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10 ways to make your Instagram or TikTok Lives more engaging as a Youth Worker

Going live on your Facebook, Insta or TikTok can be a daunting experience if you want it to be, but its also an opportunity to turn that vulnerability into a human connection between you and your audience. It’s a chance to be as authentically YOU as you can be, and for your audience to feel more comfortable reaching out.

We’ve prepared some tips on how to make the most of this cool social media live video feature, based on our experience engaging with thousands of young people across Aotearoa through Lives in and out of lockdowns/isolation.

How to create authentic, engaging Instagram or TikTok lives for your community

1. Have a plan and a goal

  • Having a plan and a clear objective before your live will help to prepare yourself and make the live overall interesting. 
  • Jumping on live and not having a purpose wont interest your followers, so ensuring you know why you’re going on live, what the object is and what types of things you can do during the live will be beneficial.
  • If you’re collaborating with someone else, make sure they have input into the plan that benefits both of you.
  • Although making plans are helpful, remember some things don’t go the way you want them too.  Give room for change and think about what could go wrong and how you can manage it. 

2. Collaborate

  • Instagram collaborations are epic! This way you can bring both individual followers attention and bring awareness to each others platforms.
  • Collaborating on lives is also an enjoyable experience for a viewer, and the person doing the live. Having someone with you to talk with, bounce ideas, have a laugh and help manage the live itself is beneficial
  • However ensure whoever you’re collaborating with aligns with your values, ethics and message. This way you will avoid saying or doing things that could upset each others audiences. It helps to meet with this person first even for 5 mins to get an idea of what the collaboration will look like

3. Charge your phone and stay connected

Nothing wrong than your on a live with someone and they sound like a robot or your phone dying mid way through a deep chat. Enough said really! 

4. Engage with the audience

  • Names will pop up when followers check out your live, keep an eye out and give them a shout out, ask them questions and react when they comment in the comment section.
  • Your followers like to feel acknowledged and apart of whats happening. If you advertise your live before hand, include question boxes or polls and get your followers engaging before it even starts.
  • Be aware that anything can be said in Instagram lives so watching out for offensive comments is important. And again, if you see the toxicity in the audience, exist your live and rejoin when you feel able too. 

5. Be human

You might feel pressure to be hilarious, super knowledgeable, charismatic and perfect – don’t worry you’re not alone in this feeling. Public speaking can bring out the worst self-judgement in all of us. You’ll hear lots of people telling you to be yourself (which is super important), but more important than that is finding a way to relate and connect with your audience. They won’t judge you if they can empathise with you, so before you crack into your Live, share briefly about something they can relate to and make sure its connected to an emotion.

Some simple ways to find connection are talking about places, a sense of day (today), human things like having a sense of family or being proud of someone. These create opportunities to find common ground and share a feeling. Some examples are:

  • sharing a laugh about something that happened that day in the news
  • your younger sibling may have said something crack up that morning as you were preparing your Live for your audience and you share the funny story while also sharing how proud you are of them. This one’s cool because it also lets your audience know you’ve been thinking about them and this is important to you!
  • if you’re in a place your audience has a connection to, ask them to share in the comments. Maybe you want to know where the best Steak and Cheese Pie is!

6. 20min max

Keep intagram lives short and sweet.  It shouldn’t be any longer than a YouTube video or short TV show. Your audience will likely only hang around for a short while or come in and out of viewing, so make sure its short an affective 

7. Its Live!

Be careful with what you say, do and your surroundings. Once it’s live, there’s no going back however if something happens, like inappropriate comments from followers in the comment section, end your live and come back when you’re ready. Oh, and don’t Instagram Live and drive! 

8. Eye contact

If you zone out from your audience, they’ll zone out from you. You can see this straight away in public speaking. When the speaker looks down at their notes and doesn’t look back up, the phone screens come out and the audience’s heads go down. It’s the same on a Live! Your camera lens is like the eyes of your audience – make eye contact like you would in a convo. Staring into their eyes for ages is weird and in some cultures it’s really not a vibe, so make sure you’re treating it like you’re talking to a real person.

9. Switch it up and live times

Be aware of what times your Instagram lives are, think about is it during school hours? too late at night? or too early! Switch it up. During school holidays might be the best time to do lives during the day, or later at night.  If you do a live during the day and you don’t get the viewers you want, make sure to save on your Instagram and re-share later.