By now, everyone has preached to your company why social media marketing is an imperative strategy for growing your business. And it's true.
But have you ever experimented with new things on social?
The top-dog social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn – are continuously introducing new features to users and businesses alike to help foster more engagement with followers.
Facebook was first of these platforms to perfect live video on their platform, and for good reason — they have the resources to make a good feature (Periscope) great.
A Livestream survey showed 80% of people would rather watch a live video from a company than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video over social posts. Ultimately, live video is more appealing than any other brand content.
In the past couple years, Instagram has hopped on the bandwagon with Instagram Live (it make sense, seeing that Facebook does own Instagram). Let's talk about what Instagram Live is and why your business should be using it as a part of your Instagram marketing strategy.
What Is Instagram Live?
Instagram Live is a real-time video broadcasting feature that was introduced to the platform in November 2016, only a few months after the successful launch of Instagram Stories, a Snapchat-like feature that allows users to post 24-hour photos and videos for their followers to view.
While it's been around for a while now, companies are just now beginning to really commit to integrating this interactive feature into their social media marketing strategy. And with 100 million Instagrammers watching or posting on Live every day, the time is now.
Companies can effectively use Instagram Live to boost interaction with customers and connect with new, larger audiences. As long as you are staying relevant to your brand and industry, the sky's the limit.
Now you might be thinking, "Well, maybe I should try out Instagram Live for my business."
"But where do I start? What content do I put out?"
Great question! Let's discuss five easy ways to use Instagram Live to promote and grow your brand.
1. Promote a Product Launch.
Use Instagram Live as a platform to promote a new product arrival to your company. While traditional social media promotion is important, getting behind a video camera and actually talking about your newest product in real-time will amp up interest and create buzz about your product.
If you have a huge product releasing and you’ve set a specific launch time, log on to your company's Instagram 15 minutes beforehand. Then, go "live" and hype those customers up!
Talk about what makes your product great, how much it costs, where they can get it, and make sure to countdown to the launch – when it’s officially released, encourage people to buy it!
2. Demonstrate a Product in Use.
People love how-to content. It’s an easy way to show others exactly how your products work. These can be quick videos people can pop in on and watch, or it can be a piece of lengthier content in which you discuss the benefits of the product, different ways it can be used (if applicable), who can use it, etc.
How you film a product demo is important: unlike traditional product demo videos, you don't have the luxury of cutting to different camera shots and cropping out unnecessary content. Instagram Live forces you to be a one-take wonder.
Luckily, people don't expect you to be absolutely perfect – everyone makes mistakes – but make sure you know what you're talking about and you understand how to effectively demonstrate each step of the process to your audience.
3. Host a Q&A or Interview.
Your audience can actively engage with live videos through real-time commenting. As long as you don't have this function turned off – which you shouldn't – users can comment their thoughts and opinions throughout the duration of your video.
Comments will be visible to both you and any viewers currently watching your live video. They appear on the bottom right third of the screen, and as more and more filter in, they begin to "disappear;" don't worry, you can still scroll up and down to view them all.
Hosting a Q&A on Instagram Live is an awesome opportunity to answer customer questions about your products, services, and company culture. It is rare that people never have a question about something, so being able to actively address it eliminates the need to look it up themselves.
Instagram has even added a feature to make Q&As more face to face. With "Live Request," users can request to join a live video chat. Use this feature to enjoy face-to-face interaction with your viewers – this fosters a personalized experience for each user that is able to talk to you "one-on-one."
Similar to Live Request, "Live Guest" allows two people to host a live video. With this function, the live video will appear on the Stories tab of the followers of both hosts. Live Guest is a great tool for interviewing popular industry leaders and experts who can offer valuable insights to your followers.
4. Highlight Events Your Company Hosts or Attends.
Whether your business is attending an awesome conference, going on an exotic business trip, or hosting an event of your own, share it with your audience!
It can be difficult to showcase a real experience if you're just posting a static photo on your feed, so branch out and go live to give your followers a true behind-the-scenes, raw experience.
Let's say your company is hosting a session at your office where community members can come in, meet others, and learn more about your industry. Rather than limiting your lecture to the individuals in the room, extend your audience to social.
Go live on Instagram to give distant users the opportunity to sit in on the lecture, learn some new things, and even ask their own questions. You should have a team member monitoring the live comments at all times, in case someone asks a valuable question you think should be answered.
5. Run a Flash Sale or Giveaway.
This fifth tip is more of an integrated approach that can be aligned with the four other Instagram Live tips we discussed above.
Running giveaways or flash sales during your company's Instagram Live videos is one of the easiest ways to boost and encourage engagement and to push users to buy your products.
With a flash sale, you'll want to create a discount code that users can use to buy your product. Select a short time frame during which the discount code is active; a time constraint puts pressure on the buyer, and if the deal is enticing enough, you'll see results in no time.
A live giveaway, similar to a traditional Instagram contest or giveaway, should include rules and guidelines to encourage users to take a certain action. Clearly define the guidelines of your giveaway.
Some examples you could include are:
- The user has to tag three friends in the live comments.
- The user has to comment their answer to a question you pose.
- The user has to comment with a particular emoji to enter (either one of their choosing or one you specify).
- The user has to remain on the live video until the end of the video.
- The winner has to be present on the live video when they are announced.
With the rules laid out, interested followers will actually stick around and engage if they want to win. Who doesn't want to win a free giveaway? Make sure the prize is worth the waiting – if it isn't, you might drive followers away and hurt any good graces you earned with them.
Now that you know how to use Instagram Live for your marketing purposes, you should also understand the best ways to generate traffic to your live content.
4 Tips for Getting the Most Traffic to Your Instagram Live Video
1. Plan Out the Framework of Your Video.
While it’s important to be authentic and true to your brand, you don’t want to reach the point where you’re asking yourself, “What now?” Plan out the basic structure of how you will run your Instagram Live by focusing on the 5 Ws and H:
- Who are you targeting with this video? Who will be in the video?
- What will you be filming?
- When will your video start? When will it end?
- Where will this video take place?
- Why am I shooting this video?
- How will this video benefit potential customers?
2. Promote It Beforehand.
Post on your Instagram Stories to build awareness for your upcoming Live video. Let users know when your company will be going live, what you will be doing, and why they should join in on the fun.
If it's a bigger event, like a product launch, build up some hype by posting various Stories or feed content endorsing it a few days leading up. The more buzz you create, the more viewers you can potentially attract.
3. Be Engaging.
Always keep the tempo of your video high: If you communicate in a bland or boring way, you will lose your audience's attention fast.
Instead, focus on engaging and interacting with the viewers you do have. Check your comments frequently – if someone says hi, say hi back; if someone asks a question, answer it to the best of your ability. Pose questions, and be attentive to their answers.
People commonly associate employee interaction with the quality of a brand. Like customer support, a bad experience may put a bad taste in someone's mouth about the company itself.
Smile often and cultivate a cheerful mood to influence how users perceive your brand. You can even use face filters while you're live to add some fun to your video!
4. Record High-Quality Footage.
Video quality is the most important factor for 67% of viewers when watching a live video, according to the aforementioned Livestream survey. Additionally, 23% of people who had poor quality video experience would hesitate to purchase from that brand.
Quality matters. Make sure you are filming on an up-to-date phone in an area with good WiFi and reception. Frequent freezing or fuzzy images can deter viewers from staying on your live video for more than a short period of time.
With these tips and ideas for video, your business can start implementing Live into your strategy. At the end of the day, you should aspire to build more brand awareness and engage with a wider audience with valuable content. Don't you want to try that with 100 million new Instagrammers?
Baylor is an inbound specialist for Bluleadz. As a native Floridian, she enjoys soaking up the Florida sun, buying clothes she can’t afford, and dreaming about one day owning a dachshund.