During the last few weeks of lockdown, I had a chance to interview 25 international models, live on Instagram, who are going to participate in a prestigious beauty pageant called Miss Elite in Egypt.
Working as a presenter, for a handful of years now, I often got the chance to interview people from around the world in different set ups, but never for something like, live on Instagram.
And due to the current Covid-19 crisis, interviews and virtual meetings on Instagram might just be a new and effective way of exposure for many of us, but if you want to make your live interview a success and add some value to your content for your followers, down below are a few ideas you should definitely consider.
The management of Miss Elite international beauty pageant came up with the idea to organize live interviews with each one of the participating girls. The challenge was to complete it within a month’s time frame.
You might think right now, I thought too, that this interview can't be much different from a normal interview a presenter does, but as every type of media, live interviews on Instagram have their very own character. No matter if you are already a pro presenter or a beginner, this guide will come very handy for you. So let’s get started!
Here is my experience that I would like to share with you working as an online presenter for 21 days:
1. ADVERTISE THAT YOU ARE GOING LIVE MUCH PRIOR
Yes it’s easy and fun to just click the live button, but to make sure most of your followers join your chat you can ideally create a promoting post for your Insta Story or blog and advertise about your session or interview a few days before actually going live.
2. COPING UP WITH NERVOUSNESS
Yes! It sounds silly, but the fact is that all your personal contacts might be joining the interview and gurlll whatever is said is said. Now this might cause some sort of tension in you. There is no scrolling back or doing it again, so you will have to learn to improvise with whatever kind of situation you are in and rather get yourself prepared for that mentally.
3. MAKE TEST CALLS
I figured out, making a quick test call with the person you are about to interview, just half an hour before you are going live helps you to see the other person, quickly go through your schedule, questions and even discuss if there are any no-goes and most importantly, check if the technique works.
This is also a good (and a last) chance to check yourself suiting in the angle of the live call. Make sure you sit in a way that you fills out most of the screen. And test everything else, I mean all the technical like sound, signal, connectivity and the application itself. This is one of the trickiest ways to cope up with things before going live.
4. TECHNICAL FAILURES
It always happens! And specially when going live on Instagram. There were many days where direct calls would just turn out perfect but while going live the connectivity would be an issue and the call was stuck repeatedly.
Here are my suggestions if you find yourself stuck in a live chat emergency:
Hang up and call again. You may also switch to use your data plan. If that doesn’t work then uninstall and reinstall the application itself. It normally used to solve the problem for me. Yes! That may take you a couple of minutes, but believe me, it still feels better than constantly being frozen on a live call.
5. PROPER LIGHTING IS THE KEY
It doesn't matter what you wear, how well prepared you are or what makeup you are wearing if you don't sort out the arrangement of soothing light hitting your face. Every model knows what importance the lighting can have on your overall look, that is = 100%.
The easiest guidelines to follow here are: Choose natural daylight that comes from the front.
The best chance for that is to sit in front of an open window. Choose a warm light timing, that means morning or afternoon and make sure you sit just in the right distance in front of the window to get the right amount of light in your face. If you are coming online at night, make sure you have a ring light or studio light hitting your face but don’t go too stark.
6. GO LIVE ONLY FOR LIMITED TIME Yes! You can go chatting for hours and hours about beauty or business strategies with your friends and contacts, but how does it helps if your viewers get bored and fall asleep? Many of them will even discontinue to watch. Make sure you keep your interviews fun, short and informative and the friends who joined later are able to cling to the conversation. Instagram TV has limited its upload to 15 minutes and Hey! Sure there is a reason for that. So make sure to stay in that timeframe, especially if you want to upload your material afterwards on IGTV.
I would suggest to keep a watch or clock next to you to check on the total time of the interview.
7. SAVE YOUR MATERIAL
Rehearsals, getting ready, interviewing, how it helps if your content (hard work) has just vanished after a couple of minutes and there is no record of it. As a model & presenter my work is my portfolio, so should it be yours too? Of course Yes! So make sure to secure your material. First of all, save your story after the live interview is done, then screen record it from your phone. Apple has a button for that at its control center (Yes! Just right next to your flashlight, if installed correctly). Make sure you crop the material afterwards correctly and in best case, upload, so it can be seen afterwards and stays there as a reference of your work.
8. WATCH OUT FOR THE COMMENTS
Everyone (even who are not your followers) can comment on your live. That sounds like fun... and I feel to create a direct interaction with your friends during the interviews can be one of the greatest advantages of live interviews on IG. And disadvantages? I had to learn it the hard way, having people dropping silly, sometimes offensive comments. Everyone might have some hidden or fake profiles that are not there to clap for your consent, so make sure you are mentally prepared for that. Consider if you want to mention those comments or not. It’s completely your personal choice. I would suggest to simply ignore them and if it gets out of your hand, only allow your friends or followers to comment (you may find it in the settings of live calls) because believe me, those silly comments actually can make you look very confused, even if you won't show it, you will probably be sweating and distracted.
9. ONLY ONE PERSON CAN CALL OUT THE LIVE ANNOUNCEMENT
Something that I wasn't aware of on my first interview was, only the first one who goes live actually gets shown by IG as "going live", which means the person who gets added into the call doesn't automatically gets to send out a "going live” notification by IG to their followers. Well! There’s little you can do about that but you can consider what makes more sense for both the interviewer and the interviewee. Either the host should go first live because he/she is leading the conversation or choose that the person with more followers might better make the call of action to bring in more viewers.
10. IPODS SHALL BE USED WITH CAUTION
You might think, just as me, they generate a better sound. Well having done and screened 25 interviews myself it turns out for IG LIVE they don't really. I guess the newest iPhone generation microphones are just as good or better than the iPods, actually the sound produced by the AirPods seem to be a bit more metallic and heavy.
So, I decided to do my interviews with earplugs, as they gave me some security and it feels like having a much structured conversation in terms of sound and it is fine as long as you consider one thing; don't speak through Airpods as long as you are talking alone. I sounded like a robot or someone who wanted to attack a bank. In interviews the sound was ok though.
11. ASK FOR HELP
As you are going live, anything can happen and you can't see or be sure what your viewers see. I would recommend you to keep a laptop/Ipad/Spare Phone next to you with a Whatsapp version installed. Ask a friend to join the interview as a viewer and drop you a quick hint if something is going wrong, so you are just in time to adapt it whilst your viewers might not even recognize something happened.
12. YOU RELY ON YOUR PARTNER
Something that I learned working as a presenter during social media live interviews was that no matter how much you prepare yourself and your questions, you rely on your interviewee or chat partner. If someone is chatty the conversation might flow, if the other one gets nervous it might feel just a bit of an effort from your side. Just make sure you are prepared for the fact that as a host you rely on your partner for a conversation and that you might have to take over different roles in such situations from the listener’s point of view, to actualize the active part of speaking and filling in empty gaps.
13. DON'T MAKE IT STAGED & REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN
I mentioned before that having a quick test call helps to create a good setup and generally outlining the structure of the interview. Anyhow, I found out myself, it can also lead to "staged conversations". Don't talk about the whole topic just before the interview, your reactions won’t be natural then. The beautiful thing of live interviews is that they are real, live and nearly perfect, so don't try to make them perfectly perfect. Remember your followers mostly join because they admire you and they want to see the real you, so let them enjoy your fun side rather than entertaining them with framed chats of you.
I know what you are thinking, that I am a pro adviser for LIVE chats now. Well! Try it for yourself. You will have an interesting development of your own character in this lockdown.
Have Fun while going LIVE Amigos!
Catch me again soon!