Written by Nico Prins
Have you ever hosted an Instagram Live and felt like you were talking to an empty room? Well, you’re not alone. It's a frustrating experience that can make you wonder if it's even worth it.
But don't give up just yet. With the right strategy, you can turn your Instagram Live into a highly engaging experience. It can keep your audience hooked during the session and even beyond.
In this article, you’ll learn five Instagram Live tips to maximize engagement and turn your IG Live into a lively conversation.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
1. Plan Your Instagram Live Content in Advance
Planning your content is perhaps the most important step to ensuring your Live is a success. Planning helps you stay focused and on track. A proper plan also helps you create a cohesive message. It helps you ensure that each topic or segment flows seamlessly into the next. The result then is a professional-looking live stream that engages.
Choose an Instagram Live topic. This should be something that your audience is interested in and that you’re knowledgeable about.
It’s also a good idea to choose a topic that’s relevant to your brand or business. Remember, if you’re a business, the ultimate goal is to sell your product or service. You can only do that if you reach people who are more likely interested in those in the first place.
So, let’s say you’re selling email marketing software. Discussing mental health awareness isn’t really an option. Email marketing is the best Live topic in this case since it’s a topic that interests email marketers and businesses. These are the same people you want to reach out to since they’re the more likely buyers of the email marketing software you sell.
Once you’ve chosen your topic, create an outline for your live stream. Your outline should be detailed enough to guide you during your live stream, but flexible enough to allow for spontaneity.
Prepare any necessary visuals or materials you’ll use during your Live. These visuals might include slides, graphics, or even physical props.
2. Promote Your Instagram Live in Advance
It might seem obvious, but building anticipation for your Live broadcast is crucial for attracting an audience.
If you simply go live without any prior warning, your followers might miss it or not even know that you're broadcasting. But with promotion, you can create excitement around your content and get them to take action (in this case, watch your Live). That’s why generating buzz is a critical component of ecommerce, B2B, and SaaS marketing.
To promote your Instagram Live, consider creating promotional graphic or video content. You can use a tool like Canva to design it. Check out the example below:
Another option is to record a teaser video. This could be a short clip of you demonstrating a new recipe, answering a question or showing a product related to the Live session. This will give your followers a reason to tune in and engage with this type of content.
But where exactly do you post this promotional visual content? You can post it as standard carousel posts, Instagram reels, or Stories.
You can also leverage live countdown stickers on Instagram Stories:
Collaborating with other Instagram accounts can help you reach a wider audience and increase Live engagement. Consider inviting an influencer or an expert to your Live so they can share a new perspective on your topic. This is also a great way to attract the guest's followers to your content. Thus, it’s a powerful way to get Instagram followers. We’ll talk more about the guests feature later.
But how is all this related to promotion? Your chosen influencer or brand can help promote your Live session, too. Once you’ve sealed your collaboration, you can mention each other in your respective Instagram captions days before the Live session, for example.
3. Interact with Your Audience During Your Instagram Live
You want your Instagram Live to be a two-way conversation, not just a monologue. Think about it. If you were watching a live stream and the host wasn’t interacting with their target audience, how long would you stick around? Not very long, right?
When you interact with your viewers, it keeps them invested in what you’re saying. Your viewers also feel seen and appreciated. That helps you build stronger connections with them.
During your Live session, ask your active users if they have questions for you. Check out this example from Sephora, who used the comments section to encourage its viewers to ask:
Polls are only available for Instagram Stories, but you can still find a way to weave them into your Live. For example, you can ask your target audience to type "yes" or "no" in the comments section as their response to a question you just asked. This adds an interactive element to your video and increases the engagement rate.
Don’t forget to encourage your viewers to take your desired action during your Live session. This could be anything from liking your post to sharing your content with their friends. You can mention your call to action verbally or pin it, as shown below.
Basically, the key to interacting with your audience is to make them feel like they’re part of the conversation. By doing this, you’ll keep them engaged and interested in what you have to say.
4. Use Other Instagram Live Features to Your Advantage
If you want to get the most out of your Instagram Live, you need to know how to use its interactive features to your advantage. Some of these features include:
- Instagram filters
- Live guests
- Q&A session
Filters are a great way to add some flair to your Instagram Live stream. They can make your video more visually appealing and help set the tone for your broadcast. Plus, they're easy to use - simply click on the smiley face shown below and you’ll see a list of filters:
To make your Instagram Live more engaging, change filters throughout your broadcast. Just make sure not to do it too often. The many abrupt changes in colors and designs might hurt your viewers’ eyes.
Take advantage of the guests feature as well. Remember what we said about guests and how they can help bring new perspectives to your broadcast? You can invite guests directly through your Live.
Simply click on the button highlighted in yellow below. If you want to see the people requesting to join your session, click on the one highlighted in red:
Finally, instead of using the traditional Instagram Live comments section, you can take advantage of Live Q&A sessions.
To use this feature, post a question sticker like the image below.
When people start responding to the questions, tap anywhere in the feed. Click on the “Go Live” button.
Then, click on the question mark to see the questions and your followers:
Here’s what such a live Q&A session looks like:
Answer as many questions as possible. If you have a question you don’t know the answer to, just tell your viewers you’ll get back to them.
These Live features are there for you to maximize engagement. Leverage them.
5. Repurpose Your Instagram Live Content
You went live on Instagram and had a blast, but what’s next? Repurposing your Instagram Live content can help you maximize its value.
You can share your Instagram Live as a regular post. Just click on the “Share” button that appears once your Live video has ended:
You can also share your Instagram Live video as a Story highlight.
Sharing the video in both formats allows your followers to rewatch your Live session or catch up on what they missed. Additionally, this gives your followers the chance to share the content with their followers.
You can also opt to change your Live video content format for other platforms.
For instance, use a video editing tool like Veed.io or Viva Videos to chop it down to short and engaging videos for Instagram Reels. Reels get 22% more interaction than standard posts. So, this is a great opportunity for you.
You can also post a snippet of your Instagram Live to create a regular recap post on your Instagram. Check out this example from Buzzfeed Tasty:
Then just direct your users to a link where they can watch the saved video. See the “link in bio” Buzzfeed Tasty caption above as an example.
Transcribing your Live and turning it into a blog post or email newsletter is another way to repurpose your Live. This allows your followers who missed your Live to read it in a different post format. It can also help you increase your website traffic.
In essence, don't let your Instagram Live go to waste. Repurpose it and keep the engagement going!
Instagram Live is a powerful tool to engage with your audience and grow your brand. But you need to do it the right way.
Remember to promote your Live and plan your content in advance. Take full advantage of the features on Instagram Live, too. Interact with your audiences during the session. After your Live, repurpose it so that those who missed it can catch up.
By following these Instagram Live tips, you can keep your audiences glued to your sessions from start to finish. You can even maximize the engagement of your Instagram Live after it has ended. Good luck!
Nico is the founder of Crunch Marketing, a SaaS content marketing agency. The company works with enterprise SaaS clients, helping them scale lead generation globally across EMEA, APAC, and other regions.