A Complete Guide to Going Live on Instagram

    December 09 2020

    A Complete Guide to Going Live on Instagram

    December 09 2020  |  Inspiration , Marketing

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    Many major social platforms are stepping up to ensure their community of creators and businesses get what they need to ride out the rest of this socially distanced year. With networking events, social gatherings, and more postponed indefinitely, brands are leaning on social media to sustain growth while in-person business is stalled. Luckily, Instagram has developed many features to help brands connect with their audience and followers online. In this blog post, we’re going to breakdown Instagram Live – and how you can use it to grow your business. 

    Live video streams aren’t a new concept. In fact, it’s an old one repurposed into something shiny, fresh, and new to social media. Just think back to a time when you were sitting in front of the television watching live TV. Yeah, it’s taking us back too. Well, Instagram Live is a lot like that, minus the camera crew and cable network. 

    Instagram Live uses your smartphone’s camera, your followers, and an Instagram account for its live sessions. Instagram Live isn’t actually new but the increased demand for it is. For example, this past April, Instagram saw a 70% increase in Instagram Live usage, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to slow down with new stay at home orders in the works.  

    Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming below! 

    Why You Should Use Instagram Live for Your Business or Brand

    Instagram Live isn’t a new feature of Instagram. It actually came to the scene in 2016. But because of the increased demand for it in 2020, Instagram Live may need a quick refresher among its users. Not to be confused with Instagram Stories or Instagram TV, Instagram Live is entirely its own thing. It is a live streaming feature on Instagram that allows users to stream themselves unedited and in real-time. And with every live program, audiences or, in this case, followers can tune in. They can even comment and react directly, and share during the Live. 

    And if the potential engagement alone isn’t enough to incorporate Instagram Live into your brand’s overall marketing strategy, here are our reasons that are sure to convince you.

    Increases Discoverability 

    Not only does Instagram Live give your followers face time with you, but it also notifies them whenever you’re Live on Instagram. For example, followers get a notification that reads, “@_____ started a Live video. Watch it before it ends!” In addition to the automatic Live notifications, your Instagram Live sessions move to the beginning of the Stories feed, which increases the likelihood of followers seeing your live stream and tuning in. 

    Live serves as a reminder to those followers that may have forgotten or lost touch with you underneath all the other content that exists! Knowing that your business exists is *cough* pretty important, especially now. 

    Connects You and Your Followers 

    During this time, it's crucial to maintain and build strong relationships with your following. That support is vital to your growth. Instagram Live is a raw, unedited area of Instagram that you don’t typically see on Stories or in feed posts. It’s a way for your followers to see your authentic self.

    Live opens up a dialogue between you and your followers they otherwise wouldn’t have. Viewers can react and ask questions that you can answer directly in the Live. Open conversation provides a better sense of community and builds a natural rapport with your audience. 

    Anything that feels real is considered more trustworthy to today’s consumers, and showing your followers who you are or what your business stands for can be illuminating because it shows them the real person or people behind the brand. This increased connection ups the likelihood that your followers will talk about you on social media, potentially growing your audience.

    Broadens Your Audience 

    Instagram Live is a great opportunity to connect and partner with other brands and creators. Instagram Live allows you to add co-hosts to your live sessions. This is perfect for partnering with a brand or influencer that aligns with your business because there is a higher likelihood of converting one of their followers into one of yours. Use these Live Sessions with co-hosts for discussions and giveaways.

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    How to Go Live: A Complete Breakdown

    Now that you know the ways Instagram Live can expand your business let’s figure out how it works! 

    Step 1: Instagram Live Prep 

    Going Live for the first time might be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Prep your Live settings before your session to avoid any hiccups during your Live. 

    Here’s how to access Instagram Live and your Live settings:

    • Tap the “+” icon in the top right corner of your feed. It will open the “New Post” window.
    • Tap the bottom right of the window where it says “Live” in the navigation bar.
    • Now that you’ve accessed your Live tap the “Settings” icon in the upper left corner.
    • Once you’re in your Live settings you can adjust things like who can reply, comment, and share your Live sessions.  

    Then to filter your comments from followers go to your regular Instagram settings located on your profile page.

    • Tap the icon with the three lines in the upper right corner to enable the menu.
    • Tap “Settings,” then tap “Privacy,” then “Comments.” This is where you can turn on or off any filters to help filter out any offensive comments from followers. 

    Step 2: Accessing Live 

    Now that you know where to find your Instagram Live click the “Live” icon on your screen’s lower middle part. Tapping the “Live” icon will start your Live session and notify your followers. It’s important to wait a few moments for everyone to hop on that wants to tune in. 

    Step 3: Using Instagram Live's Built-in Features

    Now that you know where to access Live. Try using its built-in features. Instagram Live's features include sharing questions, direct messaging, adding co-hosts, adding filters, and sharing images.  

    Step 4: Sharing and Uploading Your Live Session After It's Ended 

    After your Live session ends, you can save the video for future or personal use along with sharing your Live video to your Instagram Story. It’ll last 24 hours on your Story before disappearing. After your Live ends, sharing it on your Story gives your users another chance to watch or rewatch if they missed it. Followers can also share it on their Stories. If you save the Instagram Live to your camera roll, you can upload it to your Instagram TV channel, where it will always be accessible and viewable until you decide to take it down.

    How to Have a Successful Instagram Live Stream

    Now just like any other type of content you put out, your Instagram Lives shouldn’t go unplanned. Just because it’s unedited doesn’t mean you do whatever comes to mind on Live! You want this to be engaging and as helpful or as interesting as possible. 

    Create a Content Plan 

    Just like your regular content, create a content plan for your Live. A good place to start is figuring out the goal of your Instagram Live. For example, is this Live to increase your follower count, share your story, or discuss a commonly asked question about your product or service, etc. Define your goal and then go from there. 

    Like all videos, there should be a beginning, middle, and end! Organize your Live that way. This will help you stay on track throughout your live stream and assure you touch on all your talking points. 

    Promote Your Live

    Just like giveaways or events, market your Instagram Lives to your audience. Make in feed posts about your upcoming live session and make sure to include the time and tag your co-hosts. 

    PLANOLY Pro-Tip: Our StoriesEdit template collections are a quick way to design assets to add to your Story or Grid. 

    Another way to promote your Live is by using the Countdown Sticker on Stories. Continue to reshare the countdown to make sure no one misses your Live. And to ensure you’re going Live when your followers are most active, check out our Best Times to Post blog that features the best posting times each day of the week—organized by our users’ top cities! 

    Set Up Where You Stream 

    The secret to many Instagram-worthy shots is the lighting! Make sure to find a spot with good lighting. Since this is live, you don’t have the luxury of starting over as you do with Instagram Stories or IGTV. Do a couple of practice takes on your phone’s camera to see where the video quality and lighting look the best. This also goes without saying, but make sure your space is clean, and the background represents you and your brand. This is the first time they’re going to see you in a more intimate session, so make sure it feels and looks right.  

    And like with all filming, make sure you brace for technical difficulties. They happen to everyone, so don’t beat yourself up if it happens to you. Just be patient and power through. 

    We hope this post helps you take advantage of Instagram Live to grow your audience and business!

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    Learn more about Carrie Boswell, on PLANOLY

    Carrie Boswell

    Carrie Boswell is the Digital Marketing Content Specialist at PLANOLY. She is always finding ways to include pop culture and the Gen Z perspective into the content we create for marketers and small business owners.

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