How to Use the New Instagram Live

How to Use Instagram Live

In the last few weeks, Instagram announced it was adding a live feature to its now popular Instagram stories — and it has. Live videos are already popping up on Instagram!

The new feature allows users to stream real-time videos via Instagram Stories. But unlike Facebook Live and Periscope, Instagram Live videos aren’t hosted on the platform. They are immediately deleted after each live session. However, as a business, you have the option to send the disappearing videos to individual customers and groups using Direct Message.

So how does Instagram Live work?

How to Use Instagram Live

How to Broadcast a Live Video

Open your app and tap the camera icon on the top left of your screen. You can as well start live broadcasts by swiping right from the feed. In addition to the “boomerang” and “normal” options, you will now see the “Start Live Video” button at the bottom of the screen.

Tap “Start Live Video” Button to Start Broadcasting

Select the “Start Live Video” button for real-time broadcasting. As you broadcast, you will be able to see the number of people viewing your stream, as well as likes, questions and comments. You have the option to turn off comments or pin a comment so that all your viewers can see it. 

Pin Comments

To pin a comment, tap and hold the comment. It will automatically be pinned at the top of your feed. To turn off comments, tap the “More” icon (three dots) and select “Turn Off Commenting.”

Send Disappearing Messages

Remember, live videos are deleted after each live session. You can however send your customers the video by tapping the “Arrow” icon at the bottom right. Select groups or people and click send. The sent video will appear as a circle at the top of your direct inbox. A tick on the circle shows that your message was successfully delivered.


When you start live streaming you can choose to send a notification to your customers, alerting them that you are live. The word “Live” will also appear under your Stories profile photo. Be as creative as possible. You video might just appear in the “Top Live” stories area that’s listed under the Explore tab.

Below is a short video explaining how the new “live” feature works:


Like Facebook Live and Periscope, you can use Instagram Live to promote your business and build customer satisfaction by hosting live Q-and-A sessions, tutorials, free classes and demos. The possibilities seem fairly endless and the kind of broadcast is up to you.

Image: Instagram

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Antony Maina Antony Maina is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. His beat includes social media, general business reporting and exploring how people relate to technology. With a background in freelance writing, he is a contributor to other tech websites and can be found at Word4Bloggers.

3 Reactions
  1. Antony: I didn’t know that you could save the live session in a way, and then send it to some of your contacts on Instagram. I could then use this feature to have a live session for the backers of my crowdfunding campaign (my first forthcoming book on tea), sending them an update on the self-publishing process. I think that most of my backers and potential new donors have an Instagram account (compared with having a Snapchat account).

  2. I have tried using this. It is like Snapchat. The story gets deleted in 24 hours.

  3. Thank you for this teachings, but please, as a person who just joined a friend live video and i wish to make a comment and pin it to enable him see it how will i do it because I’ve done the pattern you said we should do which i got to know it is only the person doing the live video that can do the pinning. Please is it possible for me to pin a comment in another person’s live video if yes how can i do it?
    Thank you.