How to Use Instagram Live to Build Your Brand

In a world where visual content reigns supreme, Instagram is a stand-out platform for content marketing. It has garnered over 500 million monthly users and captivated the highly coveted Millennial audience. With humble origins as a photo-sharing app, Instagram has evolved far beyond filtered images of coffee mugs and sunsets. With new ways to use Boomerang, disappearing direct messages and the ability to include links and mentions in stories, there are more reasons than ever to build your brand using Instagram. But the biggest reason to pay more attention to Instagram rolled out just last night: Instagram Live.

That’s right. Instagram joined dove into the realm of live feeds, creating an interesting new dynamic for the platform and an exciting opportunity for content marketing.

How’s it work?

The design couldn’t be easier. Open your stories camera, and tap the live option at the bottom. From there, click “start live video.” And that’s it. You’re live. Your followers will receive notification that you’re live and your profile picture in the stories bar will read “Live” underneath as an additional cue for followers to jump on. While filming, you can see and pin comments in real time. The feature allows you to record up to an hour of footage and once you’re done, the video disappears from the app.

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What does this mean for the platform?

Slightly less weird than Twitter and more polished than Facebook, Instagram has always required more refined content than the other two social giants. Since the platform was created as a way to make average photos look better, there’s an unspoken expectation that Instagram images have to be somewhat good. You can tweet and post to Facebook as much as you have content for, but for Instagram you only post your best images with captions that you pass to your collegues for approval.

With the introduction of Instagram Live, the platform is sending an invitation to be more relaxed about your Instagram content, opening the door for marketers to leverage the platform in a new way. Now, in addition to polished images, quippy captions and playful stories, you can connect to your Instagram audience in a more personal and authentic way.

How do you create Instagram Live content?

Instagram did the heavy lifting for you. They handed you an easy way to energize your posts by pure virtue of novelty. All you have to do is capitalize on the excitement and newness of it. Sure, there’s a learning curve, but like I said earlier, live video is one of the most forgiving types of content known to the marketing world. Lately my office has been infatuated with a live feed of an eagle’s nest in Florida. It demands our attention even when it’s fairly static footage of an empty nest with a few stray downy feathers. That’s the beauty of live feeds. The fact that it’s live is inherently interesting for psychological reasons that may or may not be legit.

So feel free to be experimental and find out what works best. Showing the unedited, unscripted side of your brand is what live feeds are all about. If you’re still nervous you don’t know what’s going on, remember that the video disappears from the app once you stop filming. Essentially, there are no excuses for not trying it out as soon as possible. As far as social media marketing practices, take a hint from the platform itself. Stay fresh and just go for it.

I’m hoping to use Instagram Live sometime today on @uofoklahoma‘s feed, so stay tuned!



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