three-dimensional Instagram logo on a background that transitions from orange in the lower left corner to pink in the middle to purple on the right
Instagram

Will IGTV Replace YouTube?

Instagram moved in on Snapchat’s territory when it launched Instagram Stories in 2016. Now it’s moving in on another social media network: YouTube.

Instagram launched IGTV at the end of June 2018. IGTV is a long-form video platform, with video lengths going up to an hour (as opposed to regular Instagram posts, which limit videos to 60 seconds). IGTV has its own app, but it can also be accessed through the new IGTV button at the top of the Instagram app.

When Instagram decided to do what Snapchat was doing, they quickly surpassed Snapchat in terms of daily users. Their new foray into longer videos and a video-only platform has people wondering – is Instagram going to replace YouTube like it did with Snapchat?

Now that IGTV has been out for a little bit and we’ve had some time to look at it, we have an answer: No. We don’t think that IGTV will ever replace YouTube. Here’s why.

Limited search feature

There is only a very limited search feature in IGTV. You can’t search for individual videos – you can only search for “channels” (i.e. accounts). If you’re interested in a specific subject and you want to watch a video on it, you can’t search for it on IGTV unless you know of an account that posted a video on that specific subject.

Entertainment-focused

IGTV is mostly focused on entertainment or information-sharing. You can’t find music or lyric videos, background music, tutorials, movies, or children’s videos on IGTV like you can on YouTube.

No archiving

You can only see an account’s most recent IGTV video. You can’t find any video that was posted in the past.

Mobile only

Even though most internet traffic is mobile these days, there are still people who prefer to watch videos on their laptop or desktop (or put on a video and do things on their phone simultaneously). Mobile-only also makes it harder to watch with other people, harder to watch while doing something else with your hands (like following a tutorial), and impossible to watch while doing something else on your phone (many people enjoy playing games on their phone while watching videos).

It’s new

IGTV simply doesn’t have the backlog of videos that YouTube does. And even if it did, you wouldn’t be able to find it – see the first point about a limited search feature. YouTube has 13 years worth of content you can search for and rewatch at your leisure; IGTV has just over a month’s worth of content, and you can’t see anything that isn’t an account’s most recent video.

None of this is to say IGTV is bad. On the contrary, we can see Instagram having a lot of success with it and a lot of content creators adopting it. However, we don’t see it cutting into YouTube’s market share very much – at least not without a lot of major changes to the platform.

Screenshot of the Instagram analytics screen
Analytics, Instagram

How to Find and Use Instagram Analytics

Instagram is a hugely popular social media network, especially with the Millennials and younger group. Instagram’s analytics aren’t hard to use, and they can help inform your posting strategy. So let’s take a look.

How to Find Instagram Analytics

Instagram analytics are actually really easy to find. Open the Instagram app and go to your profile. Once there, click the button at the top that looks like a series of four vertical lines.

Screenshot of an Instagram profile with the analytics button at the top highlighted in red

And there you are! All of Instagram’s analytics are right there.

You can also view analytics for an individual post by going to your profile, tapping the post, then tapping “View insights” beneath it.

What’s In Instagram Analytics

Instagram analytics has three tabs for you to look through.

Screenshot of the Instagram analytics screen

The first tab is the Activity tab. This tab shows you how many times your posts have been seen, how many unique people have seen your posts, how many people have interacted with your posts – basically all the standard analytics data you would expect to see.

The Content tab lets you see data about your individual posts, your Instagram Stories, and your paid promotions. This is where you can check how well your stories are doing and compare your posts for the past week to see which ones are doing best.

The Audience tab doesn’t have any information unless you have 100 or more followers, but once you have that many followers, it will give you a detailed breakdown of all the demographics of your followers, including age, location, and when they interact with your posts.

How to Use Instagram Analytics

Like all analytics, you can use Instagram analytics to see which of your posts are doing better than others and look for common themes so you can create better content in the future. These analytics are also good for monitoring how well your account is doing (and for reporting to your boss, if that’s part of your job). Looking at when your audience interacts with your posts can also help you determine the best days and times for you to post for maximum reach and engagement.

Ephemeral Content, Instagram

How to Succeed with Instagram Stories

If Snapchat is the network that started the ephemeral content trend, Instagram is the one that perfected it – Instagram stories has more daily users than Snapchat! Companies that do it well make creating a great Instagram story look easy, but it’s harder than it looks. Here are a few tips to help you succeed with your own Instagram stories.

Keep it polished

Even though Instagram stories lift their functionality directly from Snapchat, the two platforms require different strategies. Where Snapchat is perfectly fine with more raw, candid content, Instagram requires a certain level of polish. Don’t be afraid to give people a look into the daily workings of your business, but keep it professional.

Avoid too many hashtags

While putting a block of hashtags at the end of a normal Instagram post isn’t bad, putting too many hashtags in your story just clutters it. At most, choose one hashtag.

Use hashtags and locations

Even though you shouldn’t cram your story full of hashtags, it’s still a good idea to use one and/or include a location! This will get your story more exposure, since it will show up in searches for that tag or location (and could possibly be put in a “featured in this location” story collection for the tagged location).

Share interesting content

This is somewhat obvious, but make sure the content you share in your story is interesting. Chances are nobody cares about the new conference table at the office, but they might find it interesting to know that the C-suite executives all have walking desks. A good litmus test: “If one of the brands I follow posted this, would I be interested?”

Get creative

Good Instagram stories require creativity! The goal is for it to be engaging to your audience, and that requires some creative thinking. The most interesting thing in the world can still be not engaging if it’s presented uncreatively. If you’re not a creative person, it might be worth talking to a creative person about it – if nothing else, look at other brands’ Instagram stories and see what techniques of theirs you can imitate.

Instagram

How to Use Instagram Stories

If you haven’t done anything with Instagram Stories yet, it can seem overwhelming. There’s a lot of features that you can use, but it’s not always intuitive to use them, and seeing other people or companies’ professional-looking stories can be intimidating. So in this post, I’m going to walk you through creating an Instagram story and the tools you can use to make it great.

Let’s get started!

When you open the Instagram app, there are two ways to post a story.

The first is by clicking the camera icon in the top left corner. The second is by clicking on your profile picture labeled “You.” Both will lead you to the same screen where you can create your story.

On that screen, you have multiple options. At the top, you have the gear icon which will let you change the settings (the defaults are usually fine) and an arrow that will take you back to the previous screen. On the bottom left, there is a square Camera Roll button, which will let you post a picture you’ve taken in the last 24 hours to your Instagram story. Next to that is the lightning bolt button that toggles camera flash on and off, the large white record/take picture button, the arrows that switch to front-facing camera and back, and the face icon, which can apply filters to your face.

At the very bottom are options for the type of story you want to create:

  • Type: Text on a background
  • Live: A live video
  • Normal: A standard picture
  • Boomerang: A short video that plays forward and then in reverse
  • Superzoom: A video that zooms in while recording
  • Rewind: A video that plays in reverse
  • Hands-free: A video that doesn’t require you to press and hold the record button, just tap to start and stop

Once you take your picture or video, you get the modification options.

In the top left corner is the X to cancel and go back to the picture-taking screen. On the right, there is a small square face icon, which will let you add features like a location, hashtags, the time or day of the week, and various stickers and emojis. The pen icon will let you doodle on the image, and the Aa icon will let you add text.

Once you have it the way you want it, you can tap the “Send to” button to send it directly to someone, or tap the “Your Story” button to add it to your story.

And that’s it! You’ve just created a great Instagram story!

Picture of an iPhone on a white background with the Instagram logo on the screen
Instagram

A Quick Guide to Optimizing Your Instagram Profile

Getting your Instagram account right might not seem that hard – after all, you set up a lot of it when you signed up. But optimizing your Instagram profile actually takes some thought. It takes less than a second for people to form an impression of your account when they first encounter it, and you want that impression to be a good one.

Posting strategies are part of that, but that’s not what we’re going to talk about today. In this post, I’m going to go through four ways you can optimize your Instagram profile for maximum searchability and follower gain.

Get the right name

Obviously, you want your Instagram handle to be the same as your brand or company name. (For example, mine is @jalynelyconsulting.) But what happens if the handle you want is already taken? The best thing to do is add a small bit of extra information on the end (such as “inc,” “co,” or even “official”). Whatever you do, don’t add something to the beginning – you want your handle to start exactly the same way someone would type it into a search – that way Instagram’s auto search complete feature will suggest your account.

Besides your handle, you also have a name associated with your account. This displays prominently above all the other information in your profile. You have 30 characters to enter a name, which, again, should be the name of your brand or company. Sometimes you may have to shorten your name to fit within the character limit – I had to shorten “Social Media” to “SM,” for example.

Picture yourself

You want your Instagram profile photo to be representative of you. Usually your brand or company’s logo goes best here (as long as you make sure it’s optimized for Instagram’s circular display – you may have to shrink it or add white space around it to avoid getting corners cut off). If your brand is more a personal brand or a one-person operation, though, you may opt to use a professional picture of yourself. I emphasize the personal, one-on-one nature of my consulting, so I have a picture of me as my profile picture instead of a logo.

Optimize your bio

I could write a whole post on this. (I probably will later.) But for the basics: Instagram gives you 150 characters for a short bio, and you want to use this to tell potential followers a little bit about you and why they should follow you. This can be a short statement (such as “I help those new to social media marketing get the most out of it”) or a list of things you will post about (such as “social media advice | tips and tricks | social media strategy | growing your social impact”). You can also include your contact email or a brand hashtag (if you have one).

Putting keywords in your bio isn’t going to help your searchability at all (Instagram only considers your name and handle for searches), but a few well-placed keywords can tell your potential customers that this is an Instagram account they’d be interested in.

You get one link

The only clickable link you get in Instagram is in your bio. In general, you want to link this directly to where you want people to go, whether that’s your website homepage, your blog, or your shopping site. You can also change it frequently to feature new products or your most recent blog post. Since Instagram doesn’t allow links in posts, some people use the “link in bio” idea – write your post, put “Link in bio!” at the end, and then update your bio link to whatever it is you want to link to. Personally, I like to use bit.ly to shorten links so they don’t get cut off.