Much has changed since the first television was invented near 100 years ago, perhaps not least of all, the way we consume live content. Gone are the days where all we could watch was the BBC from 9AM – 11PM – now we have a plethora of live TV and video at our expense, all day, every day, and we can watch it all from the little device in the palm of our hands.
It is said that the online live streaming industry has grown by 99%, and will continue to do so, the market reaching more than $247 billion by 2027. So, it’s a no brainer when it comes to hopping on that train with your social media accounts. In response to the boom in live video, Instagram, back in 2016, launched a feature called Instagram live, allowing users to broadcast live videos to their feeds. It was very well received, so much so that Facebook too, launched its own Live feature.
Whilst it’s adoption for business is still limited, with the growth in live video an inevitability, there is no doubt that there is huge potential for this feature within your digital marketing strategy. So, here’s how you can utilise Live for your business, and why you should!
How Does it Work?
Understanding how Instagram Live works is key to understanding how to utilise it for your business – so, how does it work?
- Live allows you to stream videos in real-time.
- Your users and followers can interact with you via commenting on the video.
- You can add other users to your live video as guests.
- You can save a replay of your video to your Stories.
- You can also pin comments to the top of your video, so users see those first.
Going Live on Instagram is easy and is very much the same as creating a story. Simply go to the interface where you would make a story from and swipe to find the “Live” option. As soon as you click on the play button, you will go live.
Whilst this sounds simple, we don’t recommend just going Live out of the blue. It’s always a good idea to let your followers know you’re going Live and preparing what you’re going to do and say – winging it is not recommended, as it could have a negative impact on your account instead.
Why Use Live?
There are many benefits to using Instagram Live, here are just some of them.
Instagram live videos appear at the top of your screen where the Stories live, more importantly, they actually get priority over stories and so will be seen first. This means that as soon as a follower opens up their page, they will see you. Live videos also appear with a thick pink ring around them, to distinguish them from other Stories and make them stand out.
As soon as you begin a Live video your followers get notified – this is immediate audience attention. It also creates a sense of urgency, encouraging your followers to engage with that content.
You Can Interact in Real Time
Live allows you to interact in real time with your followers, something that other content cannot replicate – not only does that make the experience incredibly engaging for your audience, it also gives them a chance to get t know you better than and there, asking questions, getting answers, and seeing you for you.
Ways to Use Live
There are a plethora of ways in which you can use Live for your business, endless in fact, but here are a few to get you started. It’s worth researching what you want out of the video first and making a plan to get the most out of the experience, however.
What better way to launch a product than to do it Live? Why not go Live a little before the launch to create a buzz around the product first – this will get your followers engaged and interested from the offset. You can also use this chance to reveal features and aspects of the product that make it stand out – what’s better? It’s you telling them.
Use the opportunity when it launches over Live to direct people to your website to find out more however, you don’t want to give everything away all in one place.
These are incredibly popular forms of Live video on Instagram, and perhaps the most common. It gives you a chance to interact directly with your audience in real time, providing answers to questions, concerns or anything that is asked then and there. They may even ask about you, in which case it’s a great chance to get to know you personally and build that all important brand loyalty.
Going to a brand event? Or perhaps a convention that’s relevant to your brand? Why not go live? This will give you followers the chance to get a sneak-peek into the event, and generate some online engagement for you and your brand.
Sure, you can post pictures from the event later on your feed, but it won’t have the same effect as a Live video. Using Instagram Live you can make your followers feel like they are actually part of the experience, actually there with you.
Why not use Live to interview with another account? Not only will this bring over their following too, but it could be a great chance for you to pick the brains of someone else in your industry along with your followers.
Influencers for example, have large and loyal followings of their own. If they promote the upcoming interview in advance, their followers will want to see the interview. This will lead to an increase in your number of followers and will help you reach a much broader audience.
A good way to do this is to use the “Live Guest” feature, which streams the Live video on both yours and the guest’s Instagram feeds. This means you don’t need to be in physical proximity with your guest, interviewing them remotely. Even better? It means both you and the person your interviewing’s followers can see the stream on your respective accounts.
Similarly to other video content, Live videos can be used for tutorials. The best way to show a product in use is by making a video, especially if your product is physical or comes with a set of instructions to use it. What’s better in Live is that your followers can ask you to perhaps reiterate something or go into more detail somewhere they’re not too sure about.
Using a Live video also gives the product an air of authenticity. It’s not just an edited video where, if things go wrong, you can reshoot certain aspects of it. It’s real, it’s happening right in front of the audience, and it can be trusted.
Will you be Using Live?
Live is a great feature to utilise for your social media, and it should be a part of your social media strategy for 2023. Not only can you use it to market products in real time, but you can use it to allow your followers to get to know you better, engage your followers, and improve your social media presence overall.
So why not go Live?