The Musician’s Guide to IGTV

(Originally published here so go give them some love)

Instagram has a lot of news lately – they just hit 1 BILLION active users and they have just rolled out a brand new feature called IGTV that now allows you to upload videos longer than 1 minute.

What is IGTV?

IGTV is Instagram’s new app centered around consuming long-form, vertical videos from Instagram creators. Users can also access the platform on the Instagram app by clicking the TV button in the top right corner next to the messages button (if you don’t see this on your Instagram app update it!)

Instagram has designed IGTV to emulate an actual TV by hosting channels of videos created and uploaded by Instagram users. These videos differ from those on Instagram Stories in that creators can upload up to 10 mins of content. The platform is also designed to view videos vertically, in the same way you use your phone, making a more natural viewing experience.

Why Musicians Should Care About IGTV

IGTV is definitely not a just a longer form of Stories; it’s Instagram’s way of giving YouTube a run for it’s money and by utilizing vertical video they are adapting to the way most people prefer to hold their phones. Instead of reposting your Instagram Stories into a montage video, Instagram users can upload completely new forms of content that help disseminate your personality (aka your brand) and your message. As of today, you can’t shoot videos directly in the IGTV app (but this may change in the future). So, you must upload videos from your camera on your phone or directly from your computer. This opens up another opportunity for musicians to connect with fans without using another platform. Uploading content to IGTV means you will be connected to your Instagram followers who are also your IGTV followers. From a marketing perspective, this is fabulous because now you can focus on one platform and showcase various types of content.  In addition to expanding your reach, it will be easier to facilitate deeper connections with fans, which means you can grow your loyal fan base. Since IGTV is still brand new, now is the perfect time to start capitalizing on new views and fans while the platform isn’t inundated with content (yet).

Setting Up Your IGTV Channel

Setting Up Your IGTV Channel is Easy!

  1. Tap in the top right of Feed, or open the IGTV app.
  2. Tap > Create Channel and follow the on-screen instructions.

Editing Your Videos

Videos posted on IGTV are required to be in a portrait layout with the optimum aspect ratio being between a minimum of 4:5 and maximum of 9:16. So, if you want to post videos that you have on your Youtube or Facebook page that may not meet the requirements you’ll have to edit them to work for IGTV.

Our Favorite Apps For Editing Your IGTV Videos

Here are a few apps you can download to your phone that can help you edit your videos:
  • Videoshop – This is the app I recommend because you can adjust the orientation of your video to fit the IGTV guidelines without altering your original video!
  • iMovie –  Good for editing 4k video footage
  • Videorama – Allows you to add text, music, and effects and make slo-mo videos too.

There are a plenty of other great video editing apps that could also help you format your content for IGTV dance around the app store to find them

*Note* unverified accounts can only upload videos up to 15 minutes in length. Verified accounts can upload videos up to 1 hour.  Here is a helpful article on how to get verified.

Uploading Videos to IGTV

Instagram has made the process of uploading your videos fairly simple and it can be done from your phone or your computer. All you have to do is click upload video. If you are on your phone you then just select the video you wish to upload and on your computer just drag and drop your content when prompted.

Once you’ve input all the information you can either immediately upload or save your content as a draft to upload at a later time.

Synch IGTV With Your Facebook Page

IGTV also allows you to synchronize your post to your Facebook Page or their newer feature, Facebook Watch.

5 Killer Musician Content Ideas for IGTV

Keep in mind that unless your account is verified, you’re limited to 10 mins. Unless you plan on making movies, that’s plenty of time to captivate viewers and make them want to learn more about you. This will also help with making sure you post consistently and frequently. Ideally, you want to post daily but at a minimum you should post twice a week to really make an impact.

Here are 5 content ideas to get you started with uploading videos to your IGTV channel:

  • Welcome video: This is a great opportunity to link to all of your other social media as well as links to your music and website. Links can be posted directly to the videos instead of swiping up to be redirected, making it easier for viewers to access your other platforms.
  • Behind-the-scenes material: Posting footage of you in the studio recording your next album or a tour diary capturing life on the road is a quick and easy form of content to upload to keep your fans engaged and connected to you.
  • Teasers to new music and music videos: You can also post your music video on IGTV as well as YouTube to increase exposure.
  • Q&A: Ask fans to submit questions and record a video of you shouting out the fan and answering the question. This will
  • Vlog series: This is an easy way to post content consistently. Pick a day, turn on your camera, and share your day with your fans. Or come up with an original idea like – clips from my pool, stories from my roof, thoughts while I walk my dog, the stories behind my tracks, etc.

Hacking IGTV

Put Relevant Search Words in Your Username

One feature about IGTV that is currently limiting the platform is the search function. Currently,  you can only search for creators, not types of content. In order to expand past your existing Instagram following, you can put relevant search words in your username to come up in more searches.

Your Username Is Limited To 30 Characters

Instagram allows for 30 characters in the username field so putting keywords like “music” or “artist” can help you appear in more searches. Another thing to note is that only the first two sentences of your Instagram bio will appear on the IGTV channel so make sure the beginning of your bio grabs the essence of your image and is enticing to read.

6 Musicians Who Have Already Started Posting Compelling Content on IGTV:

@WillGittens @Anabarbara @frankturner @LennyKravitz @Common @Keke

To see a few other Instagram rockstars who really know how to rock their feeds read our article 7 Instagram Users to Follow & Emulate.

To see a list of some of our favorite apps for regular posts on Instagram read this.

Check Out Jared’s Channel as an Example!

Like you, I’m a musician trying to learn how to use IGTV to my advantage, so I started by posting something simple using some of the ideas and tools talked about! If you would like to take a look at my page here: @JaredGriffinMusic

Still not sure what to post on Instagram? Identifying ONE Ideal fan and only speaking to them is a great technique – Download this to get started on honing your messaging.

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

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