In November 2016, Instagram released a brand new feature allowing users to go live directly through the app. Everyone from brands to influencers and photographers was able to jump on board with this new addition, yet many users have yet to experiment with Instagram Live. Going live on camera can be scary at first, but it’s also a great tool to expand your brand and business once you know how to utilize it. Here are some of our best practices for using Instagram Live:
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience (demographics, interests, etc.) is key to going live on Instagram. Without this, you won’t know what topics to choose, when to go live or even how to engage with them properly once you’re on camera. Checking demographics is easy – simply head over to Instagram Insights if you’re on a business account for a full breakdown. It’s also helpful to review your past content and see what types performed best. Was it photography, lifestyle content, travel tips or something else inside your niche? We recommend making a roundup of questions you’re frequently asked so you can cover those during your live as well. For example, if you’re a photographer you can answer questions about editing, your camera gear, lighting and more. All of these factors will help you find the best topics that your followers will find the most interesting.
Make a Plan
So you’ve chosen your topic and know what your followers want to see. Now it’s time to plan and rehearse! While you don’t need to write out your entire video word for word, we recommend jotting down some main talking points. Your topic is most likely something you’re already well-versed in, so chances are you don’t need to write much down. However, some people find being in front of the camera daunting. Practice reading through your talking points as if you’re already live. Maybe you need to change some wording or just get more comfortable talking to the camera.
You’ll also want to choose a place to create your video. Natural lighting is always best, but you can use a lighting setup if needed. Try to find somewhere quiet with little to no background noise as well so everyone can hear you clearly. Once you’re ready, plan a day and time to go live. And don’t forget to notify your followers! Be sure to let them know ahead of time so they can tune in and you’ll have higher viewers with more engagement. You can even cross promote your video on your social media channels to include audiences from all platforms.
Engage with your Viewers
One of the many benefits of Instagram Live is that it allows you to engage with your followers in real time. If someone asks a question during your video, you can answer right then and there while other viewers can listen to your answer as well. You can also pin comments while you’re live such as the video topic or encourage people to ask questions. The more you interact with your viewers, the more engagement you’ll get back. This can also be helpful for building your community and a sense of loyalty with your followers when you talk with them directly.
Don’t Forget to Download
Instagram was nice enough to add a “Download” feature when you’re all finished with your live. This allows you to essentially save the video, including all of the comments and engagement, and pin it to your profile. This gives viewers the chance to go back and rewatch if they missed anything or need more clarification. People’s schedules can also be very busy so they can go back and watch your video on their own time or in their own time zone. Don’t forget your playback will only be available for 24 hours after you originally go live. Use this to your advantage by creating a sense of urgency and letting your followers know they can watch the replay for a limited time.
Are you ready to live on Instagram? Tell us your favorite video topics in the comments!