Instagram Live FAQ: The Definitive Guide

Instagram Live: The Definitive Guide

Instagram Live: The Definitive Guide

Recently, Instagram decided to get in the live video game by rolling out Instagram Live on Instagram Stories. While this exciting feature is not currently available to all users, Instagram has announced that all users in the United States will have access in the coming weeks.

We’ve decided to create a handy FAQ for any and all questions you might have on the new Live function on Instagram Stories, both on a personal front and from a brand or organizational point of view. Starting with:

What is Instagram Live?

Instagram Live allows users to start broadcasting video in real time to their followers. Unlike Facebook Live, however, once a live video has finished, it disappears and is unavailable for replays.  

How do I share a live video on Instagram?

It’s pretty simple.

  1. Go to the camera in Instagram Stories, either by swiping right from the main feed or pressing the camera button on the top left-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the “Live” button on the bottom of the screen, then tap “Start Live Video.”
  3. Film your video.
  4. Once you’ve finished, tap “End” in the top right corner, and again to confirm.

See? Easy.

How will my followers know if I’m broadcasting Instagram Live?

Your followers may receive a notification when you start a live video. If your followers have Instagram open, they’ll see a “live” badge while you’re broadcasting.

Who can watch my Instagram Live videos?

The same people who have access to your Instagram story; if you’re unsure, check your privacy settings. If your account is private, only your approved followers have access to your story and live videos. If your account is public, your followers have access to your story from your feed and anybody can access it from your profile. You can also hide your story from individual users.

How long do my videos stay up?

Live videos on Instagram Live can’t be replayed and disappear once the feed has ended. Once you’re done broadcasting, your followers are done viewing.

Can people comment on my videos?

Yes. As you’re broadcasting, your followers can comment or tap repeatedly to “heart” your video – those hearts may even have their faces on them! You can also respond to their comments as you film. If there are some comments that you really like, you can pin them to the top of the reel.

That sounds really distracting – can I hide those comments?

Sure! If you don’t like the comments or hearts, you can hide them from your screen.

What do I do if someone is harassing me in the comments, or generally being annoying?

You can block or report any users who are engaging in inappropriate behavior, or who are otherwise making you feel uncomfortable. Additionally, you can turn off comments for your live stream.

How long can my Instagram Live be?

Your video can be anywhere from a few seconds to up to an hour – it’s up to you!

How do I find other people’s Instagram Lives to watch?

You can see other live streams happening now in the Stories section of Instagram’s Explore tab. These are curated for you based on geography, language, and view count, so you can swipe through to find the live stream most interesting to you.

How can Instagram Live help my brand?

Think of Instagram Live as an extension of Instagram Stories – a place where consumers can get a better sense of you as a brand. While this particular update seems to be more for individual rather than brand or retail use, a well-advertised Instagram Live session is a great way for brands to engage with their communities and generate conversation.

Content & Data Analyst at Firebrand Group. I read a lot.