If you’re not using Instagram Live for your small business yet, you’re missing out!
Since its debut as a photo-sharing platform, Instagram has improved significantly, going from an unknown startup to a social media behemoth with more than 600 users as of December 2016.
Today, businesses of all sizes recognize the platform’s incredible marketing potential as its newest feature, Instagram Live , takes business communication to the next level.
Should Small Businesses Care?
The answer is simple. Yes!
Small businesses need to pay attention to the platform for two reasons. First, Instagram Live provides a direct channel for two-way communication between your business and your audience and secondly, you probably already have an Instagram following that you can easily convert into customers using Live Videos.
Ways to Use Instagram Live
Here are some ideas for efficiently and effectively using Instagram Live for business.
Host an Interactive Q&A
Use Instagram Live to engage with your audience, answering their questions in real time. Each video feed comes with a comments section that your audience can use to engage with you as you broadcast. They can also react via “likes.”
Tip: Before hosting a Q&A, always let your customers know well in advance that you will be holding a Q&A session. It would be prudent to ask them to send their questions in advance via Direct Message. This should help you with preparation. You can also have them ask questions during the live broadcast. This should make for a more interactive experience.
Stream a Live Workshop or Tutorial
In a similar manner as you would with a Q&A session, inform your audience ahead of time that you will be hosting a tutorial or workshop on Instagram Live. If you own a bakery you can host a fun baking live video on how to make lemon bread, for example. Or if you own a gym then you can host a tutorial on how to keep fit during winter. The advantage with Instagram Live is that you don’t have to worry so much about time limits as the platform allows you to be live for up to an hour.
Offer a Behind-the-Scenes Perspective of Your Business
Besides tutorials and Q&A’s, you can also use Instagram to humanize your business. Usually, when you post something on social media sites, your audience doesn’t get to see the hard work that went into the production. However, a behind-the-scenes perspective opens your world to them. In a world of spam and never-ending memes, connections such as this are not easy to establish, yet Instagram Live makes it so easy for you to build a sense of transparency and trust among your customers.
Things to Consider Before Using Instagram Live
Create a Plan for Engagement
It’s good to always remember that the reason why many people watch live videos is because they want to connect with the people behind the brand or business. You, therefore, need to have your broadcast plan in place with points to guide your conversation. Do your best to have answers ready for all the questions that may be asked. This will ensure you have a smooth broadcast.
Include a Call to Action
Always leave your viewers wanting more. Tell them of other ways that they can keep in touch, which could include subscribing to your newsletters or following you on other social networks. Whatever works for you.
The possibilities of how to use Instagram Live for your business  are endless. The secret to success, however, lies in your creativity, so keep trying new ways to spice up your broadcasts.
Are you currently using Instagram Live for your business? What do you love most about it? We’d love to hear from you.
Live Stream  Photo via Shutterstock