Instagram has the highest engagement of any social media platform, but saturation is a real thing these days. The more people join the platform, the more competition there is for post reach. Even Instagram admits that 70% of all posts to the platform, don’t get seen.
What this means is that if you are using Instagram for your social strategy, you need to stay competitive on the platform. How do you do this? By staying up to date with its features.
Since Instagram introduced Instagram Stories back in 2016, the feature has been adopted by 400 million daily users. Instagram Live is a particularly helpful element of the feature, that has some definite benefits. Interestingly enough, it’s still a feature that isn’t getting much use.
Below, we dive into the 4 top reasons to use Instagram Live.
4 Benefits of Instagram Live
As previously mentioned, visibility on Instagram isn’t that easy to come by these days (again, around 70% of Instagram posts, don’t even get seen!). That’s a lot of wasted effort, especially since you’re investing money into your strategy.
Stories offer a good way to beat this system, by placing your content in a very visible place: the top of your follower’s feed. Instagram Live streams take it a step further. They’re kind of like the Instagram Story’s cool older sibling. When you go live on Instagram, your stream shows up in the same place as a story, only the Instagram Live has a few special privileges.
First Instagram Live streams get pushed to the front of the storyline, which with autoplay, gives you a pretty solid chance of getting views. Second, Instagram Lives are highlighted, which increases interest, and urgency to watch.
Finally, Instagram Live is push notification enabled. This means that any follower with the feature turned on will be alerted whenever you start a live stream. This significantly ups your awareness and increases your potential for reach.
You’ve probably already heard a lot about this, but as a refresher: there’s a lot of evidence that people love live content. There’s also a lot of evidence that people actually have trouble turning away. Because they create a sense of urgency.
Part of this is because we experience live events collectively, which draws us into the action. Take a sports game, for example. Everyone–audience and team– is experiencing the same thing at the same time. No one knows what will happen next, which creates a sense of heightened curiosity, almost like suspense. Viewers become invested in what happens next. They care.
This real-time, collective experience is also what makes live events more sticky than average content. Once a viewer is invested, they care what happens next. If they turn away, they might miss out on something important, that everyone else saw.
Instagram Live stories work in the same way and even take it a step further. Although your followers can replay your Instagram live for up to 24 hours after the original stream, after that, it’s gone. Forever. So there is real opportunity to miss out on something, permanently.
I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. FOMO is real.
On that note, another reason people tend to love live content is because it’s authentic. You don’t know what will happen next, but when you think about it, neither do the people hosting the live stream. This makes it difficult to fake things like product quality, brand personality, and a whole host of other things that millennials and Gen Z-ers tend to be distrustful of in overproduced campaigns.
Authenticity is an incredibly important thing to consider since there’s evidence that it directly affects revenue. A study by Sprout Social found that consumers value business transparency a lot. So much so that a brand who lacked transparency on social media would cause 86% of consumers to turn to a competitor.
Instagram Live breaks down the barrier between you and your audience and gives you an opportunity to have a real conversation with your audience, and where you can interact in real-time. It feels like a one-on-one experience, which makes it personal and genuine. Genuine means trustworthy, and people love that.
** Side note, just because a live stream isn’t fully scripted, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a plan. Turning the camera on without a clear picture of what you want to happen during the stream, and ideally at least one test run can result in a really awkward experience for everyone.
Instagram Stories tend to generate more engagement than Instagram posts because they lead to conversation. Users DM, rather than simply “like” which opens a new lane of connectivity. Instagram Live opens even more potential for conversation. You can ask viewers questions, give a behind the scenes look into your business, let viewers direct the action of the stream… you name it. Most importantly, it’s a two-way interaction. You can respond to your audience because it’s happening in real-time.
Another feature that makes Instagram Live particularly engaging, is that its long form. Regular Instagram Stories can only be 60 seconds in length, while Instagram Live can extend to a full hour. This gives you a lot more options to choose from, content-wise, and decreases your chance of drop off.
1 in 3 consumers said they’ve become interested in a brand or product after seeing it in an Instagram Story.