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Step-by-step guide to master your Instagram live strategy

Step-by-step guide to master your Instagram live strategy

In one way or another, live events are booming, and more and more people are collaborating online. This is why, today, I wanted to talk about one of my favourite ways to connect with your audience Live – Instagram live. Instagram Live is just like a webinar, but condensed in a vertical layout (I know right?).

This can be a hugely beneficial tool for building a stronger connection between you and your audience, allowing you to gain valuable feedback and insight — straight from the people who already follow you. As an added bonus, your Instagram Live will stay on your Instagram Stories for 24 hours for your audience to catch up on.

As mentioned a few months back, Instagram is exploring new avenues of monetisation for Live and IGTV. Look out for new badges on Live broadcasts. The feature is now allowing creators to ask for donations in exchange for badges (similarly to Twitch) is rolling out to even more creators — which could be overall a great new revenue stream for individuals. In addition to this, Instagram’s also expanding its IGTV ads beta to more creators in the US.

”We have been testing this over the past couple of months with a smaller group and will now begin to expand access on an ongoing basis.” (Instagram)

This could yet be another great way for creators and brands to collaborate, and for brands to make the most of dynamic ads on the platform. Admittedly, keeping up with the platform and its updates can feel daunting at times, but the benefits of tapping into these latest changes ahead of the masses is that it will allow you to get a deeper insight into the latest changes.

In order to start a live, simply open the Instagram Stories camera and swipe across to the “Live” mode. You will be able to see how many of your followers are currently active in the Instagram app – these people will receive an in-app notification if you go live straight away.

Now, let’s say I convinced you to give the good ol’ Instagram live a try. Where should you start?

A few things to bear in mind

Get an affordable ring light and a phone tripod to help you when hosting the live. My tripod broke right before a Live this week, and my hand was literally killing me by minute five, so I had to politely excuse myself to my interviewee as I was trying to adjust the phone on the table.

It’s a great arm workout, but your live could make people seasick.

Check your surroundings. A Live broadcast does not have to be recorded in a high-tech home studio, but you may want to look into areas of your home with the best lighting, sound quality and potentially a background that looks great, yet it’s not too distracting. All these things can truly help when it comes to your Live.

Hosting a Live on your own

With live-streaming having something of a renaissance in 2020, as people look to replace their lost social interactions as best they can, Instagram has recently announced two new options to help users maximise their IG Live streams.

First off, Instagram is extending the time limit for its live streams from the current 60 minutes to four hours. This feature can be incredibly beneficial for individuals and personal brands, especially ones looking to move more of their events online.

As Instagram stated

This could help people such as instructors (yoga, fitness, schoolteachers etc.) who had to pivot to virtual classes, budding musicians, artists, or activists hosting discussions with fellow peers engage with their audience with no interruption from a 60 min time limit.

As well a the extended duration, users can now also archive their IG Live broadcasts for up to 30 days. This means that past Live broadcasts will be easier to access, and you will be able to reuse that data if you are not looking to download your videos on your phone. Instagram’s also looking to boost live content discovery by updating its “Live Now” section within IGTV and at the end of each live stream.

A few things to remember when you are hosting a live on your own. Hosting an Instagram Live can also help boost your discoverability on Instagram. Yet, when it comes to Instagram live, I always recommend having a plan of action.

If you are looking for your audience to follow a live workout, meditation or practical activity, you can range a live between 15/30 minutes.

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However, if you are just answering your audience’s questions or going fully free flow, the shorter the better. People can share questions with you during a live, and you can answer them via the button on the lower left-side corner. You can then share questions from your viewers to the screen by tapping the question mark icon.

You can also apply an Instagram Stories filter to your live by tapping the filter icon – but I’d recommend doing this as soon as you start the live. When it comes to promoting your live, always give your upcoming live a boost by promoting them on Instagram Stories in advance.

Co-hosting an Instagram Live

Co-hosting a Live is incredibly easy – you can invite someone to co-host your Instagram Live by tapping the faces icon and picking someone who’s tuned in to watch your live.

Remember the etiquette for becoming a great live host (and learn from my numerous mistakes.

  1. Make sure you create a digital countdown for your stories the week before the live, and take the time to share it multiple times across the week. This will allow people to get notified when the live is about to happen. Remember to tag your co-host to make the most of their followers’ attention.
  2. Pin a comment at the top of your live for latecomers. When you write a comment in your live, you’ll be able to hold the comment on the screen and by doing so Instagram is going to ask whether you want to Pin the comment on top. A great way to tell people what to expect in case they arrived late to the party.
  3. Offer to return the favour and join somebody else’s Live.

Top three rules to host a successful Live

Going live when your followers are most active is one of the easiest ways to make your Instagram Lives more successful. Simply head to your analytics to have a clear look at your followers’ habits, and see which days and times they are live more often.

One of the best ways to plan your live stream is to think of it as having an introduction, core content, and closure. The more you practice with your live, the more you’ll be able to create a structure that works for you. Without structure, it will become harder and harder to gain new viewers.

Create an “appointment to view” by always going live on Instagram at the same time each week or month. The more your viewers anticipate your Live, the more viewers you will gain!

Last but not least, remember that you can always save your live after you end it. Once you’ve saved your video, you can always repurpose this content into clips for Instagram Stories, cross-post them on other social media, or even use it for a longer IGTV edit. There has not been a better time to get in front of your customers.

My suggestion would always be the same — focus on the one feature you want to capitalise on, and spend time refining it to make sure it can work for you.

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