How to Host a Successful and Engaging Instagram Live

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Written by Ilona Selina, Founder of Route Marketing

Are you looking for a fun, engaging, and free way to connect with followers and increase brand awareness while still creating authentic and meaningful content? Consider utilizing Instagram Live, which can be a great way to captivate audiences across the world while also fostering brand loyalty.

Instagram Live isn’t just an unedited live video stream. Viewers — followers and non-followers — can tune in, ask questions, and leave comments in real-time (which makes it great for Q&As). Other accounts can also join in on your liv; think of it as an interactive group FaceTime.

In turn, brands, small businesses, and influencers alike can use Instagram Live to collaborate with other like-minded accounts while also obtaining real, live feedback and insight from consumers and fans. Viewers can tune in both on their phones and computers.

Hosting or participating in an Instagram Live can help boost your discoverability on the app. Every time you go live on IG, your followers will receive an in-app notification inviting them to tune in. Additionally, your Live will be bumped to the front of your followers’ Instagram Stories feed.

After your initial broadcast, your Instagram Live will stay up on your Instagram Stories for 24 hours, so your viewers don’t necessarily have to watch. You can also save your initial broadcast to IGTV so followers can tune in whenever!

Not sure where to start? This information can certainly be overwhelming, but we’re here to help! Keep reading for our top tips and tricks on how to host a successful, engaging, and captivating Instagram Live.

1. Promote In Advance — But Not Too Far In Advance

You’ll want to promote your Instagram Live in advance. The goal is to encourage your followers to set reminders or add the event to their calendar. One way to do this is to create a countdown on Instagram Stories. Ideally, the “sweet spot” for promoting your live is around three to four days before the Live. If you promote too many days in advance, your audience will likely either A) Lose interest, or B) forget.

Think of your Instagram Live as a story — it should have a beginning, middle, and end.

2. Go Live When Your Instagram Audience Is Most Active

To make sure your Live is attracting as many viewers as possible, you’ll want to schedule your Instagram Live around when your followers are most active. (As mentioned above, Instagram sends an in-app notification to your followers when you go live.) Pro tip: To figure out when your audience is most active/will be online during your broadcast, take a look at your Instagram Insights. You can do this by clicking under the “audience” tab, where you’ll find a breakdown of when your followers are most active. The data is broken down by the day of the week and the time of day — so you can get super-specific.

3. Have a plan for your Instagram Live

Don’t just plan on winging your IG live. Instead, start by identifying your goals and key talking points to help you develop a clear vision. This will help you avoid any awkward pauses/silence, and you’ll also feel more confident going into the IG live since you’re going in with a clear plan.

Think of your Instagram Live as a story — it should have a beginning, middle, and end. To do this, you’ll also need to consider logistics — will you be inviting a co-host? Will you be talking to the camera the entire time? Will you be sharing photos or videos? Plan your content or “script” around these aspects.

4. Practice Before Your Go Live

Let us first start by saying you should NOT look overly scripted or rehearsed — so try and avoid that at all costs. Instead, use your outline or loose script and do a quick run-through of everything you want to say and get across to your audience. We also recommend timing yourself, so you know how long your broadcast will be. Some key insights: Don’t talk too fast, don’t sit in a wobbly chair (which you can unknowingly twist and turn amid your video), make sure your video is clear and your background is clean, and, if necessary, invest in a great ring light. It makes a world a difference: We promise!

5. End your IG Live with a call to action

Don’t just end your video with an awkward wave. Instead, end your broadcast with some CTA that ties back to your goals and objectives. For example, if your goal is to increase follower count, encourage your audience to follow you. If you want to increase email subscribers, direct your followers to the link in your bio to subscribe for more content. Just make sure your CTA isn’t overly pushy (nobody likes that!).

About Ilona:

Ilona Selina is an NYU Grad and driven entrepreneur that geeks out on strategic collaboration. Ilona founded Route Marketing – a team of social media gurus, marketing professionals, influencer relations managers, and content strategists – to help start-ups and small businesses navigate the ever-changing world of digital marketing. As a content creator and digital marketing expert with demonstrated history in integrated partnerships across digital and experiential platforms, Ilona is constantly finding new ways in which her clients can stand out in the digital space.                                    

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