Instagram is LIVE! But how can brands benefit?

Instagram is rolling out live streaming to its estimated community of 400 million monthly users.

It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for and an announcement that will be music to the ears of many millennial-focused brands.

Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, live streaming is a bit of a big deal right now. For this reason, it makes perfect sense for brands to dive in head first and make live streaming their own.

But sometimes that’s easier said than done, especially if you’ve little experience with what is essentially a very new channel.

Well, fear not, we’ve  Social Chain’s campaign team and the guys behind the massive student community Student Problems, to offer some hands-on advice for utilising Instagram Live.

Instagram being used on an iphone

  1.    Make the most of Instagram Live’s more millennial features

You may think Instagram’s new streaming service will just be another rehashing of Facebook. But while the apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree, there is one major difference separating the two.

Unlike Facebook, streams shot on Instagram always disappear after the initial broadcast. The hope is that users will be more comfortable with appearing live, thus boosting numbers. A similar feature to rival Snapchat.

But brands shouldn’t see this as an obstacle. After all, there’s a great deal of value to be had from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when targeting millennials. Nobody wants to miss out on the action.

One person who knows all about using FOMO to your advantage is Josh Elliott, a Campaign Manager here at Social Chain. 

“There are different ways of harnessing FOMO. It can be as simple as utilising scarcity, which could be telling a customer there’s only one item left in stock, or providing a TLO (time-limited offer),” he explains.

“Alternatively, leading your audience to believe that they stand to miss out on an incredible experience can often be effective.

“We did this rather tactfully when working with Parklife festival by pushing the message that the event was about to sell out to millions of people.”

  1.    Stand out from the crowd

Noise is well on course to becoming the social buzz term of the year.

The market has become so saturated that standing out has become essential.

Moreover, the temporary nature of these streams means you’ll be relying on an ongoing conversation to create a buzz around a stream that no longer exists.

A great example was our live treasure hunt for Apple Music. We invited students to compete for tickets to the Apple Music Festival, by staging a live treasure hunt on Periscope.

The end result saw 11 million impressions, created a wealth of user-generated content sparked both online and offline conversations.

“Our Treasure Hunt style activations demonstrate one way we have delivered something unique and noisy. The concept incorporates suspense and surprise,” comments Josh.

“It gets people engaged and encourages them to bring their friends into the experience. Throw in a brand like Apple and you’ve concocted an experience that is truly outstanding.”

  1.    Be reactive in your approach

Being reactive adds an element of relevance to your content, while also ensuring your brand’s output remains current and engaging.

A keen eye for content and a good understanding of what your audience shares, likes and engages with is necessary. But remember, you don’t have to be an expert content creator to create great content.

Facebook have spent a considerable amount on ads to turn audiences and brands onto the idea of hitting that live button.

Our Digital Marketing Executive Josh Morgan has mused on the social platform’s live initiative in his previous article ‘Live Video: Why Twitter and LinkedIn are Falling Behind’, which you can read here.

  1.    Involve your audience or offer an incentive to drive engagement

It doesn’t matter how exciting a stream is, its success will always be measured in audience engagement.

But how do you get people interested? By being experimental, of course. Student Problems turned the idea on its head with a brilliant competition that saw followers compete for the mystery contents of a treasure chest.

On paper, commenting ten times in a row on a live stream sounds easy, but throw in thousands of other users and the task becomes nigh on impossible.

All in all the stream generated a total audience of 1.4 million users, resulting in 179,000 engagements.

The man behind the magic was Michael Martin who heads up Student Problems, the largest student community in the UK with the capability to reach over half of Facebook.

Looking to increase engagement on one of our Facebook pages, we decided to break the system to get as much engagement as possible,” says Michael.

“The stunt worked so well because it offered a potentially very big prize in return for relatively little effort from viewers. This encouraged thousands of people to directly engage with the post.”

Social Chain Account Manager Jack Hurlock also commented the importance of offering an incentive.

“When you pick the right incentive for the right audience, people feel compelled to get involved. The live element is so important, it’s the ‘now’ that gets people excited,” he revealed.

  1.    And lastly, always keep up to date with in-app updates

Live streaming is still in its infancy. There is so much room for growth and experimentation that keeping up to date with developments is a must.

Always keep an ear to the ground when it comes to updates to make the most of your live streaming offering. 

Instagram Live will be available to worldwide audiences within the next few weeks. In the meantime, we’ll be sharing more tips and insights. Subscribe below to stay in the know.

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