How to View and Participate in Live Stream Broadcasts on Instagram

Instagram Live is a feature that allows users to broadcast live video streams to their followers in real-time. It’s an interactive way to connect with your audience and gives them a behind-the-scenes look at what you are doing. Here is everything you need to know about viewing and participating in Instagram Live broadcasts.

Viewing Live Streams

When someone you follow goes live, you will see a colorful ring around their profile photo in the stories bar. Simply tap on their photo to enter the live stream. You can also receive a notification when someone goes live and tap on that.

Once in the live video, you can view the stream, see comments from other viewers, and interact:

  • Comment: Viewers can comment on the live stream to interact with the broadcaster or other viewers. The comments appear in real-time on the right side of the video.
  • Like Comments: Double tap a comment to like it. The number of likes will appear next to the comment.
  • Share Sticker: Tap the paper airplane icon to share the live video to your Instagram Stories or as a Direct Message to friends.
  • Screenshot: Take a screenshot of what you are watching by tapping the camera icon. The screenshot will save to your camera roll.

Going Live

Any Instagram user can broadcast a live stream by following these steps:

  1. Open the Instagram app and swipe right to open the camera
  2. At the bottom of the screen, select “Live”
  3. Write a compelling title and description for your broadcast
  4. Tap “Go Live” to start streaming

Pro Tip: Use the “Practice” option to test out your setup before going live.

Interactive Live Features

Instagram Live has interactive features to keep your viewers engaged:

  • Questions Sticker: Viewers can ask questions which you can feature on the stream.
  • Polls Sticker: Create polls for viewers to respond to in real-time.
  • Guest Feature: Add another user as a guest host in your live video.
  • Live Effects: Use fun face filters and effects during your broadcast.

Best Practices

Here are some tips for creating successful Instagram Live videos:

  • Promote Ahead of Time: Let your followers know you are going live by posting on your feed or in Stories.
  • Have a Clear Purpose: Give viewers a reason to tune in, whether it’s an announcement, Q&A, tutorial, etc.
  • Interact with Viewers: Respond to comments and questions to build engagement.
  • Keep it Brief: Instagram data shows most live videos are under 10 minutes long.
  • Save Your Video: You can save your live stream to your camera roll for 24 hours after you finish. Consider repurposing it as an IGTV video or on other platforms.

Instagram Broadcast Channels

In addition to standard live streams, Instagram now offers Broadcast Channels. These are public group messaging channels creators can use to engage with followers at scale.

To join a Broadcast Channel:

  1. Tap the link in the creator’s Instagram Story or bio
  2. Tap “Join Broadcast Channel”
  3. You will now receive messages from that creator in your Direct folder

Broadcast Channels allow creators to send updates through messages, polls, voice notes and more. As a member, you can react to messages and participate in polls to interact.

Using Instagram Live and Broadcast Channels are great ways to engage your followers with real-time video content. Have fun going live or joining your favorite creators’ channels!

My Experience Going Live on Instagram

As a social media manager, I have used Instagram Live to host Q&As and tutorials for clients. It’s an easy way to connect directly with their engaged followers.

I make sure to promote the live stream ahead of time on the brand’s Instagram Stories and feed. This gives existing followers a heads up to join. During the broadcast I engage with commenters by responding to questions and featuring some comments on screen.

The live streams easily get a few hundred viewers for smaller businesses. The interactive nature helps followers feel invested in the brand. Afterwards, my clients often see an uptick in website traffic or sales when they share discount codes or new product launches.

Expert Tips for Instagram Live

Here are some additional pro tips for maximizing your success with Instagram Live:

  • Use Good Lighting: Position yourself near a window or use a ring light for a clear picture.
  • Hold Phone Horizontally: Flip your phone to landscape orientation for a widescreen view.
  • Use a Tripod: Reduce shakiness by mounting your phone to a mini tripod.
  • Go Live Consistently: Schedule broadcasts for certain days/times so fans know when to watch.
  • Stay Positive and Upbeat: Keep the energy high even if viewership is low.

Let me know if you have any other questions!