As we recently covered in our blog post Live videos during Covid-19, Instagram Live has seen a serious boom over the past pandemic-ridden months. Which is quite expected, to be fair. Because in the times of isolation, anxiety and fear, we are all in a much bigger need of some social media validation, and more importantly, a need to have ourselves seen and our voices heard.
For many small businesses, entrepreneurs, celebrities and influencers, Instagram, and Live feature especially, meant keeping their brands alive and their audiences entertained while creating much stronger bonds.
But the Live platform has been around much longer than the terrifying pandemic. And it’s going to be around after the last cured case of Covid-19 leaves the bed. With this in mind, let’s see how you can use Instagram Live to grow your Instagram account and engage your followers.
What exactly is Instagram Live?
Instagram Live is a powerful Instagram Story feature that allows users to record, broadcast and get feedback on their Live Stories in real-time. When a business or an influencer is going Live on Instagram, their Live Story button appears first in their followers’ Stories feed. Businesses, thought leaders, influencers and regular Instagrammers are all utilising the potential of this powerful feature to educate and inspire their audience, build closer relationships, boost their brand awareness, improve their engagement metrics, promote new products, and so much more.
Why you should implement it in your IG strategy
Ok, you may think, but what’s in it for me?
Well, actually, a lot!
To all of you still disregarding Instagram Live as a passing fad, here are some major reasons to add Instagram Live into your regular IG marketing plan:
- The Instagram algorithm allows more opportunities for organic engagement boosts for users utilising this feature. This means better chances of getting discovered by new audiences.
- You get the # 1 spot in the Story feed. Should we mention how important this is for your visibility and all other crucial metrics?
- Boosted brand awareness and stronger brand-client relationship. As it creates a more relaxed vibe, Instagram Live helps you build a more human and fun-loving brand image. By giving your staff a center stage at some of your Live sessions, you’re also putting a face your customers can connect to your brand.
- You’re catering to your audiences’ needs. It is found that a staggering 82% of people prefer a live video to static social media post. This stat only should be enough to convince any brand or influencer to include Live Instagram sessions into their regular marketing plan.
- You’ll soon be able to directly monetise it. Or if you’re located in the US, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain, or Mexico, you might already be able to try it out. Together with several cool new features and resources aimed to help businesses and content creators navigate the harsh times caused by the Covid-19 crisis, Instagram is rolling out a new Live feature. Live Badges are designed to help creators directly earn money through their Live sessions. By using special badges, the audience is signalling the creators that they have made the donations. This way, the creators are getting the financial support to continue creating useful content, while the donors are awarded exclusive content and some different advanced options. There’s no better time to jump on the IG Live bandwagon. Don’t you think?
Going Live on Instagram – How to guide
Now that you’re all hyped up about your first Instagram Live session, let’s get you ready in a couple of steps.
Going Live is as simple as opening the Instagram Story camera and tapping the Live option. That’s it! But creating a truly amazing IG Live experience for your audience and achieving your goals requires a couple more steps.
Set the stage
Before you actually swipe right and start your first IG Live session, you should consider doing the preparatory work to make sure you nail it the first time around.
First thing first, make sure all your IG Live settings are set to perfectly suit your plan. You can find them at the top left corner of your IG Live mode. Here you can control who views your Live Story, who can reply; choose where your Live is saved to and how it can be shared.
Nip negativity in the bud
Instagram Live allows for an awesome functionality that saves you a ton of time, and nerves, for that matter. You can filter out and hide offensive comments in a simple couple of steps. This is especially important for bigger accounts or smaller ones with an active audience. Prevent negativity from spreading out through your IG Live, and save time on damage control by simply activating ‘’Hide offensive comments’’ in your Comments section in Privacy Instagram settings.
To filter out comments containing specific words, turn on the manual filter and type the unwanted words separated by commas.
Plan in advance
Although Instagram Live is supposed to be a relaxed, fun experience, it doesn’t mean you should leave it all to chance. Sure, you shouldn’t be too formal and perfectly curated, but to actually achieve best results, you should have a simple plan of action outlined before the actual event.
For example, you’re doing a Q&A session. Your end-goal is to get new 100 followers. Just doing the Live and hoping it would magically work in your favour is not the way to go. Take time to prepare your answers in advance. Plan your content in a way that would be super beneficial to your audience so much so that they would recommend it to their friends.
If you’re doing an industry expert interview, prepare all the important points that you want to go through. Don’t be afraid to go off-script and let the conversation flow naturally though. But keeping a record of the most important things to cover is crucial for fun, yet informative Instagram Live session.
Don’t forget the CTA
To actually make sure you’re cashing in on your Instagram Live, you have to plan your CTA and make sure to deliver it the right way.
There’s a fine line between naturally inserting a CTA in Live and sounding like you’ve all of a sudden turned into a sales rep. Whether it’s simply asking people to follow your account or clicking the link, the trick is to mention it as a logical next step and keep your effortless and casual tone. Your entire Live needs to be oriented towards providing useful information so much so that they would themselves want to take the action to move forward.
Use the time before the actual Live session wisely. Create a post or two announcing the event, featuring teaser material to create expectation and buzz around your Live.
Go beyond Instagram, and promote your future Live on other social media channels. Target your ideal audience and promote the announcement post. Also, be sure to utilize your email marketing resources. Depending on the topic of your Live session, create a targeted list of ideal audience, and start an email campaign to get them on-board.
Instagram Live Ideas
Now that we’ve done the groundwork, it’s time to get creative. Let’s explore some of the best Instagram Live formats and how to implement them.
Instagram Live is an amazing format to do any type of reviews on. Why? It allows plenty of opportunities to get a ton of engagement. Not to mention you’ll get to be considered a thought leader in your industry.
Find out what interests your audience and give your opinion on it. Review different pieces of software, athleisure wear, give your thoughts on a new controversial industry article. The opportunities are limitless. The key point here is to make it as valuable and as educational as possible.
Always start by creating a list of all the talking points. You can dedicate the second part to answering comments and questions.
Similarly, you can host free tutorials and workshops to your audience on IG Live. Make it a tradition. Do weekly or monthly Live tutorials on Instagram. Aside from providing your audience with cool, useful and educational lessons, you’re getting plenty of new followers and a ton of engagement in return.
Do a makeup tutorial using your products, teach your audience how to use advanced tools in your software, host fun cooking tutorials. Anything that is tied to your business that can give your audience a ton of value, combined with a casual and fun tone is a sure way to win the Live IG game.
Look at how Madison Beer is doing it and get some inspo:
Once it’s finished, you can save the Live to your Instagram Stories Highlights. This way you’re doubling down on your efforts.
This is how you do it:
- On your profile tap Stories Highlights.
- Tap the plus sign +
- Select the Story with your Live video
- Tap Next
- Choose a cover image and a name for your Story Highlight
- Tap add/done.
Live Q&As are by far the easiest form of IG Live. And quite beneficial as well.
You can do thematic Q&A sessions each month on a different general topic. Ask your audience in a post before the Live stream what they want to know, and you’ve got an entire Live worth of content ready for you.
By giving your followers what they want you’re creating a more meaningful bond and presenting yourself as the trustworthy source they can come to for any piece of advice.
Live Instagram collaborations are a golden ticket to fast IG growth for both parties. Think double everything. Your viewers will get double the amount of fun, insight, and useful info, while you both are cashing in on double the audience. Clever, right?
With a super useful IG Live option marked with two smiley faces on your IG Live interface, you can invite anyone to join the fun and co-host your Live stream.
Industry influencers and experts are an awesome choice because they can provide useful insights and plenty of engagement at the same time. You can organise this as a form of an interview, a Q&A, or a casual thematic video. Ask your followers who they would like to see and what topics would they find most useful. To learn more on how to work with an influencer check out our guide – I got the influencer. Now what?
Another cool thing you can do is ask a member of your community or a customer to do a Live stream with you. Are you a nutritionist? Ask a customer who met their health goal with your programme to talk about their journey during a Live session. On top of being super cost-effective, this approach will help you build your brand and engage your audience.
Interviews with co-workers are also a fun way to humanise your brand and get some additional perks while you’re at it. You can let your co-workers talk about different processes they are in charge of. They can introduce their role in the company emphasising the effect it has on the end-consumer, to build trust amongst the audience.
Probably the most common Live sessions we’re used to seeing on Instagram is live coverage of an event. Nothing beats the excitement and the feeling of exclusivity when you see your favourite brand or influencer live in action during a popular industry event or being given real-time access to a major product launch.
With numerous benefits and fairly simple requirements, Instagram Live is one powerful tool to implement in your marketing strategy. No matter which format and theme you decide to tackle throughout your Live streams, always remember to have fun and don’t worry about the possible mistakes or unpredictable incidents. They will only add up to your relatability.
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Let us know about your experiences in the comments.