Have you ever thought about streaming live video for your brand or business? Here’s a quick and easy guide to producing and promoting your next live video.
What is Live Video?
Live video is streaming video content sent in compressed form over the Internet and displayed by the viewer in real-time.
Live video gives brands the opportunity to connect with fans and customers on a far more genuine, personal level than polished and produced videos.
Used strategically, live video can leverage a brand’s audience as content producers, creating truly authentic content.
Consumers can view live content through services such as Twitter, Snapchat and Twitch. According to eMarketer, Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Instagram are among the most preferred channels to view live video.
Why Live Video is a Winner
According to eMarketer, U.S. companies will invest heavily in video content with special attention given to live video (i.e. Instagram Stories, newsfeed videos, live streaming, IGTV, etc.) in the next 12 months.
For brand awareness, relationship building, and even direct sales, live video will become an increasingly effective marketing channel that will shape the industry for years to come.
Marketers should consider live stream video for the following purposes:
- To connect with your audience in the most genuine, human way possible
Live video allows brands to meet fans in person since the event is happening “face to face” and in real-time. Live video gives you a chance to show there are real, caring humans behind your business, which in turn helps to builds trust and leads to more business prospects in the door.
- To answer questions in real-time
Interacting with fans and followers doesn’t have to be limited to when we are checking back in our social media pages. Live video also allows for the opportunity to answer followers’ questions in real-time, which provides an opportunity to engage with viewers when they’re most interested.
- To showcase an event to people who couldn’t attend in real life
Live video is a great way to broadcast events and connect with fans who aren’t able to attend in person. Just make sure the internet connection is strong and permissions to stream the event live have been secured before going live.
Live Video Event Ideas
There’s an overwhelming number of ideas out there about how to create a viral live video, but little practical advice. These four techniques will show you how to do just that.
While how-to videos might be one of YouTube’s most-searched video types, they’ve become incredibly popular on Facebook Live, as well. You can use the live streaming platform to not only demonstrate how your own product or services work but also to show how to perform tasks related to your industry. Doing so builds your reputation as a helpful, trustful brand.
The best strategy to do this effectively is to create a recurring series where you share information around lesser-known facts about your respective space and answer fan questions as they come up.
To nail this strategy:
- be consistent with the time and day of the week you go live,
- feature hosts that aren’t afraid to show off their personalities,
- and ensure you have someone ready to monitor questions so you can answer them either in real-time in the comments or in the actual broadcast itself.
Behind the Scenes
Generally speaking, your fans only see the forward-facing side of the brand — the side that markets to them and wants to continuously impress them with engaging content. But if you use live video to take them behind the scenes, you’ll find brand loyalty and interest will grow. Give your audience a peek behind the curtain, almost always taking them someplace they couldn’t otherwise go.
You can do this by:
- showing fans preparations for a highly anticipated event,
- revealing the process of how something is made,
- providing a BTS lens into talent’s media interviews or PR stunt,
- or by letting them follow along with a particular expert employee’s “day-in-the-life” or daily duties.
Everyone loves a good challenge! If your brand has an idea for a competition or challenge which can be broadcast live, don’t hesitate to do so via live video. You’ll attract your fair share of viewers, but you’ll also reap the benefits of views on the archived live stream or in post-promotion of the video. Encourage your audience to share in the challenge at home (if they’re safely able to) and report on their experiences in real-time using the chat feature.
How-to videos have become incredibly popular, especially on Facebook Live. You can use the live streaming platform to not only demonstrate how something works related to your company’s brand but also to show how to perform tasks related to your respective industry. Doing so builds your reputation as a helpful, trusted brand.
How to Promote Live Video Streams
While most of the live video content is followed up with consistent promotion, it’s important to remember live videos are more like an event than a blog post. In other words, you need to generate interest before the experience if you want to get that all-important viewership. The good news is most of the social channels supporting live video lets you target specific audiences and groups with your promotions. This is perfect for a more focused advertising campaign.
- Social media announcement 1 week prior to the event.
- Consider creating an event page for it on Facebook with a dedicated cross-promotion on your company’s Facebook page.
- Publish reminder posts in the week leading up to the event (3 organic posts across social platforms max as to not inundate the audience with promotional messaging).
During the Event
- Publish tune-in posts to drive viewers to live event.
- The event should go live at optimal posting times when the audience is most engaged.
- Engage with viewers of the live event and take questions from the audience at moments throughout the discussion.
- Continue to promote the recorded live video following the broadcast for further viewership.
Tips for Great Live Video Streams
When setting out to produce a live video event, you should always follow the standard video production process as you would follow for any other video production. Here are a few more best practices to follow as you produce live video, specifically.
Choose the Right Camera
Mobile phones are best for “run-and-gun,” in-the-field moment, and though HD cameras are great, they sacrifice agility for higher video quality. Either way, be strategic about what video quality is necessary to tell your story best.
Pre-Test Live Video
Before going live, test things out by creating a practice video restricted to your eyes only on a private account on the platform you intend to go live. This will allow subjects to “get loose” and comfortable on the camera and will help ensure the lighting and sound are up to standards.
Check Your Connections
Connectivity is key. Test your connection before going live to be sure your broadcast does not cut out. Time permitting, go to the location shoot a day or two early and test connectivity. Decide beforehand if you will use Wi-Fi or cell service. And make sure to have a backup plan, because going live depends on solid connectivity.
Face a Window
Facing a window will give subjects a beautiful source of natural light and make them appear clear in the video frame. Additionally, remove the subjects’ glasses when filming. Glasses can pick up additional glare and can be distracting when filming.
Film Horizontally on the Mobile Device
Mobile phone users have the natural urge to film vertically since this is just how most are used to using a phone, but flipping the phone to a horizontal view yields a much nicer sized video. Horizontal videos look better all around, especially when displayed on the news feed.
Audio is Still Important
Best practices for radio also apply to live video. While you’re thinking through the production, don’t forget about audio. Low-level, off-mic or distorted audio will cause your audience to turn away.
Among the practices to keep in mind:
- Choose the right mic for the environment you’re in
- Hold the mic close to the subject
- Select the shot locations based on how it looks and how it sounds
- Use a windscreen
Smile, and Be Properly Caffeinated
Listening to a monotone, unfriendly voice talking about a topic will put everyone in the audience to sleep. On the other hand, watching a video of an individual with an energetic and friendly demeanor will evoke positive feelings in your viewers and keep them hooked. Subjects should speak with a smile, wake up with some caffeine, and most importantly, be themselves. When possible, avoid a talking-head, broadcast model. Always look for ways to add interactivity or visual value.
Optimize Go-Live Time for Pacific Standard Time (PST)
Remember to schedule the live event at a time that offers the best chance to catch people’s attention. Optimize the go-live time for Pacific Standard Time (PST) to allow for more people to attend the stream. Consider scheduling the Live event for 2pm PST to catch West Coast viewers during the afternoon slump, East Coast viewers as they’re getting off work and European viewers as they’re tucking into bed.
Have Someone Monitor Comments and Feed Questions
With live video, it can be hard to host your video and reply to comments at the same time, which is why you should have a colleague answering your comments in text form, and prompting you to answer the most relevant questions during the actual broadcast.
Talk Back to the Audience
Interaction on live videos gives the audience a vote of authority and provides new viewers with confidence that they’re not wasting their time on snooze-worthy content. During the broadcast ask questions, and then ask your viewers to reply in the comments. Ask them to like and share the post. Perhaps even run a live contest asking them to like, share and comment on the post to be entered into a free giveaway raffle.
Call Out Commenters by Name
When answering questions over the broadcast make sure you call out the user by their first name. This helps build even more of a connection and will make them feel special that you chose to answer their question live.
Give an Actionable Sign-Off
After the broadcast, tell viewers what we want them to do with a strong call-to-action. Do you want them to like the company Facebook page for a discount subscribers code? Share the recording on their page or in their stories? Whatever it may be, be sure to end your live video event with something actionable for viewers to do.
Promote the Video Post-Broadcast
Once the video is done livestreaming, publish organic posts for fans who were unable to attend the live event. Additionally, consider boosting the post and running an ad campaign just like on the other Facebook videos and posts. Take advantage of the audience and geo-targeting features to get the recorded live video in front of a larger but still relevant audience.
After the video has been up for a few days, take a look at the analytics and see how the live video performed. There you’ll be able to see metrics that matter most to your live video event depending on the platform like minutes viewed, unique viewers, video views, 10-second views, average % completed, number of reactions, comments, and shares. Facebook, for instance, provide metrics specific to live video around peak live viewers, total views, average view time people reached, and demographics of who watched. Using these metrics will allow you to continue to perfect your live video strategy going forward.