With more and more people staying home right now, cruelty-free beauty brand Nudestix has prioritized posting to IGTV, Instagram’s long-form video feature. And it’s paying off. The brand’s IGTV engagement has increased in March and April, with views up 39%, likes up 36%, and comments up nearly 60%.

And Nudestix isn’t alone. Countless other brands are also taking advantage of recent surges in social video viewership.

The time people spend watching videos has increased by 30% in the past month, and there’s been a 70% surge in Instagram Live. Plus, 52% of influencers say they plan to create and post more video content across social media.

With both brands and influencers taking advantage of Instagram’s video offerings, here’s how to use IGTV, so you don’t get left behind.

How Brands Are Using IGTV and Instagram Live

There are countless ways to take advantage of Instagram’s video opportunities. Let’s take a look at some of the brands that are getting it right with IGTV and Instagram Live content.

Nudestix’s Live Makeup Tutorials

Tutorials and how-to videos are some of the most popular types of video content on Instagram.

Nudestix is one of many beauty brands doing demonstrations of how to use its products. It often uses Instagram Live for its tutorials, giving viewers the opportunity to ask questions and get answers in real time.

Not sure where to start? Ask your followers what products they have questions about or what they’d like to learn from your brand’s experts.

The Honest Company’s Use of User-Generated Content

Video is also a great way to implement user-generated content (UGC).

For example, The Honest Company takes user-submitted content and creates videos that share women’s diverse pregnancy experiences.

You can find user-generated content by looking at posts in which users have tagged your brand or used a branded hashtag.

And you can ask your followers to share the exact kind of user-generated content you’d like to feature. In fact, 53% of consumers want brands to provide them with guidelines for user-generated content.

You can also consider a user-generated content solution provider.

SoulCycle’s Behind-the-Scenes Looks

Give your followers a peek at the people and places behind your brand.

That’s what SoulCycle did when it took viewers on a tour of its Culver City studio—and thousands of people tuned in to watch.

While you may not be able to take viewers on a tour of your offices during this time of social distancing, don’t hesitate to get creative by inviting followers to a virtual meeting or showcasing your home office.

Patagonia’s Humorous Look at Product Testing

Humor helps make brands more relatable, and Patagonia has found ways to use a bit of comedy while showcasing how it goes the extra mile to create quality products.

In “On the Brink,” the brand gives viewers a look at how its “master product tester” Kelly Cordes tests the limits of Patagonia products by doing everything from showering in rain jackets to throwing climbing gear off cliffs to check for durability.

Target’s Use of Influencers

Featuring influencers in video can help grow your brand’s following, especially when influencers post on their own accounts to promote the content they appear in.

For example, in a recent IGTV video for Target, Queer Eye’s interior design expert, Bobby Berk, showcases how he used Target products to redesign a house in his hometown. Brands can even tag influencers in video descriptions.

Backcountry’s Free Service

Brands can employ IGTV and Instagram Live to give followers access to services. That’s what Backcountry did with its recent yoga class.

Not only can viewers tune in at any time to take the class, but the video, which is taught by Backcountry’s marketing manager, illustrates how its employees genuinely embrace the lifestyle the brand promotes.

Here are some other ideas for how to use IGTV and Instagram Live for this type of content: host a seminar, livestream a concert, or offer a service like Great Jones’s Potline.

Calm’s Live Q&A

Live Q&As provide an ideal opportunity to connect with consumers, put a human face to your brand, and help people better understand your products and services.

Calm, a meditation and relaxation app, recently went live with Tamara Levitt, head of mindfulness, and journalist Katie Couric to share meditation tips and answer users’ questions.

Your brand can conduct interviews and Q&As with experts, employees, influencers, and even customers themselves.

Lulus’ Product Promotion

IGTV allows brands to showcase products and even link to them in video descriptions.

In this video, apparel brand Lulus demonstrates how its “Palm Tree Breeze” midi dress can be worn four different ways.

While now isn’t the time to heavily market products to consumers, showcasing your latest developments or highlighting product features can be beneficial for your audience. And it may inspire them to add your products to your wishlist for when consumer spending habits return to normal.

Etsy’s User Highlights

Brands can also showcase how people use or benefit from their products.

Recently, Etsy highlighted several of its sellers and explained the steps it’s taking to help small businesses during the pandemic.

Showcasing the value your business or products provide can be a great way to market products without heavily pushing sales.

How to Use IGTV

Adding video content to IGTV is as simple as using Instagram. Here’s how to get started:

1. Record video

All you need to get started is a video that’s at least one minute long.

The video doesn’t need to be studio quality—IGTV content is all about making your brand more relatable. Check out this guide to shooting video with an iPhone.

And if you need to edit your video, there’s a variety of free video-editing software and apps available.

2. Upload video

Videos can be uploaded to IGTV via the Instagram app, the IGTV standalone app, or computer when logged into Instagram. Most IGTV videos are uploaded from the Instagram app.

While IGTV used to only work with vertically oriented videos, today, you can also upload horizontal videos.

IGTV videos must be at least a minute long, but they can be up to an hour long. However, length matters, so use Instagram analytics to determine how long viewers are engaged. The more viewers who watch the entirety of your videos, the more Instagram boosts your content’s visibility.

Seventy-three percent of brand videos are two minutes or shorter. But longer videos can also be great content. For example, you can repurpose Instagram live videos (such as Q&As) and give them longevity by uploading them to IGTV.

3. Share as full-length video

Once you select the video you want to share on the Instagram app, you’ll be prompted to share your content as either a short or long video.

Sharing a short video allows you to post up to a minute of video to your profile; sharing the full-length video will post to IGTV.

Later, you can still opt to feature a snippet or preview of the video on your profile so that more people can find it.

4. Select Cover Image

Next, you’ll be prompted to choose a cover image for your video. You can select from one of the video frames or upload your own image.

5. Add video title and description

Users are shown videos that match their viewing habits, so use the video title and description to ensure Instagram knows what your video is about.

Include relevant keywords and hashtags throughout your IGTV video description. You can tag others’ Instagram accounts, such as influencers, or link to a product page. You can also add a call to action.

6. Post video and cross-promote

Now your IGTV video is ready to post, but you need to inform your followers that they can view your content on IGTV. There are a few ways you can do this:

  1. Share a one-minute preview of your video to your profile, as illustrated below. Viewers will be prompted to keep watching on IGTV.
  2. Choose to share your video to a connected Facebook page.
  3. Preview and link to an IGTV video from your Stories.
  4. You can also choose to add your video to a series.


Now that you understand how to use IGTV, let’s take a look at going live on Instagram.

How to Use Instagram Live

Broadcasting live from Instagram is an excellent way to engage with your audience, and it’s quite easy.

To begin, simply click the camera icon at the top of your Instagram feed. Then scroll to “Live” at the bottom of the screen, as illustrated below, and tap the circular button to start recording.

Once you’re live, you’ll see the number of viewers at the top of the screen, and viewer comments will appear at the bottom.

You can add your own comment or reply to a user by tapping “Comment” at the bottom of the screen.

When you’re finished broadcasting, tap “End” at the top right of the screen to stop recording.

From here, you can also tap the top left to save the video to your camera roll or to share it to your Stories. Saving a live broadcast to your camera roll saves the video only and not the viewer likes or comments.

Use Analytics to Improve Your Video Content

A key component of how to use IGTV involves taking a regular look at analytics to see how your video is performing and to identify ways you can make it more engaging.

You can access IGTV metrics from the Instagram app by tapping the IGTV icon, which will bring you to your IGTV channel. Next, simply select the video for which you want to view analytics.

Here, you’ll be able to view the following metrics:

  • Views: Number of views a video received (views are defined as lasting at least three seconds)
  • Engagements: Number of likes and comments a video received
  • Audience retention: Percentage of completed views a video received
  • Audience retention graph: Displays the point at which viewers quit watching a video

When looking at the data here, keep in mind that a user must watch a video for at least three seconds for the view to be counted.

IGTV pinpoints the exact moment a user clicks away from your video, so you can use this information to draw conclusions about why a user lost interest. You may find that some types of IGTV content keep users watching until the end, while other types don’t perform well.

Learn more about how to use analytics to improve your Instagram content with our comprehensive guide to Instagram Analytics.

Why Your Brand Should Use Instagram Video

Whether you’re using IGTV or Instagram Live, it’s the ideal time to get started with Instagram video and reap its benefits.

Grow engagement and build community

Instagram video lets brands connect with their audiences in new ways by allowing them to become more relatable and create content that addresses customers’ questions and pain points.

Brands can do this by featuring UGC, sharing updates and product releases, going live at events, and posting interviews, Q&As, and AMAs (“Ask Me Anything”) with brand representatives, experts, and influencers.

Educate users about brand and products

Whether you post a video to IGTV or start live streaming on Instagram, your brand can show followers how to use products, as well as how your brand brings value to their lives.

Video content like how-tos and tutorials are popular among Instagram users, and brands can use IGTV and Instagram Live to give users a behind-the-scenes look at their business, feature influencers’ product reviews, and more.

Increase conversions

Video is effective at enticing consumers to buy. In fact, 62% of shoppers watch product review videos before making a purchase and 76% of marketers report that video helps increase sales.

While Instagram doesn’t permit links in regular Instagram posts, when you upload a video to IGTV, you can include a link—to a product or landing page, for instance—in the video description.

Now’s the Time to Start Using Instagram Video

Right now, audiences are more willing than ever to tune in to your video content. So take advantage of this opportunity and learn how to use Instagram video.

Regularly posting video on IGTV or live streaming during this unique time will strengthen your brand’s connection with its audience. It’ll also condition your followers to expect this engaging content even when things return to normal.

So, connect with your audience through Instagram video now to ensure you have their eyes on your videos later.