Livestreaming is a huge trend in the social media world. Whereas social media sites like Instagram and Vine let users record short video clips and post them online, live streaming takes a different approach, allowing users to post live video streams of what they’re doing at that very moment.
If you are considering live streaming, you’ll first want to consider the several live broadcasting options out there. While users have been able to live broadcast on Google Hangouts for a while now, Periscope and Meerkat (both tied to Twitter) emerged in 2014. Then, in December 2015, Facebook opened up Facebook Live to all verified pages. You should weigh the pros and cons of using any of these live streaming platforms before you choose.
Next, you will need to decide what you are going to broadcast. This is the most important step, because if the content is not engaging, nothing else really matters. Here are some ideas:
- Live events
- Make viewers feel like they are part of the event! Sharing live events with your audience can make them feel more connected to your company or industry.
- Share big news with your audience to make them feel important and connected to your organization.
- Try doing short live interviews with employees, customers and/or clients. These interviews not only show the human side of your company, but also offer personal ideas and opinions.
- Live stream a demonstration or how-to video. This is a great way to give your audience a glimpse of the hard work behind your organization.
- Behind-the-Scenes Look
- Again, make your viewers feel important! Show them something behind the scenes where they normally wouldn’t have access.
- Position yourself as a thought leader and use this to your advantage by becoming your audience’s go-to reference in your industry.
Once you come up with an awesome idea, it’s time to execute! Follow these guidelines for success:
- Consider your audience and the timing of the live stream
- Depending on your live streaming network of choice, your broadcast will probably be available to view after, however, consider when your audience will most likely be able to watch live.
- Create a compelling title
- Be creative! Come up with something that would make people to want to watch.
- Tell fans ahead of time when you’re going to broadcast and make it easy to find.
- Promote the live broadcast beforehand! Have a countdown on your website, send an email blast, and/or promote via your social channels.
- Be aware of light, sounds and Wi-Fi connection in the area where streaming.
- There is nothing more painful to watch than a frozen face. Test the area you are recording in beforehand!
- Engage with viewers in real time.
- Your fans will be thrilled to hear you mention their name and answer their questions when you are live.
- Don’t be too scripted and embrace the unexpected.
- The whole purpose of live streaming is that you are LIVE! Have fun with it.
Here are a few examples of how brands have successfully used live streaming:
- In April, Target used Periscope to tease its Lilly Pulitzer line, an effort that helped fuel huge consumer demand.
- Taco Bell created a mock press conference to promote the new Biscuit Taco breakfast product and encouraged viewers to enjoy a free one at their local Taco Bell in celebration of Cinco de Mayo.
- General Electric used Periscope for a behind-the-scenes interviewwith popular celebrity scientists Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye.
- Lady Antebellum used Facebook Live before going on stage.
Live streaming is definitely a thing, and it’s important to do it right if you are going to do it at all. Good luck!