Live-streaming is the latest social media trend that every business owner has to be onto, the thing that you need to be doing if you want to reach your audience on social platforms.

While live-streaming is not for everyone, it is clearly gaining momentum, particularly amongst younger users.

In line with this, Instagram has announced that they too will be adding in a live-streaming element to their app, similar to what’s already available from Facebook (Facebook Live) and Twitter (Periscope).

Instagram Live

Instagram’s Live functionality works in much the same way as those other platforms –  select ‘Live’ from the options at the bottom of the composition screen when shooting a photo or video.

A selection of your connections will get a notification that you’re live so they can tune in. There’ll also be a new ‘Live’ notification added to your Stories icon at the top of the Instagram screen.

But there’s a key difference.

On Instagram, your live stream only exists while you’re broadcasting. As soon as your stream is finished, that video is gone – you can’t save it and it’s not added to your profile.

In this sense, the option is more similar to Meerkat, which as another live-streaming app that shut down due to lack of audience. But where Meerkat was most popular was among younger users, which appears to be the same market Instagram is chasing.

Brand streaming?

The addition of live-streaming adds is another consideration for businesses on Instagram. Over the past year, Instagram has been working to improve their add offerings and generate more business interest in their app.

Through the delivery of ads, Instagram can generate revenue, so there’s a lot of motivation for Instagram to make their platform more appealing for this purpose – and while their live-streaming offering is more focused on users, there will still be ways businesses can use the option to expand their outreach and generate engagement.

If you can think of creative, innovative ways to share your brand story and engage with your audience via live-stream – and you have an established audience already on Instagram – then it may be worth investigating how you might be able to use the new tool.

For example, try a live Q&A session (viewers can comment in real-time), an instructional live-stream showing your team at work, a behind the scenes tour of your business and process to build a following and community.

Instagram links

Another option that Instagram recently announced relates to links in Stories content. Now, when you create an Instagram Story – which you can do by swiping right from your home screen – you can mention other Instagram users within it. To do this, you use the text tool in Stories then type in their Instagram handle – if you don’t know it, you can type in “@” and Instagram will bring up a list of suggestions.

When you do mention someone in your Story, they’ll receive a notification on Instagram, alerting them to your content. This also means that anyone who views your story can click on the profile link to check them out.

There are various potential businesses uses for this – you can cross-promote with other businesses, mention winners of a contest, give a shout out to top clients. If you’re looking to boost your Instagram engagement, it’s worth considering how you might be able to use the mention option to boost your presence.

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