by Erin McNamara

We’ve been going live for years, whether it be on Saturday nights or with Regis and Kelly. But in 2016 there was a new kind of live that was taking over. The year started off with the growing popularity of Facebook Live and rounded out with the unveiling of a similar feature on Instagram. Going “Live” has offered users a chance to connect to their friends and followers, in real time, using video. In a year full of breaking news stories, going live gave media outlets the ability to reach viewers in the moment. In 2017, we can expect that brands jump on the live bandwagon too.

 

Instagram stories and Instagram Live

 

 

When Instagram launched the Stories feature in August it was met with some hesitation by users due to its noticeable similarity with the Snapchat feature of the same name. However, in the following month’s Instagram Stories started to grow. Then, in November Instagram announced the launch of Instagram Live which allows users to share video live for up to an hour. During the broadcast, followers will get notified that a user has gone live. Unlike its predecessor, Facebook Live, who’s videos continue to rack in views and shares long after the live broadcast is over, Instagram’s Live video doesn’t live on after the broadcast is finished. When the Live story is done, it vanishes from the app creating a sense of urgency and excitement among users looking to hear what the story is all about.

 

Going Live proves to be a great opportunity for brands of all kinds. It is a chance to reach an audience in an informal and more personal way. Instead of the traditional advertising structure that includes a visual and some copy, Live offers brands the chance to tell a story in a social setting and interact with their audience the same way they interact with their friends. A scenario especially appealing to Instagram’s largest demographic, the Millennial.

 

 

 

Instagram as a whole has become a social media giant with 89.4 million Americans liking and sharing at least once a month according to eMarketer. This number represents nearly a third of mobile phone users overall, with studies suggesting that in 2017 51.8% of social network users will be using Instagram. As the number of Instagram users continue to grow, its value to marketers will climb as well.  Going Live may very well be just the beginning in terms of what types of features Instagram will be offering and now is the time for brands to be building their audience.

Perhaps the most valuable part of Instagram’s features is the chance to tell a story however you want. Brands can utilize the traditional feed, Stories, and Live together to provide a unique inside look. Take followers behind the scenes with Live, bring them to a storefront event using stories, show them what the product offerings are using the traditional feed. Tell a story. Speaking with the customer just got even easier.

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