Although Instagram is best known as a platform to share your most beautiful photographs, video is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the popular platform. Having launched Instagram Stories and IG Live back in 2016, the platform (and its users) are embracing both ephemeral and long-form video.

If you don’t currently have a video strategy on Instagram, plenty of data supports creating one. For instance, research from Socialinsider found that videos generate more comments than any other type of Instagram post, with the largest accounts seeing twice as many comments on video posts than images. What’s more, a separate study from HubSpot and Mention discovered that video posts receive twice the engagement of other post types.

This post will dive into Instagram Live, the feature within Instagram Stories that allows users to stream videos to followers and interact with them in real-time. IG Live’s temporary nature makes it the perfect way to add video to your Instagram strategy; marketers can produce live videos without a lot of time or budget, and they appeal to brand audiences. A New York Magazine survey found that 80% of users following brands would rather watch live video than read a blog, while 82% prefer live video to a brand’s social posts.

User interest in live video isn’t the only reason why you should consider adding the feature to your strategy. Instagram Live is also great at boosting discoverability and engagement. Here are a few more ways the feature can help with this:

  1. Live video is given priority in the newsfeed.
  2. Your content gets bumped to the first position in Stories at the top of users’ feeds.
  3. Followers who haven’t turned off notifications will receive a message alerting them that you are going live.
  4. Speaking and interacting directly with your audience is a great way to build relationships and trust.

Now that we’ve convinced you of IG Live’s importance, check out our top 14 Instagram Live tips.

Instagram Live

Before You Go Live

1. Choose Engaging Instagram Live Topics

If you are going to speak directly to your audience via Instagram Live, you want a good reason to ask them to tune in. Despite the short lifespan of live videos, it’s essential to identify a goal for each time you go on air.

Wondering what to do on Instagram Live? Here are some popular reasons to host one:

  • Announce a product or collection launch
  • Explain how to use a product or a service
  • Host a Q&A with your audience
  • Interview someone using the ‘add a friend’ feature
  • Take your audience behind the scenes of your workspace, an event, or a work-related trip
  • Host a virtual sample sale or trunk show
  • Give a summary of your latest piece of content
  • Review a product or service that’s relevant to your audience
  • Recommend your favorite tools for performing a certain task
  • Offer a tip or “hack” on how to overcome a common pain point for your audience
  • Explain and react to a recent industry announcement
  • Behind-the-scenes footage before you go on stage at an event or conference
  • Discuss your company performance and future goals
  • Talk about common pitfalls in performing a specific task and how to avoid them
  • Reveal why you or your company does a specific task differently from everyone else
  • Describe what your typical working day looks like

Whatever reason you have for hosting your live stream, think about the desired action you want your audience to take, and remind them of it throughout the video. Identify which metrics you will use to track whether or not the live stream was successful.

2. Practice and Prepare

Your videos shouldn’t be overly scripted or rehearsed, but it’s always a good idea to have a plan in place. Ahead of your live stream, create a loose script and run through what you want to say. Preparation will reduce the chances of mistakes while you’re live. It’s also good to have an idea of how long your live stream will last.

Once you’ve practiced your script a few times, take test videos and look for areas to improve the audience’s experience. When reviewing your test videos, ask yourself questions such as:

  • Is the background distracting?
  • Is your audio clear?
  • Is your camera steady?
  • Is your video well lit?

3. Configure Settings to Save Your IG Live Automatically

Visit Instagram Story settings by hitting the gear icon in the top left corner of your Stories screen:

How to change settings on Instagram Stories

From this screen, you can toggle on (or off) the settings to:

All of these features can help to increase the reach of your video.

From this screen, you can also choose to share the video with specific followers. This feature is great when you have exclusive content you want to share with a particular group of customers.

4. Promote Your Live Stream in Advance

Once you’ve decided on a date, time, and topic for your Instagram Live, let your followers know about it in advance. This way they can set the time aside and make sure to tune in. Instagram Stories is an excellent platform for pre-live promotion because the audience anticipates seeing your brand on their Stories. We also recommend using all of your other platforms to build buzz for the live stream. Email can be handy, especially if you include an ‘add to calendar’ option for readers.

5. Embrace the Ephemeral Nature of IG Live

Make sure to discuss the limited-time nature of the video and any exclusive offers that will be available both ahead of time and throughout your live stream. Capitalize on your audience’s FOMO – make them feel like they can’t afford to miss out on the live stream. Consider offering a limited-time-only coupon code or making a big announcement during the video to encourage your audience to tune in when you are live.

What to Do On Instagram Live

6. Pin Your Video’s Title

Your audience will likely grow as your video progresses. You can give those who join in late some context by pinning the ‘title’ of your Live broadcast. To pin a title, follow these instructions:

How to pin a title to your Instagram Live video

  • Start your IG Live
  • Navigate to the ‘pin comment’ feature and then type the ‘title’ of your video in the comments section of the Live Feed
  • Tap the comment to pin it

7. Reiterate Your Video’s Purpose

Your viewers likely saw your live stream promotion and scheduled their attendance in advance. Others will simply have stumbled across your live stream. Maybe they’ve seen your content before and are curious about what you’ve got to say.

Either way, one of the most effective IG Live tips is to reiterate what you’ll be doing on your live stream –– the Instagram Live topics you’ll be discussing; the questions you’ll be answering; the problems you’ll be solving. That reassures people they’re in the right place and gives them a reason to keep watching.

8. See Who’s Watching Your Live Stream

To see who is watching your Live broadcast, tap the eye icon at the top of your screen:

How to see who is watching your IG Live

As you go live more often, you may start to recognize specific followers. Continue to nurture relationships with your most-engaged viewers by speaking directly to them in your video, giving a shout-out, or asking them a question.

9. Add a Question Sticker

When you post the questions sticker to your Instagram story, people can tap the sticker in your Story and type a question to ask you. You can then answer the questions you receive during a live Q&A with your followers. This interactive feature is perfect for a Q&A live stream, explaining the features of a product or service, or interviews.

10. Use the Add a Friend Feature to Interview Someone in Your Live Video

Adding friends to your Livestream not only creates a more engaging experience but also allows you to tap into another person’s followers. Adding friends expands the reach of your Livestream beyond your audience.

Take advantage of the Instagram Live Rooms feature

You can add up to three friends to join your Instagram Live stream. Swipe left to pick the live camera option to start a Live Room, then tap the Rooms icon to choose your guests. Instagram will show you the people who have requested to go live with you. You can also use the search function to find a specific guest. Add up to three guests simultaneously, or start with two guests, then add a surprise third guest later on –– the choice is yours!

What to Do Post-Stream

Share your video for the next 24 hours so more people can watch it.

11. Share Your Video to Your Instagram Stories

To get the most eyes on your video, save it to your Stories so that those who missed it can watch for the next 24 hours. You can also create an Instagram post alerting followers to check out your video before it disappears.

12. Review Your Direct Messages and Follow up With Anyone Who Reached Out to You

If followers asked questions or made comments via direct message during your Livestream, it’s important to respond to them right away while your brand is still top of mind. Use these direct messages to keep the one-on-one conversation going as long as you can – ask for feedback and get to know them.

13. Make Sure You Save Your Video to Your Camera Roll

Instagram’s Live Archive function allows you to view your last 30 days of live streams and decide if you want to share, save, or delete them:

How to access your Instagram Live Archive

Saving your live video allows you to share it to other platforms. It’s also a good idea to replay it to learn what you liked and didn’t like about the live stream. This is valuable in making adjustments for future IG live streams.

14. Take Note of Your Video Metrics to Use as Benchmarks for Future Live Videos

Revisit the goals and metrics you set before your live stream and assess how this video performed. If it’s your first live stream, use these metrics as a benchmark for future campaigns.

According to Animoto, video is the number one type of content consumers want to see from brands on social media. Live video, in particular, can drive more engagement, increased interaction, and ultimately, greater results. With 58% of people saying they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories, Instagram Live has the potential to push your audience even further through the customer cycle.

Looking for more? Check out all of our latest insights into Instagram marketing and be sure to register soon for one of our upcoming in-person or virtual social media marketing conferences!