Instagram TV for Direct Selling

The latest disruptive social media platform that could be a powerful tool for direct selling companies and their field…

There are more than 1 billion active users on Instagram, making it the third-largest social media platform behind Facebook and YouTube. This summer, the social media titan launched Instagram TV (IGTV)—a formidable answer to YouTube, but with a few important disruptive twists. This new tool is also becoming a popular way for direct sellers to promote their business, build a following, and maintain their overall brand across all online platforms.

“Instagram TV is becoming a popular way for direct sellers to promote their business, build a following, and maintain their overall brand across all online platforms.”

There are two main features that set IGTV apart from other video platforms. First is the vertical video layout, which is a 9:16 ratio. This is probably the most disruptive and out-of-the-box characteristic, considering almost all other video platforms use a horizontal/landscape format. Why the vertical display? It’s how people naturally hold their phones and view their screens. Also, the vertical display illustrates the quick and almost documentary-style nature of IGTV.

Document in Real Time

The second main feature that makes IGTV unique is the short video length. Videos are 15 seconds to 10 minutes for regular accounts, and up to one hour for verified accounts. Because the videos are shorter, this encourages users to be genuine and document experiences in real time. There is less editing and promotion involved, creating a social platform that feels much more personal.

To get access to IGTV, simply update Instagram or download the separate IGTV app. If using the Instagram app, just tap the IGTV logo in the top-right area of the Instagram title bar. IGTV opens with four main sections to select: For You (videos selected based on your interests or channels you follow), Following (new videos from channels you follow), Popular (trending IGTV videos) Continue Watching (videos you started watching but haven’t finished).

Link Videos to Other Social Platforms

It takes just a few minutes to set up your own channel, which is linked to your Instagram account. You can then upload a video from your mobile device by tapping the plus (+) sign inside your channel. Give your video a title and brief description. You can also link videos to other social platforms such as Facebook. Videos can also be uploaded at And before you ask… no, IGTV does not currently have a recording feature within the app. And, as of this writing, there is no way to search for specific videos, but you can search for or browse channels.

Comments can be left on the videos, which is a great way for direct sellers to communicate with their followers. You also can combine your Instagram stories into IGTV “episodes.” IGTV allows you to leave links in the video description, which can help direct sellers increase exposure to their business or website. You can view insights for each video, including the views, comments, likes and audience retention. Video thumbnails can be added to give viewers an idea of what the video is about and to help direct sellers maintain their brand. Of course, the thumbnails are also a vertical/portrait display. Many IGTV users add text to their videos, which gives direct sellers another tool for educating and communicating to their followers.

Here are four effective ways direct sellers (both corporate and field) are using IGTV to grow their business.

1. Share the Direct Selling Culture

Because IGTV is geared more toward documenting instead of broadcasting, it’s a great way for direct sellers to showcase their company and business culture with videos of team parties, events or conventions. Everyone likes to have fun, be inspired, and feel like they’re part of something special. Direct sellers use IGTV to give watchers a peek into this atmosphere, piquing interest and showing how different the direct selling industry is compared to the traditional office job. The message is freedom, fun and camaraderie.

2. Show Results and Benefits

IGTV is a terrific tool for sharing with people the results and benefits of a product. This works great for the fitness and weight loss space. Nutrition supplements, meal-replacement shakes, vitamins, energy drinks, cleaning supplies, essential oils—no matter the product—what people truly want is the results the product provides.

“Savvy direct sellers are using this platform to tell stories that illustrate benefits they and others are experiencing.”

Savvy direct sellers are using this platform to tell stories that illustrate benefits they and others are experiencing. Many people using IGTV don’t even mention specific products, which raises curiosity and prompts watchers to ask questions or request more information. This takes any hard sell out of the equation. Instead, the focus is on providing value.

3. Teach and Educate

Even short videos can be an effective way to teach. This applies to industries such as fitness, beauty, cooking, clothing and several others. Makeup tutorials, workout techniques and cooking demonstrations all make interesting content that brings value and educates. Some leaders post new IGTV videos at the same time every week, creating regular “episodes” on their channel.

4. Communicate Value or Savings

Winning over people’s attention is paramount in marketing, and smart customers don’t want to feel like they are being sold to. So, being a source of value helps direct sellers create a loyal following on their IGTV channel that looks to them as a trusted authority. Communicating value fits with industries such as travel, group savings, energy and home services. Direct sellers who can articulate and explain how their products or services deliver value or savings use this platform to win over customers and potential business partners.

IGTV Facts to Know

  • Vertical, full-screen videos
  • Video Length (regular accounts): 15 seconds to 10 minutes
  • Video Length (large or verified accounts): Up to 60 minutes
  • File Size: up to 3.6 GB
  • File Type: .MP4
  • Video Size: 9:16
  • Video thumbnail/cover image: .JPG
  • Create your own IGTV channel (like YouTube)
  • Browsing Tabs: “For You,” “Following,” “Popular,” “Continue Watching”
  • Engagement: like or comment on videos, or send to friends
  • Watch on IGTV app or inside Instagram app
  • Can add “swipe up” action on videos
  • Upload videos through IGTV app, the website or Facebook Watch