Instagram, when it first came out, made all the noise. Netizens, particularly those familiar with Facebook and Twitter, were very excited about the emergence of this new social media platform. But one feature that’s taking all the marketing hype is Instagram Live for business.
Instagram Live for Business
Little by little, Instagram updated its features and functions. The latest updates opened the door for businesses to utilize the platform. One excellent update is the “Instagram Live” feature. This detailed guide will explain what Instagram live is, its features, and how it can be used for business purposes. We will also show the varying formats and tips that you can apply to gain marketing success using the platform.
Instagram: What You Should Know
What is Instagram, and can you run a business from Instagram?
Instagram, commonly called IG or Insta, is a social networking platform mainly used for photo and video sharing. Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger are the creators of Instagram, but Facebook currently owns the platform. The social network was released on iOS in 2010 and on Android in 2012.
The Instagram application allows its users to upload photos via their camera albums or take an image from the app itself. Users may opt to edit their photos using pre-made Instagram filters and add hashtags and geographical tagging. As time went by, the developer enhanced its features and added some more.
Some of the newer Instagram features are live videos (on IG stories), stories, direct messaging, video chatting, and reels. Stories could be brief video snippets, photos, or texts that last up to 24 hours. Users may opt to hide their stories from a few people or show it to their “close friends” only.
Instagram Live: What It Is
What is Instagram Live? And how to go live on Instagram? Instagram Live is a live audio-video broadcast shown on the user’s IG story. Live videos allow the user to connect and communicate with friends and followers—or even non-followers for public accounts—from all parts of the world. If you have friends or followers, they can see you on Instagram live unless you have your camera turned off.
How does Instagram Live work?
Going live on IG requires very minimal steps. Just simply click on your IG stories button and choose the “Live” option. Once it’s done, the live video can start. What makes it more interesting is that the live broadcast would disappear the moment you stop streaming. This feature adds the element of urgency. It urges possible viewers of your live streaming to be in a hurry before the video disappears.
Live videos could go for an hour, and your followers can be notified once the live video starts. You can interact with your followers during broadcasting. While on live video, the user may pin a comment for all of the viewers to see. For business accounts, most pinned comments are the main instructions or rules to be noted.
Currently, collaborations within a live video are possible. This feature is most useful for brand collaborations and interviews. To invite another person to a live video, you may tap the icon that shows two smiley faces and type the invited person’s username.
Note to anyone who wants to do live video collaborations: You’re restricted to invite a person who’s watching your live streaming.
To know if others are going live, look at their IG display picture and check if you could see the word “Live” under it. Checking over IG’s “Explore Tab” will also help you see current live stories. The “Top Live” option of the said tab allows you to explore the most trending live stories based on engagement, location, and the total number of viewers.
Instagram Live: How It Could Be Maximized for Business
As stressed out in the earlier part of this article, Instagram and other social media platforms can help build brands and businesses. There are different ways to generate income and develop brands through Instagram—ranging from mere posting to sponsored ads. But let’s focus the spotlight on Instagram Live.
Now that we know what Instagram is and its features, particularly the live stories, let’s get down to business. The first query to address is: how do you go live on Instagram for business? Is the process any different from the usual, non-business related live streaming? Or is it much more tedious for those who want to use IG live for their brands?
The process of going live on Instagram for business and non-business purposes is more or less the same. However, as opposed to non-business live streaming, live streaming for business follows slightly specific steps. Here are the steps to follow:
Schedule the streaming
It’s vital to understand that brands should be consistent in communicating and reaching out to their audience. Being consistent is the key to building a life-long relationship between brands and audiences.
The best way to achieve consistency is to set a regular schedule for live streaming and stick to that schedule. Say a brand wants to go live every Friday at 6:00 p.m., set the best time to go live and make sure that you follow it religiously. If you stay committed to your schedule, your followers will look forward to every live session. Then, eventually, your active followers will spread the word and bring more followers to your brand.
Set Specific Goals
Similar to other social media marketing strategies, brands must know why they’re doing what they’re doing. Before going live, it’s imperative to set specific goals. It will help define your purpose for embarking on live video advertising before doing it.
Setting specific goals is looking at the things or effects you hope to achieve with your chosen strategy. Is the goal to increase sales and earn more followers and potential buyers? Or is it to simply connect with your loyal fans?
The point is, you must be crystal clear about your intended outcome. Once you’ve established your goals, identifying the different topics to be covered and the streaming duration won’t be tough.
Determine a format
Viewers hate a lousy video. Viewers are keen enough to identify a well-prepared video from a poorly-prepared one. Once they notice that the live video is poorly done with a lack of preparation, chances are, they would ditch the brand. And the only ones who would celebrate the slow demise of a brand are its rivals!
To avoid the hall of shame and keep up with your followers, you should determine your distinct live streaming format. Formats may differ from schedule to schedule, but the most crucial thing is to have one. By determining a format, followers would know what to expect during every live session.
Here are some examples of widely used formats:
- Question and answer sessions. This format allows for real-time interaction. It’s an excellent avenue for brands to be genuinely connected to their followers. Brands would get to hear from their followers, while the followers would know the people behind the business.
- Launching a new product or service. If you launched something new and big, it would be a great idea to host a virtual party with your followers. Brands can promote new products or services while interacting with followers. You could even experiment with giveaways!
- Behind the scene tour. Bringing the viewers behind the scenes is something that would really arouse their excitement. They want to know what happens behind closed doors. Brands may do this by showing their followers how things are made and done, introducing them to the team behind the business, showing off some video sets, and touring them around the company building.
- Influencer collaboration. Collaborating with varying influencers is a no-fail format. The brand could promote the influencer, and vice versa. Influencer collaboration can immensely contribute to your business growth in terms of the number of followers.
- Be out of the box. Go somewhere or do something that the audience least expects. You could participate in some trendy challenges. This format could keep the audience anticipating the next live session.
- Instagram Live Shopping. This allows brands to sell products during the actual live broadcast. This new format or feature provides accounts access to the Instagram checkout tag products from their Facebook virtual shop before going live.
Go Hard on promoting the stream
Brands shouldn’t just go live and wait for people to show up. It’s imperative to whip up excitement before the actual schedule of streaming.
Promoting your live stream schedule can be done simply through posts or emails. The promotion should give a hint of the topic for the live session, date, and time. This is also one reason why it’s important to have a fixed schedule. The promotion won’t be a one-off event, and you won’t have to start from scratch every time you go live.
Instagram Live Tips for Businesses
For starters, we couldn’t deny how much we’d spend time gathering tips from website after website. Tips play such a huge role in helping businesses actualize their visions.
The following are noteworthy tips that would surely help you ace your IG live sessions:
Test the Instagram Live function using another account
Before the actual streaming, go live using another account to be familiar with the feature’s set-up and functionalities. This would save whoever would go live from major technical glitches.
Hit your followers’ notifications
Provide followers with advanced notice even when the schedule is regular. Giving a little reminder would never hurt anybody. Again, the reminder could be through a post, email, or countdown sticker found in the IG stories’ stickers list.
Activate the comment moderation feature
Doing so can help foster a positive experience for your audience. There shouldn’t be any room for negativity in every live session!
Explore the Media Sharing button
For iOS devices, the “Media Sharing” button would allow the streamer to share any video or image on the screen should it be deemed necessary.
Always use the IGTV feature
After the actual streaming, share the live video to IGTV so that late viewers can watch the streaming, and your followers can rewatch the video.
Be authentic all throughout
Remember that the viewers can feel if the speaker or streamer is being fake in front of the camera. During the live streaming, the streamer is carrying the brand. Whatever you do will affect your brand and reputation. One goal of going live is to connect with the viewers, and this can only be done if you’re showing your authentic self.
Strictly stick to your brand’s guidelines
As a streamer, you should exude a representation of the entire brand. The colors, logos, and actions should be consistent with your brand. Adherence to your company guidelines would guarantee consistency in the viewers’ experience.
Are you ready for Instagram Live?
The Instagram Live feature is useful to big brands and starting businesses alike. If it hasn’t occurred to you yet, the answer to the question “Can you promote Instagram Live to people who want to gain brand awareness?” is a resounding yes.
Instagram Live is a fresh and innovative way of promoting products and services. Various people around the world are on the lookout for wonderful brands to patronize on Instagram. Thus, businesses should maximize the use of the platform.
To gain more viewers for your Instagram Live, you need to have a worthy number of followers. Learn how to attract potential customers in our detailed guide, “How to Increase Your Instagram Followers.”