Instagram Live: A Step-By-Step Guide for Businesses
While Instagram Stories has been blowing up in recent months, fewer brands are using Instagram Live for business. It’s a shame, really. Instagram Live is an incredible channel for driving new followers and engagement, as well as your larger business goals.
But we completely understand! The idea of going “live” on Instagram can be seriously daunting. While Instagram Stories gives you the option of publishing pre-recorded video, there are no “retakes” on Instagram Live. To help you get started with Instagram Live for business, this guide covers everything from the strategy behind how to use Instagram Live for business, to tips and tricks to create your own Instagram Live video:
Note: Prior to a recent update, Instagram Live videos could not be replayed or shared after the broadcast. And while created a sense of urgency for viewers to tune-in, there’s a ton of value in being able to share your live videos post-broadcast! In fact, this feature could make Instagram Live as big as Facebook Live!
Why Use Instagram Live for Business
Like Instagram Stories, there are plenty of reasons to use Instagram Live for business. Not only is it a great channel for building trust with your followers and achieving other business goals such as lead generation and sales, but Instagram Live can also help boost your discoverability on Instagram!
Like Instagram Stories and regular Instagram posts, if you’re able to drive a ton of engagement and viewers on your Instagram Live video, you can end up on the Explore Page which will expose you business to even more people! So there’s a ton of opportunity to actually make sales with Instagram Live. If you’re able to promote your live broadcast beforehand by creating a sense of urgency around it (by offering limited-time-only promotions, for example), you can drive a lot of engagement and viewers on your live broadcast.
Another great thing about Instagram Live is how flexible it is. You get to decide what your broadcast is about, whether it’s an educational Q&A or workshop, or a sales-oriented product launch. So the sky really is the limit on both the content and goal of your live broadcast. Whether you want to share fun and lighthearted content, promote a marketing campaign, or even drive ecommerce sales, you can do it all with Instagram Live.
How to Use Instagram Live for Business
Like Instagram Stories, Instagram Live is an incredibly easy tool to use! But before you start broadcasting, there are a few administrative items you should take care of first.
You can also hide your live video from specific users the same way you would with an Instagram story. Simply navigate to your profile, select “Story Settings” below “Account,” and then tap “Hide Story From” to select specific users who you don’t want to see your live video.
If you’d rather not see inappropriate words in the comments, you can turn on comment moderation. This is something we really recommend doing, especially if you’re a large brand with a lot of engagement! Open your Instagram settings, scroll down to “Comments,” and then toggle the the “Hide Inappropriate Comments” from “Off” to “On.” You can also add custom keywords that you don’t want to appear in the comments.
Now let’s look at how you can set up an Instagram Live broadcast.
1. Swipe right from your home screen or tap the camera icon in the top left corner of the screen to open the Instagram camera.
2. Select the “Live” camera option, and then tap “Start Live Video.” Unless you turn off notifications, your followers may be notified when you start a live video.
3. The number of viewers appears at the top of the screen and comments appear at the bottom. You can tap “Comment” to add a comment yourself, and you can also pin a comment by tap and holding a comment. This will pin the comment to the top of your feed so viewers can see it more easily.
4. If you’d rather turn comments off entirely (not something we recommend!), tap the “ellipsis” icon, and then select “Turn Off Commenting.”
5. When you’re done, tap “End” in the top right corner and then “End Live Video” to confirm. From there, you can tap Save in the top right to save it to your camera roll, or share it to your story.
Strategies for Using Instagram Live for Business
If you’re hoping to achieve some larger business with Instagram Live, such as driving sales or increasing signups, it’s really important to have a strategy in place. Like Instagram Stories, Instagram Live is a relaxed place and you can get as creative as you like! But with all that room for creativity, it’s a good idea to have a solid game plan.
Prepare for your Instagram Live broadcast
This is less of a “strategy” than a piece of advice, but it’s still really important to mention! If you want to shine during your Instagram Live broadcast, you need to prepare beforehand. This is doubly true if it’s your first time going live on social media.
Treat your live broadcast like you would a business presentation: write-out your script or speaking points, jot down some Q&A questions, and practice, practice, practice! One of the best ways to rehearse your Instagram Live broadcast is to record yourself on your camera. You can watch the recording afterwards and make any adjustments necessary.
Promote your Instagram Live beforehand
Your goal with Instagram Live (as with all things Instagram) should be to reach as many users as possible. And as we mentioned earlier, the best way to reach a large audience with Instagram Live is to get on the Explore Page.
Similar to the Instagram algorithm for regular posts, if you’re able to get a ton of viewers and engagement on your live broadcast, this signals to Instagram that your broadcast is high-quality and might be interesting to other users. So the more viewers and engagement you get, the more like you are to get your Instagram Live featured on the Explore Page. That’s why it’s so important to promote your Instagram Live broadcast beforehand! If you really want to drive a ton of views and engagement, you have to let you followers know about it beforehand.
One of the best ways to promote your Instagram Live is with Instagram Stories. After posting about your live video on your feed, share a series of Stories with details about your broadcast in the days leading up to it, including things like the topic of your broadcast, the time and date (don’t forget to mention the time zone!), and any other important information.
Use Instagram Live to tease or launch new products
A recent trend on Instagram Live is for businesses to use the channel to tease or launch new products. And why not? It’s the perfect place to create a ton of hype around your products! Whether you’re unveiling a new product line or teasing a future launch, Instagram Live is a great place to drum up excitement around your business.
Part of this has to do with the “urgency” around Instagram Live videos. Because users don’t know when the video will end, they feel a need to stick around for the entire broadcast so they don’t miss out! Think Apple product launches. One of the reasons why they’re so successful is because of the suspense they create around their events.
To make use of this strategy in your live broadcast, take your hottest product and deliberately release very few details about it. The mystery will drive your followers into a frenzy! After the teaser, ask viewers to sign up for more information on your website. This approach gives your live video an element of exclusivity, which can encourage people to act immediately, increasing the number of leads you get.
Use Instagram Live for promotions and flash sales
While Instagram Stories is considered “ephemeral,” there’s really nothing more ephemeral on Instagram than live video. Use this to your advantage by creating a sense of urgency to watch your broadcast!
One of the best ways to boost your viewership is is to promise limited-time-only promotions that you’re only going to offer during the broadcast. If you have a giveaway, discount, promotion, or other campaign that you want to offer to a select few, announce it beforehand! And when you go “live,” share the coupon or discount code with your viewers.
Use Instagram Live to collect emails
There are a ton of different formats that you can follow during your live broadcast, including Q&As, workshops, and tutorials. Each of these formats are valuable are bound to get you a ton of viewers. But if you really want your business to benefit from Instagram Live, use it as a way to collect emails.
One of the best ways to do this is to ask your followers to submit questions beforehand. You can do this by sending your followers to a landing page with an email form (share the landing page URL in the lead-up to your broadcast), or by providing an email address where viewers can send their questions.
Once you have the emails, you can add them to your newsletter or email flow to drive even more signups and conversions!
If you haven’t started using Instagram Live for business yet, now is the time! Only a handful of businesses are going “live” on Instagram, so there’s a ton of opportunity to grab your followers’ attention and even make some sales! Plus, if you’re able to get onto the Explore Page, you can even drive more followers and engagement on your account!
Ready to jump-start your Instagram engagement? Later makes it easy for you to plan, manage, and schedule your Instagram posts!