Instagram Live: 3 Ways Food Brands Can Capitalize


First Facebook Live, and now Instagram Live? What’s the difference?  Is Instagram Live worth exploring for food brands?

If you’re looking for increased visibility on social media without significant additional media spend, then yes.

instagram live videoFacebook and Instagram have been introducing new updates relatively quickly over the past few months. For those of you still trying to grasp that Instagram Live streaming is a thing, here’s a little background:

A couple months ago, Instagram did a test rollout of their live streaming feature to some of it’s nearly 80 million users in the U.S. Announced in a blog post earlier this week, Instagram is rolling out the ability to “go live” to its entire global user base. US based users with an up-to-date Instagram app should already have access.

Similar to Instagram stories, you can access the feature by swiping right from your normal feed, where you’re given the option to switch into live mode at the bottom of the screen. The live streams can last for up to 60 minutes, but unlike live video on other platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the video will disappear once it’s over.

How can food brands use Instagram Live?

The Instagram Live feature (and live streaming in general) is largely uncharted territory for brands. McDonalds, who gave away bottles of it’s Big Mac sauce, was one of the first brands to dive head first into Instagram Live.

mcdonalds instagram liveYep, McDonalds probably beat you to the punch on Instagram Live, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from it.

Facebook and Instagram are making a big push toward owning the concept of live streaming social media.

As a result, both platforms are enticing users and brands to take part in the new feature. Not only do live streaming videos see higher organic visibility, but both platforms are also notifying users when an account they follow starts a live video.

Here are three ways you can take advantage of Instagram Live:

1. Instagram Live Giveaways

how to use instagram liveThere’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Giveaways are a great way to boost engagement on almost any platform.  If your product is shippable, or you can offer a gift card, take a page out of Mickey D’s book and host a short giveaway for your fans who tune in.

A little Instagram Live tip: Don’t forget to promote in advance that you’ll be doing a live stream. Regardless, you will get higher visibility than a regular video or image, but it definitely helps to let your fans know when to tune in ahead of time. 

2. Event Coverage with Instagram Live

Facebook and Instagram Live are both great for providing a behind the scenes look at events. Whether it’s a fundraiser, the grand opening of a new restaurant location, or a yearly event your company puts on, giving your community a virtual backstage pass can create goodwill and put a personality to your brand.

Another little tip: If you’ll be walking around during an event while doing Instagram Live, you may want to invest in a gimbal or a similar camera stabilizer to improve the quality of your video stream.

facebook advertising agency

3. Tease New Product Launches or Secret Deals

There are pros and cons around the fact that Instagram Live videos disappear.

You can’t repurpose or extend the life of your video content with Instagram Live, which is a downside. In addition, the nature of live video means not every detail will always be perfect or in your control – which can be intimidating for some.

Like Snapchat’s disappearing stories however, it does create a sense of urgency for the user. Instagram Live videos can’t be saved or shared. As a result, users will be more likely to tune in for fear of missing out (#fomo). It also provides a feeling of exclusivity, making Instagram Live a great way to share an extra special offer to your most loyal fans.

instagram live for business

So, what now?

Social media platforms are constantly evolving – so always keep an eye out for updates to Facebook and Instagram Live in the future. In the meantime, the best way to get started is to figure out a theme that will both entertain, inform, or engage with your audience, while also staying true to your brand’s values.

Put together a content calendar in advance and stick to it. In the process, try to account for variables that could affect your live video.

Of course, the best way to improve your planning, strategy and content is to actually get the experience – so don’t let the fear of imperfection paralyze you.

You may hit a home run with Instagram Live, or you may not. Either way, adapting your team to the new reality of live, in-the-moment marketing will be worth your cost of trying.

It pays to get in early with emerging social media trends. Like an Instagram Live video, the novelty (and benefit) of new features is fun, but once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

Interested in growing your sales with social media?