Going live: 7 tips for any social media platform

Going live on any social media platform can feel intimidating, but if you let fear keep you away from live videos, you’re missing out on an ample opportunity.

Live videos capture attention between 10 and 20 times longer than prerecorded, on-demand content, while more than 20 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. watch live-stream videos several times a day.

And keep in mind that you have the potential to reach about 1.7 billion users through Facebook Live alone. 

Social media live video happens in real-time, with no editing, so the footage is completely authentic. This makes live video content appealing to social media audiences.

Regardless of what social media platform you’re going live on, the following are seven tips to help you be more purposeful, engaging and successful.

Announce your live video ahead of time

It’s always a best practice to make sure that your audience is aware that you’re going live soon. This can be as simple as sharing posts announcing the live video in advance and sharing what viewers can expect to see.

But you don’t have to keep your promotion restricted to that particular social media platform. You can cross-promote on different platforms. You also can promote on other mediums, such as blog posts and/or email newsletters and so on.

Some platforms, like Facebook, allow you to create an event where you can include all relevant information about the upcoming live video. When users RSVP to the event, they’ll get notifications and reminders beforehand, which can help increase your overall live-viewing audience size.

Plan ahead with an outline

There is no reason to jump onto a live video cold with no plan. Spontaneity is inevitable, of course. You’re live, after all. But the more you can plan and prepare in advance, the better you’ll be. 

An outline can help prevent many silly mistakes and ensure that you cover exactly what you’re aiming for in your live video. Include any calls to action as well, such as visiting your website, subscribing to your email newsletter or something else.

Because it’s ideal for your live video to run for at least 20 minutes, the better your plan, the easier this video length will be to achieve naturally.

Invest in decent gear

Before you panic about how much “decent gear” might cost you for going live, remember that your gear only has two goals in which your audience should be able to:

  • See you well.
  • Hear you well.

That’s it. So, keep it simple. A basic tripod can prevent your live video from being shaky. A ring light can make it easy to see you, no matter what time of day it is. And wireless earbuds can stand in as your microphone so that not only can you be heard, but most will help cancel out any background noise as well. 

While you’re at it, double-check your WiFi connection and internet speed. There’s nothing worse than your live video crashing midway due to a weak signal.

Practice before going live

Live video on social media is definitely more casual than traditional, recorded videos, but you still want to represent your band well. 

It’s always a good idea to practice before going live. This can involve practicing what you want to say, testing your lighting and evaluating whether there are any potential distractions (such as background noises) that you can eliminate before going live for real.

Focus on connecting with your audience

Going live on social media should be about connecting with your viewers more than anything else. (It should be the priority over selling and promoting.) 

Live videos enable you to show your audience a behind-the-scenes peek into your brand. This helps them to connect with you and/or others behind your brand, creating that human connection.

Invite guests to your social media live videos

The engagement factor for live videos exponentially increases when you can bring guests on to liven up and enrich the conversation. The more dynamic the conversation, the more viewers you’ll get and the more comments that can be generated.

When planning out your live video topics, consider who might have expertise that can elevate the conversation. Some guests might be nervous about appearing on live video, so make sure to reassure them. It helps to talk them through your plan for the live video so that they know what to expect as much as possible.

Consider your timing (but don’t be ruled by it)

Ideally, you’re going live at a time of day when your audience can be most engaged. But it’s also possible that your audience is across multiple time zones, so while you generally want to target the best time for your audience, remember that most live videos are recorded and can be played back by users afterward.

This is particularly true if your brand is global. Target your timing for where the bulk of your target audience is, and then share and promote the recording afterward for everyone else. 

In conclusion

Truly, the most important thing to remember when going live on social media is to simply be yourself and have fun. Live videos are an authentic way to connect with your audience, and they will be able to tell immediately if you’re not being yourself. 

Success comes down to finding that sweet spot between being yourself and representing your brand.

Check out the eight most common social media mistakes and how to avoid them. Newer to social media marketing, explore these 17 free online courses to help you level up your social media skills.

While you’re planning out your next live videos for social media, think about how you can improve your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Live streaming: 12 tips for your business to look professional

During the COVID-19 pandemic, live streaming and video chat became not just convenient but critical mediums of communication and content delivery. That value continues today.

Are you live-streaming for your business? If not, it’s never too late to get started!

But before you dive headfirst into live streaming, the following are 12 tips to make your stream as professional and engaging as possible.

Choose your live-stream platform carefully

You have more options today than ever before to broadcast live. The key is to decide on the target audience of your live-stream.

Are you trying to reach as broad of an audience as possible? Consider Facebook or YouTube. Is the content you’re sharing exclusive to paying customers? There are options to make a Facebook Live more exclusive (if it’s broadcasting within a closed Facebook group) or to limit permissions on a YouTube video. You might also consider a Zoom account, for example, for access and password control as well.

Facebook Live
Facebook Live has the ability to reach a broad audience, while also allowing for a more informal video feel.

You’ll also want to keep music copyright permissions in mind if music could be part of your live stream in any way. Copyrighted music can get flagged on platforms, like Facebook. Copyright, in general, is a huge consideration to be aware of.

The key is to evaluate the features of each streaming platform you’re considering and decide on one first. It might be tempting to jump on multiple platforms to reach more people but commit to mastering one live-streaming platform first before expanding.

Live-stream formatting matters

You have the option of filming horizontally or vertically when going live. Horizontal camera angles allow for more of your surroundings to be in the frame, as well as give space for interviews. Vertical camera angles are more up-close and personal for the audience.

There is a time and place for either. But to look as professional as possible, it’s best to stay consistent once you do decide on either angle. You also can set out consistent guidelines to determine if/when you would shift camera angles.

Promotion is critical

Whether you’re informing your paying customers of exclusive content or trying to reach as many potential customers as possible, you have to promote your live stream.

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, did it make a sound?

The same idea applies here.

There is a lot of noise out there during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is trying to communicate disruption, adjustments, you name it. Not only do you have to get your message out there, but you have to cut through that noise to reach your target audience.

To cut through, ask yourself who would care and why would they care. Then, get specific about those answers in your promotion. Engaging visuals are more critical than usual. How can you catch someone’s eye? Then, don’t be afraid to over-communicate, over-post and overshare. 

Granted, you’re not trying to blow up anyone’s inbox with daily promotional emails, for example, but spread your message across platforms and channels at a healthy pace starting about two weeks beforehand, perhaps even with a countdown to the day of your live stream. Everyone is dealing with a lot of digital communication, so the basic organic reach of any one post could easily be lost or forgotten. Be specific about why people should tune in, and be compelling.

Most-expensive equipment not mandatory

Don’t get us wrong. You will still want some basic live-streaming equipment depending on the premise of the live-stream itself.

But keep it simple. Usually, a computer (or even a phone), a tripod, good lighting and a mic will do. And while we don’t believe you need the most expensive of any of those items, it is recommended to have backups. A backup tripod. A backup mic. Backup cords. Backup batteries. 

Depending on the nature of your setup, you can create and use a checklist to make sure everything is ready by the time you go live. 

The last thing you want is to realize you should have silenced your cell phone (the simplest of things) before going live. But a cord not plugged into the right port for audio could be a worse oversight.

The stronger the WiFi, the better

Your broadband connection matters almost more than any amount of rehearsal for your live stream. The moment your video cuts out or freezes, you will lose viewers.

You can test a number of different ways depending on the platform you’re using. For instance, you can stream on Facebook Live privately on your profile. Then watch the playback. You can give a colleague or friend access to your Zoom meeting for a quick test as well.

If the broadband connection is struggling, look at any background applications running on it, such as Google Drive (or even Netflix streaming on a different device).

This is also an opportunity to test any interactive features you’re considering, such as any graphics or online polls during the broadcast. If something doesn’t work, let it go. 

High traffic times could also make a strong connection trickier. During this pandemic, more people than ever before are online and even video conferencing, putting a high demand on broadband networks nationally. You can check your broadband speed at different times of day with speedtest.net to get a sense of when might be the best time to broadcast in your area.

Focus while live streaming

The idea of broadcasting anything live can cause plenty of anxiety, especially if you’re new to it. Set yourself up for success by limiting any distractions (like cell phones) and jotting down a few notes of what you want to cover in your live stream.

A loose rehearsal is fine. But try not to over-rehearse or script out your entire stream. It will come off as less authentic to your audience and potentially robotic or boring as well. Practice to the point of being comfortable at most.

Be aware of any possible background noises or any risk of shaky camera experiences as well.

Your lighting does matter. At the very least, do whatever you can to avoid being backlit. But a standing spotlight or even natural sunlight can make all the difference. If outside, try to avoid harsh sunlight. You’ll end up in the same bad-lighting distraction scenario.

Keep in mind the patterns on your clothing. Solid colors are best. Stripes, plaid or anything else that’s busy can distract viewers as well. An overall professional appearance that matches your brand and content is ideal.

It may sound cheesy, but good posture matters. Your smile matters. Exuding confidence matters. Think about your likeability and how you appear on camera.

You can monitor how your live stream is going with an additional monitor or device. This is very helpful so that you can have a sense of what your viewers are seeing. Just be sure to keep your eyes on the camera, not the monitor.

Remember, keeping your live broadcast simple and focused will help it appear more professional. Less is more in most instances.

Be responsive during your live stream

Live video is like a microcosm of what social media is all about. It enables you to interact with your audience.

Whether it’s as simple as greeting individuals as you see them join your stream or answering viewer questions during your broadcast or any other way, you want to engage with your audience naturally as much as makes sense.

Live streams differ from pre-recorded videos in this way by enabling you to build relationships with your viewers.

Viewers can join at any time

During a live stream, viewers can come and go as they please. The expectation that your entire audience will watch from beginning to end is optimistic, not realistic.

You’ll want to regularly recap, re-introduce yourself and update what’s going on during the broadcast for any new viewers just joining. You can keep it simple with: “Hi! if you’re just joining us, welcome! We’re currently talking about [topic], and we’ve just covered [previous topic].”

Consider a guest for your live stream

Live streaming can be a lot more fun with two or more people. The art of the conversation is that much more engaging than watching one person only speak.

If you’re interviewing a guest, it’s a great opportunity for true cross-promotion on both your and your guest’s channels and platforms. 

Be sure to give your guest plenty of time and space to share their expertise, perspective and experience. Hold back from jumping in or cutting them off if you can.

Your live-stream title matters

Just like a book title, the title of your live-stream video can either engage or miss the opportunity to engage your target audience. 

YouTube is where SEO (search engine optimization) is critical to reach more people. Everything from your title to your video tags, video description and video thumbnail can make or break your organic reach there.

YouTube video
On YouTube, your video has the potential to reach a broad audience with an SEO-optimized title, description and tags.

Measure your results

Success often depends on your goals. But even if your first few live streams were mostly testing the waters, check in on your reach and engagement, especially on Facebook or YouTube.

Take note of what appears to be working and what doesn’t appear to be working. Could it be the amount of promotion (or lack thereof)? Timing of the stream? The content itself? 

Every insight can help you improve over time.

It’s not over when the live stream ends

Archiving your live stream for on-demand access afterward makes for great content that your audience can access anytime.

You can clean up the recorded file, of course, by trimming the beginning and end if necessary.

You also can take portions of any broadcast and repurpose those snippets for use on other platforms.

A transcript can also be created after the fact for use in a blog, or the audio can be used in a podcast. The possibilities are endless.

In conclusion

In the end, the key to professional-looking live streams is to plan, test, engage and measure. Remember that this is the best way to reach your audience during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that perfection is not required for success.

You can find more helpful insight on live-streaming from YouTube as well. Plus, what is the best video platform for marketers?

Need a comprehensive platform that levels up your digital marketing process? Consider DailyStory. Our application features automation, dynamic audience segmentation, email marketing, SMS text message marketing and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.