Instagram has improved significantly since its start as a photo sharing application, after going from an unknown startup to the social media behemoth that it is today. In December 2016, the Instagram blog reported that the platform had surpassed 600 million users, after adding the last 100 million Instagrammers within the previous six months. That’s an increase of almost 20 percent.
Now that Instagram has started to cater more to business, the potential for promoting your work on the app is constantly improving. Now that major brands, like Starbucks and J.Crew, have begun to rely so heavily on Instagram, it’s time to pay attention. Today, businesses of all sizes can recognize Instagram’s incredible marketing potential.
The app’s newest feature, known as Instagram Live, takes B2C communication to the next level using live video streaming, and there’s no doubt that it will soon become a necessary component of your B2C marketing efforts. Here’s what you need to know:
How It Works
Instagram’s new Live feature works in tandem with the Stories feature. Users wishing to “go live” simply push a button and send their stream for the world to see. Friends receive a notification that you’ve gone live and can tune in whenever they like. Viewers can then add comments during the video. Worried about having one of those scary “live tv” moments? Don’t fret. Your video feed is fleeting, and anything you stream will be automatically deleted when you sign off.
While the clip is airing, you can monitor who is commenting or reacting to your live video feed and reply back to them as you wish. All of that data will be gone, along with the video, as soon as you’re finished, however. Be sure to make the most of it while you’re live, and if there’s a comment you don’t want to lose, grab a screenshot before it’s gone!
Why Should Small Businesses Care?
Small business owners should pay attention to Instagram Live for two main reasons. First, it provides a direct channel for two-way communication between you and your audience. In a mass of spam and never-ending memes, true connections like this have become very hard to come by. In the most basic terms, it creates more opportunities for you to build a sense of trust and transparency among your customers.
Studies have shown that companies that are deemed “authentic” by the general public have customers who are more loyal and represent a greater value to the brand. Use Instagram Live to give your customers an inside look at your business. Take them through the office or factory, and show them the unrehearsed human side of your company.
The second draw of Instagram Live is that in most cases, businesses of today already have an existing Instagram following. These are the users you’ve worked tirelessly to impress, and now is the time to capitalize on the fruits of that labor.
Your existing followers are the perfect target for your Live marketing campaign. Because this feature is still so new, they’re still learning it along with you, and they are still impressed by the novelty. Take advantage of Instagram Live’s initial popularity to serve up the streaming content to your subscribers while it’s still hot.
If you’re interested in learning more about integrating video into your company’s marketing strategy, get in touch with us. We would love to discuss your options with you.