Over the last week, Instagram dropped a new small yet significant new feature for its Live broadcasts.
Live Scheduling now enables you to schedule Instagram Live videos up to 90 days in advance and share those scheduled times to Stories or feed so that your audience can set reminders. On the Instagram Live camera screen, tap the calendar icon on the left side of the screen. Choose a title for your Live, and then select a date and time. To use this feature, your stream must be scheduled at least 12 hours in advance, but you can schedule a stream to take place up to three months in advance.
Coming soon, you will be able to use Practice Mode for your Instagram Live, giving you the opportunity to do things like connect with your guests ahead of time, check light and confirm connectivity.
This means Instagram Live can become your next superpower if used wisely.
Small updates like this one show me that there is a growing interest and demand for a feature like Instagram Live. I often quote Benjamin Franklin and his “fail to plan, plan to fail” within reason. My secret weapon to a great way to create continuity to tap into one of the latest video features is to look into creating a Series.
The Series option can help you better brand their content and encourage return viewing by giving their series a dedicated label, along with an on-screen tab that viewers can tap to get notifications of new episodes. How can you create a successful Live series for yourself? Here are the key 4-steps to keep in mind.
Step one: find a goal for your Live series
There may be a misconception that a Series has to be ongoing, yet just like anything, you may find that a time-limited series could work really well with a campaign launch or seasonal campaigns. For most, Instagram Live is a great tool for brand awareness and bringing a more relatable edge to any brand and putting yourself in front of your audience. For others, it’s a way to collaborate with other users.
As we shape the idea of our series, we get clear on the goal of the videos. A series like Behind the Content, for us, is a way to spotlight our members on Instagram, as well as create a more personal connection with our followers. For the followers, is a way to learn the secrets from fellow entrepreneurs growing their brand online.
Step two: find a theme and structure
What content should you create for your series? Whenever possible, make it unique, yet keep it simple.
- Create ad hoc content showcasing your expertise
- Series of interviews
- Solo Q&As and office hours
Even when going Live, there is an argument to keep things compact. Most videos tend to get only viewed for up to 5 minutes, so make sure you engage with your audience from the very first minute you go Live and keep things simple. It took us a long time to make our videos shorter, as we had to nail the content balance and the scripts first.
Ideally, you want to storyboard your series to get a clear idea of what needs to be prepared ahead of time. Will you have a specific cover image? Or intro/outro? Do you need to script your videos? Do I need equipment?
Step three: create a schedule
Live Scheduling is a great way to start planning Live broadcasts more effectively. You can book videos 90 days in advance and share those scheduled times to Stories or feed so that your audience can set reminders.
Create an “appointment to view” when it comes to series so that you can build expectations with your followers. This does not mean you will have to test and assess the frequency, day of the week and time (this has changed for us periodically). Head back to your analytics after your Live to see the reception of your video content, and make time to tweak your strategy periodically.
Make sure you create a space in your content calendar to track your upcoming Live – this is particularly important if you also want to introduce guests in the mix and need to find people to interview.
As a handy tool, you can also use countdown stickers for reminders in your stories. Not many people know you can click on the series name on Instagram to get a list of all of the episodes and request to be notified when a new one comes out!
Step four: cross-promote efficiently
When a new episode of our series is out, I always make sure I also share on other social accounts, using a short snippet of the videos. With Instagram announcing monetization options, this new feature could allow creators to expand their Live content portfolio and encourage more people to utilise the platform, with the potential to eventually earn revenue via the content.
You can also use your email list and newsletters to direct people to your scheduled Live broadcasts as a way to cross-promote with your audience.
The benefits of a Live series
An Instagram Live series creates consistency and helps any brand when it comes to kick-starting a video strategy on a budget. I do believe there is a massive power in taking the time to craft a Live series (at a pace and frequency that works for you). Oh, and while you are at it, check our Instagram account and let us know what you think!
Just getting started with Instagram video? Check our guide here.