How to Use Instagram and Facebook Live for Brands? A Marketer's Guide

Published on October 8, 2019 • Updated on February 13, 2023 • About 10 min. read

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facebook on a laptop

Facebook Live has been around since 2016. Although many companies have made social video a bigger part of their marketing plans, some are still hesitant to use this powerful feature.

Perhaps that’s understandable. Many brands still don't feel comfortable fitting social media into their marketing strategy. This is especially true for videos on social media.

But Facebook and video-centered social media platforms are among the largest social networks in the world, growing rapidly year on year. Meta products (Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram), Twitch, and Tiktok continue to give you chances to talk to consumers and build brand awareness through video in real-time.


Explore 21 original ways to promote your events on social media and grow registration.

What are Facebook and Instagram Live?

Facebook Live is a feature that allows Facebook users to broadcast live video content. Users can record themselves or a virtual event they’re attending, while watchers can chat with them live.

Learning how to use Facebook Live or how to join a live event on Facebook is quite a straightforward process. Users can go live on Facebook using the mobile app by clicking on the “live” button.” To go live from their computers, they’ll need to use a streaming service as a third party, also referred to as an encoder.

Users can join a live event on Facebook by clicking on the three dots, then “more,” and clicking on the live event they wish to watch at the bottom of the list.

Using Facebook Live for brands is a great way to connect in real-time with your community and share long-form valuable content.

Instagram Live has the same function but is hosted on Instagram instead of Facebook. To go live on Instagram, you should open the mobile app, go to the (+) sign at the top right, and click on “live video.”

Why Facebook and Instagram Live** could be right for your brand**

Modern users prefer video over images and text as a way of consuming content. In fact, the algorithms of platforms like Instagram and Facebook promote video content to reach a wider audience using images rather than text.

When Instagram and Facebook Live are properly included in your marketing strategy, they can help your users connect with your brand on a different level. Here’s why:

  • Allows users to ask questions directly to someone from your company instead of reaching out to bots
  • Humanizes your brand with live videos
  • Helps you engage with your community in a one-to-many format that feels like a one-one touchpoint
  • Uses them to launch a new feature and do a live representation of how it works
Woman using Facebook on a laptop

Explore 21 original ways to promote your events on social media and grow registration.

15 Instagram and Facebook Live Tips

Facebook was one of the first social media platforms to add a live option to its videos in 2016. But since then, being able to share live video has become the standard across most social media apps, including Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok.

We’ve compiled nine tips to help your brand win in those real-time interactions.

1. Use them to build extra buzz around events

You’re probably already doing social media event marketing as part of your strategy, whether it’s for webinars, meetups, workshops, or presentations. As viewers respond and engage to your live social videos the event shows up on more users' timelines and news feeds, allowing you to increase your reach.

If you’re hosting a live event on Facebook or Instagram, make sure the topic is relevant to the platform’s users. For example, a B2B webinar on how SaaS companies can increase profit margins probably won’t get much reach on Instagram, but might work on Facebook because of the different user demographics.

Facebook groups are also a great way to reach niche audiences that might be interested in your content. The process of how to go live in a Facebook group is quite simple; go to the Facebook group, click on “write something” and then on “live video.”

For more on this topic check out our social media event promotion guide!

Using Facebook Live for brands can help companies connect with their audience in a more personal way.

2. You don’t need to make a big investment

Facebook and Instagram are free! And depending on the equipment you have around you, using Facebook or Instagram Live may not cost you an extra penny.

However, given the power live videos can have for connecting with your audience, looking professional might require you to invest in a decent camera or upgrade your internet bandwidth. Those changes will allow you to produce video content of any kind.

While the magic of Instagram and Facebook Live for brands is that you don’t need to spend too much time preparing for it, in a world ruled by video, users no longer accept visual content that doesn't meet minimum quality standards—such as having good audio and video quality.

3. Interact with your audience in their space

If you were placing a billboard for your new ice cream shop in Ontario, you wouldn’t go to Vancouver to set it up, you’d place it somewhere near the shop. Facebook and Instagram Live streaming lets you take your message to where potential customers are already hanging out.

That way, you’re giving users the chance to discover your brand in their commonly visited environment while leveraging their online communities to find more prospects and deliver engaging content.

Pro tip: learn how to share a screen on Facebook Live to enhance your user experience.

4. Engage your users live

There’s video, and then there’s live video.

Since live videos allow two-way communication, they spark conversations. That’s why engagement in live videos is usually higher than in regularly uploaded content. Learn more about building an engagement funnel in this article.

Also, Meta reported that people watch Facebook Live videos 3x longer on average than other videos. That means your audience can pay close attention to your content if they find it interesting and can feel listened to and included, which increases other social media metrics like engagement.

5. Gather immediate feedback

Comments, views, likes, and questions are to live streams; what laughs are to stand-up comedians—an immediate response. One nice aspect of Facebook and Instagram Live for brands is the ability to talk with viewers in real-time. Like some sort of inexpensive focus group. Try these tips to increase interactivity and engagement, and gather substantial feedback:

  • Schedule the live stream beforehand and let users sign up and get reminded
  • Make sure your Facebook Live settings are properly set
  • Make use of each app's features like polls, previously asked questions, and questionnaires
  • Pin comments to drive the conversation

Brands with a large social media following could use live videos to test out new features in the beta version, build excitement, gather feedback, and improve the product.

6. Go live on different pages and platforms at the same time

You can reach niche audiences with Facebook Live broadcasting to different pages or groups. The great thing about Facebook is you can stream videos on different Facebook pages at the same time by using the cross-posting option, and then selecting the pages you want to go live on.

Also, you can go live on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube at the same time without duplicating your efforts. You can even share Zoom to Facebook Live.

7. Don’t confuse “live” with “one time only”

The most interesting and exciting aspect of Facebook and Instagram Live for brands is the fact that it’s, well, live. But that doesn’t mean it dies once you turn your camera off.

Every Facebook or Instagram live stream is saved as a video to your profile (unless you want to remove it, of course), and then you can easily save it to your camera roll, edit it, and repurpose it.

This is useful, especially for marketers who worry that they are producing content for a limited time only.

The great thing about saving these videos is that even if the live video wasn’t the smooth and polished success you were hoping for, the raw footage can still be useful. Simply break it up into chunks to use in your stories or blog posts, and create quotable chunks to use in your timelines.

8. Humanize your brand

People connect with humans more than they do with brands, not least because we’re more inclined to trust the opinion of someone relatable or aspirational. That’s why influencer marketing has grown exponentially.

The good thing about social media is that marketers no longer need to pay millions in billboards and print ads to test out campaigns. They can just come up with social media promotion ideas and run them, immediately.

With social media, you can test as much as you want, and show the people behind the brand as part of your marketing strategy. Live videos are a great way to connect your users to the people who work in your company and make the products that they love.

Here are a few video formats that are great for connecting your users to the people behind your brand:

  • Live Q&A videos to talk directly to customers
  • Quick reaction videos about industry news
  • Behind-the-scenes sneak peeks to show viewers inside the business.

You don’t need them to follow a perfectly written script. A more natural presentation will only humanize your brand.

9. Schedule your live broadcast with time

Both Instagram and Facebook allow you to either create events or remind users who signed up. Doing so increases your chances of having a larger audience and gets the mouth-to-mouth started.

With Facebook, you can schedule an event and invite people to RSVP. They’ll be reminded in the way they choose to be notified. On Instagram, you’ll need to use the reminder sticker and share it on your Instagram stories.

In both cases, you’ll need to direct people to your profile (or page) and start the live video on time.

10. Test before going live on Facebook or Instagram

If you’ve never used these functionalities, you should test both Instagram and Facebook Live before your event. This will help you get familiar with the features of each app, as well as allow you to test your camera, microphone, and room setting.

This tip also applies if you’ve already done live streams, but haven’t in a while, or just bought new equipment. Facebook and Instagram have regular updates and the buttons usually change their placement. If you have a new camera or microphone, you should also run a test drive to ensure it works smoothly.

A good way to test these functions is by opening a new account that has zero followers. It will allow you to go live, talk, move around, and adjust your video equipment without anyone watching.

11. Get a tripod or gimbal stabilizer

We recommend getting a tripod or a gimbal stabilizer if you’re going to be moving while live streaming. It will enhance the quality of your video. However, it’s not necessary to buy expensive equipment. You can set your camera or phone over some books, boxes, or a laptop stand. The goal is to record yourself in a still frame to provide better video quality.

If you can, borrow someone else's phone to read comments and interact with your audience without needing to get close to the camera to respond.

Woman using a tripod to stream how to make a recipe

12. Follow Instagram and Facebook policies to avoid penalties

Instagram and Facebook have strong community guidelines, which means you can’t:

  • Commit plagiarism
  • Be disrespectful against attendants or other groups like minorities
  • Promote hate speech.

Violating these guidelines can end in account suspension. Facebook and Instagram are great tools to increase your marketing conversions. You don’t want to put your account at risk. That’s why you should make sure you’re aware of and follow community guidelines in your live videos and posts.

13. Keep live videos short and straight to the point

Our attention span has been drastically reduced over the past few years. Asking someone to give you a few minutes of their time is already quite challenging. Your content needs to be worth it to ask your followers for an hour of their attention.

To ensure your live videos are short and relevant, you can:

  • Set a duration beforehand. That way you’ll stick to it and your followers will know exactly for how much time they’ll be watching you.
  • Define a topic. Don’t go live for the sake of going live. Set up a conversation topic, and stick to it if possible.
  • Read the room. If your followers start to disengage, wrap up, and log off.

14. Repeat yourself several times

Live videos are like radio shows. You might have followers that are waiting for your stream and are connected from the beginning, but you might have others that randomly saw it and hopped in.

You need to make sure everyone has the right context when they join. To do so, you can pin a comment that explains the topic, who you are, and what you’re talking about.

Another good way to keep everyone updated is by saying out loud every few minutes:

  • Who you and your guest (if any) are
  • What you’re discussing
  • The call to action, i.e., “we’re asking users to share their experience with X.”

15. Charge your devices

Make sure your camera, phone, microphone, light ring, or whatever you’re using to stream has enough power to stay on during the event. It’s even better if you can have them connected to a power source while broadcasting.

The risk of running out of power isn’t that you’re going to look unprofessional or disorganized. These small technical issues happen all the time. The issue is that whenever you distract yourself or pause to find your charger, you give your audience perfect timing for them to disengage and leave your stream.

These fifteen reasons on how Facebook and Instagram Live can be useful for your business might have sparked your creativity. But live streams aren’t the only way to make an easy and affordable video that converts; you can also try webinars. How do you know which to use?

Frequently asked questions about Facebook Live for brands

Is Facebook Live good for marketing?

Facebook Live is great for marketing. It allows you to reach out to more users, connect on a personal level with your audience, and share valuable content that might lead to attendees recommending your brand to others. Plus, it’s inexpensive and relatively fast to produce.

How does Facebook Live work for businesses?

Businesses can use Facebook Live to connect with their customers. They can make:

  • Broadcasts to create brand awareness
  • Present new features and products
  • Hop on internet trends
  • Have an informal Q&A with users
  • Connect with other industry experts

Can you sell on Facebook Live?

Yes, you can use Facebook Live for sales the same way you’d do it on a webinar. The difference is that if you want the content to be gated or you want to ensure a high conversion rate, Facebook Live isn’t your best option. A webinar tool may be better instead.

What are the limitations of Facebook Live?

Facebook Live has some drawbacks that may cause your experience to be limited. Some main drawbacks are:

  • Facing technical issues might cause viewers to abandon your broadcast
  • Facebook policies might censor your content
  • Everyone can join and become a heckler