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12 Things To Know Before You Go Live On Instagram

‘Going live’ on Instagram is all the rage. Despite being a feature on IG for a while, going live recently catapulted to popularity while the world was on quarantine. So, what’s all the fuss about?


You may have heard that using Instagram Live does wonders for your social media presence and engagement. But it can also seem intimidating, especially for public speaking newbies. And what of ‘IG Live fatigue?’ With everyone and their dog (literally, #dogsofinstagam) going live lately, how can you make sure there’s plenty of eyeballs on yours?


It can seem overwhelming! So, let’s break it down.


Why do we love it?


Instagram Live has been a great way to stay connected while the world has been in isolation. It can be a powerful tool for brands and individuals to grow following and engagement on social media.


Part of the appeal is that there’s nowhere to hide on live, so it offers a more authentic look at real people being themselves. You can’t do 20 takes to get the perfect video selfie, or edit out the ‘ums’. Its real, raw and off the cuff. And with great risk, comes great reward.


It combines the best parts of a radio show, podcast, and tv show; in that it enables a real time interaction element where people can ask questions like live callers, and feel like they have more access.


If you invite somebody with a large following on to your live, you have the potential to be seen by their audience, which can convert to new followers and more engagement for your platform.


When influencers go live, it also provides another great marketing tool for brands, who can ‘sponsor’ a live, marketing their products to a large captive audience in real time, also creating more opportunities for immediate feedback. Brands can also pay influencers to do an IG takeover of their live – you can use it to your advantage in so many ways!


What should we be careful of?


Well, its live. It can be scary for public speaker-phobes! IG Live can expose a lack of finesse, confidence and knowledge if you’re under-prepared. You may get thrown a curly question you don’t know the answer to. IG Lives can also ramble on aimlessly and come across a little self-indulgent. When you see that number in the corner of the screen dwindling, you know you’re losing them! There can be connection and technical issues. ‘IG Live fatigue’ is a real thing. So many people have been going live lately, there’s more competition for eyeballs than there used to be, so there’s now the fear of ‘what if nobody shows up?’


So, how can you minimize the downsides and maximize your impact when ‘going live?’

How can you use and leverage Instagram Live to its full potential as a powerful marketing tool, and convert those eyeballs into followers?


We’re about to tell you!


Here are our 12 Things To Know Before You Go Live on IG:


1. SCHEDULE AND PROMOTE YOUR LIVE

Don’t just go live at 1pm on a Wednesday because you felt spontaneous. Schedule your IG Live in advance and promote it in the lead up. Think countdowns, reminder posts, and email communications campaigns using a calendar invite to lock people in! Try to select a time that will be relatively easy for your followers to join based on time zones, work hours, and high traffic IG zones.


2. DECIDE ON A TIME LIMIT

Have a set time limit so you keep to schedule and don’t ramble on forever. IG lives will cut you off after an hour anyway, but remember, the Ellen show only goes for 38 mins – does anyone really need to watch your IG live for longer?


3. DECIDE ON A FORMAT

Is this going to be a Q&A, a quick brand statement about something, an interview with a special guest, a DJ hosting a live party on your page, an influencer takeover, a viewing party, an announcement, a new product reveal…? Make sure your live has a purpose and zero in on that.


4. PREPARE

Have a content plan. Map out the 15 minutes/30 minutes/45 minutes you plan on being on IG live. Know where you’re going – you don’t need an exact script, but have an idea of the touchpoints and things you are going to say. Have this written down somewhere close by, that you can see while you’re on live. If you’re having a guest on, do your research on that person, so you can introduce them properly and have some insightful questions and ice breakers ready.


5.GATHER QUESTIONS AND STIMULUS MATERIAL

Do a poll or use a question box ahead of time to gather feedback from your followers before you go live. Ask what kind of content they would like to see, or open up the forum to any questions they would like answered. Think of it like a focus group. This will help you tailor your live to your audience - and it promotes engagement and interactivity OUTSIDE of the live itself.


6. FIND A SUITABLE SPACE AND SET UP

Prop your phone up somewhere where it will remain still and stable, turn on the front facing camera and position yourself comfortably where your head and shoulders, or head and upper torso are in the frame. You’ll need to be fairly close to the phone for the audio to be nice and clear. Take a test video to see what your audience will see and hear. Plenty of natural light helps if its daytime and will make you look great, and if it’s the nighttime, ensure adequate lighting. Make sure you’re happy with your position, the lighting, the angle and feel comfortable where you are. Also make sure your chosen spot has strong access to WiFi and/or data service; you don’t want to get all set up in the only dead spot in the house! There are plenty of self-filming devices if you want to get fancy. Tripods, ring lights, selfie worms, microphones; these will take your A/V game to the next level. You can also consider branding your space if you are going live as a brand. Positioning yourself with your TV as a backdrop and popping your logo on the screen is an easy way to do this that won’t rack up any signage production costs. All you’ll need is Apple TV, alternative screen mirroring or an HDMI cord.


7. ENSURE YOUR PHONE IS CHARGED

Charge it up to 100% before going live especially if your filming set up doesn’t really allow for your phone to be plugged in. (Hint: it’s hard for phones to stand up stably on a surface with the charger cord sticking out of the bottom). Have a charger within arm’s length and near a power point, just in case.


8. CHECK YOUR CONNECTION AND VISUAL

Don’t wait to get halfway through your live before realizing nobody can hear you. Do a quick check in with your first few audience members and ask if everyone can hear you and see you clearly. If you get the thumbs up, you’re good to go! If there’s an issue, try hopping off and hopping back on again, restarting your phone, or resetting your WiFi. It’s a great idea to restart your phone prior to going live anyway to increase your chances of things going smoothly.


9. BRING SOMEONE ON AS A GUEST

Two heads are better than one. Somebody to bounce off is always fun and brings in their audience as well, which means higher numbers and better engagement for you, especially if they are also pre-promoting the live.


10. INTERACT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

Interact with people in the comments and questions section – that’s what it’s there for, and it’s a big reason why lives are so popular. People have real time access and the opportunity to engage with you and/or your brand the way they would with a friend.


11.TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW

Stay on script and focus on areas you are really comfortable conversing about.


12. TRY NOT TO SAY ‘UM’

We’re still working on this one. Short of practicing monologues to camera with an ‘um’ triggered shock collar, we don’t have a magic fix. But we do know the more you go live, the more comfortable you’ll get! Sometimes those ‘ums’ and ‘likes’ are just novice nerves that are easily ironed out with a bit of experience.


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