Instagram Live is not a new feature, but it can be a new way for your brand to connect with your followers and increase your engagement. Live video content has gained significant popularity over the years, and is a great way to create more natural, "laid-back" content that many viewers enjoy. Find out how your brand can navigate this feature below.
Instagram Live is a popular choice among many celebrities and social media influencers to connect with supporters, but it can also be a great tool for brands to turn to as a way to better reach their target audience and generate increased engagement on the platform. While the Instagram Live feature has been around for some time, it can be a new experience to navigate; as with almost everything on social media, you want to be prepared and have a clear plan in place to help you achieve the results you want out of your live broadcast.
This article will outline why Instagram Lives are worth implementing, along with some ideas of what your live broadcast can feature and what to do afterward.
Why Instagram Live?
Some brands may question why they need to go live when there are other video options on the platform (i.e., Stories, Reels, or as feed posts). And while creating a range of videos in various formats on Instagram can be a great component of your social media strategy (we encourage it), the main factor that differentiates live video from the rest is the spontaneity aspect of it since it is happening in that very moment. Of course, an effective Instagram Live will have thought put into it, but it can appear to be very laid-back and natural to the viewer, which can add some personalization and authenticity to your brand that followers may not get to see otherwise.
A great thing about Instagram Live is that some of your followers will receive a notification on their phone when you go live, making your brand instantly top of mind. This can be particularly helpful with the changing algorithm on Instagram that can favour certain content over others. Your live broadcast will also jump to the front of the Story feed and include a ‘live’ caption so that it is clear what is happening – users will have an idea of what to expect, making those who join the broadcast, genuinely interested (at least for the most part) in your brand.
Live videos are extremely popular, as users collectively spent 482.5 billion hours on live streaming apps in 2020 globally. Instagram was the second-most popular platform for live streams among US users between 18-34 years old.
A significant reason why Instagram Live can be effective is that there are a lot of users on the platform. The latest stats indicate that approximately 18.1% of the world’s population uses Instagram. That’s almost 1.4 billion users! While we can’t say your brand will reach all your followers, there is a big pool of users you can reach, and live video adds something different to the typical posts and Stories, as it offers a more “inside look” into a brand that many users can appreciate.
What should your brand do on Instagram Live?
One of the first questions to answer is who is going to be the individual(s) representing your brand. Will it be the founder? The social media coordinator? Determine who will represent your brand best using a more natural approach (not too “salesy”), as it will help the live feel more authentic.
Now that you’ve got that down, it’s all about brainstorming. Find out what you want to first accomplish from your live broadcast; do you want to answer common customer questions? Push your newsletter? Provide insight into the products/services you offer? Or maybe you simply want to go with the flow, see who joins, and go from there. Even if your plan is to have no plan at all, it is always a good idea to go in with a clear picture of what you want to do in your live or you may risk the dreaded awkward silence, as you won’t have anything to steer the conversation.
Some popular ideas to focus your live broadcast on include:
- A behind-the-scenes look – This could look like a lot of things, depending on your brand. For instance, if your brand is a franchise, you could show viewers a look at HQ or visit one of your locations. Or maybe you own a bakery and can give a look at how your customers’ favourite items are made. The idea here is you want to give viewers a feeling that what they are watching is exclusive to the live.
- Answer common questions – If you find a lot of new and current customers ask the same questions on various platforms about your brand, a live broadcasting answering those can act as a great opportunity to provide more insight into your brand and help entice viewers to dig deeper and check out your website or the products/services you offer.
- You can allow your followers to ask questions via a questions sticker that you can add to your Instagram Story. Before your next live broadcast, post a Story outlining that you are going live to answer questions about your brand, and include that sticker for followers to add their questions. According to Instagram, you can then access those questions on a live and the question will appear on the screen for viewers to see as well.
- Invite guests – There’s no need for you to run the entire show. With a similar look and feel to FaceTime, you can add users in and have them appear on the screen during the live. The look and feel of this will be dependent on your brand, but you could include your co-founder, an anticipated special guest/influencer associated with your brand, or you could add one of the viewers of the broadcast. The latter can be a bit daunting, as you never truly know what could happen. However, follow your judgement, as adding in a current or prospective customer can be a great way to add greater personalization to the content you are sharing with viewers. Instagram Live rooms now allow you to have up to four people participating in the discussion.
- Share a product launch – If there’s a new product or service that your brand is about to offer, your Instagram Live can provide a “first look”, which makes it feel exclusive for the viewer. Plus, for those interested in your brand, this can be extremely engaging and interesting content for them, which will keep them watching.
- A demo – This will depend on your brand, but if there’s a way you can show off how a product works or what’s involved with a service, it can be a great tutorial that you can repurpose for later use (we will get to that next).
- A series – A great way to stay consistent with your lives is to follow a series. This could be weekly or monthly, but it can act as something to look forward to on a regular basis. For instance, if you are a nutrition brand, try Wellness Wednesdays where you share your top wellness tips with viewers. The ideas are endless.
Repurposing your Instagram Live
When your live broadcast is complete, Instagram provides the option for you to save it. Not every live you do may be reusable, but there can be moments from the broadcast you can use as future posts. If you find a live broadcast is particularly helpful or engaging, you can share the broadcast on your account, where it will live under your Video tab. Admins can also access a past live from Instagram’s Live Archive if you want to go back to a certain broadcast.
Repurposing your lives can be a great way to add some differentiation to your posts. You can either trim clips to add to your Instagram Story, embed it on your website/blog, or turn interesting tidbits from the live into written posts on other social platforms. You could also take clips from several live broadcasts and form a cohesive video that focuses on a specific topic. There are many options to repurpose a live, so be sure to utilize moments that you think will add to your brand identity or help entice your target audience to your brand.
Tips to consider when going live on Instagram
Your live will look different depending on your brand, your audience, and what you choose to focus on. However, there are some universal tips to consider.
First, try and make sure your live broadcast is of a higher quality. Now, we don’t mean state-of-the-art camera equipment, but you don’t want your video quality to be hard to view and disrupted, especially since 67% of livestream viewers note video quality as the most important factor when watching. Ensure you have quality internet connection and that you are using a device that has an accessible camera, as this will help make the live more enjoyable and it won’t be a pain for viewers to watch. You can also do a test run on a separate account to check before doing the real thing.
Next, aim to have your live broadcasts on the longer side. If you do a quick, fast-paced lives, you risk moving too quickly and not allowing those interested, the opportunity to join. Similarly, once you start the live, wait a few minutes rather than starting right away. Again, this will allow a greater opportunity for those who want to join the ability to do so.
While Instagram Lives thrive on being spontaneous, it is also not a bad idea to promote it beforehand. This gives some of your followers the chance to plan ahead, while still keeping it “in the moment” for those that didn’t see the promotion – it’s a safe bet either way. To promote, you can schedule a live broadcast directly on Instagram, which allows the option to share it as a post or on your Stories, and the date/time/title can also appear on your profile for any new visitors. Of course, promoting it on other platforms can be a great way to increase your reach as well. If it is a Q&A live or you will touch on a specific topic, be sure to include its title in your posts. That way, it is clear to those who see the promoted content what they can expect.
Lastly, have fun! This is not supposed to be highly technical, overly produced content. Viewers are looking to see your brand in a new, more in-depth way that remains natural. Showing more personality and exemplifying your brand voice in the live can help you maintain your overall brand identity.
Get ready for your next Instagram Live
Whether it’s your first time going live or you want to incorporate it more into your strategy, try out different ideas to see what sticks. For detailed steps on how to go live on the platform, check out Instagram’s Help Centre.