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The pandemic has pushed brands to experiment with new channels to connect and foster relationships with customers. 

Some companies have hosted webinars, online events, done new forms of email marketing or increased their post cadence on LinkedIn or Twitter. Other non-consumer brands are taking a larger step – crossing over into traditionally consumer channels. Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram are all suddenly possibilities. 

One of the most interesting channels is Instagram Live, commonly just called IG Live. With Instagram set to overtake Twitter as a source for news, it’s a chance to educate customers about brands right inside an increasingly popular app. 

IG Live is a powerful – and free – tool to engage potential clients and broaden your reach, making it the perfect arena for B2B. Here are three arguments in favor of IG Live:

A solid testing ground for new concepts

IG Live is an impactful way to gauge audience interest around a perspective content idea. The IG Live experience offers multiple ways for a viewer to engage with the speaker/brand, including comments, Q&A, emojis – all easy ways to collect feedback. There’s no registration process for your “attendees” – they simply join the IG Live session..

Garners the attention of new audiences – especially the target press

Many brands use IG Live on a weekly basis (Instagram’s own account highlights five or more IG Lives to tune into from major brands daily), as it’s become the norm for all Instagram users. By creating a presence on a channel rising in popularity, you join a fast-moving trend and tap into the interests of your current followers and potential new communities. It’s also a great way for your target press to tune in, see your current thinking, and start a new media partnership.

Establishes new thought leadership

In many cases, there aren’t opportunities to showcase every thought leader inside your company. IG Live is a useful tool to boost new and existing thought leaders. It shows that your company is ‘on it’ – on top of changing human behavior, and aware of innovative trends. 

We tested this concept with our client Spectorgroup. We hosted an IG Live with principals Marc and Scott Spector to discuss the evolution of workspaces in response to COVID. We were thrilled that nearly 200 viewers (about 20% of Spectorgroup’s following) tuned into the IG Live. We had interest from the press to turn the conversation into an article. The platform is effective when the elements are in the right place.

Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Ensure your topic is relevant to current events driving conversation on the platform and aligns with business priorities

  • The promotion lead time is at most one week before the actual event. Increase frequency closer to the premiere date to help audiences remember to tune in (use a countdown timer in your IG Stories to set a reminder for followers)

  • Run test IG Lives on all accounts involved. Do this on a private test account to avoid notifying your followers. Make sure your audio, camera position, and Internet connection are aligned.

  • An IG Live can have up to two different accounts as hosts. Consider a conversational format between two experts, or your brand can host several different experts, calling in one expert at a time to lead a conversation. Make the people conversing have chemistry!

Krisha Paz is a digital account manager at Cognito in New York