How to Launch the First Instagram Live for Your Business

Take the live plunge and enjoy the perks of creating authentic conversations with your audience.
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“How to get closer when you need to stay at bay?” Well, that’s the question businesses have been obsessively asking their marketing departments for the past few months. With a huge portion of offline marketing tactics frozen due to social distancing, online strategies rose to fame even in those companies that usually preferred a more traditional approach. And, not surprisingly, many have put aside their online-stage fright and started using Instagram Live (or, its older sibling, Facebook Live).

If you’re also ready for a brave, smart move, we’re here to show you how to choreograph your first Instagram Live. You might be reluctant now, but once you understand just how the creative opportunities offered by going Live can transform followers into customers, you’ll raise your hands in the air like a firm believer. So let’s boogie with Instagram Live.

But first…why use Instagram Live for your business?

There’s nothing more valuable than connecting to your audience directly. The Instagram Live feature enables you to pull the curtain and have a heart-to-heart with your followers. Or, you know, have influencers do it instead as brand ambassadors. It’s transparent, it’s authentic and it will get you a lot of credibility points. And it’s not just something we’re saying, it’s in the research. Audiences today prefer authenticity and trust it more than ever. Followers are more likely to do a purchase after they receive a direct recommendation than after seeing an ad – that’s an established fact. 

Instagram Live also offers you a direct pipeline to feedback from your audience. Followers can submit comments and questions in real time, making any transmission a real-conversation, not a one-sided monologue. Instagram Live is one of the most efficient ways of testing new product ideas, conducting research or building trust. 

Another great “why use it” is the fast-track to the top of the discoverability line that Instagram Live offers. Everytime your account goes Live, your followers will receive a push notification and you’ll pop right at the beginning of the Instagram Stories feed. 

3, 2, 1…let’s go Live!

Instagram Live, like all other Instagram features, is pretty straightforward to use. If you’ve never done the deed, here’s how to nail it down from the very first time.

  • Click on the camera icon at the top left of your Instagram feed; alternatively, tap on “Your story” icon.
  • Swipe left to select the “LIVE” option – this screen displays just how many followers are active at that given moment, offering you a clear idea on the size of your audience.
  • Open the “Settings” icon before going live to select your options regarding message replies, saving and sharing.  This is also the place from where you can select the users you want to hide your Live from. 
Instagram Live settings from Instagram Stories
  • Recently, Instagram has added two new options to the Live feature, respectively “Title” and “Fundraiser”, enabling you to give a catchy name to your Live session or to attract funds for specific organisations.
Instagram live Screen
  • Once you’re ready, start your live session and keep an eye for comments or questions from followers. These will appear through the Q&A sticker. You can pin comments to your Live screen for viewers to know exactly what question you’re addressing. 
  • Remember that you have full control over the comments and questions. Although transparency is the aim, you can reserve the right to filter offensive comments by manually selecting specific terms to avoid or by turning comments off completely.
  • Viewers can also send “requests to go live” with you. As with comments, these requests will pop up on screen and you can accept or deny them. Going live with others can be part of your strategy or it can spontaneously happen (although we advise you to only accept requests from followers you trust). Of course, you can always turn off completely the “request to go live” option.

Pro tips for Instagram Live

If you’re a bit nervous at the thought of doing an Instagram Live, relax, take it easy. With our pro tips for businesses, you won’t have anything to worry about. Sure, a live video leaves room for no mistakes, and that’s exactly why we predicate a thorough Instagram Live strategy and an in-depth roadmap.

  • Before going live, take Instagram Live for a test-drive. Yes, you heard that right. Use a test account to play around with Instagram Live’s functionalities, settings and options. Make sure you know what’s what even with your eyes closed, so you can instinctively jump to the right setting if the need arises during one of your live sessions.
  • Once you’re familiar with everything Instagram Live can do, brainstorm! What types of live sessions will you conduct? Will you lead them or will you leave it to a trusted brand ambassador? Will it be an interview featuring another Instagram user? How can you make them even more engaging? Note everything down and when you have an outline of what you want to achieve, even go as far as writing a script. 
  • Let your followers know in advance when you’ll go live. Announce them through the countdown sticker in Stories or make several posts on your newsfeed. You want to make sure your audience will be there. If you plan to create a series of live events, try to create a schedule and stick with it, so that your audience knows when to tune-in.
  • Make sure your video quality is top notch. This might be Instagram Live, but your lightning, sound and video, should be pro-broadcast material. 
  • Add multimedia to your Instagram Live. If you’re on iOS, click on the media sharing button to let your audience see particular photos or videos you select. This will bring more interactivity to your Instagram Live and will enable more creative opportunities. 
  • Make sure to save your Live video and share it as a Story once it ends. If you’ve delivered a stellar session, this will help you attract more viewers next time.

Let your inspiration come aLIVE!

Instagram Live can serve as an authentic way to reach your audience with different types of messages and formats. Here’s just a short list of what types of content you can deliver through Instagram Live:

  • Interviews
  • Concerts
  • Product presentations and Q&A sessions
  • Contests
  • Educational programs
  • Sneak-peaks
  • Behind-the-curtains shots
  • Ride-alongs in exclusive locations

With Instagram Live you can switch up your Instagram game and turn your business to your audience, even in the time of social distancing. So, what are you waiting for? Let us know in the comments below how your first Instagram Live went. Or, better yet, let us know in advance so we can follow you…live!

Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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