Instagram Live: A Step-by-step Guide for Businesses

Instagram Live: A Step-by-step Guide for Businesses

By Jillian Warren @jillwrren

Instagram Live is an incredible channel for driving new followers, engagement, and even selling products.

But there are no retakes on Instagram Live, which can make your first broadcast feel seriously daunting.

So to help you get started, we’re covering everything from how to kick off your first Instagram Live to our top tips for hosting next-level broadcasts that drive real value for your business. 

Ready to jump right in? It’s time to go live!

Why Use Instagram Live for Business

Going live on Instagram is one of the best ways to connect with your followers in a direct, transparent, and authentic way

Unlike pre-recorded Instagram Stories or IGTV videos, Instagram Live is a totally unedited stream for your followers to tune into and engage with — which can be a great way of showcasing the more human side of your business for your audience to connect with.

And that’s not all. Instagram Live allows your audience to submit their comments and questions in real-time, making it one of Instagram’s most interactive video platforms. 

This can be a hugely beneficial tool for building a stronger connection between your brand and potential customers, allowing you to gain valuable feedback and insight — straight from the people that matter most!

Hosting an Instagram Live can also help boost your discoverability on Instagram. For example, every time you go live on Instagram your followers will receive an in-app notification, and your Live will be bumped to the front of their Instagram Stories feed. 

In addition to the actual broadcast, your Instagram Live will stay on your Instagram Stories for 24 hours for your audience to catch up on. This opens your stream up to a much larger audience and can result in a much higher view count — especially if you continue to promote your Instagram Live across different social platforms.

How to Use Instagram Live for Business: A Step-by-step Guide

Instagram Live is an incredibly easy tool to use! But before you start broadcasting, there are a few administrative items to take care of.

Admin Item #1: Adjust Your Instagram Live Settings

Before you jump into your Instagram Live, it’s a good idea to check your settings are exactly as you want them to be. 

To access your Instagram Live settings, open the Instagram Stories camera and swipe across to the “Live” mode. Tap the wheel icon in the top left-hand corner to open your controls.

From here, you can select who you’d like to be able to view your stories (and Instagram Live), who can reply, where it automatically saves to, and also how it can be shared.

Admin Item #2: Filter Out Offensive Comments

If you’d rather not see inappropriate words in the comments on your Instagram Live, you can automatically hide offensive comments, and manually filter comments that contain specific words or phrases. This is something we really recommend doing, especially if you’re a large brand with a lot of engagement. 

Open your Instagram settings, scroll down to “Privacy,” select “Comments,” and then toggle “Hide offensive comments” from “Off” to “On.” 

To filter out comments that contain specific phrases, toggle “Manual filter” from “Off” to “On” and then type the words or phrases you wish to filter out separated by commas.

Now we’ve got the admin covered, let’s look at how to start an Instagram Live broadcast!

How to Go Live on Instagram

Step 1: Open the Instagram Stories camera and swipe across to the “Live” mode. You will be able to see how many of your followers are currently active in the Instagram app, which is a good indicator of how many people will receive an in-app notification if you go live straight away.

Step 2: Tap the “Live” icon to start your broadcast, making sure you have a strong and stable internet connection.

It’s a good idea to give your followers a few moments to join before jumping right into the focus of your live session, so consider having a holding screen or making some small talk for a minute or two.

Step 3: Once your live is underway, you can choose from a number of features to make your broadcast more engaging: 

#1: Share questions from your viewers to the screen by tapping the question mark icon. Note – You can only share a question once a viewer has submitted it during the broadcast (via the question box shown below in Layla F. Saad’s live). 

#2: Send a Direct Message to someone about your Instagram Live by tapping the paper plane icon.

#3: Invite someone to co-host your Instagram Live (like  @accessbenjamin  below) by tapping the faces icon:

#4: Apply an Instagram Stories filter to your broadcast by tapping the filter icon. It’s a good idea to decide which filter you want to use in advance, so you can find and apply it as quickly as possible!

#5: Share an image or video to your broadcast screen by tapping the camera roll icon in the right-hand corner of the screen.

When you add an image or video from your camera roll, your video live stream will move to the top right-hand corner of the broadcast screen, on top of whatever media you’ve chosen to share.  

You can even add multiple images and videos, one after another, to create a cool “slideshow” effect during your Instagram Live. Just tap the next image or video you want to share from the panel at the bottom of the screen:

#6: Tap “Comment” to add a comment to the live stream. You can also pin a comment to the top of the feed by tapping and holding it, as @bof  has in this example: 

Step 5: Once your Live is over, tap “End” in the top right corner and then “End Now” to confirm. 

From here, you can tap the save icon in the top left to save it to your camera roll, or share it to your Instagram Stories to be viewed over the next 24 hours. It’s that simple! 

Written by: Jillian Warren

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