Instagram, continuing their march to meticulously rip off the best elements of their competitor's social media platforms, has been rapidly rolling out "new" features that look and feel eerily familiar. As if following a social media recipe for success, they've added a pinch of Snapchat here, a dash of Pinterest there, and a heaping spoonful of Periscope to top it off. The resulting Frankenstein social media platform is actually pretty incredible, and users are eating it up. Last week, Instagram announced that it had crossed over the milestone 600 million users, acquiring 100 million new users in the past month. With new users flocking to the app, and the introduction of features like Instagram Live, businesses have an amazing opportunity to build a closer, more authentic relationship with their followers.
- It's Easy to Use
- It's Scarce
- It's Responsive
- It's Direct Access to Consumers
- It's Authentic
- It's Branded
- It's Engaging
- It's Fun
To start using Instagram Live, simply swipe right from your feed to open the camera and tap "Start Live Video" to begin sharing. Instagram sends notifications to specific followers, based on their algorithm for who would be most interested, to alert them that you are going Live. The word LIVE will also appear below your image in stories.
Because FOMO is real (and effective for marketing), the Live video will only be viewable while streaming is in progress and disappear immediately after. Do. Not. Forget. To. Promote. Drop hints and reminders to followers to let them know when you will be Live, with incentives for them to follow. Think: giveaways, special announcements, relevant and interesting content. Ask users to turn on notifications, which will ensure they are alerted when you go Live, so they Don't Miss Out! Because once the cast is over, it's gone forever. FOMO is a marketer's best friend.
Have you ever been on a dance floor when a bad song comes on, and everyone decides it's a good time to leave and refill their drinks? This is the same concept as the number on the top right of your screen, which shows how many people are tuning in or tuning out of the broadcast. You can immediately judge which content works and which sends people running for another drink by the number going up or down. This makes catering content to your audience even simpler because you can judge it in real time.
Your Live broadcast can last for up to an hour, during which viewers can heart or comment on the video in real time. Instagram let's you report any internet trolls with just a click, or turn off comments all together (though this would ruin much of the marketing benefits of the broadcast). During the broadcast, businesses can provide details about pricing, availability, special features, and respond to questions as viewers ask them. Live allows businesses to get direct feedback from viewers on products and services, just by swiping and asking.
You've heard it over and over again. Consumers respond to marketing that is authentic, real, and personable. They can spot a fake from a mile away. With Instagram live being filmed on the fly, it's your opportunity to say f%$k it, do it live! As much as you can and should plan your cast ahead of time, the value in going Live is that it's a genuine, unedited look behind the scenes. Be real, share personal stories, burn food. That's why people tune in to watch.
Going Live on Instagram is an incredible opportunity to showcase your brand. Your brand reflects the core values of your company, and what better way to convey these than through behind the scenes looks at how products are made, introducing team members, and showing off the culture that makes your company so unique. There's a reason research is predicting that 75 percent of all data will be video by 2020. It allows you to go beyond a flat image and convey your message through visual and audio content all at once. Dance to your own jingle, drink from a mug branded with your logo, show off all the benefits of your product or service in real life situations. The possibilities are endless.
Engage with customers through an interactive Q & A, where you can receive and respond to viewer's questions in real time. Ask questions directly to viewers about what they like, don't like, and want to see more or less of. The ability to pin comments is an amazing hack by Instagram that can be used in a few different ways. Pin questions you ask, questions and comments being posed by viewers, or just add a brief description about what you're doing so viewers just tuning in can be quickly caught up to speed.
The best part about Instagram Live is that it's fun. So your business should be having fun with your Live stream. Show a cooking class. Mix up your favorite drink. Do a cosmetics tutorial. Demo a new product. Teach a fitness class. Preview a new track. Make you video content something that is appealing to your demographics, with tips that benefit viewers and incentivize them to keep tuning in. Rule of thumb: if you're having fun, your viewers will too.