What makes Instagram Live different and why that matters
Live video began gathering momentum in early 2016 when businesses of all sizes began to experiment with the medium. Enterprising marketers from a wide variety of industries found creative ways to integrate live video in their marketing strategies.
Facebook and Periscope currently dominate live video and have attracted powerful support.
- Entrepreneur Amy Porterfield regularly uses Facebook Live to connect with community members and run interactive Q&A sessions.
- Financial services giant Experian uses live video as part of their weekly #creditchat where they offer financial advice and discuss current trends.
- Lush Cosmetics uses Facebook Live to run demonstrations of their new products.
With so many companies already using Facebook and Periscope’s video offerings, what can Instagram Live do to help your business capture and retain more market share?
Let’s start by taking a look at what makes Instagram Live different from the more established platforms and how you can make the most of its unique functionality.
How Instagram Live works
To use Instagram Live, click on the camera icon on the left hand side of the screen or swipe right from anywhere in the app.
Once you are in, you’ll see a “Live” icon on the bottom left hand side of your screen. Tap that and voila. You’ve started your first Instagram Live video. Viewers can now show their appreciation by adding comments and likes.
What makes Instagram Live different?
Unlike Periscope or Facebook Live, any video you make using Instagram Live disappears as soon as it’s finished airing. There are no second chances. And also, no playbacks.
Your followers either watch you live or they don’t watch you at all.
Smart marketers can use the video’s ephemeral nature in a variety of ways.
How to maximize Instagram Live
1. Leverage the power of exclusivity
Disappearing video presents us with a unique opportunity! It’s our chance to do something truly exclusive.
Entrepreneurs, brands and small businesses can use Instagram Live to run time sensitive promotions, announce limited launches or show off behind the scenes footage.
Use Instagram Stories and Instagram Live together for a powerful, affordable way to create hype around your new product launch.
Announce you’ll be on live video at a specific time using Instagram Stories. Then, use the live video to connect with your followers and create a special offer that’s only available to people who watched the video.
You can make it as whimsical and fun as you like. Try giving out a secret password or ask a question that will only make sense to people who saw the broadcast.
2. Reward your most engaged followers
Instagram Live notifies the people who engage with your content the most when you start a video. This gives brands a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with their most engaged followers.
This could be an incredibly powerful tool.
Your super-fans, the ambassadors that genuinely love your product, are the people your brand depends on.
They are the ones who go out and tell others about how amazing you are. The ones that regularly share your content, leave comments and recommend you to their friends and family. They are your greatest assets.
Instagram Live’s notification feature gives you the chance to reach out to them directly and say thanks.
Use the begining of the broadcast as a personal, behind the scenes moment to show appreciation, to offer them something special, share exclusive news, answer burning questions or to just give them a heartfelt thanks.
3. Attract new followers
Instagram promotes Live streams at the top of its Explore tab, in the same horizontal bar where you can discover new Instagram Stories.
When they are live, you’ll see a little “Live” icon at the bottom of their head shot.
Try creating live videos that link to important events in your industry and will appeal to your ideal follower!
The secret power of live video
Live video captures attention in a way text can’t. It puts you directly in the room where it happened and that creates an immediate, instantaneous connection.
When you watch a video you are responding to more than just words. The combination of body language, tone of voice and the way their eyes meet yours directly creates a powerful array of emotions.
Live video humanizes you and your business in a way other mediums can’t. It isn’t staged. There’s no veneer. No hours of editing. No carefully thought out lines. No opportunity to cut parts out.
It’s raw. Real. Uniquely you.
This adds a layer of raw authenticity and transparency. If your target audience includes millennials, transparency is one of the most important things you can do.
Instagram Live lets you give your followers something only they will remember. At a time when we can consume content at any time and stream anything we missed, the exclusivity clause can be a powerful draw.
Remember running home and eagerly waiting by the TV for your favorite show to start?
Instagram’s ephemeral video can help you capture and channel that feeling. It’s an opportunity to forge a bond with your followers by giving them a unique experience that will forever remain just between the two of you.