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It’s time to learn how to go live on Instagram. One reality of COVID-19 for the world of social media is that live streams became increasingly popular. Marketers have been talking up live streams for years but it wasn’t until the pandemic that it seemed like live streams were really going to be an important part of small business social media strategy. 

So, how do you do it without looking like a fool? Let’s start with some of the technical elements. 

Make sure your internet connection is strong

It should go without saying, but going live takes some bandwidth. Make sure that your internet connection is a strong one so that you aren’t cutting out or choppy at important parts of your stream.

Unfortunately, you can’t live stream on Instagram from a desktop computer which means Ethernet cords are out of the question. Instead, you have to rely on your phone. Sometimes that’s helpful because your phone might have WiFi and data as a back-up but make sure there aren’t any issues with your connection.

Know what you’re going to talk about


You wouldn’t just wake up one morning and say, “I think I’ll go to law school today.” Similarly, going live shouldn’t be a rushed decision. You should have a plan. Know what you’re going to talk about or do and have an idea of how long that discussion will be. 

In general, it’s recommended that live streams are at least 10 minutes long. That gives people enough time to tune if they don’t see the notification until a few minutes in. Instagram does limit live streams to one hour though so make sure you’re not cutting it close on that. 

Another part of knowing what you’re going to talk about is sharing that with your audience. Let them know when to expect you on the live stream. 

Be aware of your surroundings


Make sure you’re paying close attention to what’s behind you in a live stream. You don’t want something embarrassing to stand out. You also should let others around you know that you’re going live. We’ve already seen plenty of disasters with this in the new world of live streaming the news from home or celebrity interviews. 

If you’re going live in a public area, try to control as much as you can. People love to yell silly things or do something crazy once they realize someone is filming. Be careful. Once you’re live you can’t edit. 

You’ll also want to think about your lighting and the set up of your camera. It’s okay to hold your phone while going live but it can get pretty shaky depending on what you’re doing. A simple stand can help. As for lighting, natural, diffused lighting is the best. You can also buy a ring light for fairly cheap if your lighting needs a boost. 

Ring light and phone stand

Ring Light with Tripod Stand – Amazon

Where to find Instagram Live

Now, that you have the general idea of what to do for an Instagram live stream, it’s time to get set up. Go to your Instagram profile on your phone. There will be a blue plus sign next to your profile icon. This is what you use to add stories but it’s also where you’ll find the live stream option. 

When you’re in the stories option, there will be text at the very bottom. You’ll want to scroll over to the left so you can get to the one that says Live.

You’ll notice that there’s an option on the left of the screen to add a title. People viewing your stream will see this. It’s helpful to include a title so that people know what to expect you to talk about.  You can also add a fundraiser option. 

Then, you can click on the circle when you’re ready. 

Saving an Instagram live once it’s done

Not everyone can tune in live but they may want to see your live stream anyways. The stream will stay in your stories for the next 24 hours, however, you can also save it for more longevity. 

Unfortunately, the only way to do this is to tap Download Video at the very end of the live stream. The video will then download onto your phone. You can then upload it back into Instagram as an IGTV video or use it on Facebook, YouTube, or any other platform you want to share your video. 

If you don’t click that Download Video option, you’re out of luck trying to get the video back. Make sure you do that if you want to keep using the video. 

Find me on Instagram live

I’m going to be going live periodically on my Instagram and Facebook page. I’ll be there to answer your burning social media or digital marketing questions. I’ll usually pick a certain theme for my live streams but feel free to DM me something you want to be covered or show up with questions that you might have. 

Tips for going live on Facebook

To learn more about what types of posts you can do on Instagram (other than photos) click below to download my freebie.