Instagram Live has been a boon to the direct-to-consumer lingerie brand Lively. So much so that they expanded into brick-and-mortar stores partly because they could tailor the space to better host in-store events.

Subsequently, Instagram Live, and live streams like it, have driven in-store sales and have helped Lively amass more than 100,000 customers for its ambassador program. And when Lively had to temporarily close all of its retail locations in March due to COVID-19, it revamped its events for social distancing, taking to the live streaming platform twice a week with women from a variety of industries.

Instagram Live allows Lively viewers to tune in for fireside chats with company founders, learn makeup and hair techniques, take cooking and workout classes, and attend digital happy hours.

“We are a brand grounded in community,” says Lively founder Michelle Cordeiro Grant. “And to be a community, you need events in real life. IG Live is replacing these real life moments.” 

In addition to providing followers with great content and fostering community, Lively’s Instagram Live events have contributed to unprecedented ecommerce sales.

Let’s take a look at how Lively and other brands successfully use Instagram Live and how your brand can employ these tactics to engage your audience and increase conversions.

1. Start with the Basics: Broadcasting an Event in Real Time

Invite followers to engage with your brand in a unique way by broadcasting events and allowing them to participate through comments and questions on Instagram Live in real time. 

This is a key part of Lively’s social strategy. The brand hosts numerous in-store events, such as exercise classes and seminars with thought leaders. Viewers can tune in and take part whether they’re working out in their own home or chiming in with their own viewpoints on particular topics.

The reason Instagram Live is so effective is that viewers must tune in immediately or risk missing out. This can also pose a unique challenge if you’re choosing to go live, so be sure to loop back on key points and major takeaways throughout your livestream.

It’s also a good idea to have someone share comments and questions from Instagram Live viewers with your event’s speakers or audience. Doing this in real time will help the people who tune in truly be part of the conversation.

2. Have a Conversation with Your Followers

Instagram Live is the ideal platform to have a conversation directly with your audience. It’s a way to put a personal touch on otherwise cold marketing. Invite influencers, experts, partners, and brand representatives to take part in the conversation.

This provides an opportunity to humanize your brand and showcase the people behind it. It’s also an opportunity to discover user pain points and get immediate feedback from people who already use your products.

Hosting a conversation like this also helps generate buzz about your company and its products. For example, REI recently went live with an employee to share her favorite products and answer user questions about them.

To get the most out of these Instagram Live events, promote them in days preceding it. Post about it on Instagram and your other social media outlets, use a countdown sticker in your Instagram Stories, include it in an events calendar on your website, or save it in your Story Highlights, as Lively does.

And if you’re interviewing an influencer, such as Rolling Stone magazine did when it went live with singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham as part of Yeti’s The Midnight Hour series, have the influencer promote the event on their own account to get their followers psyched about the event.

3. Host a Recurring Segment

Engage your audience and build anticipation with regular Instagram Live segments. This could be an interview series, an audience discussion, an expert Q&A, or a tutorial, for example.

A recurring live broadcast creates consistency and gives your audience something to look forward to — and a way to engage with your brand on a regular schedule to keep followers comin’ back for more.

For example, Glamglow hosts recurring beauty segments on Instagram Live, including its Wednesday Skill Drill, Friday Faves, and Sunday Styles.

And Book of the Month invites its followers to participate in monthly book club discussions, asking them to share opinions, pose questions, and even propose titles for upcoming reads.

4. Launch a Product or Share Updates

Create buzz around new items or product updates by going live and directly sharing your brand’s latest innovations with its biggest fans.

During the event, invite viewers to ask questions in real time and become part of the experience, which will not only generate excitement about your announcement but also increase the likelihood that your audience will be on the lookout for further updates and try the product out for themselves.

To ensure a good turnout, promote the event with an Instagram post beforehand, and ask followers to submit questions. You can even create an air of mystery about your product reveal like Swatch did with the post below, ahead of the official announcement of its 007 collection.

While you’re live, give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the inspiration for your latest creation or its development, as singer Carrie Underwood did when promoting an album on Instagram Live.

You can also have your audience weigh in during your Instagram Live event by asking specific questions, such as, “How can we make this product better?” and “What about this product are you most excited about?” and “What would you like to see from us next?”

5. Teach Your Audience

Share your expertise, and give viewers face time with the people behind your brand by offering product tutorials and how-to sessions.

This type of content is among the most popular on Instagram, for good reason: it establishes your brand as an authority in your industry, and it allows viewers to learn from the experts.

Cult cosmetic line Morphe often utilizes Instagram Live to do just that, broadcasting real-time makeup lessons that feature make up artists and hosting tutorials on specific looks and products.

Tutorials demonstrate exactly how a product should be used, and they showcase how a product solves a consumer pain point. And seeing someone use a product firsthand, such as a new foundation, acts as a form of social proof, which drives customers to make purchases.

But teaching your audience doesn’t have to be about product promotion. Brands can simply use Instagram Live to engage with their followers and provide them with additional value by teaching them a new skill or technique, such as stationery brand Paper Source does with its Craft Happy Hours.

This type of Instagram Live event is also an ideal opportunity to collaborate with other Instagram users, including influencers and partnering brands.

6. Go Behind the Scenes

Give followers a glimpse behind the curtain and show them your workspace, studio, or office, such as Alabama Woodworker did recently in a tour of his workshop. Or take followers along to a photo shoot, industry event, or company retreat.

Viewers flock to livestreams because it’s an opportunity to see raw, authentic footage, and going behind the scenes takes this a step further. In fact, 87% of people will watch a livestream online if it includes behind-the-scenes content.

Fans of brands want to see the people behind a business and get a feel for the company culture. Doing so enables consumers to form a deeper connection with the brand. Ninety percent of consumers make purchases from companies they follow on social media, and they spend more with the brands they follow and engage with.

7. Provide a Service or Entertainment

Give your followers a little something for free by broadcasting live entertainment or leading them in a workout, meditation session, or other beneficial event.

For example, Self magazine frequently goes live with yoga sessions and workout classes. And Osprey Packs, Levi’s, and The Better Skin Co. all livestream regular concerts.

Giving your followers something for free that they can learn from, engage with, and enjoy is much more than simply a nice thing to do: it also makes customers feel like a valued part of your brand.

8. Run a Contest

For a real sense of urgency, host a giveaway that lasts only as long as your live stream. This is a surefire way to get your followers clamoring to take part.

Promote the event in a post beforehand to ensure maximum participation, or host surprise Instagram Live giveaways that’ll inspire your followers to join each time you go live so they don’t miss out.

Check out how influencer Mark Jansen hosted a giveaway with his followers on Instagram Live in the video above.

Connect with Your Followers on Instagram Live

Consumers want to interact with the brands they love, and Instagram Live is the perfect way to do just that.

In fact, 80% of people would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and internet users watched more than a billion hours of live video in 2019 alone.

Plus, live-streaming to your audience lets you tap into users’ fears of missing out, or FOMO, so you can bet that your brand’s biggest fans will be scrambling to catch your latest broadcast.

But going live isn’t about making people feel excluded; it’s all about inclusion. So take advantage of Instagram Live and give followers a taste of events they can’t attend in person. This helps them feel like they’re truly a part of your brand — and it’ll inspire them to keep tuning in.