What's in this session?
- Create Mode: Simplified design (1:45)
- Donation sticker (4:56)
- Creator Profiles (7:55)
- The downsides of creator profiles (12:00)
- Instagram Stories Filters (13:37)
- Anti-Bullying Initiatives (14:32)
- Countdown (17:00)
- Remove followers (18:50)
- Close friends (19:15)
- Q&A IG Live (19:38)
- Line breaks (21:20)
- IGTV Previews (22:17)
- IGTV Horizontal Videos (25:40)
- Pro Church Tools GIFs (27:20)
Show notes and resources
- 7 Exciting Instagram Features Coming in 2019
- New Instagram Update
- Pro Church Tools
- Pro Church Tools on Facebook
- Pro Church Tools on YouTube
- Brady Shearer on Instagram
- Brady Shearer on Twitter
- Alex Mills on Instagram
Free Bonus: Click here to download The Perfect Church Homepage Infographic – a complete visual breakdown of the essential elements that every church website homepage needs
Brady Shearer: There are a ton of new Instagram features that are coming later this year, along with many that have already been released. Do you know all of them? Do you know how to use them to help your church? By the end of this episode of Pro Church Tools, you will, as we’ll cover 13 of the newest and most exciting changes to Instagram in 2019.
Alex Mills: Well, hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Tools. This is the show to help you share the message of Jesus while we try and navigate the biggest communication shift in 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills, joined as always by Brady Shearer.
Brady Shearer: Instagram. It’s your favorite platform, Alex.
Alex Mills: My favorite platform, and I tell people all the time, we talk about building brands, and building things to last, because Instagram exists today but might not exist tomorrow, and so I always tell people, like, “Yeah, I’m planning for when Instagram doesn’t exist.” But truth be told, I’m not sure what I’m going to do when Instagram doesn’t exist, because for me as a photographer, it is, as far as I’m concerned, the perfect platform.
Brady Shearer: For you, the thought of not being able to do it for the gram…
Alex Mills: I don’t know what I’m going to do.
Brady Shearer: It’s destabilizing for you.
Alex Mills: Yeah.
Brady Shearer: There are so many new things coming to Instagram this year, things that have already been released. I always think that Instagram is the most innovative, and it’s the platform that’s always pushing the limits the most. Facebook to me feels, even with the algorithm changes, it’s like this old person that just doesn’t want to change, like, “This is the way we’ve always done it.” Twitter is like, “Look, we’re for the weirdos,” which is why I love it so much, whereas Instagram, they’re always trying to change things, but they’re always at the top of their game.
And so it’s sometimes difficult to keep up, but that’s what this episode is for, so let’s first talk about the things that are coming soon to Instagram. These haven’t been released as of yet, as of this recording in June of 2019, but reportedly, Instagram says that they are coming soon. The first is a simplified Instagram Stories interface. We talk at length about Instagram Stories and how it’s the best free app to create social media content.
Alex Mills: So powerful.
Brady Shearer: It has so many different features. You can create gifs, you can do hyperlapses, you can go hands-free, you can go live, you can do text, you can do AR. One of the problems, though, that has come with all of these features has been a little bit of a complex, cluttered user interface, and so Instagram has recognized this, and they’re consolidating the Instagram Stories platform into basically three tabs, and those three tabs are going to be Live, Camera, and Create. Now, Live is pretty self-explanatory, that’s for going live. The Camera tab will have the features that currently exist such as Boomerang, Rewind, Hands-Free, Superzoom, and then the Create tab will give you the features that exist currently like stickers, gifs, text, et cetera.
Alex Mills: So it’s like folders, basically.
Brady Shearer: Yeah, it’s basically like you have all of your items on the desktop, and there are too many, so we need to create a couple of folders, and then we’ll just drag and drop all of these ones into folder A, these ones into folder B, and these ones into folder C, and now we can see the beautiful desktop wallpaper, Catalina.
Alex Mills: Yes, nice. The Instagram Stories module is so robust, there are so many things that you can do, so many ways that you can create with it. And it’s crazy to me because I’m on Instagram all the time for work in different areas, but I’m always seeing somebody do something on Stories and be like, “I didn’t know you could do that. How did I miss that?” It seems like there’s always a new feature buried in there that I just didn’t know was there, so I think that this will be helpful to kind of streamline it, especially for people who are just getting familiar with Instagram, like a lot of churches are just starting to get familiar with Instagram now.
Brady Shearer: Now that you’ve said that, this isn’t in our notes, but this was a pro tip that you shared with me the other day, the ability to make Instagram Stories text rainbow colored.
Alex Mills: Yeah, this is kind of impossible to articulate without visual assistance, but if you want to do something that not a lot of people know how to do, to make your text on Instagram rainbow color, you’re going to make some text, so write out, like, “Hey, this is Brady from Pro Church Tools.” Select it, like highlight it and select it. Go down into your color picker, click on the little eyedropper, so now you have the full spectrum of colors, and then this is… It takes some dexterity, so if you’re watching, you’re going to see what I’m doing. You take your thumbs, and as you drag the colors along, you drag the opposite way with the select tool, so it’s like each letter is getting selected as a different color. You’ve got a rainbow. So, functionally, it serves you in no way, but it’s a very advanced tip.
Brady Shearer: This is one of those Easter eggs that developers lead in. Like, they could have just made rainbow color a feature.
Alex Mills: Yes, exactly.
Brady Shearer: But instead, they were like, “Someone is accidentally going to stumble upon this, and then it’s going to be like the In-N-Out secret menu, where they write a blog post about it, and… Could I make this easier? Yes, but should I? No, because it’ll be more fun this way.”
Alex Mills: And now you know.
Brady Shearer: If you really want to learn how to do that and you weren’t able to kind of extrapolate-
Alex Mills: Good luck.
Brady Shearer: … these skills from Alex’s amazing visual tutorial, you can find that online certainly. Another thing that’s coming soon to Instagram, and this is certainly notable for churches, is a donation sticker, where you as the creator can just put directly into Instagram Stories, “Donate to my cause,” and people on the Instagram platform can do that directly. Something that’s especially cool as well is that, similar to Facebook, which also allows this feature, Instagram will cover 100% of the credit card and processing fees if you are a nonprofit officially registered as a 501(c), and you’re approved by Facebook.
Alex Mills: Right.
Brady Shearer: So, credit card fees, as we’ve spoken at length about in episodes about church giving, are an incredibly profitable thing for people that accept online donations, but they’re also really troubling for churches, because they’re usually 2% to 4%, and that gets taken off of every single gift. Facebook obviously, as like the second-largest company that’s ever existed of all time, that’s a guess, I don’t know if it’s true or not, they have the infrastructure where they can absorb those fees, because you being on the platform longer will be worth it for them covering those fees. But of course, they can’t just do that for everybody, so you do need to be approved by Facebook and a 501(c), which I believe is a America-specific registered thingy, so it’s probably American only.
Alex Mills: Yeah. Yeah, this has been live on Facebook for a while, maybe a few months you’ve been able to use this donation feature on Facebook, so it’ll be interesting to see when they do roll it out with Instagram, first, what countries it’s going to be available for, and then second, depending on those countries, what the eligibility requirements are for tax-exempt charities. So, it will be interesting to see the logistics of it all, but I think, like you mentioned, this is going to be a great opportunity for churches. You know that the attention is there on Instagram, it’s there on Facebook, and so you could post about a mission trip that you’re doing, or a building fund or whatever, and in a couple taps where people already are, they’re going to have the opportunity to give to your church. So I think this is going to be really, really cool for churches.
Brady Shearer: Yeah. I’m not actually sure if I would recommend churches use it, just logistically, because you have your giving platform, and it’s on your website, let’s say, and you have your list of people that are giving there, and they have things that are already set up, and then someone gives through Instagram, you know, you’re not going to have any of the features that a normal giving platform would have, like funds, and then how does that work with receipts, and how does it work for tax deduction at the end of the year?
Alex Mills: Right, like end of year statements, yeah.
Brady Shearer: Yeah, like it just might become complicated using more than one platform for that. Again, we don’t know too much about what that would look like, so perhaps it’s perfect, and it might work within your workflow. But if you’re asking, like, “Wouldn’t it be better for people to give on social rather than on your website?” No, no, that definitely wouldn’t be better. It could be supplementary, but even with that comes its own challenges that you just need to think through.
Alex Mills: Yeah.
Brady Shearer: Not saying you shouldn’t do it, but I don’t know if I would recommend it. Something else that’s coming, new, soon, is creator profiles on Instagram. We already have business profiles, and business profiles on Instagram, everyone should have one, even if you’re not a business, because that’s really just a term that means, do you want a good Instagram, like a professional one, or just a basic personal profile? Because the business profile gives you access to a ton of analytics that you wouldn’t get otherwise. It is brilliant. But a creator profile is actually going to be different from a business profile, and here are the key distinctions that you need to know, some pros and some cons.
Let’s talk about the things that are really interesting pertaining to creator profiles. You will get access to the IG Creator Studio, which is an app available on desktop, which we know for Instagram is almost nonexistent, and it’ll give you a ton of analytics pertaining to your account, engagement stats, when your audience is online, demographic info. You’ll also be able to see who follows you and unfollows you.
Alex Mills: Oh, so you don’t need that sketchy third-party app to see who’s unfollowing you now?
Brady Shearer: Yeah, yeah, exactly. That’ll be able to be done natively. You’ll also get more DM filtering options.
Alex Mills: That one’s huge.
Brady Shearer: This is huge, because even for us, and we’re not huge Instagram influencers with Pro Church Tools by any means, we get hundreds of DMs. And we get hundreds of messages to our company all the time, and they go to our emails, which we then use third-party applications like Intercom or Help Scout to filter those emails, to assign them to who they need to go to, to make sure that nothing gets overlooked or slips through the cracks. Instagram is not like that.
Alex Mills: Yeah. No, it’s just a… It’s a mess, yeah.
Brady Shearer: I have to go through all of them, and sometimes it’s really hard to respond, because I get a long DM, and then it’s so long that it goes beyond the character restriction of a single DM, so someone has to break it up into two or three, and then they apologize for writing so long, but it seemed like the best way to get in touch with me, because it probably is, but it’s just not easy to respond to. So, this new creator profile will ideally give tools to Instagram folk that have a ton of DMs that will allow them to better filter, allow to realize, “Okay, is it from a brand, is it from a friend? When did this come in?” Sort by timeliness.
You know, sometimes I get a really long message… This happens a lot. I’ll get a really long message, and I’ll want to respond, but I can’t respond in a sentence, so I leave it, and then I see that I have a DM, but it doesn’t show up for me. I’m just swiping down, trying to find it, it’s from a long time ago. Filtering options like that are coming soon to creator profiles, which is very good.
Alex Mills: Yeah, there was a rumor a few months ago about if your Instagram account was linked with a Facebook page, you were going to be able to manage your Instagram DMs through your Facebook inbox, and I did see some people online get access to that. It wasn’t officially rolled out to everyone; you didn’t get it, I didn’t get it. And so, I’m not sure if that’s being replaced with this. It’ll be nice to see the DM section treated more, like you mentioned, like an email inbox, because that’s how a lot of churches, businesses, creators are using it. And I find myself actually now, because I get really tired of typing with my thumbs, I will actually, if I’m on my computer, type out a DM response-
Brady Shearer: Oh my.
Alex Mills: … in TextEdit, and then copy it to my universal clipboard and paste it, because I’m in the DMs all the time, but I do not have time to type with my thumbs. So I’m typing on my computer, copying, pasting it, and so to see that workflow optimized for small creators like me, all the way to big businesses or churches, is going to be very helpful. Now, it should be noted, this creator profile… So, business profile is available to anyone right now. There’s no requirements to have a business profile, really. A creator profile, it is being rumored, may be treated similar to how the swipe-up feature is. You may need a minimum amount of followers. Who knows what that’s going to be; I think it’s a safe assumption it’s going to be 10,000, similar to that swipe-up feature. So this creator profile is going to be reserved, at least at the beginning, for-
Brady Shearer: Well, it’s rumored to be.
Alex Mills: Rumored. Could be reserved for creators who have that minimum requirement following, so we’ll see. Like you said, those are all rumors for now, but this stuff is coming this year, so it’s impending.
Brady Shearer: And that’s not the only trade-off, because another trade-off with the creator profile is that creator profiles won’t have access to the Instagram API, which means if you’re using a third-party scheduling platform like Buffer-
Alex Mills: Or like Later. See you later, Later.
Brady Shearer: That’s exactly right. You will not now, if you’re using a creator profile, be able to schedule from Later or Buffer to post on Instagram, and you won’t be able to, in fact, use any third-party application that connects to your Instagram profile, whether it be for analytics, for scheduling, whatever it might be, because creator profiles will not have access to the Instagram API.
And perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, why are they doing this?” My best guess is that Instagram wants to leverage its influencers to be even more invested into the Instagram platform as it is. Instagram’s probably thinking, “We have these massive, massive profiles that are doing great, great engagement on Instagram, and we’re not even giving these creators the tools that they need, so they’re having to resort to these sketchy third-party platforms,” who are not so sketchy in the case of Later or Buffer, “and we want them to be using only Instagram, because they’re doing all of these posts for the people they’re influencing, who want to be like them, and they’re telling them, ‘Don’t use Instagram for this because they won’t let you. Go use this app, and this third-party app.'” And they’re like, “Why don’t we just give them the tools they need, and then they can influence their people, and then their influencers, -ees, will use Instagram more as well?”
Alex Mills: Right, and they haven’t spoken about it, but maybe this is a clue that a native scheduling tool could be incoming. Maybe Instagram is working on some features that these third-party schedulers have, to bring that native to Instagram for creators. They haven’t spoken about that, that’s just my hypothesis, but maybe that’s where we’re headed.
Brady Shearer: Something else coming soon, Instagram Stories filters. These kind of remind me of SnapChat filters that we saw churches beginning to leverage and use. Now, those were geographic-based, so if you were running a big youth event, maybe you do… Or like VBS is coming up, let’s say you got a big VBS. You create a SnapChat VBS filter, and then anyone who’s in that vicinity, when they’re looking for a SnapChat filter, sees your VBS filter.
Alex Mills: Right.
Brady Shearer: This is a bit different, similar, though, to SnapChat filters. These are AR-based, so you can create these for your church, but you will be only able to access them not if you’re in a geographic location, but if you follow that specific account. So, if your church creates an Instagram Stories filter that’s custom for VBS, if you follow that church on Instagram, you will automatically get access to that filter, whether you are within a mile of that church or a hundred miles.
Alex Mills: So it’s for your community, yeah. Awesome.
Brady Shearer: Exactly. So, that’s cool. AR filters might sound difficult; they’re not as hard to make as you might think. And then finally, rumored things coming soon, anti-bullying initiatives. Now, some of these features “may never see the light of day,” according to Instagram, but the first feature that they’re talking about is what they’re calling Away Mode, which basically allows you to opt out of Instagram, maybe during a turbulent time in your life, like there’s been a big bullying thing at school, you’re going through a breakup, you’re moving. What do we see young adults and teenagers normally do? “Oh, I’m just getting off of Instagram, I’m deleting my Instagram.”
Alex Mills: Right.
Brady Shearer: This is kind of… They’re seeing that behavior being very commonplace, so again, Instagram’s saying, “Why are we forcing people to do… We just need to make this easier for them. We’ll create an Away Mode that allows them to take a break.” Another anti-bullying initiative that they’re talking about is when someone goes to make a negative comment, Instagram-
Alex Mills: So, when I’m on your profile and say, “Brady, what’s with that wack hair?”
Brady Shearer: Exactly.
Alex Mills: Before I click send.
Brady Shearer: Instagram will nudge you and say, “Do you really want to be mean to your friend Brady again?” And then you will say, “Ignore. Post.”
Alex Mills: This one’s super interesting.
Brady Shearer: There’s no way this becomes… If I had to guess, there’s no way this becomes an actual feature. You know, we already don’t like it, or at least I always think it’s weird when I send an email and I’m composing in Gmail, and it’s guessing what I’m going to write next.
Alex Mills: Right, yeah.
Brady Shearer: Though there are some helpful features; sometimes you’ll send an email, and then Gmail will be like, “You used the word ‘attachment’ in your email, and there’s nothing attached. Did you forget?” And I’m like, “Yes, I forgot, jerk, but thanks.”
Alex Mills: Yeah. Yeah, “Thank you.” Yes.
Brady Shearer: “Okay, I am thankful, but you didn’t need to rub it in my face like that.” Like, we don’t like it when, basically, faceless brands are trying to police our behavior, so I highly doubt this ever becomes a feature. I also don’t think it would be that helpful.
Alex Mills: Right, especially if you have the opportunity to opt out.
Brady Shearer: A bully’s like, “You know what? Dang, Instagram’s right.”
Alex Mills: Yeah. There needs to be an opportunity, like a Sinner’s Prayer opportunity as well, like it’s a total come-to-Jesus moment.
Brady Shearer: Yeah, like there’s this nudge, “Do you really want to be a jerk?”
Alex Mills: “No, I don’t.”
Brady Shearer: And people are like, “You know what? You know what, I will delete comment.”
Alex Mills: “Let me tell you about my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Brady Shearer: Follow-up, “And would you also like to commit your life to Christ today?”
Alex Mills: Yeah. “Here are some local churches near you.” This is great. This is working for churches.
Brady Shearer: Programmatic salvation opportunities, let’s go. So those are all the things that are potentially coming soon, including salvation, programmatic opportunities.
Alex Mills: There’s some new ones live, right now, today.
Brady Shearer: Not about salvation.
Alex Mills: Not about salvation.
Brady Shearer: Let’s talk about the very first one on the list, which is an Instagram Stories countdown sticker.
Alex Mills: Yeah, this is one of those features that I didn’t know was a thing, and I was just… You know, like you swipe up on the story to post a gif, and it’s like, “Oh, there’s a new feature here. I didn’t know about that.” This one’s called the countdown, which is really cool. So, a lot of personal profiles are using this to be like, “Countdown to my trip to Cancun,” or whatever, and so it’s just like a countdown you put in-
Brady Shearer: Everyone Alex follows just goes to spring break, that’s all it is.
Alex Mills: So it’s just like, “Okay, I don’t care when you’re going to Cancun.” But for churches, this is awesome, because if you’re having-
Brady Shearer: As an aside, your wife used this sticker when we went to Spain last week.
Alex Mills: Yeah, and she did not ask if I thought it was a good idea. Anyways, follow my wife. But for churches, this works great, so for your Sunday service, for a special service, you can put a countdown that says, “Hey, church is in 12 hours, see you there.” But it doesn’t end there. If somebody clicks on that countdown, they’re going to get a reminder from Instagram when that event is happening, so if… You can use it for a Sunday service, or to be fun, I wouldn’t recommend doing it every Saturday, but you could definitely do it for sure. But if you were hosting, let’s say, a live event on Instagram, and Alex Wilson does a great job of this, you should follow him on Instagram, he’s a social media preacher. If he’s hosting a live video, he’ll say, “Hey, I’m answering your questions at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow night.” He puts a countdown, so I can tap on that, and I’m going to get a reminder, tomorrow at 8:00 p.m., because if I’m-
Brady Shearer: So you won’t miss it, because… Yeah, you’re not going to-
Alex Mills: Right. I’m not going to be looking at the clock, “It’s 8:00 p.m., I got to look at Alex’s account.” Instagram’s going to remind me, which is awesome, so this is… This feature works really well for churches, whether you’re promoting a live event on Instagram, cross-promoting a live event on Facebook, a special service, a youth event, you could use this. It’s super versatile, and that reminder feature is amazing.
Brady Shearer: You can also now remove followers on Instagram.
Alex Mills: Right.
Brady Shearer: This is especially helpful if you have someone following your church’s account who’s always, like, just being a troll. You can remove them. They won’t know that they’ve been removed by you, but suddenly, they won’t see your posts anymore, which will likely remove-
Alex Mills: You see how dedicated of a troll they really are.
Brady Shearer: That’s true.
Alex Mills: They come back for you again.
Brady Shearer: Inversely, conversely to that, you can also now create a list of close friends on Instagram, and so I have a list of close friends who… You know, my Instagram’s close to 20,000 now, so maybe I don’t want to always share every single thing on my stories, but maybe there’s something great going on with my kid or my personal life that maybe, you know, the whole Pro Church world doesn’t need to know about, but I want to share with just my close friends. You can now do that on Instagram Stories as well.
Alex Mills: Yeah.
Brady Shearer: And going back to… You talked about Instagram Live. You can now do Instagram Live Q&As with tools that are specifically made for questions and answers, it seems.
Alex Mills: Yeah, absolutely. So, there’s a question sticker on the Instagram Stories where you can post a question sticker, somebody fills in an answer to the question you’ve asked, or vice versa, and you’re going to get that in your Instagram Stories Insights, and then you can post that answer. Now, they’ve brought a similar feature over to Instagram Live, which is awesome because when I’ve gone on Instagram Live, or… I think this is one of the best ways to use Instagram Live, is a question-and-answer period. That’s how you can kind of generate some really good engagement, that’s how you can keep people there for the entirety of your live video. This is a great opportunity for your pastors do to, like, “Ask Pastor Brett about XYZ today.”
If somebody asks a question on your live video, it’s going to pop up as that familiar question sticker, so all the people who are watching can see it, and you can see it, and therefore you can answer that question while it’s posted on the screen, and then when you’re done with it, swipe to the next one, so it’s just… It’s a cool way to kind of visualize the question that you may be answering, especially if somebody jumps into your live stream in the middle of an answer, they may not have context for what you’re talking about.
Brady Shearer: Oh, yeah.
Alex Mills: So if that sticker is there that says, “Question: What does the Bible say about Noah’s Ark?” It’s like, “Oh.”
Brady Shearer: It’s just like anything on regular TV, like you go to see a sports highlight, and it shows you on the bottom, like, “Here’s the things we’re talking about” on the ticker, and that provides context if you come in halfway through. I hadn’t thought about that.
Alex Mills: Yeah, so it helps to add context, and like I said, that question-and-answer model for Instagram Live is a great way to generate engagement and keep people there for the duration of your video.
Brady Shearer: Something that I’ve been clamoring for a long time that’s finally here is the ability to put in line breaks within your Instagram caption without resorting to ridiculous tactics such as underscores and three periods in a row.
Alex Mills: Right.
Brady Shearer: You can use a tool like Pretty Caption, but I’ve been scheduling Instagram posts from Buffer, and if I compose within the Buffer editor and just put in the line break, it automatically works on Instagram. I’ve tried it on Instagram, and just line breaks exist now. Thank you, Instagram, for making long captions scannable.
Alex Mills: This is one of those things where it’s like, why wasn’t this a thing? And then now that it is a thing, I’ve been watching some videos on people reacting to these changes, and they’re like, “You know, I think the periods between lines are just like… they’re really nice, and I think they just… they suit the Instagram platform well, so I’m going to keep them.”
Brady Shearer: What?
Alex Mills: You’re like, “No, you just need to start using line breaks.” So thanks, Instagram, for line breaks. We shouldn’t have had to wait this long, but we did.
Brady Shearer: IGTV came out last year sometime. It hasn’t quite taken off the way Instagram probably hoped. They’ve made this new feature, when you upload a video to IGTV, there’s this little checkbox that you can select that says, “Post a preview to your feed.” And it has been something that we’ve been experimenting with, and has been doing so well.
Alex Mills: Oh, it’s amazing.
Brady Shearer: We posted a video to IGTV last year as a test, you know, it was fine, but we didn’t keep creating them. But when we saw this feature being used, we were like, “Oh, this is great.” I was watching this video, and then after a minute in my feed, it said, “Do you want to continue watching on IGTV?” and I was like, “Oh, this is a good way to get me to IGTV.”
Alex Mills: “Yes, I do.” Yeah.
Brady Shearer: So we’ve been taking these episodes, kind of redesigning them for IGTV, but putting them on IGTV where the first minute we post to our Instagram feed, and they’ve been getting more views than the regular videos we post on our feeds, one, because I think that IG in general is like, “Yay, you’re using IGTV, we’re going to reward you,” but also because once people are engaged in a video, they just want to keep watching, which is also great. The only thing you should know is that you only get one chance to post the IGTV preview in your feed, and that’s when you’re uploading it. So, you also need to be mindful, “Okay, this is going to happen right now,” and you can’t schedule it, you can only do it, I think, through instagram.com, or through the app.
And then the other thing is, the title of your IGTV video becomes the caption of the IG preview in the feed, so you don’t want to have a caption that’s like a paragraph long, because that’ll be the title of your IGTV video.
Alex Mills: Yeah.
Brady Shearer: So those are kind of the restrictions that you need to work within, but we’ve done two videos at the time of this recording that were made in this way, and we’re going to be doing more in the future, and they’ve been doing well, so it’s great.
Alex Mills: I didn’t start posting to IGTV until this feature was live, because IGTV was just not performing well. I never interacted with it personally, so I thought, “Why are my followers going to interact with it?” But it wasn’t until I was on the Explore page and scrolling through Explore, and they started incorporating IGTVs into Explore page, that’s when I started watching them, and I thought, “If they could get these videos into my feed, I would interact with this all the time.” And so, sure enough, this happens, now I’m posting to IGTV, and it’s been an awesome source of engagement. You can actually upload an independent cover image, so if you’re someone like me who’s pretty particular about what your grid looks like, it doesn’t have to be a screenshot from the video, it could be a cover image that matches the aesthetic of your grid, so it’s very, very cool.
Now, when IGTV first came out, we talked about how we were going to use it for Pro Church Tools, and we talked about maybe using it for repurposing this content for IGTV, but the problem is, this content is native to YouTube, it’s filmed in 16×9, and IGTV was 4×3… Or 4×5, portrait orientation. And so, we couldn’t crop it in a way that really made sense.
Brady Shearer: Was it portrait, or was it 9×16? I thought it was, like, complete vertical.
Alex Mills: I think it was portrait, I think it was 4×5.
Brady Shearer: Oh, okay, okay.
Alex Mills: And so we couldn’t figure out a way… Well, no, now it’s 4×5 on the preview, but it is 9×16 vertical, so-
Brady Shearer: Whatever it is, it was horizontal versus vertical.
Alex Mills: Yeah. Yes, exactly, and so we couldn’t figure out a way to repurpose this content for that orientation, so we decided not to post.
Brady Shearer: Yes, correct.
Alex Mills: But now you can post to IGTV in a native horizontal orientation, so you can hold your phone sideways, 16×9, so this format right here, and interact with it natively, so it doesn’t feel like this doesn’t belong here, it doesn’t feel wrong.
Brady Shearer: Right.
Alex Mills: They’ve kind of adapted, and this is so great for channels like us, for churches who are already producing YouTube content that is native for widescreen landscape orientation. Now you can cross-post, you can repurpose that content for a different audience, and post that content natively to IGTV horizontally. This is huge. I’m really interested to see how people are going to start using this, and how that horizontal orientation is going to feel on the phone, because Instagram has always been vertical, always been vertical, and now it’s not. So the way we interact with it may change, but I think this is going to benefit people who are already creating content for other platforms.
Brady Shearer: Think there’s also a helpful takeaway here, that Instagram releases this new feature, it doesn’t go well, and the key here is to never give up, and you can keep optimizing, and you can keep tweaking, and then eventually you can find something that works. And if you have to compromise your moral standing-
Alex Mills: Mm-hmm (affirmative), do it.
Brady Shearer: … Instagram said, “We’re only going to do vertical,” and then everyone was like, “Peer pressure,” and then they gave in. If you have to give in morally, that’s okay too. Whatever it takes to get to the finish line-
Alex Mills: There you go.
Brady Shearer: … to acquire your pre-made goal, whether that be… Whatever, just all the bad things you have to do, it’s okay. That’s the big takeaway.
Alex Mills: It’s the moral of this episode, yeah.
Brady Shearer: The final thing that is coming to Instagram, it’s already here, is Pro Church Tools gifs. That’s right, you can now search for Brady Shearer or search for Pro Church Tools in your Instagram Stories UI, just lick that little gif. You know when you’re adding a gif to your stories? Well now, you can get my ridiculous-looking face. I’m laughing, I’m shaking my head in disappointment. There are stickers that say “Seize the 167,” stickers that say “Pro Church Nation.” Whatever it might be, integrate those into your Instagram stories.
Alex Mills: And if you search for Alex Mills, I cannot confirm what your search results are going to be, because I do not have gifs there.
Brady Shearer: Yet.
Alex Mills: So don’t look for my name, look for his.
Brady Shearer: That’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Tools. We’ll see you next time.