded video. It’s better to use it for limited-time sales, branding, behind-the-scenes footage, or lead generation.
Instagram also offers better interactivity. You can still engage with your audience while streaming on Instagram live. There are options to moderate comments, pin your favorites to the top of the stream, and even turn off comments if they’re becoming distracting or off topic. Live videos don’t cost much to produce and you can make them on the fly, giving you tons of opportunity to engage with your audience.
What is IGTV?
IGTV is a newer feature designed for brands that want to delve into longer-form video content. Regular video in your feed is limited to 60 seconds, but IGTV videos run anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes. The app allows for vertical video, instead of square, and you can use it separately or within the regular Instagram app.
It also comes with some pretty flexible and useful additional features. Videos don’t expire; plus, you can upload a strong video description or even add a hyperlink to the description. That means no more directing people to your “link in bio.”
The IGTV app also includes extra creative tools. Add stickers, use branding watermarks, or just jazz your video up with filters before publishing.
Should You Use Instagram Live or IGTV?
It’s not really a matter of using one over the other. In reality, both have a place in your marketing campaigns. Instagram live videos are better for bringing a little extra attention to static posts published on your timeline. Their shorter nature also makes it easier to promote flash sales or drive extra engagement quickly.
Using IGTV gives you an endless number of possibilities for expansion. Use it for regular weekly and monthly updates, instructional videos on how to use your products, how-to and DIY tutorials, customer service tips, and just about anything else you can think of. Come up with a creative series, find a great backdrop, and start recording.
How to Make Better Instagram Videos
No matter which content type you choose, there are a few actions you can take to ensure your videos get noticed.
Here they are:
- Grab attention fast. Make sure the first few seconds of your videos are eye-catching and compelling to entice people to stop and watch.
- Include text in the first few seconds. This will entice people to turn the sound on. Captions are fine!
- Tell a great story! It doesn’t matter how long it is. People want to feel engaged and a part of what you’re doing. That’s true whether you’re going for a walk or wrapping a gift.
- Don’t skimp on quality materials. Invest in a tripod and good lighting so your brand and products always look great. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on lighting to make your videos look professional. Grab a couple of pieces on Amazon and you’ll notice a world of difference.
- Don’t be cold. The more personal your attitude, the more your followers will relate and engage. Be human – stop stressing over the occasional um.
- Plan great hashtags. The hashtags you choose should be a mix of generic and branded content to make it easier to find your videos.
- Keep time limits in mind. A video you record in the Instagram app for your feed can be up to 60 seconds long, but a video in your feed or story can only be 15 seconds long.
- Show followers what they want to see. They don’t need to hear the entire history of the development of each product in your line on a live feed. Just show them how it works and point out some of the most notable or cool features. Save the history for your IGTV segments.
- Visuals are important. People get bored and there is a lot of “noise” on the internet. Use bright colors and startling images to make your content stand out.
- Focus on one goal at a time. Create a plan – and stick to it. Instagram users live in a fast-paced world where smaller nuggets of information are easier to absorb.
- Avoid being spammy. Try not to make your videos look like ads (even if they are). Your videos should blend into the rest of the feed, grabbing attention without screaming “buy me” at consumers.
- Focus on dimensions. Remember, ITGV is vertical, not horizontal – this is a really common error.
- Planning to promote a video? Make sure you include a thumbnail shot. You won’t be able to upload a separate image.
- Be consistent. Both in your publishing schedule and your brand’s visual assets. Use similar colors and styles so that people begin to recognize your brand and look for your new messages.
The good news here is you don’t have to choose between Instagram Live and IGTV. Both platforms are an important facet of any Instagram video marketing strategy. So, grab your marketing team, start putting some ideas together, and get to work. You just might find you’re amazed at how much you can grow your audience with a consistent, engaged video presence.