How Associations Can Use IGTV to Their Advantage


Social media is a fluid and constantly changing landscape, and for years associations have tried to harness the power of these platforms with varying degrees of success. Keeping up with all the new and evolving features of social networks is especially challenging for small-staff associations that don’t have the resources to devote to it.

Now, there’s another new player getting the hype treatment: IGTV. Instagram debuted its new video service in June. IGTV is a standalone app, as well as a tab in the existing app, and offers users the opportunity to upload long-form, vertical videos.

If Stories was Instagram’s take on Snapchat, IGTV is the network’s version of YouTube. Users posting videos through Stories were limited to their 60-second length, whereas IGTV allows videos up to 10 minutes long (and up to 60 minutes for selected creators).

The key differentiator for IGTV is the “vertical” part. Understanding people primarily use their phones and tablets in a vertical orientation, Instagram is hoping users appreciate not having to rotate their devices to view video content. Upon debuting IGTV, Instagram admitted they were hoping to appeal to a younger audience that increasingly consumes video content on mobile devices.

So, the obvious question for associations is whether IGTV offers a useful vehicle worth the investment of time and resources. Let’s weigh some of the considerations.

First off, users are the “channels.” In other words, people who follow your account will automatically follow your IGTV account – so that audience is already built in. You won’t have to start from ground zero building up a new IGTV audience base, but you also won’t be able to create multiple “channels.”

The vertical orientation of IGTV also means repurposing content from other video platforms isn’t quite so simple. If you already produce video content for a (horizontal) YouTube channel, for example, you won’t be able to simply drop that in for IGTV.

That means – and is part of the purpose behind IGTV – creators will need to create original content tailored to this format. This becomes a major consideration for associations. If you’re already shooting and editing a lot of video content, you can probably create some vertical content for IGTV. But, IGTV content will have to come in addition to video for other vehicles – and obviously at additional time and expense.

Due to its nascent nature, the audience familiarity with IGTV still isn’t there. This Digiday article explores a few media brands that are experimenting with IGTV and the results they’ve seen thus far. Their takeaway is that IGTV is still a bit enigmatic. However, if you’re already seeing success engaging your membership base through Instagram, IGTV might be worth at least a trial.
Should you opt to create IGTV content, here are a few directions you can go.

Tutorial/how-to: One of the most popular uses of video on the internet is instructional content. Associations are specially suited to provide informational and tutorial content to members.

Documentary/behind-the-scenes: Your members may not necessarily be following you on Instagram for educational purposes. IGTV provides an opportunity to further develop the personal relationships with members. Taking viewers on a tour of the association offices, introducing and interviewing staff members, detailing how certain processes work at association HQ – these are ways to give members a peek behind the curtain at how the association is working for them and make ideal content for a vehicle like IGTV.

Profiling/networking: Move beyond interviewing and introducing staff to profiling association members and companies. This allows members to get to know a little more about one another. They can’t always make the shows, meetings, conferences or mixers, but video profiles can help members learn about other members.

It remains to be seen if IGTV catches on, but if it does, it may benefit your association to have a basis of knowledge for what it is and how to take advantage of its features. It doesn’t take Academy Award-winning content to be successful. Netflix released a video of an actor eating a cheeseburger and it drew more than 700,000 views.

IGTV offers a new way to interact with influencers, but doesn’t offer revenue opportunities at this point, though Instagram hinted that advertising is likely down the road. So for now, using IGTV comes down to whether your membership engagement is worth the time you invest in content creation.

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