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Instagram Live for eCommerce: How to Use it and Why it Works

Melisa Sukman EpandMelisa Sukman Epand
August 22, 2019

eCommerce is a game of numbers and when it comes to social media marketing for your eCommerce business, you must be active on social media if you want to be on the radar of your customers.

Instagram has never been bigger than it is right now. In fact, it’s one of the few social media platforms that loves products and branded content.

However, the newest kid on the block is Instagram Live, one of the most underrated features of Instagram, which provides the largest organic reach.

What is Instagram Live and Why is it So Effective? 

Instagram Live is a feature on Instagram Stories that allows users to engage with followers in real time by streaming video. When users broadcast live video streams on their accounts, their profile picture is highlighted under Instagram Stories to alert followers that they can view the live stream.

Instagram Live App

Much like Instagram Stories, there are plenty of reasons to use Instagram Live for business purposes.

  • Newsfeed PriorityBecause of Instagram’s algorithm, you can be placed at the top of your follower’s feed by posting a live video. If you’re looking for a way to stay top-of-mind when your followers open their app, Instagram Live will do the trick.
  • Increased Engagement: With Instagram Live, companies can immediately respond to customer issues, answer questions, and engage in valuable discussions with their followers. Because it’s a live stream, viewers can take part in the broadcast, increasing brand engagement.
  • Build RelationshipsThe more you engage in authentic face-to-face interactions with your followers, the more they’ll trust you. Aside from talking in person, Instagram Live is the closest you can get to the bonding potential of in-person interactions.
  • Better Brand Identity: Instagram Live is a cost-effective way for brands to demonstrate their individuality. Thanks to the use of filters, themes, and content, there are endless creative ways to bring a company’s personality to life.

Plus, around 80% of users would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, so Instagram Live is going where your potential customers are.

How to Best Use Instagram Live as an eSeller

If you’re hoping to achieve some larger business goals with Instagram Live — like driving sales or increasing followers — it’s critical that you have a strategy in place. Like Instagram Stories, Instagram Live is pretty relaxed, which gives you a lot of room for creativity. But you need a solid game plan before going live.

Prepare for Your Broadcast

Remember that this is live video, which means there’s not a lot of room for mistakes. If you’re new to streaming, you’ll probably fumble over a few words or incorrectly frame the camera view. That’s not necessarily a huge problem, and in fact, small mistakes in your stream may make your business more relatable. But practice beforehand to keep the embarrassment to a minimum.

Treat your live broadcast as if you’re going to give a business presentation. Write out your script or speaking points, jot down some Q&A questions, and practice by recording yourself on your camera. Is your audio clear? Is the background distracting? Watch the recording and make any necessary adjustments before going live.

Have a Clear Purpose for Going Live

Sure, it’s fun to interact with your followers in a more casual way, but you also have to provide them with value, and you want to see measurable results. One way to do this is by sharing unique, exclusive content so that customers look forward to your streams.

Consider going “behind the scenes” and letting your customers see the people behind your brand. Reveal new products and hype up the release or provide authoritative tips or best ways to use your products. A Q&A session lets your customers know you care about them by engaging directly with them, answering their questions and concerns.

Promote Your Instagram Live Stream Beforehand

Because your goal is to reach as many people as possible, you have to let them know that you’re going to go live before the actual stream happens.

One of the best ways to promote your Live stream is through Instagram Stories. Post about your live video on your feed and share a series of Stories with details about your upcoming stream in the days leading up to it. Be sure to include things like the topic, time and date, and any other important information.

If you’re able to get a large number of viewers and high engagement with your stream, it’s great for the Instagram algorithm. It signals to Instagram that your broadcast is high-quality and might be interesting to other users, which could mean you wind up on the Instagram Explore page, which helps you reach the highest number of people on the platform.

Use Instagram Live to Promote New Products and Sales

Have a new product? A live stream is a great way to promote the product with an Instagram flash sale and make them feel like they won’t see it anywhere else. Deliberately release very few details about your new product but be sure to promote the upcoming release. After the teaser, ask viewers to sign up on your website for more information.

This is a great way to make viewers feel like they’re getting in on something exclusive, which can drive them to act immediately — increasing your leads and incoming sales.

Create a Sense of Urgency 

Given the exclusivity nature of the live stream, it’s a great way to promise “limited time” promotions and deals. While you’re building up hype for your stream, be sure to mention that there will be limited-time-only promotions that you’re only going to offer during the stream. Then when you go live, share the coupon or discount code with your viewers. By creating this sense of urgency, they’ll feel like they can’t afford to miss out.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a simple, yet incredibly effective, way to connect with your audience, Instagram Live is the way to go. It’s a good way to show what goes on behind the brand, building authenticity and trustworthiness that customers are looking for today.

With the right strategy and a little creativity, your live broadcasts can create stronger brand loyalty, an increased Instagram following, and ultimately more opportunities for growth — and increased sales.

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