Instagram Stories are here to stay. In just a year, it surpassed similar social media platforms reaching 250 million average daily users in 2017 (Source: CNBC).

That’s a lot of eyes, and if you’re not using it as a regular part of your online marketing, then you’re definitely missing out.

There are many ways to make Instagram Stories work for you and your brand. One of the best options is to make the most out of the ‘Live’ feature. When done right, it could be the ultimate way to engage your audience and build a relationship with your followers!

Give these tips a try and start using Instagram Stories Live effectively to get the results you want.

1. Go live when most of your followers are online.

There’s no “one size fits all” magic hour or day that you can follow and ensure the most viewers during your live session. The best or right time is determined by knowing your audience’s behavior. Are most of your followers students or employees with regular office hours? Do you get more likes and comments during a certain day or hour?

Schedule an Instagram Live post during times when your viewers are not just online, but have the opportunity to focus and engage. Viewers are great, but you want them commenting and reacting to your video!

2. Announce it beforehand–treat it like an event!

Instagram notifies some of your followers when you go live, but this alone won’t bring in the numbers. When you do go live, you want to have your followers’ complete attention. This can be done by not simply surprising them with a stream, but giving your followers some fair warning.

Your brand’s most loyal followers may even free up their time to ensure they’re available to watch and interact with you when you go live on Instagram Stories. Give them a head’s up leading up to the event. You can post about it on your blog or other social media profiles, or create fun text announcements you can post on Instagram Stories, too.

For shorter timelines, you want to create cool announcements on the go. You can use Instasize to make an announcement. Their Text Styles tool gives you multiple premade but highly customizable options that enable you to key in important details and design something eye-catching yet on-brand in just a few taps.

3. Have a plan of action.

Just like any other marketing campaign, you will get the best results when you get in front of your viewers with a plan in mind. These can be as detailed as any other video content you produce, or as relaxed as jotting down your objectives and key points before hitting that big red button.

Having a plan keeps your video focused. Your calls to action will be more effective when you present yourself effectively. As Instagram Live videos can run quite long, you may be asking your followers to invest precious time to watch your feed. It better be worth their while. Besides, nothing will make viewers tap out faster than an aimless video.

These are just three quick tips to ensure that your next session on Instagram Live will go smoothly, have more viewers, and get higher engagement. When you know how to use Instagram Stories well, you’ll quickly realize that it may be one the most valuable social media tools on your roster.