If you’re looking for new ways to connect with your customers you might want to consider trying Instagram Live. You can share new products, discuss important topics or share news about your business. It’s also a great way to reach new customers and expand your brand online. Those just starting to build their social media presence might find Instagram Live a bit intimidating. After all, going live means there are no retakes so we get your hesitations. But if you understand what Instagram Live is, how to use it and how it can enhance your business it can make it a lot more comfortable. That’s today we’re taking a look at all things Instagram Live for Business.
What is Instagram Live?
Instagram Live is essentially a way of live streaming on the platform. You can broadcast in real-time to your followers in video format which allows your interaction to feel more personable. Viewers can watch and leave comments to engage with you during your live stream. What differentiates Instagram Live from other streaming platforms is once you finish the broadcast, there are no eternal playbacks.Your live stream will stay up on your Stories for 24hrs, but after that it’s gone. You do however have the option to download your Instagram Live and share it as an IGTV post from your archive.
Do Businesses Need to Use Instagram Live?
Social media for businesses is all about connecting with customers and attracting new ones. Some businesses use it to simply sell products while others choose to create more of a community feel to their approach. In either case using Instagram Live is a great way to connect with customers on multiple fronts. It also helps you reach a wider audience then a post. When you go live on Instagram, your followers will get a notification and your session will appear at the top of their feeds ahead of recent stories.
In the age of podcasts and vlogs, many social media users often prefer to watch something than read something. So depending on your target audience this might be a better way to inform and engage with your customers.
How to Use Instagram Live
Going live on Instagram is a lot easier than it sounds. Let’s take a look at all the steps of going live from broadcasting to sharing your session once it’s over.
- Open your Instagram Stories camera by swiping right. Tap on Live the bottom of your screen.
- Before going live you can tap on the lines on the left hand-middle side of the screen to choose a Title for your live stream.
- Once you’re ready tap the button to go live. Instagram will check the quality of your connection to ensure it’s good before starting your live stream.
Once your live you’ll get access to a few features to enhance your broadcast, which you can find at the bottom and right of your screen.
- Comment field to type to your viewers. You can also turn off comments by click on the …
- Add a guest to your broadcast, which will add them to your video by splitting the screen.
- Send your live stream to an Instagram user via DM.
- Switch the camera view from selfie to regular mode.
- Share videos and photos with your viewers during a live stream.
- Filters similar to those used in Instagram Stories.
If you are leaving the comments section open during your Instagram Live it’s important to moderate it. This ensures respectful dialogue between your viewers and can also prevent spam from being left. There are a few different ways to moderate the comments. Before you even go live head to your settings. Under privacy, choose comments to change the settings. Here you can block specific usernames from commenting and also turn on the Offensive Comments feature, which will automatically remove any comments using certain words. You can also turn on the manual filter to set your own words or phrases.
As we mentioned above you also have the option to turn off commenting altogether during your broadcast. To do this just click on the … inside the comment field and select Turn Off Commenting.
You can also pin comments that either you or your audience leave during the Instagram Live. Just tap and hold the comment to pin it, and it will be left at the top of the comment section for all viewers to see.
Sharing Your Broadcast
Once you stop your Instagram Live session, it doesn’t stay up forever unlike other streaming platforms. It will stay published on your Instagram Stories for 24 hours. You do however have the option to keep it published a few different ways. Once you finish your broadcast you have 3 options: you can share it to IGTV, download the video or delete it altogether.
Instagram Live Topics For Businesses
Feeling ready to take on Instagram Live now? You’re up to speed on how to use it but now it’s time to figure out what you’re going to talk about during your first live stream? Don’t worry we have you covered with these topics to help inspire you!
1. Showcase Products
Showcasing your products or services is a great way to reach your audience with IG Live. This can be celebrating a new product launch or demonstrating how a service you offer works. While promoting your products with traditional social media content is valuable, showcasing them live in action is a great addition. Think of it as the new age infomercial.
2. Discuss a Topic or Cause
Business looking to create an online community might find Instagram Lives to be an important tool. Try hosting a discussion on a topic or cause important to your brand. This can be anything from talking about seasonal trends in your industry to highlighting an important initiative or foundation you support.
3. Q&A Session
A great way for your customers to get to know you and your brand better is by hosting Q&A sessions. You can format these in a couple different ways. Followers can submit questions to you in advance, or you can have viewers submit them during the live stream. Alternatively you can also come up with the questions yourself and interview a colleague, employee or business partner. Businesses who sell other brands’ products for example might want to host an interview with a founder or creative director. The versatility Q&As makes this an great topic to reuse in multiple formats.
4. Host A Virtual Event
The lack of in-person events has allowed businesses to get creative with how they interact with their customers. Hosting virtual events has become a big trend over the last year, and a great way to connect with customers from around the world. Gyms and fitness professionals for example often host workouts and nutritional workshops with Instagram Live. Beauty brands can host at-home spa days featuring their products. Even businesses in the hospitality industry have gotten in on Instagram Live, hosting culinary tastings and even concerts on Instagram Live.
5. Go Behind The Scenes
Everyone always wants to see how the sausage is made. So why not give the people what they want? Hosting a Behind The Scenes session on Instagram Live is a fun way to educate your audience about your products or services. Why not share with your customers how their orders get packed, or how you hand-make their products? Showing the process behind the curtain is a great way to make your customers feel connected to your brand.
Instagram Live Tips For Beginners
Remember going live means there are no retakes, so you have to get it perfect right there on the spot. There are some tips that can help you master Instagram Live from the first take.
1. Practice Run
The best way to feel prepared is to do a practice run. While you can’t go “fake live” on your own Instagram account, you can set up a Dummy Account to practice on. You can also do a mock filming on your phone to test your video presence. This way you can check for things like lighting, sound and even do a quick test that you can watch. You’ll feel less intimidated if you try it once before the real thing.
2. Promote It In Advance
Nothing is worse then going live and not having a big audience. If Instagram Live is new to you, your followers might not be expecting it. So we recommend promoting your Live session a few days in advance, even the day of, to get people anticipating it.
3. Set A Goal
Having a goal and creating a rough structure for your live stream can make you feel more in control of it all. Don’t just go live for the sake of it. Find something you want to achieve whether it’s promoting a product or sharing information. Going in blind can make it a bit awkward and not as engaging to your viewers.
4. Prepare Your Phone
The last thing you want happening during your Instagram live stream is to get a phone call, or worse having your phone fall from it’s makeshift tripod. Always make sure you have your phone prepared before you go live. Turn off calls before you go live and always ensure your phone is secure. While accident can always happen when you’re going live it’s best to mitigate them as much as you can.
5. Lighting & Sound
If you want to take your Instagram Live for business game to the next level, go pro! Getting good lighting gear, as simple as a ring light, and an external microphone can help with that. Nothing is worse then watching a live stream with terrible sound quality, especially if you’re hosting a discussion or workshop.