Do you want premium visibility among your Instagram followers without paying for ads or trying to figure out the ever-changing algorithm? Just go Live!

Follow along as we break down each step to using Instagram Live to promote your upcoming conference, festival, or meeting to your existing audience.

Benefits

Instagram prioritizes people that are Live right now by placing you at the beginning of the Stories list. Your followers who are using the app right now will even get an in-app notification telling them you're going Live.

While you are broadcasting live, your story circle will jump to the front of your follower's story list and stay pinned with a "LIVE" tag.

Livestreaming is booming right now and a great way to stand out from the never-ending feed of posts. Let's look at the stats!

  • 80% of audiences would rather watch a livestream than read a blog post or social media post.
  • 67% of audiences who watched a livestream bought a ticket to a similar event the next time it happened.

The Difference Between Stories & Instagram Live

Stories are 15 seconds each. You can upload a video longer than 15 seconds, but Instagram will automatically chop it into 15-second videos.

Instagram Live videos can be up to 60 minutes and are an interactive way to have a conversation with your followers or a co-host. Live will never be as polished as an edited video, but that's the beauty of it. Give your followers a real glimpse of the people behind your event.


Get Prepped:


Two Weeks Before Going Live

1.  Decide The Format

There are a few ways to make your Instagram Live content worthwhile. You can use it to make an announcement, invite a co-host to chit-chat, answer viewer questions, or even present a slideshow.

Format Idea 1: Announcement- Use this format to announce exciting news such as headline speakers, important updates to your event or even show off attendee swag bags and digital discounts.

  • Have news? Amp up the excitement by announcing new speakers on Live!
  • Show off swag bags - Whether you plan on mailing physical swag bags to attendees or turning them fully digital, it's a great chance to get attendees (and sponsors) excited.
PRO TIP
At the beginning of your Live, announce that you'll share a coupon code at the end. It'll reward viewers for sticking around and help convert more folks.

Format Idea 2: Invite a Co-host - Use this format to invite a speaker or sponsor to chat about your upcoming event or treat it like an interview.

  • Speakers: Let them pitch viewers on what they will learn at their session. Just a teaser! This gives viewers a chance to feel excited and motivated to purchase a ticket.
  • Sponsors: Let them share why they're sponsoring your event, opportunities attendees can experience, and any news they might want to share about their company.
PRO TIP
Your co-host doesn't have to be the headline speaker. Actually having a co-host who has a large following on Instagram is ideal because when they go live on your account, all of your co-host's followers will be notified as well!

Format Idea 3: Questions & Answers - Use this format to collaborate with your viewers.

  • If your event is new or you've recently made the move to virtual, this is a great time to answer attendees (and potential attendees) questions about your event.
  • If you are the face of your event, then Q&A might be the perfect format for your followers who want to ask you questions they might not be able to ask at your event!
PRO TIP
When reading the submitted questions be sure to thank that viewer by name! It helps them feel connected to you and willing to stick around longer even after you've already answered their question. Learn more about the 4-step virtual feedback loop!

Format Idea 4: Create a Slideshow - Use this format for tutorials, how-tos, and activities.

  • Share some knowledge! Whether it's a short yoga session to alleviate that work from home stress, or teaching viewers how to get more sign ups for their email list, share something your views can learn from that can be tied to your event.
  • Create & Cultivate has a weekly series called Ask an Expert where they invite a different person to take over their Instagram and host a Live how-to. Check out the example below where Rochelle Graham-Campbell showed Create & Cultivate's viewers how to moisturize natural hair with the L.O.C. method.
PRO TIP
We recommend using Canva to create professional looking slides like Create & Cultivate did below. Chose the Instagram Stories template for the perfect size and be sure to leave enough blank space in the upper right hand corner for your video.

2. Decide on Your Host

Your host will be the face of your event during your Live. A great host brings energy and enthusiasm to keep your audience tuned in. You should expect 1/2 of the energy from your audience as your host brings.

Decide if you or someone on your team is up for the job. If you plan on inviting a co-host, schedule a video chat with them first so you can ensure their lighting is great and get a good read on their energy.

PRO TIP
Do a test run on a personal account so you and your hosts can get comfortable with the Instagram Live broadcasting tools.

3. Find Your Perfect Time

If you have some flexibility, Instagram can even show you the best day of the week to reach the most people.

  1. Go to your Instagram Profile.
  2. Click the "Insights" button.
  3. Click the first list item called "Accounts Reached."

In the below screenshots, you'll see that Wednesday would be my best day to go Live with nearly double the accounts reached as other days.


One Week Before Going Live

1. Promote On Stories

Start promoting your planned Live within your stories at least a week in advance. Don't be afraid to post to your story every day! Let your followers know what they should expect, what they'll learn, and tag any co-hosts or guests.

Use the 'countdown sticker' in your Stories to announce when your Live will happen. If your followers click on the sticker, it'll let them set a reminder.

When your followers view your story, they will see a countdown. They can tap the sticker to get a reminder and they'll even have an option to share the event on their own story.


One Day Before Going Live

1. Adjust Your Settings

  1. Tap the New (+) button in the top right-hand corner of Instagram.
  2. At the bottom, scroll to the left past Post, until you see Live.
  3. Your screen will show how many of your followers are active right now. Note: If you click on the white capture button at the bottom, you'll be Live and your active followers will be sent a notification that you're now Live.
  4. Click on the settings icon in the top left-hand to edit who can reply, saving, and sharing options.
  5. Click Done in the top left-hand corner.

2. Filter Out Offensive Comments

Instagram makes it simple to prevent offensive comments during your Live:

  1. Open Instagram and navigate to your profile.
  2. Click on the hamburger menu in the top right-hand corner.
  3. Click on "Settings."
  4. Click on "Privacy".
  5. Click on "Comments."
  6. Toggle "Hide offensive comments" from "Off" to "On."

Instagram will auto-detect and hide common offensive phrases. You can even add custom filters by toggling "Manual Filter" on. Add each word as a comma-separated list (example: word 1, word 2, word 3).


On The Day You're Going Live

1. Setup Your Shot

  • Set the scene! Make sure you have a good background, enough light, and your phone settled at eye level.
  • Chat happens at the bottom of Live, so be mindful that your face isn't getting covered up. When inviting a co-host, the screen will split in two (top and bottom halves), so be sure both of your phones are set up a little further back than normal.

2. Promote One Last Time

  • Promote your upcoming Live one more time in your Stories!
  • If you plan on answering some Q&A's during your Live, you can collect questions before your Live starts just by adding the Questions sticker to your Story. When it comes time, you'll be able to click the Questions button during your Live to access all the questions.

3. How to Go Live on Instagram

  1. Open Instagram and tap the New (+) button in the top right-hand corner of Instagram.
  2. At the bottom, scroll to the left past Post, until you see Live.
  3. Tap the white circle button to go Live. Give your followers a moment to join your Live before you jump into anything important. Note: Once you are Live, you can start using any of the features: invite a co-host, apply a filter, answer questions, pin a comment, or start a slideshow.
  4. To stop Live, tap 'End' in the top right corner and 'End Now' to confirm.

What Does Instagram Live Look Like?

Once you hit 'go Live', it will begin broadcasting. Within a few seconds, you'll see viewers start to pop in. So don't hit that button until you're ready!

Let's break down each button you'll see on screen once you go Live.

How to:

  • Invite a Co-host - Click on the two faces sticker at the bottom of your screen. It'll pop up a list of people you can invite to your Live. When they accept, your screen will split in half. Note: Viewers can request to co-host your Live. The host will be the only person to see these requests in the chat.
HypeBeast shares how quickly you can invite a co-host to your Instagram Live
  • Answer Questions Live - During your Live, click on the question mark icon and scroll through the questions viewers have submitted. Your viewers will not be able to see any of the questions on your screen until you click and choose a question you want to display.
  • Create a Slideshow - When you add an image to your Live it'll move your face to the top right-hand corner of the screen. You can change images while Live, creating your own slideshow. Tap the photos button on the bottom of your screen and it'll pop up with photos from your camera roll. Don't worry, your viewers won't see any of this until you click on an image.
Jasmine Star did a quick and easy tutorial on how to master the slideshow feature on Instagram Live.
  • Apply a Filter - Once you go Live you can apply a filter by clicking on the face with stars sticker at the bottom of your screen.
  • Pin a Comment - Watchers can chat Live saying hi or adding to the conversation. Acknowledging you can see their comments makes the watcher feel seen and they'll want to stick longer. Want to pin a comment to the top of the chat? This can be your own comment or a viewers. Just hold down on the comment and select "pin comment".
  • Turn Off All Comments- You have the option to turn off the comments on an Instagram Live video by tapping the three dots in the chatbox and switching to "Turn Off Commenting".

4. Save your Live to IGTV

Your Live will only last 24 hours, just like a regular story, unless you save it to IGTV.

Once you end your Live, tap 'Share to IGTV' at the bottom of the screen and it'll save to your account. You can also tap 'Download Video' to save it to your camera roll.

IGTV saves your Live videos in a different tab within your profile. Your followers can click on the tv icon on your profile to see all of your saved Live videos. You can even add tags to filter by different series, like Create & Cultivate does below.


Overview

  • Use Instagram Live as a promotional tool to answer any questions and get your audience excited about your upcoming virtual event.
  • Find a host who is comfortable on camera.
  • Decide your Live format: Announcements, Q&A, slideshow, interview with a co-host, etc.
  • Promote your upcoming Live within Instagram stories every day and up to 1 week in advance.
  • After your Live is over, save it to your IGTV or it'll be gone after 24 hours.
  • Happy livestreaming! If you have any questions, feel free to tweet us @emamo