Instagram is now launching Live Stories globally after rolling it out in the U.S. in December. How might brands use the platform? One possibility is to tie together influencers and commerce – a strategy that isn’t typically seen in the U.S., but has been frequently deployed in China.

Live streaming has exploded in China, where there are more than 150 platforms offering the service. Brands have embraced the trend: 69% of Beauty companies tracked by L2 provide live streaming content. Two brands that have been successful at live streaming are Benefit Cosmetics and Guerlain. By integrating popular live streaming influencers into their events, while also creating opportunities for purchase, they generated both engagement and conversions.

In September, Guerlain live streamed an event with celebrity Yang Yan on Tmall, letting viewers buy featured products during the broadcast. Those who made a purchase could win prizes including autographed lipsticks, red envelopes, and an autographed 3D book. The event achieved huge scale, garnering 31,000 comments and 3.8 million likes, according to L2’s Social Platforms report – proof that tying celebrities to live streams can be a winning strategy for engagement.

Guerlain social strategy

Benefit Cosmetics took a different approach, inviting WeChat users to watch an interactive live stream of its #BenefitBrows product launch. In addition to featuring 100 beauty bloggers and 12 popular live streaming hosts, the live stream drove sales via sampling. During the event, participants could apply for a free trial of the product, bringing together content and commerce.

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