Get Visible With Instagram Lives

With most of us well into our third lockdown and many businesses closed to the public, it is more important than ever to be visible on social media channels. The 'Live' format on many social media platforms, is seeing a big spike as people use it to stay connected with their online communities.

What are Lives?

Lives are the ability to broadcast live to your followers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn. This blog focuses on Instagram Lives but many of the tips and tricks mentioned below can be applied when doing Lives on any platform.

Once you have broadcast an Instagram Live, you can also save it to your Instagram TV (IGTV), so people who can't join live, can catch up in their own time on your IGTV.

Why do an Instagram Live?

  • Get visible with your followers

  • Stay top of mind with your community

  • Build relationships and help your followers get to know you

  • Support people at different stages of the marketing funnel such as building awareness and when they are considering buying from you

What to use an Instagram Live for?

  • Share knowledge, how tos

  • Show what goes on behind the scenes - factory floor, photographer packing equipment before a shoot

  • Reveal new products

  • Q&A sessions

  • Collaborations with joint lives. Invite another person to your live and the viewer sees a split screen of you and the other person

  • Show what is happening now - panoramas of holiday resorts

How to start an Instagram Live?

To start an Instagram Live go to the home screen on the Instagram app > click on the + sign at the top > click LIVE on the bottom right > click the white circle, bottom middle.

For more instructions on how to start an Instagram Live watch my Live on how to run an Instagram Live⬇️

Preparing for an Instagram Live

Before broadcasting there are a few things I have learnt along the way to help things go smoothly:

  • Practice, especially if it is your first one, so you come across confidently. Think about a few key messages you want to get across. Have a start, middle and end. I practice using the video functionality in Instagram stories (hands-free) to make sure I get my head positioning right, as Stories are the same ratio as Lives. I download to my phone (I don't publish to Stories obviously!) and watch back

  • Use a phone tripod to hold your phone steady. I use a small tripod I bought from Amazon. Make sure the clamp on the tripod doesn't cover the microphone on your phone. You don't need a microphone if you have a good quality phone

  • Use a room that is well lit, with daylight if possible. You don't need any fancy lamps or ring lights. If you are sitting in a room that is empty or has a hard floor, put down a rug, so the sound comes across well

  • Choose a suitable background for your lives. Any text in the background appears in mirror writing

  • Charge your phone beforehand

  • Turn off phone notifications

  • Make sure your camera lense on your phone is clean

  • Publicise the topic, time and date of your live as an Instagram post and story in advance. Use the countdown sticker in Stories

During a Live

  • When you go live, you go live instantly, so make sure you are ready to go. Don't say things like: "can you hear me", "see me OK". Start talking straight away

  • Relax, be yourself and smile

  • Slow down your speech

  • Look into the camera lense. Direct your focus to just above your head

  • People can comment on your Live and they come up from the bottom of your screen. It is hard to monitor the comments and talk at the same time. It's best to designate some time during the Live to scroll through these and talk through them. You'll also get people coming in and waving

  • At the top of the Live screen is an eye icon which shows you how many people are watching your live in real time

After a Live

  • Download the Live so you can repurpose on other channels. For example I have embedded my live into this blog

  • Go through the screens to publish to IGTV. Make sure to have your IGTV cover (same dimensions as a Story) and copy to hand

  • Post the IGTV to your feed and share on Stories too, so more people find out about it and watch on playback

Be Brave & Give It A Go

Put aside any feelings of imposter syndrome , procrastination or perfectionism and give it a go. People watch you for who you are, it's your personal brand. If it's not for you, don't worry. Focus on an Instagram format that works for you such as Stories, Reels, Guides, or Posts. Good luck!

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