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IGTV for Small Businesses: The Complete How-To Guide

As a small business owner, we’re sure you’ve heard the sentiment that video is the only way to reach customers in 2021.

Maybe you’re convinced that you need to use video to market your business online.

But now you’re 20 videos deep learning about IGTV when you just wanted to know how to create a YouTube channel.

The good news is that you’re on the right track. A video marketing strategy is so important for marketing your small business.

So, how can you use video, specifically the IGTV format and distribution, to help your small business find new customers and serve your existing customers?

Today, let’s go over IGTV for small businesses, what it is, how to use it, and some best practices.

Read until the end because we’re also sharing a big list of video ideas.

As Instagram explains it themselves,

“IGTV is long-form, immersive video. It isn’t limited to one minute, and takes over your entire screen.”

Verified accounts can post IGTV videos that are up to 1 hour long and unverified accounts can post videos up to 10 minutes long.

The Instagram algorithm will show your video to your followers and users that it thinks would be interested.

And that will be based on the accounts and content they engage with regularly.

At this time, IGTV videos cannot be boosted, so the only engagement is organic engagement.

Do People Even Use IGTV For Small Businesses?

Engagement in IGTV dropped significantly in 2020.

And while we wouldn’t recommend you spend thousands of dollars on producing videos that are only formatted for IGTV…

…IGTV can still be beneficial to small businesses, especially if you’re repurposing your content.

We like to use IGTV as an entry point into our client’s businesses. Because you can:

  • share your IGTV video in your feed,
  • in Stories,
  • as a hyperlink in other places on the web, and
  • it shows up in Explore

…it’s a great way to introduce new customers to your business.

Over half of all Instagram accounts browse the Explore section at least once per month, so IGTV is not dead.

Remember, if you’re making a good social media content strategy that resonates with your audience…

…you’re already doing a great job, so focus on quality over quantity.

How Does Instagram Feel About IGTV?

IGTV and Reels show up on the Explore pages, and Instagram loves to show good content to new people.

IGTV for small businesses can be an excellent way to find new followers and introduce your brand to new customers.

Before we get into how to use IGTV for your business, and our ideas for content that would work for any small business…

…let’s talk about some of the IGTV features you should know about and how to use them.

IGTV For Small Businesses Features

Create episodic content to keep your viewers coming back for more with IGTV Series.

When you create a series, Instagram will give you a branded page and you can think of this like a playlist from YouTube.

IGTV for small businesses

This allows you to share the first 59 seconds of your IGTV in your main feed, with a clickable “watch more” button that displays at the bottom of the video.

It’s a good idea to include a hook or invite to watch more right before the feed preview ends.

IGTV video should be 1080 x 1920 pixels, or the same size and orientation as your Instagram Stories for small businesses.

For that reason, you’ll want to shoot your video with that resolution in mind.

You can set up multiple camera angles and orientations so you capture all of the footage you need at once.

Optimize your video for the platform it will be seen on.

  • Likes, comments, and shares

Just like with other content on Instagram, your followers and other folks from the app can like, comment, and share your video.

Can’t I Just Repost My YouTube Videos To IGTV?

A note on repurposing content when using IGTV for small businesses:

You shouldn’t just create content for one platform, and then copy and paste it across multiple platforms.

It may save you time, but it will ensure viewers aren’t having the best experience possible engaging with your content.

You should be repurposing the content you’ve created in as many places and ways as possible.

It’s smart content creation for a few reasons:

  • it saves you time,
  • it presents valuable information in a number of different ways, and
  • it gives your audience multiple entry points or ways they can discover you at multiple levels

For instance, some of your content will be better suited for beginners.

FAQs & Tips On IGTV For Small Businesses

Here are some common questions we hear from our clients about IGTV for small businesses, and some best practices for your IGTV videos.

  • How long should your video be?

If you’re a verified user, you have up to 1 hour for IGTV, but we recommend using super long videos like that sparingly.

The sweet spot for videos is typically between the 2 to 5-minute range, depending on your topic.

Certain videos (like explainers or how-tos) will be longer, and that’s okay.

  • Use attention-grabbing titles

Your video title will display at the beginning of your description in previews of your IGTV video.

For instance, like when you share to your feed or when the video shows in Explore, so use an intriguing title that will capture your user’s attention.

  • Make use of hashtags in your description

You can’t currently boost an IGTV post, so making it as discoverable as possible is essential.

Hashtags are a great way to show up in news feeds since Instagram users can select specific hashtags they’re interested in and follow them.

When they do this, they’ll be shown different posts using that hashtag throughout their main feed and Explore.

IGTV for small businesses

Your cover image does not have to be a thumbnail of your video on IGTV, so feel free to get creative.

This will be what helps users decide whether they’ll click or not, so make it interesting and keep it branded.

  • Optimize for silent viewing

IGTV for small businesses

Keep in mind to use on-screen captions and text to ensure your video is viewable even if users can’t hear it.

You can manually add captions or use a third-party app.

Just like your other types of marketing strategies, you’ll want to post consistently to see the most long-term benefits from your IGTV strategy.

63% of Instagram users check the app at least once per day, and 42% open the app multiple times within the same day.

Sure, you can repost and reshape fun things, and it’s not a bad strategy all the time.

But your followers, and the algorithm, prioritize content that hasn’t been shared on the platform yet.

IGTV For Small Businesses: 21 Video Ideas To Try

  1. How-to videos
  2. Explainers
  3. Tutorials
  4. Invite fans to submit questions for a fun themed Q&A
  5. Answer your FAQs
  6. Share updates on any shipping changes
  7. Show behind-the-scenes
  8. Share some customer reviews
  9. Do an unboxing of a new product
  10. Show how to make a recipe from start to finish
  11. Teach quick tips or life hacks
  12. Interview someone from your company or industry
  13. Review new products, books, or movies
  14. Fun get-to-know-you videos
  15. Host a giveaway
  16. Celebrate a business milestone
  17. Celebrate a holiday
  18. Meet the team
  19. Share video essays
  20. Challenges
  21. Share a replay of a really good live video

1. How-to videos

Probably some of the most popular videos to make on the internet, how-to videos teach someone how to do something.

Your videos don’t have to be complicated, or novel, or even serious.

A “how to ruin your DIY oil change” can be a fun way to not only teach about potential issues with DIYing, while providing valuable info to folks who DO DIY.

But, it can also help you sell your oil change services or products.

2. Explainers

Tell about a subject you know well and are passionate about.

You can explain everything from basic terms and ideas to more advanced topics.

IGTV for small businesses

Whatever it is that makes sense to you when you consider your other business goals and marketing objectives.

3. Tutorials

Teach your audience how to do something. Again, the possibilities are endless.

You’ve probably watched a few of these yourselves.

Make sure you’re providing value while teaching, instead of just making a very long commercial for your product.

4. Invite fans to submit questions for a fun themed Q&A

Your theme could be around a major holiday, like favorite Halloween costumes ranked with photos.

Or, a social media holiday like National Donut Day or Love Your Pet Day.

Keeping it to a theme will help keep things structured, and makes it easier for you to come up with and ask questions.

5. Answer your FAQs

You post your FAQs on your website for a couple of reasons.

But ultimately, this is for you to save your time so you don’t have to answer the same questions over and over again.

6. Share updates on any shipping changes

This also includes the delays or any changes to your subscriptions, programs, or benefits.

If your town was hit by a huge snowstorm and no trucks can get in or out for a week, you’ll want to let your audience know.

Or, if you’re making big changes to how orders are placed or picked up, like most of us had to do last year when quarantine started…

…a longer-form video is a good option for communicating this.

Yes, you can and should send email updates and contact customers individually when possible.

But, putting out a video that everyone can watch is also a good idea.

That way, your customers will know that they can count on you to be transparent about any delays.

And that they can trust you with their money and goods too.

7. Show behind-the-scenes

You could show the team that helps you film and edit your videos, show the setup and takedown of one of your sets.

Follow people around the office for a day just to see what happens.

Anything casual that can make people feel like a part of the group. 

8. Share some customer reviews

You can make a video once a month where you read and respond to customer reviews.

This could be a similar style to those “celebrities read mean tweets” videos, though you should focus on happy customers.

You can read their reviews word-for-word or paraphrase if you’d like.

You can also answer any questions they had or address anything specifically, like…

“I see that Jessica helped you find that perfect blouse. She’s just the best isn’t she? She’s so good at finding unlikely combinations that work so well. I highly recommend asking for Jessica’s help next time you’re in the store.”

9. Do an unboxing of a new product

You can do an actual unboxing of you opening up a large shipment in your warehouse and talking about the item.

Plus, you can share how it’s going to be useful to your customers or how your customers will experience it.

10. Show how to make a recipe from start to finish

IGTV for small businesses

This IGTV for small businesses video idea is probably familiar to you.

We’re sure you’ve seen your fair share of cooking videos on Instagram, and for good reason.

Recipe videos are some of the most important content on the platform, so share your recipes!

11. Teach quick tips or life hacks

If you know your business well, chances are you have tips, tricks, or time-saving hacks that you’ve learned over the years.

Sharing this insider knowledge not only helps you build your credibility and lets customers know they can trust you…

…but it’s also valuable information that your customers will want to share.

12. Interview someone from your company or industry

You can ask for questions beforehand and choose some customer-submitted questions, combined with some that your team chooses.

Interview people in different roles at your company, talk with product designers or creators, interview well-known industry influencers, and more.

Ideally, you’ll look for someone who has a crossover audience.

But make sure that their expertise and the quality of your interview are more important than their follower count.

13. Review new products, books, or movies

If you’re reviewing products that you sell in your store, use IGTV to let people know that you sell the product, and tell them why.

There’s a reason you’ve selected these products, right? Tell your customers why you trust it, and show them that they can trust you.

14. Fun get-to-know-you videos

Follow current trends that make sense for your business to showcase some of your personality.

And then, keep the format a little more casual so you can show off a little personality.

A couple of fun ideas are “what’s in my bag” or “suitcase” or “junk drawer”.

Keep things feeling authentic and real.

If it feels or looks like you just filled a bag with brand new products that you sell (or products from your sponsors), it won’t have the same effect.

And, it could even turn viewers off from the content.

15. Host a giveaway

Post all of the Instagram giveaway details everywhere, including:

  • plenty of looks at the prizes,
  • clear instructions on entering,
  • eligibility, and
  • how winners will be chosen and announced

Don’t forget to use those hashtags on your IGTV to make it discoverable!

16. Celebrate a business milestone

Did you just hit 10,000 followers on Instagram?

Fulfill your 1,000th order? Shipped your millionth package?

Celebrate with your followers on IGTV!

17. Celebrate a holiday

Put together a fun video showing your employees at a holiday party. Ugly sweater or best costume competitions, anyone?

18. Meet the team

Showcase your employee of the month, or ask a new question every month that everyone takes a minute or two to answer, and post them to your IGTV.

Not only is this a great way to celebrate your employees and get them excited about sharing your channels…

… but it’s also a fun way to make your viewers feel like they are part of the family.

As they get to know (and love) certain employees, they’ll become more invested in following their growth.

19. Share video essays

This is another great idea in using IGTV for small businesses, and this is to repurpose your blog content and long-form articles.

You can simply read, or have someone else read, your article on-camera using a teleprompter.

Most channels deliver this content directly to the camera, or they choose a voiceover and use stock video.

20. Challenges

So, the Ice Bucket challenge may have been 97 decades ago, but the concept remains the same.

Come up with something fun that your audience can participate in, share, and tag you in.

This should be related to your business and your audience’s interests.

Some good examples are “how many stitches can you complete in 30 seconds?” or “can you do winged eyeliner with a q-tip?”

21. Share a replay of a really good live video

This can be something that you hosted on another platform.

If you went through the trouble to…

…you want it to live longer than just the length of the live video on the day you shared it.

That’s why you should save your recorded live videos and publish them to IGTV and other networks.

You may need to adapt the format a little bit and let people know it’s a live video before.

And then, also let them know when they can join you the next one in case they miss out.

IGTV For Small Businesses: Final Takeaways

So there you have it!

Everything you need to know about IGTV for small businesses, the best practices, and a ton of ideas to help you fill up your content calendar.

If you need more help with your marketing on Instagram, then be sure to check our Instagram marketing services here.

Or, you can also hire our social media management company to get the best results from all the top social media platforms today.

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