This post originally appeared on neilpatel.com
With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is one of the liveliest social media platforms in the world.
The problem? Huge volumes of traffic can make it harder for brands to stand out and reach consumers in the most effective way possible. What’s more, it’s challenging to generate income from a platform with over 25 million brand accounts to compete with.
How do you separate your company from the competition?
By making social media marketing more personal again, which is where Instagram’s “Live Room” feature comes in.
What Are Instagram Live Rooms?
Instagram Live Rooms let you invite up to three people to host a live broadcast with you. The tool is an upgrade on Instagram’s popular “Live” feature, which lets you go live with one co-host.
There’s no need to buy fancy cameras or invest in new technology. If you’ve got an Instagram account, you can set up a Live Room.
- When you add someone to your Room, their followers receive a notification, which can help you grow your follower base.
- It’s up to you whether you bring in all guests at the same time or hold a “surprise guest” back for later in the session.
- You can run everything from charity fundraisers to shopping experiences live from any location.
Just like traditional Instagram, Rooms are available on iOS and Android devices.
Why Your Brand Should Use Instagram Live Rooms
Whether you decide to use Instagram Live Rooms depends on your customer demographics and your marketing goals. Here’s why I suggest you consider giving them a go, assuming everything lines up.
- With live broadcasts, you can show off the “face behind your brand” and reach your followers on a more personal, authentic level.
- Instagram Live Rooms bring a fun new dimension to product marketing.
- Since they’re free to host, the Rooms may be a cost-effective way to market your goods and services.
- Instagram Live Rooms allow you to monetize your content to generate some income from the platform.
I’ll walk you through how to get the most from your Live Rooms later. But first, here’s how to set up your first live show.
How to Start an Instagram Live Room
Once you’ve got an Instagram account, you can set up and run a Live Room.
First, swipe left and pick the “Live” option: a pink and yellow dot icon with curved lines on either side.
Next, follow the onscreen instructions to add a name for your Room. The name matters because it tells your audience what to expect, so keep it short and catchy.
Once you’ve named the Room, you can either start a live broadcast and wait for users to join or invite them manually.
You can either add all your guests at once or bring them in throughout the broadcast. Remember, it’s your Room, so how you control the entrance is up to you!
There’s a great safety feature, too. Since you’re the host, you can report and block inappropriate comments if they filter through, which helps give your users the best experience possible.
Features of Instagram Live Rooms
What makes Instagram’s “Live Room” feature stand out from competitors like YouTube? Let’s take a look at some of its unique traits.
Instagram Live Rooms allow brands to monetize their social media content through “badges.” Within seconds, viewers can buy Instagram badges to support your broadcast.
We’ll look at how to get the most from Instagram badges a little later, but for now, just bear this in mind: Depending on your Live chats’ quality and frequency, you could generate some regular income this way.
Live Shopping and Product Campaigns
With Instagram’s Live Shopping feature, you can sell your products during a live show.
Whether you’re trying to drive sales or running an exclusive product launch, Live Shopping brings you closer to your customers than ever before. Add a link to the product at the bottom of the feed, and users can quickly click “add to bag.”
What’s more, you can personally thank your viewers for shopping with you in real-time, which may make them feel valued!
Want to raise money for charity and boost your brand’s image? Run a live fundraiser right from your Room.
Rather than promoting your products, you can instead choose a charity and encourage your viewers to donate during the show. All you need to do is opt to turn your broadcast into a charity fundraiser rather than a “normal” Live show at the outset.
You can watch your fundraiser’s progress throughout the show and, again, personally thank everyone who donates.
I’m not saying you should swap out platforms like YouTube for Instagram Live Rooms. It’s simply another way you can quickly monetize your content, boost your reputation, and build lasting relationships with your followers.
Ways Brands Can Use Instagram Live Rooms
How you use Instagram Live Rooms depends on a few factors, such as your:
- Customer Base: Who are they, and what appeals to them? For instance, some demographics, like Gen Z, are more responsive to social media marketing.
- Business Niche: If you’re sales-focused, live broadcasts may support your efforts.
- Marketing Objectives: Are you looking to build a strong base of loyal supporters online? If so, personalized live shows may help.
Now it’s time to investigate specific ways brands can use Instagram’s Live Room’s feature to their advantage.
Host Engaging Q&A Sessions
Instagram Live Rooms let you host engaging and informative Q&A sessions to educate your audience and deliver valuable content.
Before you host the Q&A, research the most popular FAQs in your industry and prepare responses. (Though, you should expect curveballs!) Talk up how your brand is best placed to serve customers.
Additionally, ask your followers to submit some questions for you to answer.
Make sure there’s a clear structure to the session. Don’t wander off-topic, as your audience is there to learn about your brand—you don’t want their minds to wander or for them to click away.
Who you invite as cohosts depends on the questions you’re answering. For example, if it’s highly educational content, invite other industry leaders to chat with you. If it’s more casual, maybe invite influencers or loyal customers.
Interview Influencers in Your Field
Influencer marketing is hugely popular on Instagram, so consider collaborating with an influencer or two for a Live Room.
Always choose influencers who are consistent with your brand voice and messaging. You can find them on influencer platforms or via popular blogs and websites in your niche to see who they work with.
Think about what you want your audience to take from the interview, and structure your Live session accordingly.
The best part? When an influencer joins your Live Room, their followers receive a notification, and they could check out your show. This is a quick and free way to boost your page traffic and, potentially, your follower count.
Showcase People Trying Your Product for the First Time
Whether you feel it’s exciting or nerve-wracking to watch people try your products for the first time, one thing’s for sure: Potential customers want to see your product in action.
Reach out to some loyal customers or influencers, offer them a free product, and ask them if they’d feel comfortable sharing how and why they use it on a Live show.
Remember, viewers can comment and ask questions, so ensure the guest cohost understands this ahead of time.
Don’t forget to promote your broadcast, so as many followers as possible tune in to view it.
Announce Product or Service Promotions
With Instagram Live Rooms, you can build hype around new brand promotions, like seasonal sales, multi-buy discounts, or free trials. Or, you can “test out” a new promotional idea on a few select followers before rolling it out more widely.
Do you really need feedback on promotions? Well, here’s an interesting statistic for you: according to Gen Z Insights, 76 percent of “Gen Zers” expect brands to respond to their feedback and care about their opinions.
By inviting viewers to share their thoughts, you’re tapping into their expectations, potentially cementing their trust in your brand, and improving your marketing all at one time.
Introduce New Products or Services
Before you promote new goods or services on your main page, showcase them to your most loyal followers first. It’s all about gathering feedback and showing how responsive you are to adapting to customers’ expectations.
Invite those types of customers to try new products or services first. Not only could this ensure they feel valued, but it also helps you understand if your new offerings are consistent with what people have come to expect from your brand.
Some viewers are more likely to trust feedback from long-term customers than, say, influencers. So, if your loyal customers are impressed, you could convert those who haven’t shopped with you before into paying customers.
Earn Revenue With Badges
“Badges” are a unique way for you to monetize your Instagram Live Rooms.
Think of “badges” like virtual tips. Essentially, your audience can purchase badges during the live broadcast to show how much they’re enjoying your content. Once they buy a badge, they’re added to your list of “badge holders” and get a special heart beside their names.
Badges allow you to monetize your social media content while building an organic connection to your audience. One badge costs $0.99, two are $1.99, and three go for $4.99. Someone can tip you as many times as they want, though, so here are some tips for making the most of Instagram badges:
- Ensure your shows offer real value to your audience. Whether it’s interviews or FAQ sessions, you’re more likely to earn tips if viewers gain something from your content.
- Run Live Rooms regularly, even if you only host short broadcasts.
- Thank your donors and perhaps reward them with extra perks like early access to product launches. Give them shout-outs during the show, and consider building a VIP community for badge holders.
Host an Informational Session
The key to running a successful business is identifying your customers’ problems and explaining why your company is the one to solve them. Instagram Live Room information sessions allow you to do just that.
If you’ve got a lot to say about a complex topic, consider setting up an informal chat and educating your audience in a fun, engaging way. Invite influencers into your chat so they can spread the word about how your company can help their followers.
Consider creating a transcript or highlight reel to summarize the key points discussed during the live show. This is a great way to repurpose existing content.
Instagram Live Rooms help you put a fresh spin on social media marketing. With nothing more than a free Instagram account, you can reach followers on a personal level, monetize your content, and build your brand’s presence online.
For the best results, ensure your broadcasts offer real value. Perhaps most importantly, don’t forget to be yourself. Authenticity is key to successful online marketing.
How could Instagram Live Rooms support your brand’s marketing goals?