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5 Tips For Going Live On Instagram

I am one of the millions of Instagram users that love Instagram live. It’s our first chance as followers to feel like close friends with our favorite thought leaders instead just fans. We get to see real personalities and on-the-fly reactions to engagement that is a breath of fresh air compared to scripts and plans.

It’s because of this love that Instagram live (AKA IG Live) has blown up in popularity for organizations, celebrities, influencers and companies who want to connect with their followers in a meaningful way. IG Live gives them a chance to connect with fans and followers like never before, and offers major benefits for visibility on Instagram.

Benefits of going live on Instagram: 

  • IG algorithm prioritizes IG Live. The second you go live, all of your followers get a notification that your live event has commenced. On top of that, the option to watch your live event will be the most obvious action to take once you jump into Instagram. All of the individuals who would be interested in watching your live content will have clear access to it.
  • Instagram Live is one of the most intimate ways to connect with your audience, save face-to-face. On IG live, you are facing and chatting with your audience, and they are interacting with you in real-time. The instant gratification of sending comments/questions and immediately receiving an answer is a strong incentive to stay engaged with the conversation.
  • You can save the IG live recording and leverage the content for permanent viewing on IG TV that people can watch after the fact. If the content was not something you want to publish permanently, it can be forgotten as quickly as a normal Instagram story or even earlier.
  • Instagram live content is as big a deal as you want to make it. It can be a big event with promotion, interviews, and an hour of mapped out content. It can also be an impromptu conversation or quick discussion you want to have with your audience. Both are correct, and both have different benefits.

If your company is considering adding consistent IG Live communication to your communication strategy, consider these tips:  

Credit: re-inc hosts regular ‘re-set the table’ IG live converstaions, and shares the conversation topics before-hand so followers can come prepared to share.

Schedule your IG Live in advance to promote

With my favorite IG Live events, I’m grateful when the participants give me a warning of when the IG live will start. I can have my blanket on my lap and drink in hand when I tune in. It’s because they give warnings and reminders that I never miss one of their IG lives.

If you have a specific event, interview, or goal in mind for your IG live, let your followers know you have those plans in the books. You don’t need to promote weeks in advance to drum up excitement – stick to short-term reminders and last-minute reminders. Usually, a day in advance is enough time to give people enough warning without reaching out to early to be relevant.

There are endless things to give your attention to on social media. Giving day-of, hour-before and event 5-minutes-before notifications are good strategies for staying in front of mind and keeping people in the loop over all of the social noise. These last-minute reminders are key for catching the forgetful individuals who want to be involved but have a short attention span.

If you have a second party joining your Instagram live conversation, make sure they promote to their audiences as well. This will maximize the reach of your message, grow engagement around the discussion and maybe even gain you a few followers along the way.

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Be goal-driven with your content

Crush the introduction

The beginning of an IG live will almost always be awkward. Even the most socially comfortable people can flounder at the beginning and say “how are we?” 4-5 times. By planning some tactics for the initial interaction, you will break the ice early and minimize the awkward and repetitive niceties.

You don’t want to jump straight into your content, because people are still entering the conversation. But you don’t want to wait too long, or else people will lose interest and exit before it even starts. Engaging your early viewers with planned questions will be key in grabbing and holding the attention of your viewers, as well as give you something to say right off the bat. Ask if there are specific questions or topics they want you to cover, or ask them to respond to one of your questions for a super casual poll. The point is to get people comfortable with commenting and engaging so they will continue to engage throughout the IG Live. On top of that, it introduces a sense of accountability in the viewer by having them help shape the conversation.

Identify the purpose of your IG Live

You can do this in your promoting and the introduction as well. If your viewers don’t know what you are building up to, they will have a shorter attention span and may not stick around. If you tell them early what you will eventually be covering, they will know there is a plan in place and even if the topic hasn’t started yet, they’ll wait it out.

Telling people about the purpose of the IG Live will also give them preparation time to think about questions they want to cover. A prepared viewer is an engaged viewer, so introduce the topic and have people send in questions early. Anyone who sends in a question will have a much higher chance of tuning in for the whole talk – they want to see if their question was good enough to be mentioned.

Identify talking points

The point of mapping out talking points is not to write a script. You still want to sound conversational and off-the-cuff, and depending too much on written content will make you look stiff. If you have any important metrics, data, or numbers you want to discuss, those would be important to write down. But past that, improving your points is the best way to create a natural-looking and seamless conversation.

One good tip is to create a map that will guide you through the entire talk. Understand the general points you want to make, and what next topic they will lead you to. If you do this, your introduction, body, and conclusion will seem much more purposeful, and it will minimize the chance of skipping important talking points.

Troubleshoot as much as possible beforehand

Record test videos

Recording a couple of test videos will not only improve the overall quality of the finished product, but it’s a great excuse to practice getting comfortable in front of the camera.

Run one video test before scheduling the IG Live to map out the content and see how the discussion unfolds. Does it need a second counterpart to fully explain the topic? Or does it need a large amount of audience involvement to get maximum value like a Q+A? If so, that test video just gave you some new promotion strategies. This test video may seem awkward since it’s far ahead of when you plan to hop on Instagram Live, but if you struggle through you will find areas for content improvement.

Run one video test on the day of the talk in the exact way you will be going live. Wear the same outfit, sit in the same place and have all your lighting in place. This is your dress rehearsal and will save you some technical difficulties for the main event. While you can’t fully go live to test that aspect of the experience, you can test the audio, lighting, and other key aspects in making a good video great.

Involve your partners

If this is a two-person rodeo, you may want to get your second party in on the troubleshooting action. If anyone feels less comfortable on screen, you can practice your introduction via facetime or zoom – it will feel the same. It gives you a chance to choose where your eye contact should go, and hash out who’s going to lead the introduction. Just keep in mind that now is not the time to be over-critical in yourself. You will have facial tics, and you will start some sentences with “Ummm.” Embrace the raw nature of the medium and just settle into the conversation.

Engage with the viewers

When you show people you are listening, they will be much more likely to continue engaging. This goes back to asking questions to your audience during the introduction, doing shout outs to names that pop up, anything that can make your viewers focus in and feel good.

You don’t need to get out of your content groove if a question that comes through is pertinent. Always thank people for their interactions and show them that they matter. Answer questions that pop up on the fly throughout the discussion, and interact with the audience. These practices are positive reinforcement for engaging with your content because there is a sense of pride when a viewer’s question gets chosen for conversation.

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Continue to test different forms of conversation

No first IG Live experience will ever be a 100% success, and not many people will have 100s of active viewers their first time. You may only be chatting with 3 people. But these first few tries can show you where your company can leverage live communication. That’s why it is important to test out different content and conversation strategies to see what your audience can relate to the most. There are several types of IG Live content strategies to test out. If your audience enjoyed a certain interview with a notable thought leader, find other relevant individuals to partner with in the future. People that appreciate the value will start to look out or maybe even schedule for your live content.

If you found value in the live conversation, consider a repeating IG live strategy so individuals know that

A strong Instagram Live following base will take time to build – so take a deep breath, jump in front of that camera and get recording!

Need help in creating an engaging social strategy? Reach out to our team!

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