Live streaming is an awesome opportunity for brands. It’s a chance to get direct interaction with your audience, position products and services and create a powerful feedback loop.
It also offers impressive engagement rates. According to research by Buzzsumo, live streams get over 10% more interactions than pre-recorded videos, with around 25% of all engagement being comments.
But, how do you keep your audience engaged during a live stream?
In this blog post, we’ll explore exactly that. I’ll share seven ways to keep your audience engaged and also offer tips on how to create the most enjoyable and valuable live stream experience.
But before we dig into how to keep your audience engaged, what drives engagement?
The Psychology of Engagement
To quote John Donne, “no man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…” As Donne puts it, we need each other to thrive. And according to community psychology, people need to be part of communities to feel positive and empowered.
That’s our first clue to keeping your audience engaged. People join live videos to learn and be a part of something. They engage in live streams to feel connected. But there are two other ingredients that make people come alive.
The first is curiosity.
Curiosity is a powerful psychological trigger. It breathes life into otherwise common concepts, turning them into intriguing ideas that must be explored. And to the human mind, there’s nothing more irresistible than a curious situation.
The second is storytelling. In the last decade, storytelling in marketing has become more than just a buzzword. Brands realize that to capture the attention of their buyers and retain them, they must create a narrative around the everyday lives of their target audiences through great storytelling.
Research shows that for your stories to be effective they need to be infused with emotions, thoughts, and elements that empower people.
When coupled, curiosity sparks the flame, and the better the story, the more empowered and engaged your audience becomes.
Ways to Keep live stream viewers engaged
The great news is that hosting an engaging live stream all boils down to prep work. Your goal is to always have ways of engaging your audience.
Here are seven to get your audience participating throughout your live stream.
1. Focus on Closed Questions
When developing the topic of your live video, think about questions you can ask your audience. Your questions, however, must be closed questions. They must be designed to get a simple “yes”, “no”, one-word, or seamless replies from your audience.
Important: Your focus is just to ensure people are still following along.
Open questions don’t work well because they require thought. Thought causes distraction, especially when you’re on a live stream. If viewers need to think hard about something you’ve asked, you’ll lose them as you move onto the next point on your live stream. A knock-on effect is a group of people who feel left behind.
Here are three easy questions you can ask:
- “Where are you streaming from?”
- “Know what I mean?”
- “Type a “y” if you understand what I mean.”
During a live stream with Dale L. Robers, Rob Balasabas engages his audience by posing a simple question related to community growth. The question “Where are you growing your community?” is both specific and designed to gather quick replies from the audience.
A quick tip on questions:
Questions must be relevant. Don’t use inside jokes or jargon your audience may not be familiar with. To keep an audience engaged, they must be able to follow along.
2. Introduce Curiosity
Plant a seed at the beginning of the live stream that’s tied to a benefit for the audience. It could be an answer to a pressing question or an offer that is contingent on your audience watching until the end.
By introducing curiosity at the beginning of your live stream, you also create a sense of FOMO, another powerful psychological trigger. Viewers are also less likely to leave your live stream if they are hooked.
In this ClickFunnels live stream, Russel Brunson and Jim Edwards entice the audience early one. They share that they’ll be offering practical steps for building a consulting sales funnel, something any coach or consultant could use to generate more business.
3. Share Your Agenda
Share what you’ll cover at the beginning of the live stream and continue to do so throughout. People often have engagements or need to leave a stream and rejoin. As they do, or as more new people join, mention what you’re discussing.
While it might not seem like a major deal, this is an effective tactic. Simply acknowledging people as they join your live stream makes them feel valued and part of your community.
Think Media is a YouTube channel that shares weekly tech reviews, camera tutorials, and social media tips videos. In this live stream, Sean Cannell spends the first three minutes sharing his agenda. He also shares a few announcements that are of value to his audience.
4. Speak Directly to Viewers
Like curiosity, vanity is another potent psychological trigger. Calling audience members out by name is a great way to make them feel involved. A really smart way to speak directly to viewers is by thanking them for comments and support throughout your live stream.
Nick Nimmin does a great job of engaging audience members directly. At 1:05 of his live stream, he begins to call out members of his squad by name, an act that gets more people to greet him in chat.
5. Answer Questions
Live streams are perfect for building trust. One way to establish yourself as a trusted authority is to provide keen insights and answer questions people post in chat. By paying attention to your audience and engaging them, you immediately create a closer sense of community and position yourself (and your brand) as an authority figure.
Richard Moore is a sales consultant. In his “Mythbusting Selling Online – Startup Q&A Week #192” live stream, he does two things. First, he invites people to ask questions. Secondly, he then engages viewers by mentioning their names and answering their questions.
6. Introduce a Quiz or Competition With a Prize
Offer something up for grabs and showcase the winner during the live stream. This tactic gets people involved by having them interact through chat.
A Note on Your Prize
While you could offer anything as a prize, rewards aligned with your audience are more likely to generate interest and participation.
So, opt for something you know your audience wants to get their hands on. If you’re a consultant, offer a free consultation. If you’re an author, offer a free signed copy of your latest book.
To celebrate Think Media reaching the 1 million subscriber mark, Sean Cannell hosted a live stream. In it, he included a couple of big announcements, a free content download and three prizes up for grabs.
7. Acknowledge Valuable Comments or Questions
Call out people who make comments or questions that reinforce what you’re saying help accentuate your values. Doing so helps you spread more positive energy and has two hidden benefits.
Firstly, their reinforcement acts as social proof and validation of your message. Secondly, your acknowledgment acts as a validation of their participation.
On Pat Flynn’s live stream, he shows how to take a question, praise the viewer and answer it. Also, note how he places the question on the live screen video, giving the audience member more recognition.
Tips for the best live stream engagement experience
There’s more to creating a winning live stream. Here are five tips to help you host your best live stream events.
1. Lead With Positive Energy
The idea of hosting a live stream may feel a little daunting, but putting your best foot forward will have a positive effect on your audience. People are drawn to positive energy and when presented with it, they tend to mirror it, making for an altogether empowering experience for all.
2. Share Great Material
There are tons of topics you can live stream about. Whatever you choose, make sure your material is valuable. A simple rule of thumb for sharing great content is to think in terms of exclusivity. As you prepare for your live stream, aim to present information your audience would either struggle to find or typically have to pay a premium for.
3. Be Prepared to Answer Questions
Hosting a live stream inevitably leads to questions from your audience, and that’s a good thing. Questions are one of the most powerful forms of engagement. They allow you to address potential objections to any products or services you might be offering, or put to rest any concerns or doubts about your brand or solution.
Being prepared to answer questions is, therefore, a must. To prepare, create a list of FAQs, along with answers, gathered from any subject matter experts that you can have on hand. This will give you all the ammunition you need to maintain your brand’s trusted status and potentially help buyers further along their journey.
4. Leave Communication Channels Open
While not often thought of as content, live streams are just that. And as with all content, creating an opportunity for your buyer to take the next step in the journey is essential. Do this by inviting people to carry on the conversation with you on other platforms apart from the live streaming website or platform you use. via email. Include the social media handles, and email address, and links to any assets (including your website).
5. Build a Structure for Live Streams
Once you have a formula that works, it’s best to stick with it. This way regular viewers know what to expect at each point of a live stream. This will help them develop a consistent experience thus increasing engagement and allowing you to generate more money with live videos. When coupled with other tactics, you’ll be able to develop a formula that works every time you go live.
Live streaming is a major drawcard today. As people turn to various devices to engage with brands in real-time, remember that they also want to become a part of the community you’re creating. Make your audience feel included by finding smart and effective ways to have viewers to raise their hands, start a dialogue, and stay engaged.
Amir is the digital marketing manager at Uscreen, an all-in-one video monetization and live streaming platform provider that empowers video entrepreneurs and creators to monetize their content and build thriving businesses around their videos.
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