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How To Use Instagram Live Rooms In Your Digital Marketing Strategy

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Managing Director TERRITORY Influence, a leading full-service influencer marketing agency activating 4 Mio creators for brands in Europe

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People used social media more during Covid-19, according to Bazaarvoice data published on Digital Commerce 360. Because the pandemic pretty much paused in-person, out-of-home activities such as shopping, concerts and parties, people have increasingly sought virtual get-togethers to socialize and interact. Instagram recently released a feature called Live Rooms that caters to this trend; it’s a live broadcast featuring a split screen for up to four people and interactive panels for other participants.

Comparing The Functionality Of Instagram Live Rooms And Clubhouse

Some of you may have already been exposed to a very similar functionality on the hyped, audio-only app Clubhouse, where people can join a live talk show. The difference is that the adoption of Clubhouse is still limited by its invitation-only model, while Instagram enjoys universal appeal and global reach. Instagram users can also start or participate in a live session from any device or operating system, while Clubhouse was previously only available on iOS (although an Android version was recently released). And unlike Clubhouse, Instagram Rooms work with video as well as audio, which offers a broader range of marketing applications for brands. Even though only four people can talk in an Instagram Live Room, millions of viewers can watch the show live. The platform also encourages community interaction, as viewers can write comments and send emojis.

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So, now that we’ve explored the functionalities of Instagram Live Rooms and compared them to the feature’s predecessor (and potential role model), Clubhouse, let’s look at some ideas for how innovative marketers can leverage this new tool to engage with their consumers.

Four Ways To Use Live Rooms In Your Marketing Strategy

1. Host Exciting Q&A Sessions

Q&A sessions are often real audience magnets. The viewers help direct the content and flow of the conversation. These interactive discussion rounds draw in audiences based on their promise of authentic, educational and informative real-life communication. Q&A sessions also allow marketers to gain new and exciting consumer insights by directly interacting with their audiences. But before you get started, do adequately prepare your session with a clear structure so as not to drift away from the actual topic. And since Live Rooms allow up to four speakers, think about who to involve. Maybe you can invite one of your star influencers or official brand ambassadors to boost awareness for your session to help ensure strong audience participation. Maybe you can invite an expert or key opinion leader on your topic to provide additional credibility and answer tricky questions. Or maybe you should invite your founder or CEO to talk about the history and heritage of your company. The possibilities for an entertaining and informational event are endless.

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2. Do Real-Time Product Testing

Potential customers want to experience your products or services and see your brand in action. And what is more suitable, authentic and convincing than testing products live in front of the camera? Whether they sell beauty and hair care products or consumer electronics, Instagram Live Rooms allow brands to showcase their benefits and advantages directly to many viewers. My tip: Let one or more nano-influencers use your products live and leverage the credibility of real brand-lovers. Also, during such a session, viewers can ask questions about the products and give you feedback via chat: It’s a dialogue at eye level.

3. Host Live Shopping Events

Combine Live Rooms with Instagram Shopping to facilitate a seamless online brand and shopping experience. With Instagram’s Live Shopping feature, you can sell your products or services during your live sessions. How does it work? Simply add a link that allows viewers to add products directly to their shopping cart. But be careful to select a host who can keep the audience engaged while convincing them to purchase. Most companies I’ve seen experiment with live shopping are using social influencers to host their shows due to their ability to attract audiences, as well as entertain them live. To give it an even more personal touch, you could mention and thank the customer for their purchase in the live session. This can add a sense of appreciation and closeness to the session.

4. Host Educational Events With Experts

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A Live Rooms educational session could be perfect if you want your brand to address a specific niche topic or if you are selling complex products or services that potential customers need more explanation to understand. During a live session, you can inform attendees about certain services, product benefits or background stories in detail. Topics like health or sustainability often require an explanation grounded in fact to prevent issues like greenwashing or misinformation. Use the expertise of niche influencers to communicate such topics to your community in a more trustworthy and professional way. Another reason this is a great way to use Live Rooms is that attendees can ask questions and hear you discuss them at any time during the event.

Conclusion

Live Rooms can help facilitate a personal, direct interaction and dialogue with your consumers, experts or influencers. I believe the new tool offers unlimited possibilities for interactive marketing, and brands can give their creativity free reign to authentically reach and interact with highly engaged audiences. If you have not yet done so, go brief your team, run a pilot and see if the tool could benefit your company.


Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?


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LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August

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Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?

This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.

As per LinkedIn:

As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.” 

LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.

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Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:

  1. Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
  2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
  3. Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
  4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  5. Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
  6. Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
  7. Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
  8. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
  9. Learning Python with Joe Marini
  10. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
  11.  Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
  12. Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
  13. Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
  14. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
  15. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
  16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  17. Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
  18. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
  19. Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
  20. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
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If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.

Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.

The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.

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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …

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Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.

Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.

Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.

Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.

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Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.

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Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a pic.twitter.com/2chGZP9hr4

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

Read next: Instagram Plans On Allowing Users To Return To Its Old Chronologically Sorted News Feed

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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