There are no two ways about it — Live video is changing the way brands interact with their audiences.
It’s all about the interactivity and earnestness this medium offers… Well, it’s also about how massively popular it’s gotten. Live streaming can quickly expand an event’s viewership from a big group of attendants into the hundreds, or even thousands!
The thing is, though, that live streaming is not a novelty anymore, and audiences have high expectations from the brands and influencers they follow.
From tech startups wanting to share product launches, to local museums that are looking to promote their events to a bigger audience, live videos are everywhere. But using them effectively is not that easy.
Today, we are taking a page from some of the most experienced video production teams out there on how to do ‘Live’ right.
Planning ahead: How to set your broadcast up for success
As much as they are about spontaneity, live broadcasts need to be planned just like you’d plan any other piece of content. There’s a lot to think about — set, lights, schedule, equipment — and if you want to make a good impression, you’ll need to take it all into account before going live.
However, the first thing you’ll want to start with is setting a goal. You have to identify who your audience is and what the key message is that you’re going to be transmitting to them when you go live.
- Who’s your audience?
- What are your key takeaways?
- Perform a dry-run!
Knowing who your target audience is will help you set the tone of your stream — you need to speak in a way that your audience can identify with and be engaged by. The good news is that figuring out this information will also help you shape your broadcast as a whole.
For example, it’ll help you decide where to broadcast. There are many social media platforms you could use for that (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram…), but beyond your personal preference, you should be where your audience is.
And also, when! If you are going for an international audience, you need to set a time that’s convenient for most of them — To do all these things, you’re gonna have to learn the ins-and-outs of your demographic.
So, first things first — go to the stats page of your social media accounts and start learning who your target audience is!
A good broadcast needs to have a goal. A clear message in mind. Do you want to announce something important for your brand? Then think about a good build-up to that, decide which topics you’re going to cover, make a checklist, and use it to guide your stream.
If you don’t have a clear goal for your live stream, but you still want to broadcast to strengthen the bond of your brand with your audience, you can still layout your goals — Brand recognition, brand trust – and figure how to promote those goals through your content.
Promotion is key
Social media live broadcasts make fantastic use of FOMO, the (very millennial) fear of missing out. FOMO is something you should bring to your live events by promoting it beforehand.
You want your audience to know when you’ll be live streaming, that much is self-evident. However, letting them know that something different and interesting is going to happen, something they won’t want to miss, takes things a step further!
There are many ways to do this, and it will all depend on the kind of audience you have and the type of event you want to live stream. If it is a big event (let’s say — a music festival, a big announcement, or something that your audience waits for), you should start your promotion early, with a series of posts on social media the weeks prior, video previews and trailers, etc.
If, on the other hand, you are streaming for a big reveal, you have a built-in FOMO angle: You can only reveal something once.
Lastly, if none of those quite fit your stream, you can still leverage FOMO by announcing exclusive live-stream events with prizes. Discount coupons for people active in the chat, goodie bags for anyone sticking around until the end… Try something like that, and see how the buzz builds!
Before you go live: three essential technical aspects to keep in mind!
Before you hit that ‘Go Live’ button, you’ll need to look around and check three things first:
- Do you have good lighting?
- Is the sound working correctly?
- Do you have a stable internet connection?
If you’re not too sure about any of these three things, then you could be in trouble. Just imagine — Apple is just seconds away from showing their new iPhone to the world in a live video and then… the connection goes down. How unprofessional would they come across?
Your video doesn’t have to be perfect – leave that for your more traditional video marketing content – but it needs to seem professional. If the lighting condition is poor, the audio feed keeps cutting away, or the stream goes dark out of nowhere, people will lose interest and leave instantly.
The best way to avoid these issues?
How do you make sure that everything is working correctly? That your audio is crisp, your feed well-lit, and that your connection is steady?
Well, you test it first, of course! Every good performance needs a dress rehearsal, and every good live stream needs a test-run.
Early on the day of your stream, go live, and start testing/configuring your setup. Also, try to have backups on your streaming gear whenever possible, so you can address any problem that might pop up quickly and efficiently.
Diligent dry-runs will give you the chance to avoid technical missteps, and identify your streams shortcomings before they become full-blown issues.
During the broadcast: Use those CTAs like a boss
Live streams are ideal for boosting engagement, as they generate tons of user interaction. It’s the primary reason why so many brands use it nowadays. But it’s also why you should be giving your audience some homework. Otherwise, all that potential might slip through your fingers.
After you’ve generated all of this engagement from your audience, you should be using it to point them in the right direction. To motivate them to go where you need them to, and keep building the relationship long after the live stream is over.
How? Include CTAs (Call to Action) in your stream!
You could use the opportunity to point your audience to the new site for the product you are announcing. Or ask them to visit a landing page you’ve prepared for the occasion and answer a quiz. The sky’s the limit! Just, whatever you do, don’t let that engagement go to waste!
Pro tip: Keep in mind that there’ll be a lot of people that don’t stay online for the entirety of the live stream— and that’s okay! It’s just how the format works! Not everyone can devote the same amount of time to watch something.
So make sure that your CTAs are not left relegated for the end of your stream exclusively, but pepper them all throughout. Blend it with the rest of your message, so it doesn’t look too salesy, but don’t forget to waive one or two good ones as you stream.
Make sure you brand your stream!
It makes no difference if you are conducting a webinar, streaming video games, or something else entirely; during a broadcast, you can add branded elements to your live stream. And you always should!
You can use certain platforms that will let you add your own logo, custom designs, and your brand’s color scheme, and thinking these are merely aesthetic pluses is an oversight.
For one, you need to keep your live streams in tune with the rest of your content strategy and brand “voice,” and these elements bring a much-needed cohesiveness to the table. Moreover, branding your stream this way ensures that even when “clipped” – a common practice online for long streams – viewers will be able to know where the clips come from and find your online presence.
Ready? Time to go live!
Now you’re more than ready to create live videos that help you strengthen your brand! Just don’t forget these five essential aspects of creating a successful live stream:
- Plan ahead. Before you hit “live,” you need to identify your target audience and establish your stream’s goals. Helping you guide the rest of the process.
- Promote your broadcast! Make good use of that millennial FOMO and let people know that there’s a great live event coming their way. One that won’t be there forever.
- Do a test run to ensure your lighting, sound, and internet connection are on point. People respond to high-quality and professionalism!
- Don’t forget to give your audience some homework — add a couple of good CTAs in key parts of your video.
- Brand your live content just as you’d do with any other video for your company!
All of this will help you create a great, professional-looking video that’ll make your audience connect with your brand in a deep way, which is just what people look for when they interact with their favorite brands.
So, are you ready for it?
About the author:
Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video production company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.