Nowadays, it feels like there are a bajillion and one ways to connect with your audience on social media.
From TikTok to Facebook to Instagram Reels… the list goes on and on!
While each social media platform has its own advantages, one great way that food bloggers can connect with their followers is through Instagram Live.
What is Instagram Live?
Instagram Live is similar to Instagram Stories, but it allows you to go live and interact with your followers in real-time for up to four hours at a time.
Lives are a great way to directly interact with your audience, and they provide a great opportunity for your audience to ask you questions, see you cooking a complete recipe from start to finish, and more.
And the best part is that Instagram Live videos don’t have to just disappear! They can be saved and shared on your grid or repurposed as IGTV videos for followers to watch later—learn more about that process here.
Now that’s what I call a win-win. (Or, as Michael Scott would say: a win-win-win.)
Why Go Live on Instagram?
Besides being a fun new way to connect in real-time with your followers, there are a lot of advantages when it comes to Instagram Live.
In general, going live can lead to more engagement—people are more likely to interact with an Instagram Live because it’s just fun to see your comment pop up and have one of your favorite creators read it!
As a creator, doing an Instagram Live also gives you another piece of content to post to your feed. After wrapping it up, make sure you save it and post it to your Instagram grid for people to watch later.
Finally, Instagram Live just provides you a new opportunity to get in front of more people. Instagram’s algorithm rewards live streaming by placing the live event at the front of the line in users’ Instagram Stories feed. Plus, Instagram users can even find top live videos on the Explore page, so you never know who might stumble upon your content.
Tips to Level Up Your Game on Instagram Live
I know it can be a bit scary to host your first Instagram Live, but it can be such a fun and rewarding experience! And it’ll keep getting easier and easier the more you do it.
Here are a few tips that can help the process run as smoothly as possible:
1. Make sure your followers know when you’re going live.
In the days leading up to your Instagram Live, make sure to tell your followers about it on Instagram and elsewhere. You will increase your chances of people tuning in if they know when to find you.
If you’re up for it, you can even poll your audience on Instagram Stories to see when most of them would be around and available to watch an Instagram Live.
Quick tip: put a countdown sticker on your Instagram Stories to alert people of the date and time when you’re going Live. You can also tell them to save it in their calendars!
2. Give people a taste of what you’ll be doing.
Cooking a recipe? Tell people what the recipe is so they can either cook along or take a look at it ahead of time.
Want them to ask questions? Ask your followers to think of some questions ahead of time so that they can come prepared.
3. Test your lighting.
Before going live, do a test run with your phone to make sure the angle and lighting look decent. While you won’t always be working in perfect conditions, it’s better to check beforehand just so that you’re not making adjustments when people are starting to join.
4. Prepare as much as you can beforehand.
If you’re cooking a recipe, make sure everything is laid out and ready to go so you aren’t trying to scramble for ingredients last minute.
Put the dog in another room, make sure everyone in your house knows what’s going on, and maybe even give yourself a pep talk if that’s your jam. This will help ease your nerves and make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible!
5. Make sure to look up!
When you’re doing an Instagram Live, you really want to connect with your viewers, and that’s hard to do if you’re looking down at your recipe or computer the entire time.
Want an easy solution? Print off your recipe and notes and hang them up behind your phone so you can still look at the camera and interact with your viewers.
6. Interact with your viewers.
It can sometimes be hard to get people to interact on Instagram Live, especially if you only have a few people tuning in live. That’s okay!
Just keep on chatting and cooking and pretend like you’re talking to a good friend who came over for dinner. You always want to show up and be your best self for your audience. And while it can sometimes be intimidating to go live, people like seeing real people doing real things like making mistakes, creating a mess when they cook, etc.
If things don’t go perfectly (and let’s be real—they probably won’t), that’s totally fine.
If your dog barks in the background, why not tell a funny story about that crazy experience last weekend at the dog park? Make light of things that are happening and just move on.
7. Have fun with it!
Last but not least: make it easy, chat with people, and just remember that everyone is there to have fun and learn from you.
Get your viewers involved and ask them questions like what they are drinking, what their favorite weekend brunch recipe is, etc.
People like feeling as if they are chatting with a real person, so make it feel as casual as possible!
A Few Great Examples
Looking for some inspiration before going live? Here are a few food bloggers absolutely killing it on Instagram Live:
What’s Gaby Cooking
This is the crème de la crème of a blogger making the most out of Instagram Live!
Gaby (@whatsgabbycookin) is casual, fun, and consistent. She goes live once a week, and people looking forward to seeing her cook a dish and show them her personality.
If and when something goes wrong, she just rolls with it! Her husband does the taping, she chats as she’s making the recipe, and it honestly just feels like you’re sitting in her kitchen watching as she cooks dinner.
Plays Well With Butter
Jess (@playswellwithbutter) has done Instagram Lives pretty consistently and is always really fun to watch.
She checks off all the boxes: she shows you how to make a recipe, promotes it well in advance, and saves the Instagram Lives to her IGTV for later.
Instagram Live can be challenging and intimidating, but it’s worth a shot! Above all else, it’s just a fun way to connect with readers and promote your recipes.
But, if you try it and don’t love it, that’s okay too! Every type of social media is worth trying out at least once, right? You never know what will be the right fit for you.
Now, over to you: are you a fan of using Instagram Live? Do you have any tips or tricks of your own to share?