Should your brand do live videos on Instagram?

You can now broadcast live videos on Instagram, opening up a wealth of possibilities for content marketers

This video will self-destruct in five seconds.

Five… four… three… two… one… lead them down the sales funnel. Boom!

OK, branded video content on Instagram might not be quite as dramatic as an exploding set of instructions, but it does share a sense of urgency.

In November last year, the company introduced live videos to its platform. Users can now broadcast live, with the video forming part of their Instagram story – housed at the top of the screen when you open the app.

The difference being that once the live video is over, it isn’t kept anywhere. What’s done is done. Clearly, it’s a way to ape the success of Snapchat (158 million daily users and counting) after Instagram’s parent company Facebook failed in its attempts to buy it.

Regardless, a new feature on Instagram has implications for content marketers everywhere. We’ve looked before on Content Desk at 5 ways to spice up your brand’s Instagram content. Now, if you’re planning on going live, here’s what to consider.

How many people are using it?

Recent figures suggest Instagram has 700 million monthly active users – up from 30 million five years ago. (That’s probably enough to make any marketing manager download the app immediately and start posting selfies, but hold your horses for a few minutes.)

Instagram stories, which stay at the top of followers’ feeds for 24 hours, draw in 200 million daily active users. It’s a huge potential audience. And the stats suggest that live video is an attractive proposition for brands: 80% of audiences would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a blog post.

Will people find your video?

Increasingly so. One of the major plus points of Instagram live videos is the extra exposure it can bring. Not only does the video appear at the top of followers’ home screens, it’s also on the ‘explore’ page where non-followers get a glimpse of what you’re putting out there. In other words, you’re boosting the reach of your content – for free.shut

Posting well-curated and edited photos is great, but it doesn’t necessarily bring in casual browsers. Expanding your Instagram output to live videos adds another string to your bow.

A further advantage is the notification sent out by the app to your followers, letting them know you’ve started a live video – and to tune in quickly before it’s over.

What sort of video works best?

Inevitably this comes down to what sector your brand is in. But there are certain formats that lend themselves more naturally to Instagram live videos.

Instagram doesn’t distinguish between people and brands – company posts appear next to family snaps, holiday photos and vice versa. That creates a naturally more informal environment.

Whereas a photo – permanently housed on your feed – acts as a showcase for your brand, the live video function on Instagram is an opportunity for a sneaky peak behind the scenes. Its disappearing nature means you can be more spontaneous with the content. What about showing the team setting up for an event, or a tour of the company offices?

Q&As are a well established content marketing format – even this blog piece seems to have turned into one…

And you can see why they work: they allow the easy spread of digestible, useful information. Why not host a live Q&A with a relevant expert? Promote the event in advance through regular posts and ask for questions to be submitted. The next day, you can publish a transcript of the session on your blog or website – doubling the content’s worth.

Whatever you do, put your Instagram account – and live videos – in the hands of the people who use it. Find the regular Instagram users in your team and let them take charge. Instagram live video is not the place for corporate content, focus-grouped into submission by the boardroom.

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