Episode #22: How to prepare for your first Instagram Live

Instagram Lives are one of the SCARIEST features to use when you just get started on your social media journey, right? I want to change that! In this blog post, you'll discover why Instagram Lives are such a great feature for service providers and how you can prepare for your first one!


As always, if you prefer to listen to the podcast episode instead of reading, then click on the player below. Follow my podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Deezer, and all the other platforms to get notified as soon as a new episode becomes available!



I got the idea to write this blog post after my client asked me if I could give her some tips for her first Instagram Live. She had never done one before and was a little nervous about it so I wanted to support her as much as I could. Her first Live went well and a few days later, she even told me she was going to do another one! I thought, if she found these tips helpful & had a great result, then you might want to hear them too!


Why you should be using Instagram Lives as a service provider:


Before we get into the tips & tricks, let’s first talk about why Instagram Lives are such a great feature that every service provider should be using.


1) Leverage your current audience:

Instagram Lives are not supposed to get you new followers - I think that is an obvious fact. People can't see your Live unless they follow you. If you are going live to get new followers, then you are doing something wrong (unless you’re doing a collab with someone but we'll talk about that later).


Insta Lives are made to nurture your existing audience and this is exactly the reason why my client wanted to do them in preparation for her launch. She currently has a relatively small audience but already during her last launch, she noticed that her followers are quite active and that she has a warm audience. Our main focus for her account is to leverage the audience that she already has. Lives are a fantastic tool to do that because no other feature gets your followers as close to you as an Instagram Live.


2) Start a conversation with your community:

Instagram Lives are also amazing to start conversations with your audience. Of course, you can also chat with them in your DMs or in the comments but it's so much more authentic if people can ask you questions or comment on something and you actually reply to them in real-time. People really love that. This will also help your community to feel seen and feel heard. That, in turn, helps you with point #3.


3) Build trust with your audience:

If your audience likes and knows you already, then your last step is to build trust with them. I've talked about this in previous blog posts already (see Episode 6: Help! I don't want to show my face on social media!): this is the most important step because otherwise, they won't even consider hiring you!


So if you want to build trust on Instagram: Lives are your feature!

(in fact, all video formats can help you with this)

Your followers can see how you move your hands, they can see how you speak and it's just a really authentic and intimate experience for them. It's an unfiltered & raw experience where they can exactly see if you are the person you claim to be.


I know that this is probably the scariest part of going live: not having this barrier between you and them anymore. You might be thinking: "Omg, what are they gonna think of me?", "They probably think I am really awkward in front of the camera.", "Or maybe they won’t like me." We’ll talk about this later still but I can already tell you that that’s definitely not the case.


All in all, most of the time when I talk to service providers who aren’t getting the right clients or no clients at all, it is because they are hiding behind their profile. It’s because they aren’t using features like their stories to talk with their community or Instagram Lives – I don’t want that to be you, so – finally – here are my tips:


The step-by-step guide on how to do your first Instagram Live:

We’re going to do this in chronological order so that you can work through this step-by-step when you prepare for your first Live.


1) Choose a specific topic & announce it a few days earlier:

This will help you to spark interest. The topic should be quite specific, so instead of choosing something like "How to be better at graphic design", choose something like "The mistakes you should avoid next time you create a graphic for your socials". Ideally, this topic ties in with an offer you might promote at the end or on your socials in general.


A few more tips:

  • Set a reminder on your profile (see right): when you schedule your Live ("plus icon">"live">"schedule"), your scheduled live will appear on your profile for your followers to see. You will also get a reminder 15min before.

  • Announce your Live with a post and/or on stories & mention it a few more times - don't just talk about it once and then never again.

  • You could even ask your audience what time suits them best - involve them on stories by using a poll - more people will show up like that!


2) Be prepared:

Before you go live, write down some notes that you want to talk about. Otherwise, you'll start to talk about things that aren't relevant and the Live will be longer than it needs to be. This will help you to stay on track and not lose your train of thought that easily.


Don't forget to prepare a cover in Canva & write a short caption before the Live. When it ends, you'll be asked if you want to convert it into a feed video where you'll need the cover and your caption - more on that later.


3) The Live is about to start:

If you scheduled your Live, you’ll get a reminder – otherwise, click on the "+" icon & then "live".


A tip at this point: get started right away. Sentences like "I'll just wait for a few more people to come online" makes the viewers that HAVE tuned in feel like they aren't worth much to you & it's not great for the replay either - just dive right in! The people who are late will be late, that's on them.


4) Give a short introduction on what you're going to talk about & who this Live is for:

Something like: "Hi! Thanks so much for joining me in today's Live where we'll be talking about XY. This is perfect for you if..."


5) Present your main points:

This is the main part of your Live - the part where you give value.

Make sure that you keep an eye on the comments in case someone has questions. If you want to focus on the content, then let your audience know in the beginning that you’ll have a look at the comment section at the end.


6) At the end, ask what questions your viewers have:

A little tip: Instead of asking "who has any questions?" or "are there any questions?" (nobody is gonna reply to that), ask "What are your questions?"/"What questions do you have for me?" People are more likely to ask something!


If you do see a question in the comments, repeat it to the viewer before you answer it for a better flow. For example: "Hanna just asked how she can do XY better...My answer to that is..."


7) Once you're done & there are no more questions, wrap up:

When you're done with answering questions, end your Live with a short wrap-up. Repeat what you have talked about, what the main takeaways are & thank your viewers for having tuned in.


8) Turn your Live into a feed video:

Once your Live is done, Instagram will ask you if you want to convert it into a video on your feed. I always recommend doing that for more exposure. This will also help people watch the replay if they couldn't make the Live. Use the cover that you prepared & downloaded to your phone before and paste the copy into the caption field.


Now take a deep breath - you did it!


A few more general tips:

  • Don’t feel discouraged if not a lot of people tune in on your first Live – that’s normal, especially if you have a smaller audience – just keep going! Also, don't focus too much on the viewer count during your Live. People can see that you are checking out that space the whole time and it makes you seem insecure.

  • Talking about insecurity: sentences like "This is my first Live, sorry if I am nervous. Don't mind me if I just ramble sometimes" etc make you seem very insecure and people can feel the nervous energy. Try to cut out these sentences - you'll do great!

  • Practice makes perfect – nobody’s first Live was perfect. Write down a few notes after your Live has ended to read through before your next time. This helps a lot to improve!

  • If you’re really scared of going live by yourself, ask your biz bestie to join and have a conversation! I find that much easier for the first time because you can focus on someone else & don’t have to carry the conversation by yourself – make sure that the person you invite can contribute interesting insights to your audience.

  • The ideal length for a Live (by yourself) is between 10-20min. If you are talking to someone else, I'd keep it under 45min.


I hope you found these tips helpful! If you do decide to go live for the first time, please let me know! I'd love to join and cheer you on. We're in this together :)


Talk soon,

Hanna