If you kept up with social media trends in 2016, you know that live video streaming is where it’s at. Video is the most engaging content and has a record of high conversion rates. It makes complete sense that live streaming is becoming the hottest medium for businesses to interact with followers. Companies broadcast a variety of video content including live events, Q & A’s, product announcements, company news, demonstrations, behind-the-scenes snippets, interviews - the list is endless.
Live streaming is a feature that is growing across many social media platforms, beginning with twitter’s Periscope to Facebook Live, which was launched at the beginning of 2016. But last week, it was Instagram that entered the game, but in a very different way.
What sets Instagram Live Video apart?
It’s no secret that Instagram tries to keep up with Snapchat and its parent company, Facebook. Launching a story section earlier this year, Instagram mimicked Snapchat’s photo and video feature of disappearing content. Now, its newest update, a Facebook Live/Snapchat hybrid, introduces an ephemeral experience with mobile-only, live video streaming.
Making a departure from other live video features, Instagram’s live video appears only during the live broadcast and then it is gone forever. Not only will it disappear from your followers but you, also, will not be able to access the video. Instagram recognized that live streaming can be intimidating, but the fleeting nature of this feature allows users to feel at ease knowing that their video won’t linger around for the world to see. Instagram encourages users to share more moments of their everyday lives rather than just picture-perfect highlights.
Start streaming your live videos on Instagram
Instagram Live Video is accessed through the story camera. From there, you will swipe to the live section and tap the Start Live Video button to begin streaming. Instagram will then send a push notification to some of your followers inviting them to watch your live stream. This notification only goes out to the followers who Instagram determined, algorithmically, would be interested in watching. Your profile picture in the story bar will have a live badge on it to let all other followers know that you are streaming. Live videos also pop up in the Explore tab calculated with a similar algorithm. Viewers can comment and send an unlimited number of likes (floating hearts) during your live stream; however, you can disable the comments and likes if you’d like.
Benefits and challenges of Instagram Live Video
Although we joke about Instagram mimicking other social media apps, the fact is that Instagram presented us with something different and with that comes benefits and challenges. Businesses might find Instagram Live Video to be a great tool for sharing teasers and sneak peaks with its audience without leaving a paper trail. Additionally, they may be able to reach a broader audience through the Explore section. They now have the ability to reach users who may be interested in their specific content, which can assist in building a bigger fan base on Instagram.
Measuring the success of content, especially on social media, is imperative. How can you find out if your followers find your content to be helpful or useful? You track your audience’s engagement and specific interactions. Live streaming offers immediate interaction which helps in gauging the interest of the viewers but what happens when the Instagram broadcast ends? It disappears. Now what? Instagram gives you two figures once the broadcast ends: number of people who viewed your content and a time stamp. That sounds like hardly enough information to determine the success of your live stream.
This is just the beginning of live video streaming with Instagram. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Instagram will make changes regarding the disappearing feature but for now, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for any updates and announcements from Instagram.