Instagram Live

It was only a matter of time before Instagram added live streaming to its platform. That time arrived Monday with the introduction of Instagram Live.

It’s not available to all users yet but it will be soon enough.

This is the second major update to the platform in as many weeks with the roll out of the like and reply options to comments.

How To Use LIVE

On the home screen of the app, click the camera button (top left) [Fig1]. You will see three options at the bottom of the screen, “Live, Normal and Boomerang”. [Fig 2] Choose Live and Click “Start Live Video”.

Instagram Live

Fig 1

Going live is super easy on Instagram.

Fig 2

So far it isn’t really rocket science.

You will now be going live. Instagram will build an audience for you and let some of your followers know that you are “Live”.

Coles Notes Of Instagram Live

Instagram Live is a ‘one and done’ experience.  There is no recording saved to your camera roll. When you stop broadcasting live, it is over…there is no more, there is no replay.

You can comment on your own video. Unless you’re using your camera on a tri-pod or some other stationary holder, I wouldn’t suggest trying it…you will make your audience sea-sick.

Your audience can show their appreciation by tapping the screen for hearts. (Sounds familiar).

Your audience can comment and if you’re using the diva camera, you can see those comments.

Still not approaching rocket science material here. What can I say…live streaming is live streaming.


There’s no ability (at this time) to create a title.

The video dies when you stop broadcasting.

The mental thought of the video disappearing will no doubt lead to stupid people doing stupid things. Remember, third-party apps and tech savvy people know how to record your broadcast so:

  1. Don’t do anything stupid.
  2. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing could possibly happen?”

Strategy (Finally, the rocket science)

How will you use Instagram Live given the present drawbacks? Well, turn them into positive opportunities.

This is a great opportunity to ‘reward’ your most loyal fans. The ones that will actually be watching your broadcast. Give them real insight, pure interaction, behind the scenes ‘exclusive’ looks into you, what you do and your operations.

This is not the platform function for providing information that is pertinent to public safety, content you want shared or your Top 10 Most Wanted List.

Set goals that you want to achieve using the Live function.
Determine your time frame and the measurements you’ll use to determine your success.
Create a couple of campaigns that you’ll use specifically on the platform.
Test, test, test…measure, measure, measure, adjust, adjust, adjust.

PRO TIP: There’s nothing to say that you couldn’t create an image for Instagram announcing that you’ll be “Going Live – To [take questions, talk about xyz, share some great tips] at what ever time. This can build your audience, create some buzz and get some shares, likes and comments from the post itself to create more awareness!

Encourage your audience to “Turn On Notifications” for when you post.

  1. Click 3 dots on Profile to open options [Fig 3]
  2. Choose “Turn On Post Notifications” [Fig 4]
Instagram Live Notifications

Fig 3

Fig 4

As with all platforms and their unique functionality, play with it. Learn how to use it. Experiment with different ideas for engagement. If you have an audience and you’re happy with your results then continue. If not, flush it as an option for now.

Brian Fanzo, (iSocialFanz) provides a great short video to talk in-depth about the new feature…check it out here:

Thoughts, comments, questions? Let me know by leaving a comment and I’ll get back to you.

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About Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows was a sworn police officer for 25 years with experience in front line operations, primary response, traffic, detective operations and supervision. He has training in a broad spectrum of policing responsibilities including, IMS, Emergency Management, computer assisted technology investigations, leadership, community policing and crisis communications. Tim is available to assist you with your social media program and communication. Click here to contact him
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