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Instagram Live: Detailed guide

Instagram Live: Detailed guide

by bhargavi September 21, 2020
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Instagram Live
Instagram Live

Source: Youtube

Instagram live is a feature on Instagram under the stories. It has over 500 million active users on a daily basis. Just like Instagram stories, Instagram live is also seen on the top of the screen. If you are live, you are seen at the very beginning of the stories section.

Once the live video has ended, there is no option for replays. The video just disappears unless the user decides to put the live on their stories.

Let’s dive into the intricacies of Instagram live

What is Instagram live?

It is a feature alongside the Instagram Stories feature. It allows the user to broadcast live videos on the platform. It is located on the top of the feed as mentioned earlier. When there is a live video in progress, an icon which reads “Live” is included.

If you want to join the live, all you have to do is click on the story thumbnail. Using Instagram Live is extremely easy and fun.

Let’s understand how to use Instagram Live efficiently.

Instagram Live for Business

Instagram live is one of the best ways to connect with your audience in a direct way. It is more interactive and authentic. Instagram live stream takes place in real time and is not pre recorded and edited. It is useful to connect with your audience and show them the human side of your business.

It will help build strong relations between your customer and you. It creates space for direct feedback and suggestions. It also boosts discoverability of your page.

Your live stream stays on your story for 24 hours after your live has ended. People can watch it then and it reaches a wider audience.

Let’s understand how to use Instagram live to the business’ benefit.

How to use Instagram live?

Instagram live has a high potential of being a marketing tool. There are 16 steps you should follow to create a successful Instagram live stream!

Step 1: Set a schedule

Instagram Live 1

Image source – SproutSocial

Staying consistent is the key here. In order to create trust and better communication with your audience, you need to go live regularly. The best way to stay consistent is to create a schedule and stick to it.

Example: if you decide to go live every Friday at 6 pm, make sure you are live every Friday at 6 pm. You can promote this as a weekly event to your audience. And slowly and steadily the engagement will increase. And your audience will look forward to your Instagram live session.

Step 2: Identify your goal

You need to know the reason and purpose behind your Instagram live sessions to get the most out of it. Maybe you want to strengthen customer relationships, increase followers or boost sales. You need to know your goal thoroughly to work effectively.

It is important that your goal is in alignment with your marketing strategies.

Instagram Live

Image source – Influencer Marketing Hub

Once your goal is decided you can plan your live stream accordingly. You can decide the duration and the topics you want to cover with each stream.

Step 3: Choose a Format

Once you have a format in place, the audience will know what to expect. Here are 4 popular formats that you could use:

  • A Q&A Session

Q&As are simple to execute. They are extremely effective. This format helps you to interact with your viewers. 

When you respond to real time questions, viewers can find answers to questions they’ve been wanting to ask! It increases curiosity among the viewers.

  • Launch or Announce Something Brand New

If you want to launch something huge, why not do it in a grand way on Instagram Live. You can promote the launch of the product, engage with your followers, and maybe give away some prizes!

  • Take Viewers Behind the Scenes

We humans are curious about everything. And we love to know what happens behind closed doors. Give the viewers what they want: Behind the scenes!

You can take them on a tour, show them how everything is made, introduce them to your lovely team. These are just a few ideas.

  • Do an Interview or Collaborate

Collaborating is a great way to create extremely engaging content. It helps you grow on the platform. You promote your collaborator to your followers, and they promote you to theirs.

  • Do Something Unexpected

Consider surprising your audience with a whole new location or come up with a competition on the stream. Do something unexpected and that is bound to get attention from users and increase engagement.

Instagram Live

Image source – Kicksta

You can end the live by doing or saying something that makes your viewers think. End with a suspense. People will be left wanting for more post your live stream. Their curiosity will keep increasing and they will join your stream the next time too.

Step 4: Promote Your Stream

Don’t just go live without a heads up. Instead, whip up some excitement beforehand. This can be as simple as posting on your other social media accounts or sending an email to your list about your upcoming Instagram Live stream.

Instagram Live

Image source – Easil

Once you have a strong base, you don’t have to promote every-time you go live.

Step 5: Access the Instagram Story Camera

Instagram Live is a feature within Stories as mentioned earlier. To start a live stream you need to access the Story camera. This is at the top left of the screen or swipe right.

Instagram Live

Image source – Reddit

The first time that you use Instagram Stories, you’ll need to enable your phone’s camera and microphone access.

Step 6: Select Instagram Live

The Instagram Story camera allows you to create and share nine different types of content.

  • Type
  • Live
  • Normal
  • Boomerang
  • Music
  • Focus
  • Superzoom
  • Rewind
  • Hands-free
Instagram Live

Image source – Shortstack

Use the sliding menu at the bottom of the screen to select “Live.”

Step 7: Configure Your Instagram Story Settings

Before you go live, check your story settings. The icon is at the top left of the screen. Here, you’ll see Instagram’s “Story Controls.”

The settings allow you to hide your stories from specific people. And you can also choose who can reply to your story.

As a business, you should make sure that replying is open for all. This will allow you to better interact with your audience.

Instagram Live

mage source – Beebom

You can also share your stories on your Facebook business page. You can take advantage of this feature and increase your reach. You will also save the time of creating different content for Facebook.

Step 8: Go Live on Instagram!

Tap “Start Live Video” and Instagram will notify your followers that you’re live. To double-check that you’re live, look for the “Live” icon in the top-left corner of the screen.

Instagram Live

Image source – Lifewire

If you want to check the duration you have been live, tap the “live” icon.

Step 9: Switch Between Camera Views

All smartphones are equipped with a front and rear camera.

Instagram Live

Image source – AWG Sales Service

You can switch between the two while you are live. You will want to share what is happening in the moment. You can switch it and keep it interesting.

Step 10: Go Live with Another Account

You can now go live with another account! This feature is especially useful for conducting interviews or collaborations.

  1. To use this feature, tap on the icon with two smiley faces.
  2. Next, select who you’d like to go live with and then tap on “Add”.
  3. The user you have sent an invitation to will get a notification. They can then accept or decline the invitation.
  4. If any of your viewers want to join you, they need to press the “request” button in the comments section.
  5. When this happens, you’ll see a notification for each request in the comments section.
  6. You then tap on “View” and then accept or decline the request.
  7. The icon with two smiley faces will also have a red number showing how many requests you have. Just tap the icon to see both requests and current viewers. Here, you can either accept a viewer’s request or invite a viewer to join you.

Step 11: Use Filters

Your Instagram Live streams won’t always go according to your plan.

Instagram Live

Image source – iPhone Hacks

If you feel the excitement has dropped, take advantage of the filters. This will help get back some humour and fun in the stream. To use them, tap the smiley icon with the stars. Then scroll along to find new filters to try!

Step 12: Interact with Comments

Instagram Live streams are meant for connecting, interacting and engaging with the viewers. So don’t forget to interact in the comments.

Instagram Live

Image source – Social Media Examiner

Do not forget to address the commenters and thank some individual viewers by name for joining the stream. You can give Question stickers a shot and see if that improves your engagement.

Step 13: Share Your Instagram Live Stream

Ask your viewers to share your live stream with their followers and invite others to join the stream! If there’s someone in particular that you’d like to share your Instagram Live stream with, you can notify them directly.

Instagram Live

Image source – Technicians

To send an invite to a particular person, tap on the paper plane symbol and choose who you’d like to send an invite too. Add a message and hit send!

Step 14: End Your Instagram Live Video

Before you end, do not forget to thank your viewers for joining in.

The end of the stream is a good time for a call to action. Ask them to maybe join a mailing list, or follow your Twitter account. These are just a few actions you can call for.

Instagram Live

Image source – Molly Marshall Marketing

The next step is to click on “End”.

Step 15: Save and Share Your Instagram Live Video

Once you’ve finished your broadcast, you can save your Instagram Live video to your phone’s camera roll by tapping the “Save” icon. You can use this video in the future for content. Take short clips and post them on your feed.  Only the video is saved, and not the interactions like comments, likes, and views.

Next, tap “Share” at the bottom of the screen to add your Instagram Live video to your Story so users can view it for 24 hours. If you don’t wish to share your Instagram Live video to your Story, just choose “Discard,” and your live video will disappear from the app.

Instagram Live

Image source – Oberlo

Once you’ve shared your Instagram Live video to your Story, followers will see the “Play” icon added to your Story image. Then, they can tap your Story to watch the video and see comments and likes from the original broadcast.
They can also tap the right or left side of the screen to jump forward or back 15 seconds or tap “Send Message” to reply. The number of viewers shown will include everyone who saw it live and in Stories.

Step 16: Share Your Instagram Live Video on IGTV

Once your Instagram Live is over you can post the video on IGTV. The viewers on live videos have increased over time hence posting the live video on IGTV is a great way to increase views and reach.

To share on IGTV, click on “Share to IGTV” post the live stream ends. Pick a cover photo for the IGTV and post your video!

When using IGTV for Instagram Live, keep note of these things:

  • Your viewers will be recounted once you share the Instagram Live video to IGTV.
  • Live video recordings won’t include any comments or reactions from your original Instagram Live video.
  • There’s no way to trim or edit your live broadcast before posting it to IGTV.

How to know if other Instagram users are live?

A live video disappears as soon as the broadcast is over, therefore it is important to discover the best live streams of Instagrammers. Once you follow someone, you will see a “Live” icon under their display picture in the stories section.

You can see live streams in the Explore section too. There is an option, “Top Live” and you will be able to see the most popular live streams happening at that point.

Advantages of Instagram live


Instagram Live

Image source – Oberlo

Increases interaction
You can talk directly to your viewers. You have direct access and can convert leads into sales.

  1. Cost-effective
    It’s not difficult to create a fun Instagram live stream. You don’t need professional equipment to shoot a video.
  2. Track engagement
    You can see how many individuals joined your live at the end of it. You can further use Instagram Analytics to analyse the metrics.
  3. Save and share live streams
    You have the option to save your entire live stream. You can also share it on your stories, it will stay there for 24 hours. You can further share your live stream on IGTV as well.

Wrapping up

Instagram live is an amazing tool to connect with your audience directly. It is a powerful medium to connect. More and more people are joining the Instagram Live community.

Key Points to keep in mind:

  • Plan ahead and promote your live
  • Keep your message clear
  • Have fun!

Let us know your experience of using Instagram Line in the comments below!


Can you do a 3 way live on Instagram?

Now it's actually rolling out to everyone on iOS and Android, allowing up to four friends to group video call together through Instagram Direct. With the feed, Stories, messaging, Live, IGTV and now video calling, Instagram is hoping to become a one-stop-shop for its 1 billion users' social needs.

Can you Instagram live horizontal?

When you select someone and then tap the Add button, the screen will be split horizontally, and their stream will show up underneath your own. A guest can leave at any time, and you can also end their stream—and select another friend to go live with instead, if you choose

Can you watch Instagram live on a laptop?

If you're on a PC or Mac, the options to watch Instagram Live on computers is limited. ... You can watch Instagram Live on PC or Mac by using a Chrome extension. One extension that allows you to view Instagram Live on PC is IG Stories for Instagram (not to be confused with Chrome IG Story)

How does Instagram live work can they see you?

The simple answer to this question is yes, you can. As soon as you start broadcasting a live video on Instagram, people will start joining. This, of course, means that they are actually watching your broadcast and you will be able to see each individual that joins and starts watching your Instagram Live Video.

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