4 Tips for Launching a BOSS IGTV Channel FAST!

What Influencers Are Doing To Launch Awesome IGTV Channels So FAST

Instagram is officially in the video hosting businesses. IGTV is here, and its arrival stands to transform each of Instagram’s 1 billion monthly users into creators and owners of their very own long-form video channels.

It’s been a busy month for Instagram. The first week of June, the company announced @mention sharing, which gives users the ability to share into their own stories any stories in which they were mentioned. Nice.

The second week, many-a-dream came true (including mine) when shopping came to Instagram stories. When users watch stories that have the little shopping bag icon on the screen, they can click the bag to get more information about the product. Genius. I can’t be the only one who whips out her phone to look at screenshots of cool outfits when shopping.

Last week, Instagram announced the release of IGTV, a standalone video platform that allows Instagram creators to publish videos ranging in length from 15 seconds to 10 minutes for new accounts, and the ability to go as long as 60 minutes for larger, more established accounts.

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A replay of the live announcement from Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom (@kevin) at an IGTV launch event in San Diego was posted to Instagram a few days ago (which you can see here). The event included appearances by Manny Gutierrez (@mannymua733),  Lele Pons (@lelepons), Lauren Godwin (@laurengodwin), Bryce Xavier (@brycexavier) and a handful of other social media influencers who are icons in the space.

Here’s How to Make Your Own Smooth Transition to IGTV

Getting Started

Getting started on IGTV is as simple as updating your Instagram app, or downloading the IGTV standalone app.

I did the latter. Hours after Systrom’s announcement I watched a tutorial that showed up in the top Google search results that was supposed to walk me through the installation process. Initially, I thought all I needed to do was update my existing Instagram app.

That didn’t work.

I had to download the standalone app to get IGTV to work.

I had to download the standalone app to get IGTV to work.

When I updated Instagram, the only new thing that appeared on my screen was a Facebook icon, that when tapped, takes me to Facebook's mobile site.

So, I installed the standalone IGTV app from the Google Play Store, which automatically integrated with Instagram to give me access to IGTV through the main Instagram app. Of course, I now also have the standalone app.  

Once there, the first thing I noticed was a string of videos from folks I didn’t know or care about. The For You recommendations are usually waaaaay off for me, but I eventually came across my tribe.

Some of my faves on IGTV include actress and fashion / style influencer Tracee Ellis Ross.

Some of my faves on IGTV include actress and fashion / style influencer Tracee Ellis Ross.

It really didn’t take long for early adopters to populate the IGTV feed with content. Meanwhile  I've been trying to decide if the Facebook video I created for my Facebook page for work-at-home moms (sans makeup) could be re-purposed for Instagram EVEN THOUGH I was fresh-faced and my top was a little crooked.


The good news for me is I make most of my videos vertical by default, not just because I’m cool, but because I forget to do it the other way.

But from days of tinkering around on the app, here are the four tactics I consistently see executed by influencers who have already made IGTV their own that will help you successfully onboard the video app yourself.

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Tip #1: Repurpose the BEST of Your Existing Content

The easiest way to start on IGTV is to use some of the great content you already, operative word there being “great”. One of the first videos I actually watched on IGTV was from Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee), and the video I watched was actually about two years old .

Gary Vee's first videos published to IGTV included repurposed content.

Gary Vee's first videos published to IGTV included repurposed content.

There are 300 million people watching Instagram stories every single day. I can tell you with some certainty, if you’ve produced video content for Instagram in the past, there’s a good chance you already have content you can use on IGTV BUT…Make it your best stuff.


Tip #2: Be Sure to Adapt Existing Content to Vertical Video

I’ve already seen videos on IGTV that weren’t properly edited for vertical video. Sideways videos are hard to watch, especially in long-form, so if you’re publishing your existing content to IGTV, adapt it for vertical.

According to Idea Rocket Animation’s Vertical Video Guide, the aspect ratio for vertical video is 9:16. If that looks familiar, it’s because you’ve spent the last few years creating videos with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Seriously, if you don’t want to be the creator that’s making sideways videos, take the time to do the necessary re-edit of your older videos you shot in HD widescreen.

Of course, my one year of cinema classes taught me a little something about sideways videos that I and every other beginning film buff knows - scenes shot sideways can help drive home a point, like in this scene from Marvel’s Black Panther.

This is the scene of the film villain, the appropriately-named Killmonger taking the throne after defeating the benevolent king T'Challa in ritual combat. His arrival signals a new day for Wakanda, as the newly-crowned king prepares to launch war on every existing government. 

Upside down kingdom.png

Powerful stuff. BUT the entire scene is just a few seconds long.


Tip #3: Bring Your Brand and Persona to the New Platform

Use IGTV as an extension of your brand, and meet (and possibly exceed) the expectations of your existing audience.

During Instagram’s launch event for IGTV, mega influencer Lele Pons talked a bit about what it took for her to perfect the one-minute comedy skits she’s known for posting to Instagram. Her new content plans for the long-form platform include starting her own competitive cooking show because she likes to cook, but she’s not very good at it.

A competitive cooking show created, hosted and judged by a competitor who isn’t a great cook. Sounds like antics should ensue. The idea sounds like it would be a good use of long-form video while maintaining the cleverly outrageous comedy for which Ms. Pons has become known. It’s smart.

Between the time I thought about writing this post and the actual publication (the weekend), beauty powerhouse Huda Kattan (@HudaBeauty) went from one piece of content on IGTV to three, with one of the videos extending past the one-minute mark.

Hilarious as they are, each of Kattan’s three videos is beauty-focused, from time hacks to the gym makeup fail - when your makeup rubs off on your towel at the gym and you’re left with a face full of smeared makeup.

Screen shots from "Gym Makeup Fail", @HudaBeauty's first video on IGTV.

Screen shots from "Gym Makeup Fail", @HudaBeauty's first video on IGTV.

Tip #4: Use the “Extra” Time As a Resource

Use time as a resource, if you need it. I’ve already come across lots of videos of people talking for an hour about topics that are probably important to them, but not really all that engaging. The result, I click away after a few seconds. 

To celebrate the arrival of IGTV, Netflix re-released a 1-hour version of this popular 1-minute video of Riverdale’s Cole Sprouse (Jughead!) eating a burger.

To celebrate the arrival of IGTV, Netflix re-released a 1-hour version of this popular 1-minute video of Riverdale’s Cole Sprouse (Jughead!) eating a burger.


Some of the most engaging content that has shown up on IGTV so far reflects creators that used the extended time to create a more compelling video. Much of the new content on IGTV doesn’t get anywhere close to the time limit, and for good reason.

The approach for the most successful creators is to figure out how to create a video their audience will love and use time as a resource to get it done. Netflix’s video of Cole Sprouse eating that burger notwithstanding, smart creators aren’t just maxing out the time on their videos because they have it to spare.

Big brands already have their agencies on deck, coming up with strategies to best use IGTV to raise brand awareness (which this platform would be GREAT at doing) and convert swipers to raving fans.

With the recent ability to shop Instagram posts and the ability to integrate @mentions into multiple stories from different users, you can bet monetization is only days away.  

Get ready!


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