From the first #stayathome post to three months in the future, Instagram, and social media, in general, have seen a massive increase in user activity during the Coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. And that’s a fact.
From the first new Google search on What is Coronavirus, to hearing a toddler stating the exact definition of Coronavirus, we’ve been through many phases.
While becoming more aware of the blessings we used to take for granted, we are also becoming more aware of the threats to our wellbeing that are lurking from every corner. Traveling, hugging, or clubbing, once so ordinary, will get really weird from now on.
Of course, due to the massive changes amidst the pandemic outbreak, social media, Instagram in particular, have undergone some significant changes as well.
As the world started adjusting to the new normal of staying put during the worldwide lockdown, people took to IG for some much-needed attention.
And, all of a sudden, everyone was doing IG Live.
From the super fun Miley Cyrus and Coldplay, and the Imagine fiasco of Gal Gadot, to your neighbors’ children Q&As, it seems like everyone had a Live-worthy story to tell.
Banana bread and happy hours flooded the IG feed, and soon the public had enough:
I don’t care how bored you are, there’s literally no excuse for you going live on Instagram
— Erica (@eerrriiicaa) March 24, 2020
The IG live trend became so widespread that Instagram reported a 70% increase in Live sessions when compared to the pre-COVID-19 period.
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What caused the phenomenon
The reasons are simple – in trying times, people need social interaction to stay sane. Yet, when social interaction is the one thing being forbidden, social media, and live interaction, in particular, becomes the place to be.
With schools being closed and most people working from home, they are finding solace in these little outbursts on social media.
When it comes to celebrities, they are pretty much used to getting 24-hour attention. As the pandemic changed the course of entire industries, it’s no wonder they’re on IG pretty much all the time, craving the attention of millions. Plus, their work depends on it. With the promo press tours, concerts, and events all being canceled, celebrities are taking to IG to stay top of their audience’s mind and stay relevant. The Live IG feature has allowed them a unique opportunity to showcase their real, raw selves and develop a more genuine connection with their fans.
Even though reporting less work and canceled brand deals, influencers still manage to create useful and fun content. Many have switched up their content calendar, resorting to more at-home content featuring their home tour, closet makeovers, cooking, workout regimen, etc.
As for regular people, they switched their lunch break conversations with happy hours on IG, Zoom, and House Party. No matter how far from the public eye in general, people still need their social needs met, and with the lack of real-life opportunities, they are turning to screens and InstagramLive to share bits of their lives with others.
Still digital, in essence, the Live IG interactions are the closest thing to a live face-to-face conversation. The interactivity mirrors the real-life interaction, and the fun elements provide excitement in these difficult times.
How brands are utilizing IG live
Though shocked and silent at first, brands have quickly jumped on the Live Instagram bandwagon during Coronavirus. Getting your message out there during these difficult times comes with some adjustments. No one saw it coming, so it took some time before the brands came up with the right approach and re-adjusted their campaigns.
Those who did, for sure have realized the excellent benefits the Instagram Live feature allows, especially during crisis times:
- #1 position in the Story Feed – increased visibility
- Automatic alerts to their followers – bigger chances of getting engaged with
- Organic algorithm engagement boost – a chance to be featured in the discovery section
- More options to develop stronger connections with the audience – live interaction
- Opportunity to build real and raw brand image
- It brings people together when they need it the most – community building.
Brands killing the IG Live game during COVID-19
Let’s look at how some brands altered their content and cashed in on the Insta Live frenzy during Coronavirus.
@bonappetitmag switched from their Instagram Stories series to live events where they organized Instagram Live Dinner Parties and Test Kitchen Tuesdays. Their fans love seeing their favorite foodies talk food and life in general in a more relaxed, home atmosphere.
@TheCut is supporting small business owners by organizing weekly takeovers on their IG live. Much like what Instagram is doing with stickers to help small businesses during COVID-19, The Cut is lending its platform to companies to get creative and get more attention during the crisis.
@NatGeo is featuring Live sessions with their photographers covering Coronavirus all over the world. This fantastic idea showcases the people behind the brand, but more importantly, the brand is providing valuable insights and spreading the positive messages of solidarity across the globe.
Types of Live videos popular on Instagram during COVID-19
Live concerts – The most prominent names in the music industry took to Instagram Live to spread some joy to the world during the COVID-19 lockdown. #togetherathome gathered the likes of Chris Martin, Dua Lipa, and Mariah Carey, who all lent their talent to the bigger cause.
With IG launching Live donations options for IG live, it allowed for the widespread live aid sessions to support nonprofits and communities most affected by the crisis.
Cooking sessions – We’re not (only) talking banana bread baking. For many celebrities, influencers, brands, and regular folks on IG, switching to strictly home life meant taking their cooking skills to another level. And they were more than happy to show it.
Fitness classes – Fitness instructors, gyms, personal trainers, and fitness enthusiasts used the lockdown to share valuable tips and tricks on how we can stay fit with basic to no equipment. And the crowds were here for it. A great way to stay connected to your clients if you’re in the fitness business. Influencers have tapped into this content as well during the lockdown. As their usual busy schedules cleared out, they made a ton of useful content during their at-home fitness regiments.
Q&As – A fun and super interactive way to develop closer connections to your audience. Live Q&As done by the CEOs, artists, celebrities, influencers, and experts have made the dull lockdown days so much more bearable. And educational too. People were getting a ton of new ideas, advice, and inspiration from these useful bits. The hosts, on the other hand, saw massive engagement boosts and better community-building opportunities.
House Tours and a Day in the Life – These types of Instagram live sessions offered fun insight into the real lives of the people we admire. These anything-can-happen scenarios provided excitement and a sense of connectedness during the pandemic.
Takeovers – Live takeover sessions created a lot of buzz. Brands allowing small business owners, influencers, and regular folks to show how they are coping with the new normal, while referencing the brand in some way, created a ton of popular content and got both parties some much-needed clout.
Adjusting to the new normal
And now, with the option to upload live videos on IGTV, the Live Instagram sessions are getting even more attention, and the audiences don’t have to FOMO anymore.
As much as we’d all like to believe that we’ve got this and that soon everything will get back to normal, it’s tough to make any predictions about how our lives and our IG Lives will look like in the future.
Yet, judging from the present trends, it’s safe to assume that some of the lessons learned from the Coronavirus situation will leave their mark in the IG Live sector.
- People and brands will get more familiar and more used to Live
That’s a fact. With the stats showing a massive increase in Live Instagram usage, it’s most likely that the brands will keep the trend, and the audiences will expect similar behavior going forward.
- Adjusted campaigns
The popular #revolvearoundtheworld campaign has already switched to #revolvearoundthehouse amidst the pandemic. Similarly, each Live IG session would change focus to adapt to the situation. More and more brands are seen offering free advice on Instagram Live, instead of using it for sales. The Live is here to stay, but the focus will switch from primary selling to providing value.
- Raw and unpolished
#nomakeup and #nofilter is getting an entirely new form with the COVID-19 IG Live at home editions. Unlike the previous polished-up and curated posts, people are getting more used to rawer and real Live sessions, and it’s highly expected that the trend will take roots. We’re about to see more authentic content oriented towards building genuine connections from now on.
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Coronavirus has turned our world upside down. And the effects are going to be felt long in the future. The Live feature became the new normal to brands and regular folks alike, and the trend doesn’t seem to be stopping with the Coronavirus weakening. It remains to see what the future holds for the Live Instagram trend, but the predictions are high in favor of it becoming the most powerful way of communication and brand marketing.
Be sure to check out our other reads to help you get the most out of your IG efforts.