When Instagram Live first launched, I decided to hop on and host a session on ways that small businesses can work effectively with bloggers. I was a little bit nervous about streaming live for the fist time, but as soon as I hit that ‘LIVE’ button… it was awesome.
Instagram Live allowed me to interact with my community in a way I’d never done before – real time. It broke down that barrier between me and the viewer and felt more like a two-way conversation. I loved every second of it.
Soon enough, I started to do Instagram Live more regularly, calling them ‘This Renegade Live’ (see what I did there?). I got more comfortable with my audience, more at ease about speaking Live and more strategic about how I hosted them.
Whether you’re planning your first Instagram Live or have done a few already but need some direction, here are 10 ways you can set yourself up for success the next time you hit that ‘LIVE’ button.
1) Understand your objective
First things first – why are you hosting an Instagram Live? Are you revealing a behind-the-scenes look at a home renovation? Maybe showing how to cook your favourite meal? Or perhaps you launched a new product you want share? Make sure you determine your ‘why’ so that you can present with purpose – your audience will know exactly what to expect from your Live and you’ll attract more engaged viewers.
2) Prepare some notes
There’s nothing worse than going Live and getting cold feet… or forgetting everything you want to say! Get over any stage-fright you might have by jotting down some bullet points of what you want to cover. It’ll not only keep you focused and on-topic, but also ensure you’re providing value to your audience. *remember to keep the notes light – best to keep it conversational than reading off a screen!*
3) Schedule a time when your audience can attend
The whole point of a Live session is to get people to join and engage as you’re filming, so you’ll want to consider your target audience’s schedule. If you’re not sure when the best time would be, throw up an Insta Story and use the poll function to survey two different time slots. Another option is to do two sessions at different times so that you’re able to reach everyone interested!
4) Encourage questions in advance
An easy way to build out content for your Live is to collect audience questions in advance – encourage them to submit their pain points, struggles and queries a couple of days beforehand so you can integrate into your session. It’ll also show your community that you care about their participation and feel like their time spent with you is valuable.
5) Promote your Live a few days beforehand
Want to ensure people actually show up for your Instagram Live? Pump out all the details at least a few days beforehand – promote in your IG Stories with a countdown reminder, include an announcement in your bio, and even share via other channels like Twitter and your e-newsletter. Get people EXCITED to join your Live! Let them know what will be in it for them.
6) Plan it solo or with a guest
The benefit of having a guest on your Live session is not only that you’ll have a value add of their expertise/opinion, but that they’ll likely share with their own audiences as well. When choosing a guest, look for someone whose community will be in line with what you have to offer as well – this is a great opportunity to introduce yourself to a whole new group of people that you may not have been exposed to otherwise.
7) Hook your audience within the first 10 seconds
The key to getting people engaged and staying tuned-in to your session happens within the first ten seconds of going live – this is your opportunity to introduce them to your topic, mention any guests you’re going to have on or what they’ll walk away with by joining your Live. Also keep in mind your ‘replay’ viewers throughout the session – they’ll be more likely to keep watching the replay if you tell them all the goods up front.
8) Invite your audience into the conversation
With Instagram Live, you get to interact with your community in real time, breaking the barrier between creator and viewer, and presenting an open forum for discussion. Make sure you’re asking your audience questions throughout the session, giving prompts for them to engage and making it feel like a two-way conversation.
9) Give your audience a CTA
As you’re nearing the end of your Instagram Live, take audience interaction one step further with a call-to-action (CTA) encouraging them to share with their own community. Ask them to share their biggest takeaway from your Live session on their own Stories, or maybe offer a freebie at the end – you can even start a themed hashtag with a Challenge for them to complete and suggest they share on Stories when they do. Whatever it is, try to build momentum of your session past the actual ‘live’ hour and get your audience talking about it to their own followers.
10) Save + promote the replay
Once your Instagram Live is done, remember to save it to your feed! You can entice your community to watch the replay by sharing some of the key points that are covered throughout (hinting at a secret tip that was dropped or maybe a surprise guest that joined).
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