In mid-2018, Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom walked onto a stage in San Francisco and announced that the future of social media was vertical video.
Driving this would be a new feature on the Instagram platform called IGTV. Systrom envisioned IGTV as a direct rival to Youtube and amongst a host of star Instagram influencers, declared that it was time for “video to move forward and evolve.”
Due to its highly visual nature, the fitness industry has been able to embrace Instagram to huge degrees of success. It’s a fantastic tool for building communities and engaging members and its emphasis on searchability through hashtags means that 60% of users now first hear about a product or service on Instagram.
But what Instagram TV adds is the ability to produce long-form video content, which creates an opportunity for you to provide your audience with even more value.
IGTV Connects You With Your With Members
There’s no doubt that Instagram is a key player in the world of social media marketing – especially for the fitness industry, and especially now.
The impacts of Covid-19 have forced many fitness businesses to close their doors and take their services online in the form of at-home workouts. While members are temporarily unable to get to the studio, virtual fitness enables businesses to stay connected and maintain their communities. So whether it’s live streams or pre-recorded workouts, there’s a range of channels you can use to continue motivating and engaging your members at this time.
But as virtual quickly becomes the new normal, you’ll need to understand the benefits of different channels and how to use them. We’ve previously discussed how to use Instagram Stories as part of your gym’s marketing strategy, as well as how to build a community on Instagram.
In this article, we’ll explore IGTV and how you can use it effectively for your fitness business. Skip ahead to:
What is Instagram TV?
Like Instagram Stories, IGTV is a video-based feature. The main difference between this feature and posting videos on your feed or Instagram Stories is that you can publish long-form content on IGTV.
Although the new feature didn’t catch on quickly with big brands and influencers, recently, there has been a significant uptake in popularity. Usage is set to increase, especially in influencer marketing.
This is due to Instagram’s February 2019 update, which enabled users to publish preview clips on their feed. Creators are now making teaser videos that they can promote via their feeds, prompting their audience to view the full video on IGTV.
Instagram is continuing to push for IGTV growth, with the recent introduction of horizontal videos, as well as the platforms’ signature virtual uploads.
How Does it Work?
Users can access Instagram TV either within the Instagram app or from a separate IGTV app. As you can see in the example of Soulcycle below, you can access the IGTV channel of any account straight from their profile.
After you view a video, the app will suggest another video based on your browsing preferences. You can upload videos up to 10 minutes in length, or 60-minutes if you have a verified account.
Getting Started With Instagram TV
Learning how to use Instagram TV videos is an essential step if you want to upload a hub of useful content for your members.
To get started, you need to download the Instagram TV application from the App Store or Google Play. Once you log in to your account, the app will automatically search for your profile. From there, you can easily navigate your IGTV, create channels, make videos, and post them.
Uploading a Video on Instagram TV
Once you have set-up your account, follow the steps below to a post video on Instagram TV.
- Click on the avatar (given on the page) to go to your account
- Click on “+” sign in the right side to add a new video
- Select a vertical-video from the camera roll
- Add in the video description. Make sure that your video description is precise and concise with the relevant keywords, so users can easily find your content.
- You also link the video to an external website – perhaps a signup page for your online classes.
- Click the post button to share your video.
Creating an IGTV Channel
Once you’ve downloaded the app, creating an IGTV channel is pretty simple:
- Go to your Instagram feed and click the IGTV logo on the right
- Click the gear icon on the screen
- Tap the option “Create Channel” on the screen
- A brief introduction box will appear. Tap “Next” to go on the second screen.
- Your IGTV channel will be automatically created, and you can upload videos.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of using IGTV, let’s dive in with some strategies to engage your audience with the feature.
5 Ways to use Instagram TV For Your Fitness Business
While its gaining momentum and popularity, IGTV is an innovative way to connect your fitness studio with a new audience. As a fitness business, you have plenty of options in terms of creating video content for your viewers – it’s a case of choosing your content and platforms in a way that enables them to complement one another.
Tutorial videos have always been a staple of the fitness industry, and Instagram TV is a great platform for it. OrangeTheory Fitness is an excellent example of a brand that’s embracing the platform. After announcing that it would be closing all of its studios following the impacts of Covid-19, the brand shared a video on Instagram committing to sharing a workout every day until studios can open their doors again.
The workouts are shared on both IGTV and Youtube, so audiences can choose which channel suits them. At the moment, the workouts are completely free and accessible to everyone – opening up the opportunity to reach a previously untapped audience.
If your account isn’t verified for uploading 60-minute videos, the platform’s 10-minute limit is still perfect for uploading a quick workout routine. Perhaps you’ve already adapted to streaming live workouts for your members and a series of “10-minute Top Ups” can add more value and complement the full workouts.
As you start to build up a portfolio of mini workouts, your channel becomes a great tool for attracting new members to sign up for your live streams. Use the short videos to give viewers a taste of what they can expect from your online classes.
Build a Community with Consistent Content
Many brands are using episodic content to great success on IGTV. By approaching it the same way you would traditional television, you could potentially build a super-engaged audience. Set a defined day of the week to a specific topic and publish consistently. Use relevant, popular hashtags where applicable. We’ve included some ideas around popular hashtags for days of the week below:
#MondayMotivation A short promotional clip showing viewers what they can expect from your online workouts.
#TipTuesday. Use this as an opportunity to subtly promote your workouts. Share some exercise modifications by demonstrating a typical move you use in your online classes, and show a few different options that members can try if they’re struggling with that particular movement.
#WednesdayWisdom. Share a video focused on nutrition. 10-minutes is a great time frame to guide your audience with a quick and easy recipe video.
Keep in mind that consistency is the key to fulfilling viewer expectations. People like predictability and your audience will get accustomed to coming back to watch your videos at the designated time. Without this consistency, you may see a dip in engagement, and people will lose interest.
Help Your Members Inspire and Motivate Eachother
IGTV a great place to share client success stories. It’s authentic content that can highlight the benefits of joining your community – because it’s coming from someone who’s experienced it.
Remember that aside from being a part of your studio’s online fitness community, a lot of people at this time will be lacking routine and structure in their lives. Use IGTV to work with members in your community to deliver content that lets people know they’re not alone, and inspires them to proactively structure their days.
Once you’ve gotten into a rhythm with your online workouts, consider asking a regular member if they’d like to be involved with an ‘IGTV takeover.’ Give them 3 workouts to film throughout the day (one in the morning, afternoon and evening) and ask that they capture some other activities too. Think along the lines of meal prep, working from home and any breaks they take for recreation like reading or meditation.
In this example, it’s the authenticity that will help reinforce and support your community.
Engage Your Viewers With a Q & A Session
Answering questions from your audience is a great way to boost engagement. When you help people address specific pain points, your viewers will feel more inclined to ask you for advice.
The best way to do this is to ask before you answer. Curate your most popular questions and host a planned Q&A answering them. Use the ‘ask a question feature’ in Instagram Stories to find out what your followers want to know.
Keep Your Customer Updated with the Latest News
Curate some additional content around the latest health and wellness news. It can be insightful for your community and will help build your reputation as a voice of authority on all things fitness.
While Instagram Stories works well for making a quick, bite-size observation, Instagram TV works for a more extended, in-depth analysis of specific issues. Or you could bring together several different problems in a news bulletin style video.
Naturally, there’s a crossover with the Instagram platform and IGTV, they’re still two very different platforms, with different benefits. Don’t fall into the trap of treating the feature precisely as you would in your Instagram feed or Instagram Stories. Choose the content you upload to each platform wisely to bring the most value to your audience.
Instagram TV is a game-changer for social media, and we can expect to see more and more brands making the most of the app. Make sure you’re one of them.