If you are on Instagram, you have perhaps seen and even used the platform’s recent features like Instagram Live. Going Live on Instagram has a twist to it – your live session disappears completely if you do not save it manually. You must be wondering why you should use it instead of posting a regular video on your feed. How can Instagram Live profit your brand? Is it worth investing time and creative energy into making Instagram live videos for your business?
The short answer to the last question is YES. It is definitely worth your while to experiment and create content with this feature of Instagram. One primary reason is the way engagement on your IG Live videos affects Instagram’s algorithms. IG live views and likes push up the metrics for your content and help it gain more visibility on the platform. The more Instagram Live likes you get, and the higher your video climbs on Instagram’s list. This brings the video more organic views and likes.
However, getting your viewers to stay on, like, and comment on your videos is essential as live sessions do not appear separately on one’s feeds as reels or regular posts do. Users have to click on the Story feed of your profile at the right time to get connected to your live session. This means unless IG users are aware beforehand that you are going live, most would likely miss out on your IG live videos.
Your followers, however, receive notifications (if they have opted to do so in their settings) each time you go Live. Your Live session also gets bumped up to the top of the line in their Story feed for as long as you are in session. This makes your content and thus your brand more discoverable.
What Makes IG Live Videos such a Powerful Tool for Building Your Business?
Live-streaming has certain advantages over recorded broadcasts, and IG Live is no different here. Because it is direct broadcasting of the moment, viewers tend to trust it over recorded videos. In other words, IG Live gives its viewers:
- An honest and transparent experience of whatever is the subject of your streaming. Unlike the videos you post as part of Stories or IGTV, you cannot edit your live streaming content. You may add stickers, photos, and other presentation accessories while you are Live, but you cannot edit out mistakes. What your viewer watches is raw and as is.
- An opportunity to connect to you directly and thus taps into the humanized side of your brand. Your viewers get a FaceTime-like experience when they tune into your live stream. This gives the video a more authentic and personalized feeling. You can also create smaller Live Rooms for a more impersonal engagement session. This gives your viewer a one-to-one engagement environment while allowing you to bring your brand’s ethos and persona alive.
- The ability to interact and leave opinions in real-time. Your audience can leave comments which appear at the bottom of the screen as you broadcast. You can respond and pin these comments for everyone to see. This has the potential to build stronger brand-client relationships, especially if you consider each viewer as a potential customer for your business or personal brand.
As the session disappears completely from Instagram in 24 hours (unless you save it as the publisher of the content), most viewers click on IG Live videos out of curiosity and eagerness to not miss out on the content of interest. This makes IG live streams get sizable viewership and thus content engagement. As you are already aware, the key to building up your brand on a social website like Instagram and eventually getting lead conversions and sales is to maximize audience engagement and outreach. Both of these are possible to do in a time, and cost-effective manner using IG live feeds.
Moreover, Instagram Live streams are viewable on the desktop version of Instagram. This allows viewers who have trouble using the small handheld screen for viewing long videos the comfort of sitting in front of a bigger screen. This makes Live streams more viewer-friendly, considering you can go LIVE for up to an hour at a stretch!
How Can You Ensure You are Harnessing the Full Power of Instagram Live Videos for Your Business?
Plan Strategically: As with any other brand-building strategy, plan your Live feed ahead of time:
Identify the nature of your Live presentation. Will you be making a demonstration or a tutorial video? Are you going to interview someone? Are you planning a surprise reveal? Is it a Q-A session, or are you performing for your audience? Content is king, and hence be sure of your video’s goals before you proceed.
Rehearse what you want to say or present. Just as you would rehearse and prepare yourself for any event, it is a good idea to organize your pen self before you go live. This will ensure you do not miss out on anything of importance when you are conducting your session. Prepare backups for worst-case situations so you can tackle any unforeseen glitches (with technology or your audience) with ease.
Take your audience’s opinions into consideration. An excellent live session gives the audience what it wants to see or learn. Ask your followers in advance for ideas, tips, and anything else you think will benefit your live session. Use your Story feed tools to create polls and surveys. This will bring engagement to your posts and build up viewer anticipation for the upcoming live session. Asking questions will also let your viewers feel a one-on-one connection to the forthcoming broadcasting as it gives them a feeling of being involved in its making. This is likely to ensure they watch the session Live when you go on air later.
Organize your Live sessions when your target audience is most active. You are likely to have more followers tune into your Live session if you go live when they are also active on Instagram. To find out what timings work to your advantage, use Insights to research when your account registers the highest engagement and what type of posts. If reaching several groups and geolocations is your goal, schedule repeat sessions on similar topics or save the current session for delayers viewing by target viewers.
Advertise. Build anticipation and awareness of your upcoming broadcast by hyping it up. Use countdown tools and stickers in your Stories, drop information while hosting contests and giveaways. Get your influencers (if you are working with any) and fellow IG users to spread the word in their own Stories and feeds.
Adjust your settings before you launch yourself on air. Check if your Live settings are how you need them to be in advance. You can do this by going into Controls. This is the wheel icon that appears on the top when you choose the “Live” mode in your Story. Here, you can select:
- The viewers for your Live videos. You can choose to make it public or accessible by a select viewership.
- Comment restrictions on your video. You can also hide or disable comments deemed offensive by specifying a checklist of phrases and words.
- Suppose you want to save and share your session automatically. You can still choose this manually at the end of the session if you do not set the autosave feature here.
Adjust your location, lighting, and sound. It’s equally important to plan where you are conducting your Live session from. Choose your backdrop wisely. Ensure you have adequate lighting and minimum noise interference. Details like this can have a significant impact on how your audience perceives you. As a brand, you must let such a component display your professionalism and seriousness. Let your audience visibly identify you as a business they would like to partner with or be clients of.
Schedule Your Live Sessions and Use Instagram Stories to Announce These: Be punctual for your sessions and be consistent about it. Viewers are likely to return to your upcoming sessions if you can demonstrate how efficient you are at time management. This is a bonus to your brand building, as being punctual is always a desired value for any brand in any niche.
Cross Advertise: A sure shot way to ensure everyone knows you are going Live on Instagram is to post about it on each social platform you are active on. Invite viewers by providing details of the day, time, and subject matter of your Live feed. You can use strategies like signing off videos by announcing the next session or simply posting visual notices.
Another thing to remember here is that once the actual broadcast is very, your Instagram Live video will remain as part of your Instagram Stories for 24 hours (unless you save and share it). This gives more IG users time to discover your stream. Hence, it is vital to continue to promote your Instagram Live session across different social platforms like Facebook, even after the session is done.
Use the In-Built Tools: Instagram Live has its own set of exciting tools that you can use to make your broadcasts more fun and engaging. You can use them to create templates that reflect and empower your brand image. Some of the cool features you can use here are: splitting the screen with co-hosts, creating slideshows with photos, putting up stickers and gifs, adding filters, sharing questions from viewers with everyone, and a viewer counter-to name a few. You can also privately DM someone while you are hosting your session.
Save your Live Videos: Unless you are creating sensitive content that must not remain in the public domain for too long, it is a good idea to save your stream after your broadcast has ended. You can save your videos to IGTV by clicking on the save option that appears as soon as the session ends. This will enable viewers to find your content long after the 24-hour limit that Instagram has put on its Story content.
Create Fundraisers: Build your brand up by using IG live to create fundraisers or to advocate for the cause of some critical social causes. Give shout-outs to reasons that are trending or meaningful for your society. Building your business or personal brand can be daunting. Still, if you are a brand that organically contributes to the community, you will also likely gather followers, Instagram engagement, and potential clients organically. Now that Instagram has officially announced that 100% of the money raised through the donation feature on its platform will go directly to a non-profit without any cuts for Instagram, it’s a good tool for building a positive brand image while also working for a noble cause.
Your posts and videos reflect on you as a brand. How you respond to quietness and comments, tags and mentions go a long way in creating your brand image for you on the site. Instagram Live is a great tool to let your potential clients and partners understand you as a brand even as you use it to effectively promote your products, engage with your viewers, and reach out to a broader audience on Instagram. As long as you remember the purpose of the Live video you create and monitor your progress towards that end, you will find ways and means of using Instagram Live to your advantage as a business. Harness the feature’s popularity to good use, and you will soon see yourself trending as a business worth recommending in your niche. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and confidently create your next Instagram Live!