Live streaming on the internet has changed the medium of entertainment from offline to online and made it easier for brands to bond with their target audience. According to leading influencer marketing agency Mediakix’s stats, Twitch has a massive streaming ecosystem drawing 9.7 min daily active users, speaking for the number of internet users interested in live streaming. Out of these, 100 million daily active users watched videos in Q4 2016. As the numbers keep increasing staggeringly, businesses are constantly strategizing to get improved results with live streaming.
Here are the best practices for live streaming:
Choose the Right Tool:
The best way to stream live videos of your business is ideally on your website. This will ensure that all the traffic is driven to your website alone and no other video sharing website earns a hefty sum of money out of all the hard work you do to telecast live videos. But if you are keen on using social media platforms at first before going big on your own live video streaming website, the most popular tools are Facebook Live, Twitter’s Periscope and Blab.
Facebook Live videos are watched 3x longer than regular videos. So if you are broadcasting your live streams on other platforms, broadcasting simultaneously to Facebook is a good idea. Once your stream on Facebook Live has ended, it will become a video on your page so your followers can watch it anytime. If you don’t stream to Facebook, you can still share the replay link or upload the file directly to Facebook.
Periscope is owned by Twitter and if your brand has engaged Twitter audience, this is a great option. You just have to post your Livestream to Twitter and your followers can watch it in the tweet. You can stream Q&A, show behind-the-scenes and have your audience participating via comments through the Periscope app. So you are engaging with your audience in more than one way at the same time.
Blab is a live streaming tool that can be used on smartphone and desktop. Blab is a great tool as it allows you to have four people live streaming at once. This again means you can engage in four ways with the same audience at the same time. You could run the broadcast in one, put up live questions from the audience in the second, live chat in the third, let an expert or audience member speak in the fourth. There are ‘n’ number of options that you could experiment within the four seats to make the most of the live streaming for your business. You could also share links, provide downloadable content, infographics as you speak about it in the stream, YouTube videos etc.
Shared networks and wireless connections do not assure zero bandwidth fluctuation. So the most reliable internet connection when streaming is connecting directly via Ethernet to a dedicated network. When you are the sole user of an internet connection, fluctuations are very minimal. Rule of thumb is to have twice the upload speed to the bitrate intended to be streamed.
Recording back-up of an on-going live stream is helpful in the rare case where you run into bandwidth issues. For recording purpose, plan for file transport, whether you want to upload to a server or to a repository. The recording can also be broken down into different sections and hosted on your website.
Address your Audience’s Needs:
The best way to live stream video is to choose topics that will address your audience’s needs regarding your products, services or based on the industry you cater to. Live streaming enables you to deliver solutions and engage your viewers to be equal participants in the event. At the end of your live video, they should have answers to their questions or something that will benefit them. When your business validates and addresses present need, question or opportunity, the discussion is always fruitful. When subject matter experts from your business host live videos, viewer participation is higher during Q&A session. This makes your live streams successful.
Double Check on Timing:
Check if your live streaming time would be convenient for the time zone of your target audience. When you are targeting audience globally, it is important to make sure your broadcast is not much of a trouble fitting into their time schedule. Make necessary changes in the timings that will suit everyone. After all, the whole point of streaming live is that target audience can participate.
Promote your Scheduled Broadcast:
Your live stream will have an audience only when you have promoted it through different channels; people know about it and show interest in it. You could promote it on your website, blog and social media accounts. To make it more interesting, use image creating tools like PicMonkey or Canva to create impressive images giving details about your Livestream’s topic, date, time, platform and any other relevant details. Share these images on social media and other channels rather than putting down plain text. The human brain tends to remember images more than text. Also, it is easy for your followers to download the image to safe-keep the details of the live stream.
Include Call To Action:
Including relevant CTA after every live stream is as important as including a CTA. Your call-to-action could be as common as following you on social networking sites or subscribing to your newsletters, adding links to informational video or free download.
Create a Plan for Engagement
The best way to broadcast live video is to create a plan for engaging audience beforehand. First engagement point is to welcome viewers, ask where they’re tuning in from. Engaging people early on and addressing them by names during a conversation makes it more likely for them to engage later in the broadcast. When you find your audience enjoying the broadcast while you converse with them, you could also ask them to share the broadcast if they’re enjoying it.
Planning and preparation is the key for novice and expert alike. Users don’t always come forward with questions once the session is open. To keep your event interesting and engaging, you have to be prepared with additional information and backup plan. Being sufficiently informed help in being open to divert the discussion to another pressing topic that might be the need of the hour. You could also try to incorporate different ways to engage an audience that will influence and impact the broadcast. For instance, ask a question in the comments that will lead to the actual action onscreen.
Seize the Opportunity as it Comes
Pre-planned live streams are always good and welcome, but there are times when the first one to catch up on the flash news or an opportunity, can grow leaps and bounds. It is essential for businesses to be opportunistic in their live stream plans. Over planning or speculation misses out timely opportunities. Several live streaming software’s are available in the market that enables launching business venture almost instantly. The best live streaming software backs you with all the necessary technicalities, so you can invest your time in the creation of live streams.
Test and Learn Post Production
Once your broadcast has ended, it is a great idea to do a post-mortem. You could answer questions like, what could be done better or how to be more creative and engaging. Utilize the learning from previous broadcasts to improvise on the upcoming ones. Because there is always room for improvement, even for the biggest of brands who have been in the business for a long time.
Celebrate the Team Work
It takes a team of specialists to put together an event, regardless of the length of the broadcast. Celebrate the teamwork, even when the live stream falls flat because your team will be implementing the learning in the next one.
Put to use the best practices and experience incremental success in your live streaming.