Business + Marketing

Video Marketing Tips to Drive Traffic Through Instagram Stories and IGTV

May 15, 2019

By Greg Scoblete

We all know Instagram is a popular platform for photographers who are looking to grow their brand and extend their influence, but it also lags Facebook’s proven ability to drive visitors back to a webpage of your choosing. Instagram has taken some modest steps to address this issue—at least for business account holders. 

For one, those paying for a business account on Instagram can include a link in their bio, and business accounts with over 10,000 followers can enable a “swipe-up-to-link” function in their Instagram Stories that will drive visitors to any link you embed in a Story.

Instagram business accounts that don’t have 10,000 followers can still drive traffic back to their own websites, says Anesha Collins of Unashamed Imaging in Orlando, Florida. The secret: Instagram TV, known as IGTV.

Anyone can post links in IGTV content, regardless of their follower count. Collins, who had almost 5,200 followers at press time, capitalizes on this feature by using Stories to link to IGTV videos, which in turn have links to her website.

This approach has helped her convert $16,000 in client sales (and counting) by pumping visitors back to her website. And it’s all done without running paid ads on the platform. “Video marketing is a more organic way to grow,” Collins observes.

Here are her tips for successfully leveraging the Stories-to-IGTV pipeline.

1. Not Just Any Story or IGTV Video Will Do

An organic video marketing strategy on IGTV lives and dies by strong content, Collins says. “You have to have opt-in content that your followers want and that’s super relevant for your audience.”  

In practice, that means you have to be confident that the Story and the IGTV video it links to will be compelling enough to push visitors through the two-step process of swiping up and then clicking through the IGTV link to your website. 

Collins says a popular video for her account has been a wedding checklist to help her brides stay organized as the wedding day approaches. “A lot of my brides are doctors and they love checklists,” she says. “Roundups and other list-oriented videos are also popular, as are videos that show off my albums.”

An effective way to generate video ideas for IGTV is to simply stay engaged with your followers and build videos that answer any questions they ask, she adds. This way, you know there’s a built-in audience that the content is addressing. 

2. Focus on Consistent and Customized Branding

While Stories and IGTV are two different formats, the branding and style of the content needs to be harmonious, Collins says. One way to effectively keep your videos on brand is to work with a template. While there are several off-the-shelf video templates you can buy or download for Instagram Stories and IGTV, Collins says she’s a believer in being as customized as possible. That means building your own templates to differentiate your videos. 

3. Record Once, Roll Out Slowly

IGTV doesn’t require the kind of clockwork posting consistency that many vloggers adhere to on YouTube, Collins says, but it still helps to keep a steady flow of IGTV videos on your channel. To make her life easier, she’ll script and record multiple videos in a single day, creating about a month’s worth of video content in one sitting. This way, she has a bankroll of video content that can be rolled out on a consistent schedule without having to scramble every week. Collins also advises keeping your videos exclusive to IGTV and not cross-posting them to YouTube.

Collins says she’s still experimenting with posting times and frequencies on IGTV but sees putting up a new video every week as being effective so far. Instagram does provide a rich set of analytics for business accounts, allowing you to measure activity on your content to optimize your posting schedule.  

4. Post, Then Engage 

“People get discouraged by low follower counts, but even 1,000 people can still be nurtured,” Collins says. Rather than worry about sheer numbers, Collins says that the focus should be on engagement: Are people commenting, clicking, liking and interacting with your content? 

To help juice her engagement, Collins says she’ll monitor a post for the first 15-20 minutes it’s live. If there’s not a lot of activity on it, she’ll hop off, but if people are commenting or asking questions, she’ll respond and engage. “I think that’s Instagram’s soft spot,” she says. “There’s so much content online, so if they see initial activity and see users engaging,” the company’s opaque algorithm seems inclined to push that post higher into more and more feeds. 

With so many users finding organic growth on social media harder to come by, Collins says that video marketing has proven to be a useful tool for both a more engaged following and for driving visitors to her site. “We’re in a time where you have to think outside of the box.” 

IGTV at a Glance

While still in its infancy, Instagram has said it hopes to make IGTV into a full-blown competitor to YouTube, so it makes sense to watch this space. Here’s a quick rundown of IGTV’s major features:

IGTV videos are available in the Instagram app or via a separate IGTV app.

Videos need to be recorded vertically, not in the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio. 

Videos are capped at 10 minutes in length (or up to one hour for verified accounts). 

You can upload videos from a desktop browser.

Unlike YouTube, creators can’t monetize their IGTV videos (at least not yet) and there are no ads on the platform.

IGTV really does live up to the “TV” moniker—content is arranged in channels and videos autoplay as you browse.

Related: How Wedding Photographers Get Followers and Clients on Instagram in 2019

8 Common Branding Pitfalls for Wedding and Portrait Photographers

How to Protect Your Photos on Social Media