When you hear, “Instagram”, does your head spin a little?
If so, it’s understandable. For an app that started off simple as a way to share photos with friends, it’s developed into quite a deep platform. Additionally, many of the current Instagram features felt like they rolled out in pretty short order, which makes it more difficult to keep track of. Now we have…
- Instagram Stories, which are photos and videos that disappear within 24 hours of being posted
- Instagram Highlights, which are former Stories that reside permanently on your Instagram Profile, in an organized collection of your choice
- Instagram Live, where you go live on video on Instagram
- IGTV, which is a vertical video channel that is accessed only through Instagram
Further, these Instagram features do – and don’t – connect in various ways. For example…
- You can tag another Instagram user in your Stories, which notifies them of your tag and also allows other users to directly visit that tagged profile with a tap of the finger.
- There’s a highly-coveted swipe up feature that allows you to connect clickable, external links with Instagram Stories, but you need at least 10,000 followers to enable that feature.
- You can link an IGTV video to an Instagram Story once you’ve created your IGTV channel.
- You can auto-post your Instagram Stories to your Facebook Page Stories.
- You can also auto-post your IGTV videos to your Facebook video library, but we’ll talk more below about why you don’t want to do that.
Where you locate these Instagram features within the app is a bit varied, too.
- You have to visit an Instagram Profile to access Highlights.
- Accounts with live Instagram Stories are featured at the top of your Home feed. You can also access an account’s Stories by visiting their Profile page.
- IGTV is accessed via the orange TV icon in the top menu of your Home feed, as seen below.
How to Start your IGTV Channel
IGTV can loosely be considered Instagram’s version of YouTube. Instagram wants creators to publish videos on the platform that can be viewed for weeks, months and years to come, just like YouTube. However, Instagram videos cannot currently be monetized, are not searchable nor accessible outside of Instagram, and are limited to a vertical orientation only.
So, if you have an audience on Instagram and feel you can benefit from recording and publishing videos to your IGTV channel, here’s how you create that channel and publish videos to it.
Steps to Create your IGTV Channel
Start by tapping on the orange TV icon located at the top of your Home feed.
You’ll be shown a few video filter options for your own viewing…IGTV videos recommended for you, IGTV channels of Instagram users you already follow, popular IGTV videos and videos you previously started watching but haven’t finished.
From any of these views, you’ll notice and can tap on the white gear icon located mid-way down the screen, on the right side. Tapping on this icon, reveals the option to create your own channel.
Instagram will move you through a few screens where they tell you the IGTV videos need to be vertical, and tout the fact that IGTV videos can be longer than 60 seconds, which is the current maximum video length to publish videos to your regular feed and Instagram profile. Once complete, you’ll see your Instagram profile photo in the spot where the gear icon was.
Instagram automatically pulls in your Instagram bio as your channel description. You’ll also see the message that you currently have no videos uploaded to your IGTV channel. Tap on the white plus sign on the right side to upload a pre-recorded video to your IGTV channel. Be prepared for other IGTV videos to play in the background as your work.
With IGTV, you do need to record your videos before uploading. Since vertical is the orientation for IGTV, it’s easiest to record any videos you want to publish on IGTV, with your smart phone and then upload from your camera roll.
Your new IGTV video will upload to your new IGTV channel, and then you’ll be asked to give your video a title and description. You can also edit the cover photo (thumbnail) of your video.
You can also select to auto-post your IGTV videos to your connected Facebook Page. Doing so will publish your IGTV video on your Facebook Page’s timeline and to your Facebook Video Library. However, vertical videos are not ideal on Facebook due to the blank space shown on both sides of the video, so it’s best not to auto-post your IGTV videos to Facebook.
Once you click to post your IGTV video, you’ll see the video is processing.
Now when someone visits your Instagram profile, they’ll be able to see and access your IGTV channel and videos.
It’s possible to access IGTV video Insights. Tap on your IGTV video to be given the menu option.
Promote an IGTV video using Instagram Stories
Once you’ve created your IGTV channel, you’ll notice that a link icon appears at the top of the screen when you create a new Instagram Story.
When you tap on the link icon, you can add a direct link on your Instagram Story to any of your IGTV videos.
Creating a Story or Stories to promote a new video on your IGTV channel is a great way to grow awareness of your new video.