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6 Instagram Live Hacks To Step Up Your In-The-Moment Streaming Game

Because most of my Instagram usage is accidentally spending hours watching other people's Instagam stories, sometimes I forget about a little feature called Instagram Live. So in honor of this lesser-understood section of the app, I decided to explore its intricacies this afternoon. Here are six Instagram live hacks I found that will help you take Insta to the next level.

Firstly, let's go through the basics of Instagram Live. If you're unfamiliar with the feature, Instagram Live allows users to instantly live stream whatever they're up to, notifying their followers (at least, those who have notifications on) that they are live. It only takes a few seconds to connect, so if you're doing something cool and want your buds to know (and be jealous) as soon as possible, it's a good option. It works well for those attending concerts or talks, because you can easily share what is happening on stage with your followers.

Unfortunately, Instagram Lenses and Live broadcasts do not go together, according to Instagram. And by that, I mean you cannot wear one of their beautifying lenses while going live, meaning you'll have to go au natural.

To go live, simply swipe the home screen to the right, as if you were going to post on your story. Then in the menu on the bottom, you should see the word "LIVE." Click that, and then click "Start Live Video" to go live.

Courtesy of Sophie Hirsh

Now that your live stream is raging, here are some hacks you may find useful.

1. Go Live With Your Friends

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You can invite any of your friends to join your Instagram Live, as long as they are tuned into your live stream. Simply click the smiley faces icon on the bottom right of your screen while you're live, and then select a friend to invite to join your live video from the list of viewers.

Additionally, you can request to join a friend's live stream. Simply click the "Request" button in the comments section, and wait for your friend to accept your request. If someone requests to join your live stream, a notification will pop up in the comments section, which you can then view and approve or decline.

2. Share Your Live Stream With A Friend

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If your live video isn't quite getting the views you hoped for, try sharing it with some friends while it's happening. Simply click the little paper airplane symbol on the bottom of the screen, and then select a friend to share your live stream with them in a message.

3. Block The Creeps

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The risk of posting a live video is that it lets all your followers know exactly where you are in real time. This becomes even riskier if your Insta account is public, and if you are in an easily-identifiable location. If this is something that concerns you, it's easy to block users from viewing your story and live videos. When you're on the screen to start a live video, simply click the settings wheel on the top left corner. Click on "Hide Story From" and you'll be able to search your list of followers and block them from viewing your stories and live videos. (And no, I will not reveal the two people who I've blocked from viewing my stories and very popular live videos.)

4. Add The Live Video To Your Story... Or Delete It Forever

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The fleeting nature of Instagram stories is truly dwindling. After you end your live stream, Instagram will encourage you share your story for the next 24 hours so that people can watch your amazing content over and over again. If that tickles your fancy, simply click "share" when prompted. However if your stream wasn't quite as funny as you were hoping, simply slide the toggle off and let your video disappear into the internet forever.

5. Save The Live Video

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Additionally, when you're prompted to share or discard your live stream, you will see a "Save" button on the top right corner, which will allow you to download your entire live stream to your phone.

6. Use It To Share Longer Videos Within The App

Instagram Story videos are limited to 15 seconds, and videos in regular Instagram posts are limited to 60 seconds. If you want to share a video longer than that, and you think of it in the moment, Instagram live is the perfect option. Plus you can always use the above tips to add it to your story, or upload it in chunks to a regular Instagram post.

Happy live-ing!