How to Use Instagram Live (No Sweating or Crying)
Does the thought of going live on Instagram strike fear in your heart? Check out our tips for a stress-free livestream.
Does the thought of going live on Instagram strike fear in your heart? Check out our tips for a stress-free livestream.
Listen up: You’re going to get on Instagram Live, and you’re going to like it.
In fact, we’re going to make it so easy to go live on Instagram that you might enjoy yourself. We’ll walk you through how to go live, three tips and tricks for planning a successful livestream, and seven examples to inspire your next Instagram Live. We’ve also included how to watch others’ Live content and an FAQ as a little treat.
There will be no sweating or crying. We promise.
Instagram has over one billion monthly active users, all looking for easily consumable content. A 2021 survey showed video viewership reached 92% of internet users worldwide, with Live Streams taking the 4th highest place in popularity. Video content is king of the internet; we know that now.
So, do yourself a favor and start planning your next Instagram Live stream. Wipe your eyes, take a deep breath, and remember, we got you every step of the way.
Instagram Live is a feature that lets you live stream, or broadcast video to your Instagram followers in real-time. Live videos live next to Stories, just above the main Instagram feed.
When you go Live on Instagram, your live feed jumps in front of every Story, which means you can grab your followers’ attention without worrying about being bumped by the algorithm.
Going live on Instagram is simple.
To start, you need to have an Instagram account (surprise!) and a phone, since many of Instagram’s features are only available on mobile.
Then jump into the first step:
From your profile or feed, tap the plus icon on the top right. This will prompt you to choose what type of content you want to create.
Once you tap Live on the list above, Instagram automatically pulls up the Live option you can see in the screengrab below.
Tap on the recording icon. Instagram will briefly check your phone’s internet connection before starting your broadcast.
Voila! That’s how to go live on Instagram in two steps. See, we told you it was simple.
Pro tip: Your number of viewers shows up at the top of your screen. You will also see all your viewers’ comments as they come in.
Celebrate those flying hearts! That’s your audience showin’ you love.
At the bottom and on the top right of your screen, you’ve got some spicy features you can use to make your livestream even better.
Let’s break ‘em down:
When you’re done filming your Instagram Live video, tap the X icon at the top right-hand corner. Once your video has ended, you’ll be prompted to either view it in your Instagram Live archive or discard it.
Pat yourself on the back. You just finished making your first Instagram Live stream!
If you’re just getting started on Instagram as a business owner, read this article.
In March 2021, Instagram introduced Live Rooms, allowing users to go live with up to three other people. Previously, it was only possible to co-host streams with one other person using the “Add a guest” option. Now, you don’t have to choose a favorite when deciding between co-hosts!
With Live Rooms, users (and brands) can get a bit more creative with their streams. Inviting more speakers can create an engaging experience for your audience, like:
These are just a few ideas that can work well with Live Rooms, but the sky’s the limit (well, actually, four people is the limit. But you get our enthusiasm).
Live Rooms are great for businesses. Whenever you invite a guest to join your live video, their audience has access to it, even users who don’t follow you on Instagram. If you can convince three other people to live stream with you, you’ve got three times the exposure.
How to start a Live Room:
1. Follow the same steps you would take to set up a regular live stream.
2. Once you’re live, your requests to join others’ Rooms appear in the video icon. You can start your own Room by tapping the Rooms icon beside the live request button:
3. Type in the name of your guests, hit Invite, and you’re ready to go!
You can add all three of your guests all at once when setting up the stream or one by one as your stream progresses.
Do you set goals when you’re planning out your content? Your audience will notice when you do. A plan makes your Instagram Live go from zero to hero.
To get there, you need to set a S.M.A.R.T. goal — meaning it’s specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.
After you’ve thought of a S.M.A.R.T. goal, it’s time to make a blueprint to get there.
Map out an outline of how your video will go. Then, jot down the points you want to cover with a rough time estimate. Structure will keep you on track, and viewers will appreciate the clarity.
Instagram Live is social media marketers’ secret power to engage an audience.
This tool gives you the ability to chat with your audience live. Shout out your followers by name as they join your stream. You can reply to comments and questions in real-time.
You can even use their commentary to inspire content for your next stream. Are people asking or commenting on similar themes? Take the popular comments and use it for new content!
For more, be sure to check out our article on how to increase social media engagement.
Instagram Live analytics can help you understand your Live broadcast on a more granular level.
Use these numbers to compare different Live streams and see which content drives the most engagement. You can use these insights to plan your next Instagram Live event.
You’re all set to host your own Instagram Live broadcast. Now, all you need are some ideas. Luckily for you, we’ve put together seven Instagram Live stream ideas for your business.
Influencer marketing is all about engaging with your fans so you can share insights on the brands they love or topics they’re interested in. If you choose an influencer that aligns with your brand, you can introduce their audience to what you offer.
Instagram Live is a perfect platform for these collaborations. With the Add a guest and Live Room features, you can bring influencers on for interviews, Q&A sessions with your viewers, or a friendly chat.
If you’re planning to feature more than one influencer in your broadcast, use the Live Rooms feature. You will be able to invite up to three influencers to share the screen with you.
For more, check out our article on how to work with social media influencers.
Stream your industry events, ceremonies, or conferences you’re attending. People love getting an inside look at industry parties from someone in the inner circle.
If you’re planning on streaming your next event, then use FOMO. Fear of missing out can be a powerful tool. People will want to watch and keep up with what’s going on in real-time so as not to miss any exciting moments. Hype up your Live stream event beforehand!
And be sure to post a recap video after the fact. You can download your Live stream, edit it as you like, then repost it to your feed.
Recently, Carrie Underwood performed at the CMT awards. She’s posted a recap of her high-flying performance for fans who might have missed it live.
Source: Carrie Underwood on Instagram
Engage your followers with interactive content. Teach a workshop or class, or host a tutorial on content you’re associated with. Your audience will have the chance to ask you questions about what you do, what you offer, or what you’re selling.
Don’t be afraid if you think you don’t have any worldly knowledge to impart to your followers. You can teach your audience literally anything, so long as it’s entertaining.
For example, rapper Saweetie went Live to show her followers how to properly eat the Saweetie meal from McDonald’s. She said, “cause y’all are doin’ it wrong.” She then proceeded to make Nuggachoes, a dish that looks like fries and chicken nuggets covered in sauce.
Honestly, it looks like a solid late-night meal — and we wouldn’t have known it existed without Instagram Live.
Engage your audience and make them feel heard with a Live Q&A.
Simply hop onto Instagram Live and solicit questions from your audience. If you’re not getting a lot of questions, ask your audience to post some. If you’re feeling brave, turn it into an AMA (Ask Me Anything).
Halle Bailey hosted an Instagram Live Q&A while in Atlanta, Georgia, to film The Color Purple musical movie.
Be sure to announce that you’re holding a Q&A for your followers before you go live. It can be as simple as a quick Story, or you can build anticipation for a couple of days in advance.
Read this article for more information on becoming a Story pro.
If you’re launching a new product, host a Live product unboxing and show your followers what they’re getting.
People trust brands on Instagram. Studies show that “people use [Instagram] to discover what’s trending, research products before buying and decide whether or not to make a purchase.” So, use your Live stream to your advantage, and show off your products while answering real-time questions.
You don’t need to talk to an industry thought leader or influencer to help boost your brand. Chatting with customers about how much they love your products or services is an effective way to engage your audience. Plus, it’s much less expensive than hiring influencers.
And since Instagram gives you the option to save the video after you’re done, you can keep it on your Instagram profile as a video testimonial. Double win!
Give your instant reaction to events, news, products, or anything related to your industry. If your audience finds it entertaining or interesting, it’s fair game.
For example, if you watched a talk given by a thought leader in your field, you can go on Instagram Live afterward and share your thoughts.
You can also review different products and services related to your business. Use a new laptop for your business? Or maybe you’ve been trying out a new camera? Review of all those products live.
Check out this article if you’re really looking to grow your Instagram following.
Watching others’ Instagram Live streams is easy. They show up where you see Instagram Stories, but with a pink box denoting LIVE in it. You can watch them on your phone or desktop.
Want to relive the magic? If you hit Archive after going live, Instagram saves your video in the Live Archive.
You can repost your video to IGTV so long as it is more than one minute long.
After you’ve shared a live video replay, you can view it by opening your video from your profile in two easy steps:
Just FYI: the view count on this video only includes people who watched it after you posted it. Not the Live viewers.
Heck, yes! Instagram gives you the option to limit who sees your Instagram Live stream. Get exclusive. Limit those views. If your mom didn’t join your stream, you don’t have to let her see what you’re up to.
The setting works the exact same way as it does on your Instagram Stories, since that’s where your video will live.
Just tap the camera in the top left corner. Then tap the gear or settings button in the top right corner.
Then, go to Live (the third option down on the left). Here, Instagram lets you type in the account names you want to hide your video from.
Got a troll? Or maybe you’re monologuing. Either way, you can turn off comments on your stream by tapping the three dots in the chatbox and hitting Turn Off Commenting.
You can solicit questions from your followers via your Instagram Story for a Q&A.
Create a Story post with a questions sticker containing the question you want to ask.
When it comes time for your Instagram Live stream, you’ll be able to access them all via the questions button. Tap the button, and a drawer appears containing all of the questions you can answer.
Select one of the questions, and it will appear on your stream for your followers to see.
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