Instagram stories is one of the most popular features on Instagram. Instagram Live is part of this feature. Before using this awesome feature, you’ll want to learn how live videos work on Instagram.
First consider that compared to regular content, Instagram stories are more likely to capture the attention of users because the content is displayed at the top of the feed.
Even better, when you use Instagram Live, your content is bumped to first place in Stories at the top of the feed. This means that the ever changing and challenging Instagram algorithm can be beat with no effort.
If that sounds good to you, read on and we will discuss how live videos work on Instagram.
What is Instagram Live?
Before getting into how live videos work on Instagram, let’s talk about the difference between Instagram Stories and Instagram Live.
Instagram Live is a part of Instagram Stories. Users can broadcast live videos on the platform using this feature.
While on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed the circles at the very top of your feed. Those are Instagram Stories for people you follow. When there is a live broadcast, a live icon will show at the bottom of the circle.
To view the Live video, users tap on the circle, just like they would to view a story.
This feature is also available for desktop users. Instagram will place a live icon on the Instagram Stories panel. Users simply click to join.
You can take advantage of Instagram Live for your business! We’ll discuss below the benefits of using this feature, how live videos work on Instagram, and how to get the most out of them.
How Businesses Benefit From Using Instagram Live
There are hundreds of millions of users on Instagram every day. By staying on top of the game and using all the features available to you, you’ll be keeping your brand visible and your audience engaged. With the popularity of stories, knowing how live videos work on Instagram is essential.
Over half of users follow at least one brand on Instagram, and even more of those users will tap into Instagram to help them decide if they want to purchase a specific product or service.
So where does Instagram Live come into play?
We talked about the location of stories, in which Instagram Live also shows up, but the best part about Instagram Live is that when a live stream is happening, that profile gets bumped to the first position in Stories, making it even more visible to users.
Users who haven’t disabled Instagram Live Notifications will also get a push notification that you are live.
Instagram Live is also an excellent way for you to directly engage with your users by answering questions. You’ll also benefit from getting direct feedback from users who are vital to your business.
Recently Instagram Stories was updated so you can now add sticker Q&As to your broadcast. Before, all questions were asked in chat, which can make it very difficult to answer everyone’s questions and slows down progress in your live broadcast because you were constantly scrolling up to make sure you didn’t miss anything. With this feature however, you can have a question box, which will allow you to sift through questions more efficiently to answer them in your live video.
You can post a Question Sticker on your Instagram Story before going live to take advantage of this feature.
Once you have started your live video, simply tap the question mark icon located at the bottom of your screen to start answering questions.
After you’ve finished with your live video, you can post it to your Story, where users who may have missed out have a chance to view it for the next 24 hours.
By using Instagram Live you can become more accessible to your audience and build strong relationships with your customers.
Users of Instagram overwhelmingly prefer a live video and Q&A session to reading blogs. Let’s walk you through it!
Going Live on Instagram
Let’s go over the basics of tapping into this marketing tool for your business.
1. Set a Schedule
To get the most out of this feature, you’ll want to make sure you are setting aside time to go live regularly. A great way to do this is to pick a day and time each week where you will be live. This also gives you an opportunity to promote your streams leading up to the moment it happens via Stories or you feed.
2. Set a Goal
You’ll want to have a goal in mind for your Instagram Live videos.
Are you looking to increase your following? Boost sales of a specific product? Get more users to sign up for an email newsletter? Remember that your goal should be in line with your marketing strategy overall.
Whatever the goal is, you’ll want to make sure that you are prioritizing this specific goal in your broadcast. If you have multiple goals, stick to one per live video.
Next you will decide what your call to action should be. How are you going to convey that users watching your live stream should help you meet your goal? You also need to determine ahead of time, what topics and themes you will cover, and how long you want your broadcast to be.
3. Have a Layout
This is one of the most important things to do in order to make sure users are staying engaged throughout your live video. Having a specific format will let your users know what to expect from the stream, and will allow you to stay on topic, and keep things interesting.
Here are few options:
Announcement of News/Launch of Product
If you have a big announcement or want to feature a new product, this is a great way to gain attention and make it fun. You can showcase your goal, while interacting with followers. To keep people engaged, you can also try giving away prizes!
This is a great way to build trust and get to know your target audience. Viewers will ask questions and get answers in real time while also getting to know the brand on a more personal level.
Everyone loves a look behind the scenes. You can use your live video as an opportunity to introduce viewers to your team, take them on a tour, and show how things are made!
Collaborate or Interview
Instagram is one of the best platforms for collaborating for the majority of businesses.
You can use live videos as an opportunity to promote your collaborator to your existing followers, and in turn, they can promote theirs to your business. This doesn’t need to be done in person. You can go live together. We’ll talk about how to do that in a minute.
Surprise Your Audience
Most of us love surprises. By keeping things interesting in your live videos, you’ll have users coming back for more.
If you usually broadcast to Instagram Live in your office or home, try changing up the location!
Another fun option is to have a competition during your live video where users can participate and win in real-time.
4. Promote Your Broadcast
It should always be part of your strategy to promote your live videos beforehand. Simply create a post on Instagram and your other platforms alerting followers of your live stream. Sending an email is another great option to alert your audience.
This will eliminate any stress of trying to hustle to get viewers at the last minute.
5. Instagram Story Camera
Now to walk through the actual steps of creating a live video.
On the top right, in the same bar as stories, you’ll see a camera icon. Or you can swipe right.
You’ll need to allow access to your camera and microphone the first time you use this feature.
6. Select Instagram Live
There are different types of content that the Instagram Story camera will allow you to create.
At the bottom of the screen you will see a sliding menu, scroll over to select “Live”
7. Configure Your Instagram Story Settings
Before you go live, you’ll want to check your Instagram Story settings. To do this, tap the settings gear icon at the top-left of the screen.
You’ll have control over the “rules” of your live video here by selecting “Story Controls.”
You can choose to hide your Stories from specific users, and choose who can reply to your Story.
Because you want to interact with your audience in the best way possible, you’ll want to make sure it is set up so that replies can be sent by anyone.
Instagram will let you automatically save your Stories to your Instagram archive or your camera roll. If you don’t want them taking up space in your phone, you can turn on “Save to archive” so you can access them after the 24 hour limit that stories are available.
Another great feature for Instagram Stories is the ability to share to your Facebook Business page.
This allows you to easily engage your Facebook followers without having to create additional content specifically for that platform.
8. Let’s Go Live
Time to go live! First you will tap “Start Live Video” and Instagram will send a notification to your followers that you are live. You can also double check that you are indeed live by looking for the “Live” icon which will appear at the top-left of your screen.
You can check how long your live video has been going by tapping the “Live” icon.
9. Switching Between Front-Facing and Rear-Facing Cameras
Almost all smartphones are equipped with both front and rear-facing cameras.
Instagram will allow you to switch between these cameras when you are live. This not only keeps things interesting, but allows you to both share what is happening, and share your reactions and comments.
10. Going Live With a Friend
A few years back, Instagram came out with the feature “Go Live with a Friend.” This allows two accounts to collaborate on a live stream. Recently they have expanded this to allow three people to broadcast together. This is great for interviews or when you are collaborating with an influencer or another business.
To use this feature, you will tap the icon that shows video camera.
Select the account you want to go live with, and tap “Invite.”
This will send a notification to the other user, telling them you want them to be in your live video. They can then either accept or decline the invitation.
Your viewers can also join your Instagram Live video by hitting the “Request” button, located in the comments section.
You will be given a notification for each request in the comments section when this happens.
Select “View” where you can either accept or decline the request. If you do accept, you’ll have a moment to prepare before the screen is split.
This will also show up on the icon with two smiley faces. A red number will appear which shows how many requests you have to join the live video.
You can tap the icon to see both the number of current viewers, and requests. You will have the option here as well to accept or reject a viewer’s request or invite to join a live broadcast.
11. Interact with Comments
This is one of the most important things you can do.
Instagram Live is about a community experience. It’s not your own personal television show. You want to make sure you are connecting and engaging with your viewers. The best way to do this is by interacting with the comments.
It’s helpful to have someone who will be in charge of answering comments during the broadcast. If that isn’t possible, you can still answer them as you go along.
Make sure you are also addressing commenters by answering their questions out loud, and thanking individual users as they join.
It is fast-paced, so if this seems overwhelming, you can also add a few Question Stickers. These are also great tools to improve engagement.
By applying these techniques you will not only increase engagement but your live session will feel much more personal, and make viewers feel valued. As we touched on above, this is all about creating a community. You want it to feel like you are all hanging out together.
12. Sharing Your Live Videos
When you are live, you can ask your viewers to share your live stream, or invite users to join in.
If there is a specific user that you want to invite to join, you can notify them directly.
Simply tap the message icon and select the user you wish to invite directly. Add a personal message, and hit “Send.”
13. Ending Your Live Video
All good things must come to an end. Before ending your broadcast, be sure to thank viewers for joining you.
This is the perfect time for a call to action, such as joining a mailing list, to follow you on other platforms, etc.
When you’ve wrapped everything up, simply tap “End” to finish your live video.
14. Sharing and Saving Your Instagram Live Video
After you’ve completed your live stream, you can save your video to your phone by selecting the “Save” icon.
If there were particular portions of the live stream that you wish to highlight, this is a great way to utilize them for later by snipping portions to add to your feed. Additionally, once you have done a few live videos you can snip some of the best moments together to create a fun trailer to promote your future live videos.
Keep in mind ONLY the video will be saved. Not the likes, comments, and views.
After saving, tap “Share” at the bottom of the screen. This will add your live video to your Story so that viewers who did not get a chance to join live, can view it for the next 24 hours.
After sharing your live video to your Story, your followers will see a “Play” icon added to your Story image.
This not only allows your followers to catch up on what they missed, or review parts they want to see again, but they will also see comments from the broadcast, and they can jump forward or back in the video, and send you messages with any comments or questions.
You can check out how many people have watched the live and the replay on Stories by watching the replay yourself.
15. Posting Your Instagram Live Video to IGTV
It used to be that you could only share your live videos as Stories, and they would be broken up into 15 second clips which disappeared after 24 hours.
Now you can share your Instagram Live videos to IGTV when the broadcast has finished.
With the increased use of live videos, sharing them to IGTV is a fantastic way to expand your audience while also extending the viewing time of your broadcasts.
To use this feature, select the “Share to IGTV” option after your broadcast has completed. Add a cover photo to the video, and select “Publish”
A few things to keep in mind when using this feature is that you cannot trim or edit your video before posting it to IGTV. Your videos will not include comments or reactions from your original viewing audience, and your viewers will be recounted after sharing them to IGTV.
This Concludes Our Broadcast Day
If your business isn’t using Instagram Live, you could be missing out.
With its increased popularity, those who know how live videos work on Instagram are reaping the rewards.
Now that you know how live videos work on Instagram, remember these tips for the best results:
- Have a plan. Know what you want to achieve from your live video, and what call to action you will use.
- Promote your live stream before and after the event.
- Have fun! Don’t worry about everything being absolutely perfect. Being live is all about showing a side of yourself outside the aesthetic you present. Focus on your message being clear, and being approachable!