Instagram joined the live broadcast bandwagon when it introduced the ‘Live’ option via ‘Stories’ in November 2016. While ‘Stories’ is a brain child of Snapchat, Instagram’s version is now more popular. Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, announced in June 2017 that Instagram Stories has more than 250 million users every day. It is significantly higher than Snapchat’s 166 million users.

The company had a different take on the live feature. A live broadcast on Instagram disappears as soon as it ends. This gives a sense of urgency among viewers to watch. Once the broadcast ends, there is no opportunity to view it again. This attempted to address an issue other live platforms faced: people not finding enough reasons to view a live broadcast.

As much as live videos allow people to share in an authentic way, Instagram acknowledged that going live can be intimidating. In spite of this, trends show that users continue going live. Instagram Live’s product manager, Shilp Sarkar, explained that young people use live broadcasts as a place to hang out. Houseparty, a live-streaming app developed by the now-defunct Meerkat, has taken advantage of this. Houseparty allows up to eight users to broadcast at the same time. It is reaping the benefits as its user base grew to around one million users every day in just two months after its launch. The popularity can be attributed to the fact the broadcasting live with a friend is less intimidating. Although, more and more people are buying Instagram followers for their new Live feature.

In an attempt to tap into this growing trend, Instagram launched the ‘add guest option’ in August 2017. As a brand owner, adding a guest to your live broadcast is not a sure-fire way to hook your audience. The challenge to keep viewers interested remains. Nonetheless, there are ways to keep your viewers interested to your Instagram Live broadcast.

Instagram Algorithms

First of all, there is a need to understand how algorithms work. Just like Facebook’s algorithms, Instagram’s algorithms are equally confusing but brilliant. Instagram studies overall user habits. It does not only analyze your recent interactions but also looks into past interactions that you had. Algorithms change constantly to keep up with changing user habits.

Instagram considers the following key factors in determining its algorithms:

1. Engagement of your posts;
2. The relevance of your posts;
3. Your relationship with fellow Instagram users;
4. Timeliness of your posts;
5. Your profile searches;
6. The posts that your share; and,
7. Your time spent viewing a post.

It is important to understand the engagement of your posts. These give you insights on what content appeals to your audience. Equipping yourself with this knowledge will help you determine engaging contents that will trigger audience response.

Knowing Your Why

Before broadcasting live, it is important to identify why you are doing it. Your purpose must be clear to you so that you can get your message across. Do not fall into the habit of random broadcasting. Plan ahead and stick to your strategy.

Curating Your Content

Equipped with the knowledge of what appeals to your audience is not enough. Your content will go to waste if your Live Video is of poor quality. You can achieve quality content by using appropriate tools. Invest in a good camera and learn the basics of video broadcasting such as proper framing, good lighting, and clear audio.

Interacting With Your Audience

When you build a relationship with your audience, you gain its trust and confidence. Instagram Live allows your viewers to comment and like your posts real time. Use this as an opportunity to connect with them at a personal level. You can do this by responding to their questions while you are broadcasting. You can also use this to gather your audience’s email addresses so that you can keep them updated on their inbox.


Timing is essential in live streaming and growing your audience base. Know when your audience is online and make sure that you live stream during those periods. Be consistent in posting live videos as this keeps your brand fresh in their memories. You have a lot of competition out there so it is easy for your audience to move on to another brand.

Keep your audience posted by announcing when you will go live and when your next live broadcast will be. Instagram noted that people miss 70 percent of their feeds on an average. You do not want to be a missed opportunity.

Use Your Live Videos as Teasers

While Instagram does not give you a time limit for your live feeds, you can withhold some information by using Instagram Live as a teaser. Remember that Instagram Live videos disappear as soon as they end. This will hook your audience as they will need to know all the information before your video ends. You can also use your teasers to invite your audience to sign up to your website or pre-order your product.

Promote Social Contests through Live Videos

Doing an Instagram Live is a great way to invite people to join your social contests. Use this to preview prices or showcase contest winners. If you have an ongoing contest, you can use Instagram Live to talk about the contest and remind your audience of the deadline. Better yet, you can use Instagram Live as the platform for your contest.

Be Yourself

Having fun while doing a live broadcast can be difficult given the intimidating nature of live broadcasts. This is where Instagram’s ‘add guest option’ can help you feel comfortable. Audiences turn to live videos because they want to know you and your brand more. Being yourself will help your audience see you as a brand that they can connect with.

To Conclude

Live videos have not yet gained much popularity among marketers. In 2016, only 27 percent of surveyed marketers have used it. This gives you a breathing space to create quality content. With Instagram Live, you have every opportunity to increase your user engagement. Keep these strategies in mind to keep your audience hooked to your live content.

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This article is written by SF