How to Launch on Instagram Live
By: Casie Shimansky
November 1, 2018
Just before the Christmas holiday in 2016, Instagram gifted its (at the time) 600 million monthly active users with a whole new space to play in – Instagram Live.
Cue social media managers everywhere racing to figure out how to implement IG Live into their 2017 strategies before the Times Square ball drop two weeks later.
As a member of Cisco’s Talent Brand Team (@WeAreCisco), I knew we could leverage Instagram Live for talent acquisition and a means to highlight our employees, culture and technology. But I knew we had to be strategic about it and not just throw ourselves at any new channel. That isn’t to say that we don’t go after new challenges head on, and as quickly as possible, but it is to say that we take the time to research, watch how others are using the platform and use the product ourselves to understand how these new features work and then we strategize.
We wound up launching our first Instagram Live in October 2017. A majority of our Lives follow an AMA format where employees share a story or experience, and then we open it up to our followers to ask questions and have a 1:1 interaction with them. Typically, we see an increase in DMs throughout the day of an Instagram Live, which allows us to extend our conversations with potential candidates.
Since then, we’ve averaged about two Lives per month, with topics varying from “My Cisco Story” and “Interviewing Tips” to showcasing our events.
As a global company, we’ve played around with going live in different time zones and on different days. We worked hard in finding our “sweet spot” which seems to be mid-week between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
So how has all of this preparation paid off? In just one year we have seen a 61 percent increase in live viewers and 92 percent increase in 24-hour replays, and just like deep space, we think that’s something worth exploring further.
Feel ready to launch your own Instagram Live? Follow these four tips from a team that’s been there:
- Prepare Your Launch Crew: The importance of the behind-the-scenes effort of an Instagram Live can’t be overstated. It requires training, preparing and scheduling your team. You may want to set a series of calendar reminders to get the job done, such as reminders for the Instagram Stories promotion, the Live itself and preparing for any actions you want the viewer to take.
- Prepare Your Talent: Astronauts don’t launch themselves into space without years of training and while you won’t need years, I can’t overstate how important it is for you to prepare your on-camera team members. Before going live, walk through your goals and strategy, and have contingency plans for anything that might occur during the livecast. Create and share best practices and guidance on how to start, execute and end the Live. Think about the questions people might ask (Viewers always ask us how to get hired at Cisco. We have a “swipe up” link to apply in Instagram Stories immediately following each Live, so our ambassadors direct viewers there.) If your team doesn’t know the answer to a question, which happens, do your best to pick up that conversation in the DMs.
- Promote via Instagram Stories: On the morning of an Instagram Live, promote it in Instagram Stories using one to three posts that shares who will be going live, what the topic will be and the timeframe of the Live. This enables your followers to plan in advance to participate during the Live, or – if they’re unable to join you live – to come back and watch the 24-hour replay. (As part of their pre-Live prep, our ambassadors are tasked with supplying two or three vertical images and video elements.)
- Screenshot, Save and Share – Don’t cheer or virtually high five each other until you’ve completed the 3 S’s. You can use this process to measure each Instagram Live–it’s crucial in telling the complete story of success on this platform.
Take a screenshot of the slide immediately following the end of an Instagram Live–it shows how many viewers you had during the live. Watch out, it’s really easy to swipe off this last screen and lose all the valuable information you collected. Save it! This gives you the ability to keep that live video for prosperity and potentially repurpose it down the road. (I’m looking at you, IGTV.) Sharing your Instagram Live enables the live video to circulate for an additional 24 hours, giving you even more views (you can then go back 24 hours later to capture those views).
Once you have all of these elements covered? Commence with the high fives and confetti cannons! ?
Instagram Live is just one feature you can leverage for maximum engagement. Read about others here.
Follow Casie: @TheNameIsCasie