The better way to sell online

Using Instagram live to boost sales

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms, and with its image heavy design it’s effective at quickly communicating visual messages. In 2018, the platform launched Instagram Live, allowing users to stream messages in real time to their followers.

By allowing viewers to comment, this created the opportunity for Instagram users to host live two-way exchanges, and to answer questions as they arose.

For small businesses, Instagram live can create a unique opportunity to spread brand awareness, increase customer loyalty, appear more genuine and – ultimately – boost profits.

So how does it work? When a user goes live, a notification is sent to all of their followers, and a ring is added around the broadcaster’s profile picture to signal their live status. The stream can then be viewed by clicking onto said profile picture, but once the stream ends, it’s gone forever.

So how can you make the most of Instagram Live for your business?

1. Check your settings before you go live.

Before you start streaming to your audience, take the time to make sure your space is well lit, you can be easily heard, your background is appropriate, and your talking plan is clear. An easy way to do this is by setting up a second Instagram account as a test account, and using it to practice without anyone seeing.

Making sure you iron out these little things before you go live will make for a more fun experience for you, and a more engaging experience for the viewer.

2. Film with intent.

Making things up on the fly can be fun and dynamic, but the results it will provide you with will be hard to measure and may result in damaging your brand. Whenever you make a video, make sure you follow some kind of structure and have a set intent. Whether that’s doing a live Q&A, promoting products or events, asking for feedback or starting a conversation about a set topic, make sure you start with a plan.

3. Make it matter.

Your Instagram live stream will disappear as soon as you stop recording, so make sure your customers know ahead of time that any offers you make during it will be one-time only exclusives, along with when your life stream will be. This will help inspire them to tune in, increasing your viewership and the likelihood of your stream resulting in sales.

If you’re worried your ideas might get stolen, you can also customize your settings to ensure your competitors won’t see that you’re live.

4. Experiment

You don’t always have to create run of the mill content either – you could do product demonstrations, tours of your business, interview people in your field or let people try your products live. These can make for interesting, dynamic content – and means you can collaborate with other Instagram users and businesses to cross-promote each other’s content.

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If you want to engage, excite and communicate with your audience, Instagram Live can help you connect. Creating and nurturing your followers can help build your brand, resulting in more sales and growth for you.

Have a think about which kind of content has excited you in the past – how could you incorporate it into livestreams of your own?

- Lena Klein

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