It’s OK, you can admit it. You maybe don’t know what live streaming it. Obviously you understand the general concept – it’s live – and you know you need to do it because it’s good for audience engagement. It’s just that… maybe, just maybe, you might not know how to do it exactly.
That’s OK! That’s what we’re here for. Today we’re breaking live streaming down for you, covering what it is, how to do it, if and why you should even bother, and plenty more.
What is live streaming?
Live streaming is the process of uploading video content in real time to viewers over the internet. Usually you use a device, like your smartphone, webcam, or camera hooked up to your computer, to connect and stream it to some platform or channel where your audience tunes in live.
For example, you can livestream to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, to your own website, or to a service like Twitch that’s primarily all about live streaming. Running a “Facebook Live” has become mainstream, where a business or influencer will host a live Q&A session with followers on the social media site through their company page.
This type of live stream marketing is growing in popularity so much so that LinkedIn is even launching its own broadcast live streaming video network called LinkedIn Live.
But why should I bother with it?
While live streaming is very popular with millennials, it’s not just for millennials. As LinkedIn noted in their LinkedIn Live announcement, live streaming is great for covering new product announcements, live coverage of conferences or events, Q&As, FAQs, tutorials, day in the life videos, influencer partnerships, brand takeovers, earnings calls, ceremonies, and much more. And, hey, you also want to target millennials too, right?
More specifically, live streaming can be used as a tool to connect with followers in a way that often feels more genuine than just posting a video or responding to a comment. Many influencers and celebrities use live streams on Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms to form closer connections with fans, or offer live streams as rewards for engaging with a certain contest or campaign.
You can use live streaming in a similar way by showing off your company behind the scenes in an authentic way. By engaging with them directly during a live Q&A session, followers will feel more connected as they interact with you and watch you interact with others.
Even if you’re doing it for fun and having fun with co-workers in the office or on an event floor, live streaming can be great to just humanize you and your team and let your audience laugh along with you.
How do I create a live stream?
First, you need to decide how you’re going to record your live stream. From there, you’ll need to decide where you’ll stream it. If you’re just starting out, we recommend using an iPhone or mobile device and posting directly onto a social media site like Facebook or Instagram.
Most social networking sites have options to go live now, and some, like Facebook, make it as easy as clicking the “Go Live” feature when posting a status. On Instagram, live streams are done through the “Story” section of the app, and when livestreaming to Twitter, you need to use the connected app Periscope, which (fun fact,) was actually the forefather to the Facebook and Instagram live craze – it just gets none of the credit.
Facebook has another cool feature – scheduling live streams. If you’re planning on attending an event and live streaming while you’re there, you can “schedule” the live stream for a certain time so your followers will be kept in the loop and notified in advance.
Similarly, when live streaming on YouTube, you have the option to live stream directly onto your own live channel or create an event scheduled in advance, where you can denote beginning and ending times – like hosting an event on Facebook.
Since live streaming can be unpredictable, you do want to be careful and have someone monitoring the feed to keep your audience and commenters on their best behavior. Anything can happen when you’re live, so make sure to keep your internal team on top of the ball and on their best behavior, as well.
Can I record my live streams and repost the footage?
Yes, you can. Some live streams, like on Facebook, give you the option to save and immediately share a live stream once it’s concluded. In the case of Facebook, once it’s added to your Timeline, it becomes a permanent video, saved forever. Same with Periscope: while you can adjust the settings to delete the video after 24 hours, the default is to save it indefinitely.
As for Instagram live streams, live streams can be shared onto your Story after they end, where you can save them to your camera roll or save the story to your company’s profile page with the “story highlights” feature.
When live streaming on YouTube, you can archive your video and share it later, but you also have the option of sharing your live stream on other social networking sites. But fair warning – similar to posting a video link from YouTube onto Facebook, the great algorithm gods won’t prioritize it as much as a Facebook Live, so it might be better to keep them separate.
Beyond the options available on the social channels themselves, there are some tricky ways to actually download your live video and save it to your computer through the Facebook mobile app; but rather than go through the trouble, you can just use a simple screen recorder to record the content directly off your screen instead.
Does live streaming grow your audience or just engage them?
While live streaming is perfect for engaging audiences, it can actually grow your audience, too. Here are a few choice ways to grow your following while creating a live video:
- Stream on-trend. You want to stream about topics that matter to your customers, but also attract new viewers who care about similar topics. Make your stream about topics relevant to your industry and the world abroad, and use proper hashtags so new viewers can find you.
- Stream at events. If you’re at a big convention or industry-wide networking event, live stream it! When something is widespread enough, followers at home are going to be tuning in, whether it’s just FOMO kicking in or because they want to be the first to find out the news.Tag it properly and engage with anyone asking questions about the event on social media, and you’re guaranteed to pick up some new followers.
- Interview expert guests. These could be influencers in your industry, or researchers and expert thought-leaders with special insights on a particular niche issue. Either way, by interviewing guests on your live stream, you can attract some of their followers trying to see more content of their favorite personality, or those attracted to the conversation around which your expert is speaking.
8 Best Practices for Live Streaming
Here are a few of our tips on how to handle yourself when live streaming:
- Know what you’re live streaming about.
Don’t live stream just for the sake of live streaming. Have a plan in advance so you know going in what points you want to hit, and what your goal is for the stream. Just like any other marketing video, you want to focus on either attracting an audience, engaging followers, nurturing leads, delighting customers, or some combination of the like.
- Don’t try to over rehearse or read from note cards.
No offense, but you’re not going to be Sandra Bullock or Brad Pitt on your first live stream, so don’t try to be. You can have your key points written down somewhere for reference, but don’t read them like a script. Be your authentic self – just with a mission and some key talking points.
- Control your environment as much as you can.
The last thing you want is for some goofball to roll through and totally screw up your video. Make sure you’re recording in as controlled environment as possible – sometimes, that means in a studio space with the door locked, or sometimes, that means partitioning off your booth at a convention for an hour to stream.
- Be clear about your topic.
Make sure your headline and description accurately depicts what the live stream is covering. Live streams are oftentimes a revolving door – some will come and stay from the beginning, others will jump in during the middle, watch a little, and then dip after a few minutes. Be clear on the topic so nobody comes in late and leaves early just because they’re confused.
- Schedule and promote your streams.
If a marketer held a Facebook Live in the woods at 3 p.m. on a Friday and no one knew about it, did it even happen? There’s no need to “go live” in a hurry if your audience doesn’t know to tune in. Promote and schedule your live sessions in advance so your followers can actually make time to watch! If it’s an important enough topic, they will come.
- Save and share.
Don’t let your streams go to waste. There are absolutely multiple ways to save your streams, and most social platforms have built-in ways to help you share. They want people to watch just as much as you do, so don’t lose an opportunity by letting a live stream disappear forever.
- Give them something to talk about.
You want your followers to engage? Host a live stream about things they actually want to engage with. Pay attention to your feedback – what do your customers care about? What do they want to know? What perks can you offer them? What discount codes can you give away to reward those followers you do come watch?
- Don’t be so busy hosting you forget to enjoy the party!
Like any good host, it can be easy to get caught up in keeping the party rolling that you forget to have a good time. Don’t forget to actually interact with and talk to your viewers. Why else are you doing a live stream? Engage!
Finally, work with a pro!
While live streams can be pretty easy to set up on a mobile device yourself, if you’re thinking of tackling a live stream at a big convention or upcoming event and want some high-quality, affordable assistance, we can help! Our team of video experts are happy to cover events large and small, or help set up a series of live stream social videos. Reach out today so we can get started – the sooner the better, as real life never waits!
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