How To
8 min read

How To Go Live On Instagram: A Step-By-Step Guide

Mariana Denmanty

June 30, 2022

Are you struggling to stay on top of the competition and be exactly where your potential customers are? Then it’s time to go live on Instagram. 

Instagram has been gaining popularity as a global marketing and advertising platform. The dedicated mobile app has reached more than 500 million daily active users globally. As of January 2021,  it was identified as the most important social platform by 24% of B2C and 16% of B2B marketers. 

Since 2016, Instagram Live has allowed users to stream live videos through Instagram Stories. It’s an effective way to connect directly with your audience and create a virtual event. 

Moreover, it was found that eight out of ten users would rather watch a live stream than read a blog post or see a social media post. Also, seven out of ten followers bought a ticket to a similar event after watching a livestream.

In this article, we’ll walk you through exactly how you can establish your brand presence on Instagram Live, along with pro tips to take your live stream game to the next level. 


What is Instagram Live?

Instagram Live is a feature nestled in Instagram Stories that lets users broadcast live videos to other users on the platform. Going live on Instagram is an excellent strategy for building engagement and brand awareness in an unobtrusive and direct way. 

Instagram Live has become the second most popular live streaming platform after Facebook Live, and in 2020, was used by 17% of marketers. 

Data Source

The same MarketingCharts survey reports 70% of B2C and B2B marketers planned on expanding their video marketing efforts on Instagram.

As live video broadcasting shows no signs of decline in popularity and is likely here to stay, it’s essential to know how you can leverage this opportunity to connect with your audience.

So, how exactly do you go live on Instagram? 

It’s simple. All you need is an Instagram account and a phone. With the mobile app installed, you’re able to stream live directly without a third-party solution (which is required for live broadcasting from your desktop). Note that many of the features are available on mobile only, so we recommend sticking to your phone and ditching your computer to maximize your live streaming effectiveness.

Side note: Instagram allows you to post live photos, a medium between still photos and a video. Using the special Boomerang feature you can create a "moving" image, enriching your visual context. You can post it either to your photo wall or to your story.

Let’s dig into the details of live broadcasting using the Instagram mobile app.

Step-by-step guide to going live on iPhone

You can start a livestream from two different starting points in the app.  

Starting from your profile:

  • In the Instagram app, tap your profile image in the bottom right of the screen.
  • You’ll see your profile view. Tap your profile picture at the top left to enter the Add to Story screen.
  • Tap
  • and swipe at the bottom of the screen to Live. You can tap
  • to switch between rear and front-facing cameras.
  • Tap
  • to start streaming live.
  • To end your broadcast, tap Finish.

Starting from the home screen:

  • Open the Instagram app, tap
create new
  • at the top, and select Live in the menu that will appear.
  • Tap
  • at the bottom to start streaming live.
  • To end your broadcast, tap Finish.

Step By Step To Go Live On Android

The steps required to start a livestream on Android are the same as those we discussed above, but you can also start one from your feed. 

  • Open the Instagram app on your Android device and swipe right in your Feed.
  • At the bottom, scroll and locate Live, then hit
  • to start streaming.
  • To end your broadcast, tap Finish.

Pro Tips

✅ Before you tap

to start your livestream, use the menu on the left to adjust the settings of your broadcast. You can add a title, schedule your live start time, select the audience, or opt for a practice broadcast.

✅ Find inspiration for your livestream title by checking out the free Instagram caption tool.  

The Instagram captions generator can come up with a range of ideas to use for your live video title. You can also check out some valuable insights into creating Instagram captions for more inspiration. 

✅ At the bottom of your screen, you’ll see a number of different filters you can use. Pick one that fits the tone of your video and make sure it enhances—and doesn’t detract from—your message.

✅ While livestreaming, you’ll be able to see the number of viewers at the top of your screen as well as their reactions of flying hearts, smiles, and other emojis. Don’t let them distract you.

Now that you’re ready to live stream like a pro, let’s go over another exciting option Instagram offers, which is something in between a regular photo post and a live video. 

How to post a live photo on Instagram

Sharing a live photo is a way to make your post livelier and more engaging. Here’s how you can use this feature and make the most of it.

  • From the home screen, tap
create new
  • at the top of your screen.
  • Select Story on the menu and camera roll from the options. Locate

  • Boomerang on the left of your screen and tap it.

  • Hit
  • at the bottom of the screen to take a live photo. To edit it, you can tap
  • ,
  • , or
  • . This will let you add a drawing, text, or sticker respectively. To remove a text or a sticker, drag and drop it on
  • at the bottom of the screen.

  • Tap Your Story in the bottom left when you're ready to share.

Note that Stories last 24 hours and then disappear from your feed, profile, and direct inbox. To get around this time limit, you can add them as story highlights to your profile, where they stay up until you remove them.

Pro Tip

✅ You can share a live photo from your story as a post in your feed:

Go to Your Story and hit More (on iPhone) or More (on Android) in the right corner at the bottom of the photo or video that you'd like to share. Then, tap Share as post

You can edit your photo by cropping it and adding filters or effects. Tap Next (on iPhone) or

(on Android) to proceed with optionally adding captions and a location. Share your photo by hitting Share (on iPhone) or Done (on Android).

  • How to post a live photo to Instagram from iPhone

An iPhone 6s or newer lets you capture live photos using your camera app. Posting them on Instagram is simple and only requires one extra step.

  • Open your photos app and select the live photo you wish to share on Instagram.
  • Swipe upwards and select Save as Video.
  • In the Instagram application, hit
create new
  • at the top of the screen.
  • Out of the photo library options that will appear, select the video you saved and tap Next.
  • Add an optional caption and tap Share.

You can also check the Instagram Help Center and look for any particular extra details you may need.

Congratulations! You’re now live and thriving on Instagram Live, ready to engage with your audience. But it may turn out that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows—technical difficulties can derail all your live streaming effort.

You may run into difficulties and experience issues when trying to go live. Fear not. Here’s a brief breakdown of possible reasons and solutions.

Why can’t I go live on Instagram?

Imagine the stress of not being able to go live precisely when your event starts or at the time of your scheduled live broadcast. This is a serious issue if you rely on Instagram Live for your growth and you’ve already announced your livestream. 

What are the possible reasons for Instagram Live failures? There are a few different scenarios:

  • You may have previously violated Community Guidelines.
  • You may have violated a copyright law.
  • You may be using an older version of Instagram.
  • You may be experiencing some hardware or software issues with your device.

Here are several approaches you can try to fix the problem:

  • Restart the app: Close the Instagram app, remove it from the recent tabs, and relaunch it after several minutes.
  • Restart your mobile: Doing so can help eliminate some abnormal behaviors and repeated application crashes. 
  • Use another device to log into your Instagram account: This will help you in case your phone is experiencing some hardware issues you’re not aware of.
  • Check for any released updates: Keeping your app updated is essential for its smooth performance.
  • Uninstall and reinstall the Instagram app on your device: In this way, you can make sure to provide all the necessary permissions and have the application functioning properly.
  • Contact Instagram through their Help Center: Select the issue you’re experiencing in the library or report the problem using the app. You can find the Help section under Settings.

How do you join an Instagram Live as a guest?

When a user that you’re following is livestreaming, you’ll see a colorful ring around their profile picture and Live at the top of Feed. You can watch the live broadcast either on the Instagram app or on your desktop via the Instagram website. To do so, tap or click the profile picture of the live streamer.

If you want to join the live broadcast as a guest, however, note the following rules:

  • You can join as a guest only if the broadcaster allows guests to join.
  • The broadcaster can allow up to three guests to join a live video.
  • To ask to join someone's live broadcast as a guest: 
  • Hit
  • next to the username and tap the Request button at the bottom right of the screen.
  • Tap Send request.
  • If your request is accepted, you'll be notified that you're about to join the live room.

Image Source
  • Note that you can only join a live room on your mobile.

Can you watch an Instagram live stream after it’s over?

After the end of your livestream, you can tap Share at the bottom of the screen. In this way, your broadcast replay will appear on Instagram stories and will be visible for 24 hours. 

Your live broadcast is saved in the stories section of your profile. This enables people who are not following you to view it as long as your profile is not set to private.

How long can you go live on Instagram?

You can live stream for up to one hour, but this length can be extended up to four hours.

Also, you have the option to save your live broadcast to your profile for up to 30 days. So, followers that weren’t able to see it in real-time can watch it later. 

How many followers do I need to go live on Instagram?

First of all, what counts as a follower on Instagram? These are the Instagram users that follow you. They can view your stories and send you direct messages. Your posts show on both your profile and on their feed, and if your account is private, your followers are the only people who can see what you post. 

Livestreaming on Instagram is a great way to engage with your audience, share a story, promote a new launch, or broadcast tutorials. The good news is that there isn’t a specific follower count requirement for you to go live. 

So, whether you have just five or 5 million users following you on Instagram, you’ll be able to use this tool to build brand awareness. It goes without saying, of course, that the more, the better.

Is Instagram Live only for followers?

Yes, as a rule, your live broadcasts can be watched by your followers only. However, users can still see your live videos without following you. All they need to do is either search for your username or look for “Live” on the top of their apps. When they find your live video and tap on it, they can start watching. 

In addition, Live Rooms offer the chance for increased exposure. Inviting a guest to join you makes your livestream visible to their followers as well. Thus, with the Instagram maximum of three guests in your Live Room, you gain triple exposure and the opportunity to attract more followers.  

If you need some more ideas to build a social media following, just take a look at our article with tested and proven tips. You can use them to reach larger audiences and increase brand awareness while nurturing your existing followers.


Establishing a strong social media presence is an essential aspect of the marketing efforts of any business. So, selecting a social platform and format for promoting your business is not a matter of tastes and preferences anymore. 

You have to make sure that you’re everywhere your prospects are, and stay tuned to the latest and hottest trends. And Instagram Live is one of them.

This is an effective strategy to connect with your prospects in a direct and unedited way, enhance your brand awareness, and attract new followers. Using the steps we discussed will help you be better prepared for your live experience and maximize your effectiveness.

Now that you know the whys and the hows, you shouldn’t miss your next occasion to build a closer and more authentic relationship with your audience. Simply come up with a livestream idea, follow the steps, and hit the Go Live button. 

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