The VPM Blog

Using Instagram Live to boost campus live events

Posted by Don Crow on Dec 20, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Somewhere in the midst of Thanksgiving plans, finals, December graduation, and campus clearing out for the winter break, Instagram Live began rolling out.

instagram live.png

What that means is you have one more "Live" offering to add to the growing list of apps and services which offer users a way to broadcast their every moment, any time they choose.

Instagram's stories and other additions in the past 12-18 months have been seen by many as positioning to combat the rise of Snapchat and its latest "Live" offering completes the circle of visual content options Instagram offers natively.

That's good news for on-campus communicators and marketers! There are two reasons we're excited and believe you should be too:

  1. College students love events
  2. College students use and love Instagram

Knowing the two above, we're going to give you a brief list of ideas to help in using Instagram Live to boost campus live events.

If you don't already have a ready list of your on-campus Instagram influencers or most popular (and positive) hashtags, you should add that to your list of "to-dos". Knowing who to contact (Influencers) and what the most popular ways to engage with non-followers (hashtags) are key to a long term visual content strategy, but if you really just want to start using Instagram Live to boost campus live events, we can still help you.


There's a lot of clutter on social media today and there's a lot of just plain garbage on the live stream platforms. What is interesting to one person, may seem too commonplace or boring for another to invest time with. You should have a "Live" plan as part of your overall content calendar that coincides with events and noteworthy speakers, campus visits, and more.

When it is event day, be sure and do plenty of location scouting and at least one walk-through with the organizers so they know you have an "all access pass" when it comes to navigating with your phone on live.

It's also helpful to have a partner to help guide you as you walk through events. It can be as simple as they lead and pull you through crowds, between ropes, barriers and other crowd control measures or as complex as having a team of folks to drive or otherwise mechanically get you between vantage points. Trust me, you don't want to be moving for the perfect angle and trip over something. You're live and the entire audience will enjoy your tumble! Remember, a static position is what the campus live events goers already have - give the remote audience more action.

Decide if you want visible comments and live viewer actions. That's right, once you go live your audience may participate by liking or commenting as you go. If you're going to be moving around a lot, and don't have guides or assistance as outlined above, you may want to turn this feature off.

Promote when and where you'll be going live on different platforms. Don't just rely on Instagram alerting your followers as enough of an audience. Give your followers on Facebook and Twitter a reason to follow along by revealing what level of access you'll provide with Instagram Live.

Here's a quick review of our pre-production checklist before you tap the "Live" button and start sharing!

  • Add "Instagram Live" events to your existing content calendar
  • Walk through the location with event organizers and ensure you have the proper credentials for "all access"
  • Use the buddy system to avoid embarrassing stumbles and falls during the event
  • Turn off / on audience participation
  • Promote your Instagram Live on other social media, email and offline platforms in the weeks leading up to the event

Step One: Figure out how to go live in the first place

Sounds simple enough right? But with the launch of Instagram Live, it's actually placed within the not too distant past release of Instagram Stories. Tap the "Your Story" icon in the top left of the Instagram app and choose Live from the three selections at the bottom, "Live, Normal, Boomerang."


Step 2: Broadcast! 


Outside of style points, live stream angles, lighting and preparing your 'on air' talent for a possible Question and Answer session, live streaming really is that easy. That's why there is so much content out there now that isn't really broadcast worthy in the first place: it's so easy for anyone to go live.

My advice is to give the audience more than just a glimpse into the concert, on stage speaker, or event you are broadcasting and include some closeups, interviews and even live event goer interactions. You want to really complete the picture for everyone watching at home (or from their office).

Step Three: Include a Call To Action!

Now that your event is concluding and you're deciding if you want to be the next Kathryn Bigelow, make sure you show your audience where to go next. Give them a Call To Action to follow you on social media platforms, subscribe to your campus events newsletter and alerts or direct them to a link for donations if appropriate.

You clearly got their attention and captured their interest, so a logical, well thought out Call To Action is the best next step in any Inbound Marketers toolkit.

If you'd like to learn more about an overall guide to visual content, tap the button below to receive our FREE eBook on how to create great visual content.

university's guide to visual content

photo credit: curtis.kennington On Air via photopin (license)

Topics: Instagram Live

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