An email from the Instagram marketing platform Later popped up on 9 March—just before coronavirus had taken a firm hold over Europe—declaring that Instagram Live was “not the hottest feature around”. Fast-forward a couple of months and everyone is using it. The Art Newspaper has not shied away from calling out the cascade of bad livestreams online right now, but the talks format is one that can really work.
We speak to the livestream novice Denia Kazakou, the founder of RedD Gallery in Chaniá, Greece, who started a daily Instagram Live programme of talks #ArtFromTheQuarantine on 23 March, to get her first-hand tips for beginners.
Choose a format
I’ve been using a Q&A format, where I speak to one guest about their practice or business and about the current situation. I always start with, “Which country/city are you in?” and “What stage of lockdown are you in there?”, as the people are scattered all over the globe.
Pick the right participants
Some artists are completely against it as they simply don’t like live videos. However, I’d say most people I have asked have been pretty positive as they want to have a presence during this time and this platform gives them that opportunity. Some people do require a lot of preparation work and approvals and, in some cases, even pre-talks.
Do your research
Research the person you are going to be talking with and have a conversation before the livestream about what you should discuss. With artists, I like to ask them some basic questions about show cancellations, their practice, and thoughts on the current situation. With art dealers the questions are usually around the business side of art. We had a lot of comments from people saying that this pandemic has levelled the playing field as the art industry is elitist and financial status is no longer a factor now we are all stuck at home.
Promote your content
People only stay in the conversation if what you are discussing is of interest to them, so maybe post some topics in promotional stories and posts before the livestream so you can target a more specific audience.
Measure your success
Some of the livestreams have had very few views, and some have reached the high triple digits: considering the gallery is less than a year old and doesn’t have a massive following yet, I would say that’s very good—especially when you see the number of livestreams happening every time you open Instagram!
Know your limits
The major pro of Instagram Live—and the reason why I chose it instead of pre-recording for IGTV—is that people watching can ask the participants questions directly and in real-time. But the con is that the talks only last for 24 hours, so some people don’t manage to see them before they expire.