A few years ago, if you fancied running a live video broadcast, you’d need a whopping budget that could absorb the camera equipment, a huge satellite truck parked up outside the office and catering for the sizeable crew required to make the endeavour possible.
No wonder such marketing opportunities were reserved solely for news channels and large corporate enterprises.
However, things have changed – big time. If you’re on Facebook, for example, upon entering the app on your smartphone, you’ll spot an innocuous button at the top-left labelled ‘Live’. Tap it, and within seconds you can begin streaming live video to your friends on the social network. All you need is your smartphone, the Facebook app and either a WiFi network or decent cellular connection.
It’s at times like this that the pace of technological change becomes staggeringly clear.
However, Facebook isn’t the only social network that offers live streaming video, and in this post we’re going to focus on one of their acquisitions that also offers this breakthrough technology – Instagram.
Mark Zuckerberg’s company acquired the image sharing network in 2012 for a colossal $1 billion. Many scoffed at the purchase, deeming it nothing more than an exercise in muscle flexing on behalf of a company that had grown from college side project to global monolith, but fast-forward a few short years and it looks like a rather smart move.
Instagram now boasts around six-hundred million active monthly users – a number that has risen significantly since January 2013 when it sat at ‘just’ ninety million.
During those three short years, the service expanded considerably both in its purpose and feature set. Once solely the domain of image sharing, it now enables users to post videos, ‘stories’ and provides businesses with a compelling platform from which to advertise their products and services.
Most recently, Instagram joined the streaming bandwagon by offering their own take on live video. Just open the app, swipe left, press ‘LIVE’ and begin streaming. Simple!
Instagram broadcasts can last for up to an hour and followers are informed via push notification when they begin. It’s worth noting that the videos only exist while they’re being streamed, and vanish completely when the host ends the session, but the ability to interact during the broadcast with messages and ‘likes’ makes for a very engaging experience if you happen to tune in.
So, how can your social enterprise use Instagram Live to drive engagement and attract potential new customers? We’ve got five brilliant experiments you can try straight away:
1. A behind-the-scenes tour
People love to see what happens ‘behind the curtain’ in business, and live video on Instagram offers a brilliant way to deliver just that.
No one expects you to give away your deepest, most precious secrets, but by offering a glimpse into the inner workings of your social enterprise, you’ll be sure to gain a sizeable number of viewers.
2. Customer testimonial
The only thing nicer than receiving a lovely piece of customer feedback is sharing it with the world, and what better way to do that than via live video?
If convenient (and if the participant is willing), you can use Instagram Live to capture a testimonial as it happens. This is particularly useful if you operate in an industry that provides plenty of close-quartered customer contact, thus giving you ample opportunity to ask if they’d fancy putting a good word in, on camera.
3. Staff interview
It’s time to put your staff in the spotlight. They’re the people that make your social enterprise what it is, after all, so why not give them a chance to shine?
Not everyone enjoys being thrust into the limelight, which is entirely understandable, but the staff members that fancy a few minutes of fame can help you use Instagram Live to add that all important human element to your operation.
4. ‘Day in the life’
When you’ve had a gruelling yet successful day, it’s entirely understandable if you’d like to let the world know. With Instagram Live, you can do just that by offering a ‘day in the life’ series about your movements within the social enterprise scene.
These could be videos you broadcast at the end of each day to recount the day’s events, or, preferably, video shot during the day that provides a fascinating window into your world.
Why should you keep the tireless work that goes into running your social enterprise hidden?
5. Interactive Q&A
Because Instagram Live gives viewers the ability to comment during broadcasts, it’s a great platform on which to conduct an interactive Q&A session.
Pick a topic, announce that you’ll be taking live questions about it on Instagram and – go for it.
You may have to prepare yourself for the odd awkward question, but that’s part of the fun of live broadcasting – it’s an exhilarating place to be.
We hope our Instagram Live tips above have inspired you to try this brilliant form of marketing.
Most importantly, experiment and have fun. Providing you stay within the remit of your brand persona and accept that you may receive one or two awkward comments from viewers, you may just find Instagram Live a brilliant addition to your marketing arsenal.