Why Your Brand Should Be Using Instagram Live

Simon Pilkington

April 13, 2020

Simon Pilkington

April 13, 2020

Live video is blowing up.  With stores and venues shut down across the world, brands, influencers, and your excruciatingly extrovert friends are pointing that phone to the face, and broadcasting.

After a gradual shift over the past years towards Instagram among young professionals and social natives, out of touch marketers often view the platform as a “place for nice pictures” rather than a powerful marketing channel.

Meanwhile the stories feature has quietly revolutionised the way social media content is created, and now another quiet revolution is taking place with live video.

Let’s take a look at why Instagram Live video is worth investing in right now.


Instagram Live is community engagement at its purest

The Instagram Live format is all about interaction.  The video is broadcast from your account alongside real time comments, and the flood gates are let open for the fans and trolls to let you know what they think.

Don’t be scared by the terrifying prospect of mob mentality social judgement.  That’s what social media is all about right? Well, not quite, but not totally untrue.

The “anything can happen” factor is what makes live video so exciting to watch, so play up to that and embrace the good, the bad and the ugly coming from your commenters. It’s all good entertainment.

Don’t forget that you are building a very real connection with your community here, and giving them the chance to ask you questions, and getting genuine feedback on your business in return.

Celebrity chef and restaurateur David Chang has been running regular COVID-19 Instagram live broadcasts with his fans.  The broadcasts are usually themed around him cooking something live, while interacting with the comments hurled his way in the process.

David Chang

At the end of the broadcast he asks viewers to comment and request the recipes they want to see him cook for the week ahead, simultaneously planning his content and lunch menu.

His thick skin and irreverent sense of humour make the live cooking shows great fun to watch, as he doesn’t pull any punches, and provides some great insights along the way.


Instagram Live stands out on the app

We’re often evangelising about how the Facebook algorithms favourably treat live video, and how Instagram stories are some of your brands most viewed content.  Well going live on Instagram brings together both of these factors to make it a great way to attract the wandering eyes of your followers.

When you broadcast live, your story will be promoted to followers on the Instagram home screen alongside the daily stories with a play button or live icon telling your fans that you are live now.

While this may seem like an insignificant detail, any performance advertiser understands the value of extra screen real estate, and making your content stand out among the competition. Plus any live video content that you create is shown in addition to your stories, so double your money on clicks there, even though the content shares the same space.


Live video is a cheap way to try new content ideas

No one can afford to have a professional production crew following them around all day, every day.  Nor would you want one.

The beauty of Instagram Live content is that it’s all made on a shoestring budget, with little more than an iPhone.  That means your live broadcast will look just as professional as Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin talking about skin care (minus the mansion).

This makes the format a great acid test for content ideas.  Before you invest your marketing budget in a production team, copywriters, designers, and shoot locations, you can test out the key messaging and format of your advertising in a live video stream and get instant feedback from your followers.

The content you create live can be either saved or thrown away, so that if something doesn’t work out, it’s just another story from another day.  If it’s a keeper, hit save and make it available for your fans after the broadcast. Beautiful.


Team up with an influencer and go live together

Instagram Live allows you to invite a guest to your broadcast.  This is a great way to collaborate with influencers when you are unable to get in the same room together.

By either interviewing someone viewed as an expert in your niche, or collaborating on a piece of content remotely, you can connect with a whole new slice of your target audience and win some new customers in the process.



Netflix teamed up with Instagram to run a collaboration with Noah Centineo interviewing the chief of the National Alliance of Mental Illness on their Instagram.

By combining the “Takeover” concept with a well known influencer collaboration, Netflix are able to expand their mass market reach, while showing their values as a brand with a sense of responsibility.

In this video from Stream Geeks, they explain how to invite a guest to live stream with you on Instagram.  They highlight how you can use filters, manage comments together to make your Instagram Live collaboration super tight.


Instagram Live videos can be shared and replayed

So you have gone live, had a bunch of viewers and everything went to plan without any unexpected house fires, ranting or cursing. Perhaps this one is a keeper.

After tapping to end your live video, all users now have the option to save their Live and share it as part of their daily Stories content.

These two options are slightly different.

If you save your live video, you can download the file to your phone and share it on any channel you like.  However, none of the user engagement such as comments will be saved, as Instagram will only export the video itself.

View this post on Instagram

we got a tripod...thank god there is all this sourdough bread making, no knead bread, et, I plan to make my fair share of those kinds of breads while staying home, but the bread i'm going to make the most for sure, is just plain old flat bread...close to the version of the ones we make at our restaurants. I especially like making flatbread because if you fuck up making any other kind of bread you can just turn it into flatbread. i like making this because i can sandbag the hell out it at various stages. Sandbagging is the art form of getting ahead by being proactively lazy (ie cunning) yet efficient - highly discouraged if you rely on it too much but used judiciously can be your best friend in the kitchen. I love the options I have when making the bread…I can freeze it whole when it rises, i can freeze them after portioning, i can freeze them after rolling out. Makes a great cheesy bread, scallion pancakes, laminate, i can turn it into pizza, a loaf of bread, etc etc. by no means is this going to be the right recipe to replace the actual specific bread recipes but I will sacrifice perfection for versatility. It’s ok to fuck around with this bread, because im not trying to hit the bullseye. I want hot bread basically on demand. this is a pretty fool proof recipe. im also a shit baker so i buy most of my traditional loaves from the pros just like everyone else. but i can fuck with flat bread. its incredibly forgiving and you don't have to wait forever to let it rest, rise, rest, repeat... earlier i made the dough with flour, water, salt and oil & (dry yeast, sugar, water), let is rise and then i shaped it then i stretched the dough with oil...i could've used flour but i don't really have a rolling pin...but really i was just lazy and didn't want to clean up flour everywhere. i like working with oil to stretch the bread...not quite like making a pizza but its quicker and by using oil you don't have to constantly add oil to your cooking surface. if i had jalapeños and bacon i would've just made stuffed cheesy bread and dipped it ranch dressing - nature's vehicle for MSG. Ingredients for bing - flour, yeast, sugar, water, salt , oil

A post shared by Dave Chang (@davidchang) on

If you share your live video to your Instagram Stories, users will be able to replay your stream and see the comments as they were made in real time.  Like your normal Stories content, your video will be available for 24 hours for your followers to re-watch.


Relevant Blog Posts

Looking for social media services?