Instagram stories are great.

They’re fun, they’re entertaining and, to be honest, they’re incredibly difficult to put down!

But have you checked out Instagram’s newest feature that expands on Instagram stories, Instagram TV (IGTV)?

IGTV is vertical, full-screen video, posted by Instagram users and content creators, that never gets deleted. It’s 24/7 streaming TV from the people you care about.

That’s right, that small, orange and pink TV icon in the top right corner of your Instagram is the key to taking branding to a whole new level.

While large brands such as Netflix and National Geographic have already shared incredible content on this channel, I want to show you why IGTV is your best friend when it comes to your own personal branding.

 

Zero barriers to entry

Instagram TV is a metaphorical treasure chest of opportunities.

Because of its unique social media framework, IGTV can hold an infinite number of channels—including a channel specifically for you.

There is no cost or barrier to getting an IGTV channel. It’s as simple as downloading the app, signing in with your Instagram account and sharing your story with the entire Instagram community.

 

Catering to your people

Vertical video is still throwing some people for a loop, but in a digital and phone-savvy world it makes complete sense: Think about what people do on their phones and how their phones are oriented. Whether they’re texting, Face Timing, Skyping, or scanning an article on the web, the majority of time people look at their phones vertically and in full-screen.

Another way that IGTV is helpful to viewers (aka your audience) is how it allows people to stay in one place for all of their content needs. Instead of having to switch between social apps to see posts and long-form content, with IGTV your audience can get their messaging, posts and long-form video all in one place.

And lastly, you should use IGTV because it fulfills your audience’s desire for instant gratification. Because IGTV starts playing the moment you open the feature or the app, there’s no need for people to scan through channels to find what they want—the channels for the creators they follow come up instantly.

By using this feature for your brand, you have a unique opportunity to show your viewers that you care and are aware of what they’re already doing and what they want.

 

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Imagineer Podcast, Tim Tebow Foundation, Meeschmid Plant Lady/ Via Instagram­­

Whether you’re showing off your parade, promoting religious views, or making a macramé DIY video, IGTV puts your content in a format that appeals to viewers content wants and needs.

 

*Personal* personal branding

One of the beauties of vertical video is that you know that the majority of the time, it’s being shot on a phone and not an expensive camera. I don’t know about you, but that makes the people behind the screen seem a lot more relatable to me.

“IGTV has a very personal feeling that your YouTube content doesn’t quite have,” says Josh Alvey, social media manager for the content creation group The King of Random. “It can feel raw and natural and that’s okay because it’s Instagram. This is great for personal branding because it lets people connect with their audience on a deeper level.”

To reiterate Alvey’s point, yes, you should edit and make sure that you are sharing quality content, but make sure that you leave that “raw” relatable touch on your channel.

A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study shows that younger audiences spend more time with amateur content creators than with pros, so embrace the imperfections and use them as a way to connect with your viewers.

 

Time to share it all

Let’s be honest— telling your entire story in 15-second increments can be a real struggle.

With IGTV, creators can share videos as short as 15 seconds or as long as one hour (although most channels that are not large brands max out at 10 minutes). That’s some long, quality time to share your story!

In addition to longer video, IGTV video is permanent. That’s right, you really can leave your beautiful content for people to love and explore FOREVER. Use this opportunity to make a collection of quality, branded content that people can continually return to and see your brand value and benefit.

 

Expanding your audience

With more than one billion users worldwide, I am 100% certain that there are people on Instagram who you haven’t yet connected with who would love to see you and your content.

Because of users’ ability to not only see content by the creators they follow but to explore “For You” and “Popular” tabs, this gives you the opportunity to share with hundreds, thousands and even millions of new users every day. Now there’s some opportunity for growth!

 

Not your average TV/video experience

Another aspect to love about IGTV is that it is not a couch potato experience. Both you and your viewers have the opportunity to engage with each other.

IGTV users can like, comment and share IGTV in their direct messages.

On your end, you can include swipe up call-to-actions within your videos, further engaging your viewers by inviting them to act on what you share. Use your video to make that emotional and personal connection so that your audience picks up on these invitations.

If people watch a longer video and then act on it, that wins you some major brand loyalty points.

 

Your personal social media open-lab experiment

Instagram has been up since 2010 and IGTV has been live since June 2018, but there’s still a lot of experimenting and learning to be done. This new channel within Instagram opens up a new opportunity for you to experiment and see what your audience wants and how you want to be seen by them. Some brands are getting a little weird (why did I just watch Cole Sprouse eat a hamburger for one full hour?) but it’s also an incredible way for you to show the attitude behind your brand (and to see if it works).

The future of mobile is video, and you don’t have to be a Hollywood star to get in on the action.

As a content creator, you are your very own channel and you are your very own brand. ­­­Start your IGTV channel, create your content and see your brand blossom (or whatever the famous people are doing these days). Message us from your channel so that we can see how your branding is going!

 

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Netflix / Via Twitter: @netflix­ Will we ever understand Cole’s intimate relationship with this hamburger? Probably not. But it definitely tells you about Netflix’s brand attitude.