First there were streaming sites like Meerkat and Periscope. Next came Facebook Live, knocking competitors out of the water by connecting live streaming to a social network that users already had a presence on. It wasn’t going to be long before Instagram caught up to Facebook, and on November 21, 2016, Instagram Live was officially announced.
What It Is
So what is Instagram Live? Similar to Facebook Live, it allows you to share video in real-time with your friends and followers. Users who are following you are notified that you are live at the top of their screen within the “Stories” bar, and they can choose to view, comment and interact with you live. If they have notifications turned on, they may even be notified of your live video on their smartphone without actively interacting with the app.
One thing that DIFFERS from Facebook Live is that once you go live on Instagram, that video disappears from your profile, where Facebook saves the video as a link on your page or profile.
How to Do It
When you open Instagram, you’ll see your photo with “Your Story” written below it in the top left corner. This is where you:
- Create a story, a collection of photos and videos that remain on your profile for 24 hours
- Create a Boomerang video, a video composed of still images
- Go live
Once you’ve selected “Live,” you’ll need to click one more button to begin the broadcast, and will be given a notification that your friends will be alerted to your live broadcast. Once you press the button, your live stream has begun!
In the top left, you will be able to see how long you’ve been rolling. In the top right is the “End” button, which is how you end you broadcast. At the bottom of the screen you will see your video comments. You can also click on the three dots to see how many people are currently viewing.
Once your video has ended, you will get analytics for your it, which essentially tells you how many total visitors it got.
If you’re concerned about who can see your live broadcast, you can review your Instagram Story settings.
What to Talk About
So you know what Instagram Live is and how to start and end a broadcast… but what the heck are you supposed to talk about?!
Live streams are great for giving limited-time offers or for driving traffic to an event. Here are our top recommendations for using Instagram Live to increase engagement, traffic and sales:
- Give an offer that ends by the end of the day for Instagram followers only
- Do a live invitation to an upcoming event
- Tease a new blog post, product or event
- Do a product demo of a best-seller
- Do a store tour
- Show off empty shelves and let people know a product is about to sell out
- Interview an employee or customer
- Share tips on a subject related to your store
- Make an announcement like a sudden closing due to weather
- Show a behind-the-scenes moment as it happens
- Celebrate employee and store anniversaries
- Wish employees and customers happy birthday
You can do live streams on the fly, but if you’re making a big announcement, be sure to warn people of when you will be going live to increase your views. It is also smart to wait a few minutes to start so that anyone who arrives late will still see the message.
Instagram Live lets you harness the power of here and now. Be sure to join our email list so that you don’t miss any updates about Instagram or any other major platform!
Have you used Instagram Live yet? Can you see it being a useful tool for your business?