Fashion publishers now have yet another social media tool at their disposal: Instagram Live.
After announcing plans to integrate live-streaming capabilities, Instagram formally rolled out the offering to users last week. Just like Instagram Stories, which the platform launched in August, and Facebook Live, which debuted in June, publishers are experimenting with the new addition and identifying ways to use it to connect with their audiences.
Unlike Facebook Live, Instagram Live posts disappear and can’t be revisited. Due to its ephemeral nature, a number of publishers — including Allure — plan to use it to share exclusive content that doesn’t require extensive production. According to Gerilyn Manago, Allure’s senior social media editor, Allure will use it to provide an unfiltered look at events or impromptu happenings.
Allure shared its first Instagram Live story on Friday — it featured an editor attending a class with makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic and then sharing tips from the lesson. Since Instagram Live allows publishers to answer questions from the audience in real time, viewers were able to pose questions for Dedivanovic to expound upon. They included “What’s the hardest part about being a makeup artist?” and “What’s the best winter lip routine?”
“Instagram Live is even more nimble than Facebook Live because, once the stream is done, it’s gone forever,” Manago said. “So there’s a sense of urgency that encourages our audience to tune in now. It’s even more on-the-fly than Facebook Live because it’s a one-time shot. At the get-go, there’s less pressure to have full production — and in return, the audience loves the raw feedback.”
Jessica Pels, digital director at Marie Claire, said Instagram Live is particularly useful for news publishers because it’s sharing authentic content, which is crucial amid the flurry of fake news that has become ubiquitous since the presidential election. She said that Marie Claire’s followers open Instagram an average of 18 times per day, so it’s meeting them in an environment where they are already active.
“Readers want candid, honest, authentic reporting now more than ever, and live video is one of the rawest ways to deliver that to them. It’s exciting that Instagram Live disappears when it’s over — it makes it feel urgent and fresh.”
Refinery29 shared three Live stories last week — they included behind-the-scenes looks at a fashion photoshoot, a discussion in the office about the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the grand opening of a restaurant in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. Liat Kornowski, director of digital innovation at Refinery29, said the addition of Live allows for an organic look at the inner workings of the publication and its employees that resonates with followers.
“Instagram Live brings an ‘of-the-moment’ quality to a generally curated, highly polished and produced environment. While it’s tricky to predict its future in the first week, it effectively brings the platform’s 600 million users a raw, authentic view that is neither filtered nor premeditated,” Kornowski said.
Ben Boskovich, social media editor at Esquire, said the publication has yet to share a Live post, but it plans to use the feature at upcoming events. However, he said the challenge of having so many live tools across multiple platforms is adapting content depending on users.
“The biggest benefit of live tools in general is the ability to bring your audience to where you are in real time, but the significance of having live tools on yet another social platform is that your audience is going to vary between the platforms,” he said. “Our Instagram audience is a younger and more tuned-in to things that our Facebook audience might not be as receptive to, so now we’ll have a whole new way to reach them.”