I attended a free training course in my bedroom this morning.
I put weights and a yoga mat next to my bed and took part in class with 6,000 of my closest friends in real time.
You may think I attended the course on Peloton's website or in another boutique gym.
In fact, I actually attended the course on Instagram – and more specifically on Instagram Live.
There are many advantages for companies to publish live videos on Instagram. For one thing, people love to watch live videos. The content can feel more authentic and natural than if it had been recorded before – just think about how addictive Saturday Night Live can be, especially when the actors make mistakes or break the character.
In addition, 82% of people prefer live video from a brand over standard social media posts.
You can use Instagram's live feature to host live questions and answers with industry leaders, stream entire virtual events, or host live product tutorials from social media influencers.
If you've never posted a live video on Instagram, you're in luck. Here's how to go live on Instagram in five easy steps. (Incidentally, I'm not an Instagram influencer. Please excuse the sad plant as my only willing live video topic.)
How to go live on Instagram
It is important to note that these instructions will only work if you open the Instagram app on mobile devices. However, if you'd rather create a live Instagram video from your desktop, you'll need to use a third-party tool like Loola TV.
1. First open your Instagram app on your smartphone and click on the camera icon in the upper left corner.
2. In the bottom navigation, scroll all the way to the left until you see "Live". Then click the big white circle to start recording. (Note: You will know that you are live if you see the pink "Live" button at the top of the screen and the text "We are telling your followers that you have started a live video" on the bottom.)
3. If you see accounts at the bottom of the screen, you know that people are already participating in your live video. Feel free to send them a wave!
4. To end the video, click "End" in the top right corner of the screen. If Instagram asks you "Are you sure you want to end your live video?", Click the red "End Now" button.
5. Finally, you can also share your live video with your IGTV so that followers can watch the video on your Instagram account. Alternatively, you can download the video to share on your website or other social media sites, or delete the video.
If you share your live video with your IGTV, your followers can still watch it and watch it again when it becomes available. If you are creating an exclusive live event for members only, you can skip this step. Otherwise, it's a good idea to keep the content you've created to increase awareness of followers who couldn't participate live.
For example, I regularly take part in fitness coach Kayleigh Guinee's Instagram Live training courses, but sometimes I'm not available for the live version. Fortunately, I know that she stores her videos on IGTV, so I can get the videos whenever I am ready to watch them:
The best thing is that I can pause, fast forward or play the live version at any time. You will know that if you see the little "Was Live" text at the top left of the screen, you will be watching a previously live Instagram video:
I spoke to Kayleigh to understand why influencers prefer live videos to other forms of content.
Kayleigh told me: "Online workouts are fantastic, but live workouts on Instagram allow my followers to connect with me – and with each other – while building a community that is more like personal fitness classes."
Kayleigh added, "We can all see in real time who is joining, chatting and training. It is also important to schedule a time to take part in a training that will help all of us to be more responsible."
If you're not sure if Instagram works live for your brand, you can try it anytime. It's easy and free, so there's little to lose in experimenting – and possibly a lot to gain.
Finally, Instagram's live tool contains some great features. Next, let's examine what those are.
Instagram Live features
As soon as you roll with an Instagram Live, four icons will appear at the bottom of the screen – including a question mark, a paper plane, two smileys and a filter icon.
1. The question mark symbol This option allows you to share questions from your viewers. (It's important to note that you can only share questions if someone submitted a question during your live video.)
2. The paper plane symbol This option allows you to send a direct message to someone through your Instagram live video. You may want to do this if you want to invite someone who has not yet joined your live video.
3. The two-face symbol This option allows you to invite someone to host your Instagram Live together. This way, you can make your live video available to a wider audience (including the co-host's followers). You can do this when doing Q&A with different experts or working with influencers to promote a product.
4. The filter symbol This option allows you to add filters to your Instagram Live Video to make them appear more elegant or interesting – like this filter that I added to my attachment.
If you want to disable commenting, tap the three dots in the "Comment" field and click "Disable commenting". Alternatively, you can click on the three dots if you also want to "Deactivate commissioning requirements" if you do not want other participants to host together.
We also recommend that you hide objectionable comments to ensure that followers do not post inappropriate comments during a live video. To do this, go to your Instagram Settings> Privacy> Comments. Then turn on "Hide offensive comments".
You can also manually filter to hide certain inappropriate words or phrases that you don't want to appear during your live video. Simply toggle "Manual Filter" and enter the phrases you want to hide.
And that's it! Hopefully you will have your own Instagram Live Videos up and running in no time. Remember there is no pressure to make your live videos perfect. In fact, followers often appreciate when they can see real, authentic shots of your brand behind the scenes.
To learn more about inspiring live video creation and be inspired, see what types of live video people actually see. (New data).