Are you in charge of running social media for a community-oriented brand? Then you should know that going live is the most direct way to connect with your community online.
Instagram Live is a fantastic in-app feature for engaging with your audience in real time and hosting interactive virtual experiences. It gives your followers a chance to get to know your brand better and connect with each other.
By following the steps and insights shared in this article, you’ll learn how to use Instagram Live to expand your brand’s reach and the best ways to incorporate live video into your marketing strategy.
Table of Contents
- Why Instagram Live?
- How to start an Instagram live
- What to do when live
- What to do after your live session
- How to use Instagram live as a marketing strategy
- How to use Instagram live analytics
- What are Instagram live rooms?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why Instagram Live?
Based on a survey of 500 B2C and B2B marketers, Instagram Live is reported to have the highest ROI of any content format.
Live broadcasts create a sense of exclusivity and FOMO, compelling viewers to tune in and actively participate. This makes it a super effective way to build rapport with your audience as they comment, ask questions, and even join in—all in real time.
It also offers a wide range of possibilities for reaching new audiences by co-hosting live streams with niche experts and influencers. You can take your audience behind the scenes, discuss brand-related topics, explain how your product works, or share essential industry insights with ease.
How to start an Instagram live
Step 1: Swipe right from your Instagram home feed. Then select “Live” from the list of options at the bottom of the screen right after “Story” and “Reel”.
Step 2: Tap “Title” and add a title that concisely describes what your Live is about. This will appear at the top of your live stream and be visible to anyone who tunes in.
Step 3: Tap on the large round button and wait for a few seconds for Instagram to check your connection. Once that is done, you’re live!
Pro tip: To drive higher engagement during the live stream, make sure to go Live when your audience is most active online. Have your audience insights handy or experiment with different days and times to determine the hours that work best.
What to do when live
Now that you’re technically “on air,” it’s important to make your broadcast interesting and captivate the audience’s interest as soon as they tune in. Here are a few ways to achieve that:
1. While waiting for people to join, briefly introduce the topic and let the audience know what to expect from the live. Encourage them to invite their friends and remind them that they can interact using the comments, reaction buttons, and question box.
2. Use the controls at the bottom and right-hand side of your screen to make your Live more engaging. You can share brand assets such as photos, infographics, and videos directly from your camera roll. You can also add a moderator to help manage comments.
3. Introduce your co-hosts if you have any. This can be influencers, creators, or industry experts. Alternatively, you can invite someone from the audience to join your Live Room.
4. Stay lively as you deliver the content outlined. This can be a product tutorial, live consultation session, behind-the-scenes (BTS) of an exclusive event, or virtual fundraiser to promote a cause.
5. Pay attention to the comments highlighted by your moderator so you can respond and ensure you verbally answer as many questions as possible.
6. Keep your Live running long enough to give people time to join in and interact. This helps you gain more viewers and prolong engagement. You can stream for up to one hour.
Pro tip: Choose a quiet environment with minimal distractions, especially for interviews and Q&A sessions. Also, ensure your internet connection is stable. However, if you run into any technical challenges or certain things aren’t going as planned, stay relaxed and improvise. Focus on engaging with the audience. This is real life, no one expects you to be flawless.
See how Cristianne Close from WWF and her co-host gracefully hosted this Instagram Live on making sustainable choices.
What to do after your live session
Once your live stream ends, you’ll see an option to either discard the video or share it.
1. Click on “Share”.
2. Change the cover image to match your feed aesthetics, write a caption, and tag your co-hosts or featured guests.
3. Add the video to an existing Instagram Live Series or create a new Series. This is optional.
4. Update your advanced settings.
5. Tap “Share” and your Instagram Live replay will instantly be posted to your feed.
Now that the replay is on your feed, it can be added to your Instagram stories, shared to direct messages, or on other platforms using a link. This extends the lifespan of your content, allows more people to engage with it, and ensures your followers who missed the live broadcast can still catch up on the content later.
Pro tip: Configure your settings to ensure that your live video is automatically saved to your archive for 30 days. To do this, go to your Profile > Top right menu > Settings > Privacy > Live > Save Live to archive.
Also, don’t forget to post a thank you message on your Instagram Stories, acknowledging those who showed up and thanking them for participating.
How to use Instagram live as a marketing strategy
Live-streamed videos serve as an excellent channel for promoting brand discovery, boosting engagement, and building familiarity with your audience.
But, simply knowing how to start and save an Instagram Live won’t deliver the desired ROI you seek. You’ll need to align your Live objectives with your overall marketing goals, identify the type of content that will resonate with your audience, and set up a good promotion plan.
Let’s show you how.
1. Create more value with your influencers
If you already work with influencers, Instagram Live presents the perfect opportunity for you to deliver more impactful content by co-hosting live sessions with key players in your industry.
Their direct participation in advocating for your brand will boost brand visibility in core niche communities and attract new followers from your target demographic. Here’s how to discover and engage influencers in your industry.
Try this: Host an Instagram Live takeover with some of your influencers. Let them take charge of the broadcast and give them a chance to showcase your brand through their lens. This can be in the form of discussion panels, step-by-step product tutorials, behind-the-scenes walkthroughs, or live event coverage.
2. Repurpose live content and distribute to other platforms
Repurposing and distribution is key to getting the full benefit of every piece of marketing content you create.
Instead of letting your live video get buried in the depths of Instagram archives, we recommend you extract relevant information from it and present it in a new format or to a different audience. It’s similar to podcast marketing where people actively make the most out of every piece of content.
Try this: Draw inspiration from what Ryan Law, CMO at content marketing agency Animalz, calls content arbitrage. Transcribe the live video into a blog post, create shorter highlights to share as Reels, or summarize insights in a Twitter thread.
3. Build anticipation for new products and upcoming events
Want to build excitement for an upcoming product launch or event? Grant your audience insider access through Instagram Live sessions.
This can potentially boost product pre-orders and increase registrations for events. It also gives your followers a sneak peek into how products are made, an opportunity to pick the brains of those involved and ask their burning questions.
Try this: Share exclusive BTS footage of the product development process, hold a Q&A session, or host a live giveaway for event tickets. Build anticipation for your live stream by scheduling it in advance and cross-promoting with guests or countdown stickers on Instagram stories.
4. Start an Instagram live series
You must have heard that consistency is queen, especially in marketing—starting an Instagram Live series is an easy way to establish a regular routine for your live streams.
Besides keeping your brand top of mind by showing up often on Instagram Live, grouping live videos into a series makes it easier for people to find your content later from your Instagram profile. It would also give your audience something to look forward to and keep them coming back.
Try this: Create a regular schedule for your live broadcasts. If you need some inspiration, consider hosting a “get ready with me” live series with influencers every Thursday.
5. Get insights into your audience
Understanding your audience is the foundation upon which a solid marketing strategy is built. So, if you want to use Instagram Live to market your brand, you can’t skip this part.
Pay attention to comments and questions during your live as this helps you identify some of the things that are important to your audience. Make sure to review your analytics after each livestream to evaluate its performance and leverage data science to ensure you can predict the best content to push.
Try this: From your audience insights, find out the dates and times they are most active and schedule your broadcasts accordingly. Also, look at the views and engagement levels for different content types to discover topics they are most interested in.
In addition to boosting your discoverability and engagement, you can also use Instagram Live to establish your brand as an authority by tying your live streams into relevant niche or cultural conversations and hosting workshops that your target audience can benefit from. Bring your content ops team into the loop to ensure your workflows are smoother.
How to use Instagram live analytics
You likely have specific objectives for hosting an Instagram Live that may include reaching new audiences, showcasing the value of your product, or raising awareness for a cause.
Whatever the goal of your Instagram Live is, you’ll need to deliver clear metrics reporting by monitoring your account insights to prove that your efforts have been fruitful.
Luckily, you can access essential metrics directly from your professional Instagram account.
Just go to your profile, tap the menu button, and select “Insights”.
Navigate to the “Overview” section and scroll down to see a detailed breakdown of your live video metrics.
Monitor your “Reach” Metrics. This shows you the total number of unique Instagram accounts that viewed your live stream and the highest number of viewers who were watching at the same time. You’ll also see the ratio of followers to non-followers who tuned in. If your goal is to reach new audiences and you have a significant number of non-followers tuning in, then you’re on the right track.
Pay attention to “Live Interactions”. Comments and shares show the level of active engagement during your live stream. To improve this metric, try to prompt viewers during your live with interesting calls-to-action such as asking them questions they can reply to in the comments and making sure you read through the responses out loud. Also encourage them to invite other people who they think will benefit from the live as this will boost your share rates.
Remember, you don’t need to be a data geek to use analytics to improve your social marketing performance. Once you review your performance metrics, you can identify loopholes, refine your strategy, and make improvements for future live streams.
What are Instagram live rooms?
Instagram Live Rooms is a feature that lets you go Live with up to three people. This means that there can be four participants in your live broadcast: yourself and three other co-hosts. The more the merrier, right?
With Live Rooms, partnering with influencers and inviting members of your audience to join in your live stream is a lot easier. You can use this feature for group discussions, virtual hangouts, and interactive masterclasses with multiple tutors.
Instagram already offers a massive audience for you to connect with, so start those live streams, use these strategies, and watch your brand’s engagement soar to new heights.
In addition, make a habit of regularly conducting Instagram audits to analyze and improve the performance of each Instagram Live. Try the Profile Analytics feature on Keyhole to track your interactions with real-time insights or use the Influencer Tracking tool to assess how impactful influencers are in promoting your live streams. Get started with a free trial.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do you watch random Live on Instagram?
At the moment, there is no direct way to watch random Live broadcasts from people you aren’t following on Instagram.
However, if an Instagram user is live, you’ll see that their profile picture is highlighted with the live icon. So, you can randomly search for any username to check if they are live. Alternatively, if an account you follow goes live while you’re on the app, you will get an instant notification and can tune in to watch.
2. Can anyone live stream on Instagram?
Yes, anyone with an Instagram account can live stream. If you want to start an Instagram Live, follow the steps listed above. Before you go live, make sure to plan your content in advance and get a stable internet connection to avoid disruptions.
3. Is Instagram Live only for followers?
No, Instagram Live is not strictly for followers. It is accessible to everyone on the platform and non-followers can also tune in.