Are you feeling intimidated by the idea of streaming live video on social media?
You’re not alone. The idea of showing your face and talking to your audience without the benefit of editing is a bit daunting to many. But going live has many benefits, from “beating” the algorithm to higher engagement to the shorter time investment than other forms of content marketing.
If you’re ready to dive in, here are some tips to help your livestreams be successful and valuable to your audience.
Where to Go Live
The platform you choose for your livestreams will depend on where your audience is. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are all popular options, but don’t use YouTube if that’s not where your ideal customer is spending time!
A major benefit to streaming live on Instagram over other platforms is that live streams appear at the very top of the Instagram feed for your followers, in the “first position” of Instagram Stories. This makes your live stream highly visible, and lets you get around the sometimes unforgiving algorithm. Your Instagram followers will also get a notification when you go live, even if they’re not currently using the app.
On Facebook, live videos will usually be presented to your followers at the top of their newsfeed — another way to beat the algorithm. Viewers can also navigate to the Watch page, and then click Live to access a wide variety of live videos.
Live streams on Facebook result in 6x as many interactions as pre-recorded videos, and get 10x more comments. With such high engagement and a spot of honor at the top of the feed, going live is a great way to get more eyes on your content.
Have a Purpose
Going live just to go live will result in a meandering, sloppy experience for the viewer.
What is the purpose of the live stream? Are you releasing a new product? Sharing tips or tricks? Hosting an interview?
Just like any other piece of content, your live stream should fit into your overall content strategy. And it should include a clear call to action, telling the viewer what they should do next.
That could be subscribing to your email list or podcast, making a purchase, or signing up for a webinar. Whatever your live stream’s purpose, make sure it’s very clear both to you and to your audience.
Live streams are intended to be informal. But even though they don’t need fancy production values, you should still be prepared!
Start with good lighting. Overhead lighting often sheds harsh shadows on your face. Invest in an affordable ring light that casts even illumination on your features. You’ll also want a tripod or stand for your phone, if that’s what you’re using to record. Don’t just hold your phone — it will be too shaky!
Next, consider your background. Something simple and undistracting is best. It doesn’t have to be a plain white wall, but a busy bookshelf may look too cluttered.
Then, there’s your content. The top performing Facebook Live videos are usually between 15 and 20 minutes long. So make sure you have enough to say or do to fill up at least 15 minutes.
And right before you start streaming, make sure to turn off notifications on your phone or computer. You don’t want buzzes or beeps interrupting the show.
Promote Before You Go Live
Spread the good word! Tell your fans and followers that you’ll be going live in advance so they can add it to their calendars. Schedule the stream for a time when you know your audience is online and active. Check your Insights on the streaming platform to determine the best time for your brand and followers.
Don’t forget to cross promote by sharing the link to your live stream on other social media channels and sending it to your email subscribers.
You can also ask followers to RSVP if you wish, so you can send them a reminder email 5-minutes before the stream starts.
Pick the Right Host
Just because you’re the CEO, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the best person to go live — especially if you’re not used to showing up in person on your social media feeds.
There’s no shame in that. We don’t all have the same strengths. But if you’re visibly uncomfortable on camera, you could turn off your audience.
Maybe your CMO or a VP would thrive in a live stream! Just make sure they’re comfortable with it before you volunteer them.
Bring a Friend
A co-host or someone to interview has multiple benefits in a live stream. It lets you share the spotlight, which may make you more comfortable. It also gives you someone to banter with, which can make the whole show punchier and more engaging for the audience.
Plus, you get the benefit of their audiences as well as your own, just like a guest post or podcast interview.
Use Slides, Polls, and Questions
Some social media sites, like Instagram and Facebook, provide additional features that can make your stream more interactive or entertaining. For example, Facebook’s Live Producer lets you create polls and questions in advance that you can then add during your stream.
Polls and questions will get your viewers to comment and engage. Encourage that further by responding to those comments in real time. People love to feel heard and acknowledged!
You can also play a Powerpoint presentation during a Facebook live stream. And on Instagram, you can easily pull up pre-made slides that you can use to illustrate your points as you share. When you design your slides, remember:
- Over 70% of YouTube watch time is on mobile
- Nearly 80% of Facebook users only access the platform via a mobile phone
- 93% of Twitter video views are on mobile
So those slides must be mobile-optimized and easy to read on a phone. No tiny fonts!
Be An Early(ish) Adopter
Going live on social media has been around for a few years, but many businesses have been slow to adopt it. There is still plenty of room to grow here, so jump into the live stream scene while the engagement is still good!