Back in November 2016, Instagram launched its newest feature, a broadcasting tool aptly called Live. While the feature was one of the last of its kind to arrive in the live video streaming marketplace, Instagram Live is uniquely positioned for continued success because it’s on a platform audiences already flock to for visual content.
In this sense, Live offers a ripe opportunity for video marketers already using Instagram for promotional purposes. However, just because Instagram Live might work well for a particular brand doesn’t mean it will produce the same live streaming experiences and results as other brands, or even the same as other platforms.
As video marketers start to experiment with Instagram’s new live streaming feature, they can take a cue from the success of Chatbooks, a brand that generated 10,000 views on its first-ever, days-long Live stream.
How Chatbooks Generated 10,000 Instagram Live Views
Three weeks after Instagram launched its Live video feature, Chatbooks was given access to the tool on December 12. The company, which helps Instagram users print photo albums from the pictures they post on the social media site, saw the opportunity provided by Live to provide a behind-the-scenes look at its brand, and started using the broadcasting feature immediately.
“We started Instagram Live on the first day of launch, because we wanted to open up to our followers: allowing them to ask us questions and showing who the real humans behind the Chatbooks team are,” said Rachel Hofstetter, vice president of marketing at Chatbooks.
The company’s first Instagram Live stream took the form of a simple Q&A session, and yet the Chatbooks team could never have anticipated its results. The brand attracted 4,000 viewers and hundreds of comments on its first day of testing the broadcasting feature. These numbers prompted the company to continue streaming for almost three days straight in what Hofstetter says was “almost like a 24/7 Chatbooks Channel.”
“We talked with our community and answered questions, but more importantly, we had a lot of fun,” Hofstetter said. “Families and kids were popping in and out of our livestream, day and night! The pace didn’t stop: For three days straight, we talked to over 10,000 people live.”
Hofstetter notes how letting the Chatbooks team be themselves generated the most engagement. “For example, Heather, our social media director, and her husband Matt (who is our creative director) went on for hours at a time after their four young kids went to bed,” Hofstetter explained. “As they showed off the Chatbooks holiday books, you also got a sneak peek into their lives. A kid would sneak out of bed, a neighbor would stop by, or they’d tell a story of how they met. It was like a talk show! And along the way they would answer people’s Chatbooks questions on the spot.”
How Businesses Can Replicate Chatbooks’ Success
To date, Chatbooks has conducted over 100 Instagram Live sessions, each attracting up to 4,000 concurrent viewers. If marketers want to use Instagram Live to gain results similar to those of Chatbooks, they should follow a few key guidelines Hofstetter believes helped her brand find success on the platform.
- Build up a community beforehand
Live streaming simply won’t work for any brands unless they’ve already built up an engaged, loyal following across Instagram, as well as on other social platforms. Video marketers who boast a raving fan base have a much better chance of pulling in a large viewership.
“We have invested in our communities online since our early days, from answering questions on social media to delivering content that people care about,” Hoftsetter stated. “A good live stream starts with your core audience and steadfast followers. You need to invest in them—loyalty does not happen overnight.”
- Be open, friendly, and genuine
Transparency is increasingly becoming an important factor in online marketing, and it’s no different with live streams. Marketers interested in using Instagram Live should approach the platform with the intention of being honest and open instead of immediately trying to sell.
“Your followers want to see behind-the-scenes of the company; they want to see a human side of it, so open up to them and show them you genuinely care,” Hoftsetter said. “We did not do an Instagram Live because we wanted to sell more books, but because we really wanted to connect with our followers and gave them time to ask us questions.”
- Measure Instagram Live engagement against other platforms
Video marketers should also pay attention to how Instagram Live performs compared to other live streaming platforms. For example, Hofstetter notes viewership can range anywhere from 500 to 4,000 viewers depending on the time of day Chatbooks broadcasts on Live.
Because of this range, Hofstetter says Chatbooks uses multiple live streaming platforms for different reasons and measures engagement on each. “One might be better at a different time of day (i.e., people watch Instagram Live at night while hanging out, while Facebook Live sometimes gets better engagement during the day), or reach a different segment of your audience.”
- Get other team members involved
Some marketers might think the best way to pull in views on Instagram Live is by having top-level executives and co-founders host broadcasts. But, as Hofstetter’s example of her social media and creative directors’ live stream reveals, viewers may also want to engage with other leadership members within a company.
Hofstetter opened up access to Instagram Live to any Chatbooks employee who wanted to host a stream. “We had lots of people on our team sign up to host Live sessions throughout our holiday deadlines,” she noted.
- Have fun and experiment
Hofstetter said another key element to Chatbooks’ success on Instagram Live was because the brand went in with the goal to simply have fun. Because “positive vibes are contagious,” Hofstetter believes viewers are more likely to recommend current and future streams to their friends.
Additionally, marketers can feel free to experiment on Instagram Live because all streams completely disappear the moment they’re over, unlike on Facebook Live or Periscope. “That gives you more freedom to try new things—and worry less about annoying your audience,” explained Hofstetter.
Instagram Live offers video marketers and brands an exciting new way to interact with and reach their audiences. And if they follow the tips above which helped Chatbooks hit 10,000 views on its first stream, marketers are far more likely to find similar success on the broadcasting platform in no time at all.