Four Ways to Live-Stream Like a Pro

Event marketers are always looking for fresh ways to deliver content and as free live streaming platforms continue to pick up steam, live video is quickly becoming the go-to medium. But before you try your hand at live streaming your next event, it’s important to understand how to make the most of the burgeoning technology.

Here are four ways to live-stream like a pro:

Choose the Right Platform

Last year, Periscope and Meerkat were all the rage, but Facebook Live and a handful of other free platforms have since taken a share of the spotlight. Each platform has its perks, so deciding which one to leverage will depend on what you’re trying to achieve through your broadcast.

If you’re looking for sheer reach, Facebook Live is the way to go. The platform has more than one billion active daily users, and with Facebook prioritizing live streams in its News Feed, racking up additional users during your broadcast is effortless. YouTube Live is an easy transition for those who already have an established YouTube channel, and following a broadcast, the footage can be saved as a YouTube video.

After a quick rise to fame in 2015, Meerkat has been shut down, but its old rival Periscope is still a viable option. Owned by Twitter, the (iOS-only) app allows users to stream from their phones then push the footage to their Twitter feeds to maximize viewership. It’s a smart choice for marketers looking to target the Twittersphere, although a recent update allows those without a Twitter account to access its broadcasting services.

Other free live-stream contenders include YouNow, a highly interactive platform that has become popular with up-and-coming musicians and their fans, and Snapchat, the social media powerhouse that attracts a strong millennial and Gen Z following.

Come Prepared

Fact is, live video can’t be edited. That makes preparing for your live-stream paramount. Using a script could diminish the authenticity of the footage, but having talking points, viewer engagement strategies and an overall broadcast structure lined up will help ensure a smooth broadcast, and increase the likelihood of viewers tuning in to your next stream. And remember, you must be prepared to handle anything and everything in real time—a fact Twitter’s own CEO, Jack Dorsey, had to learn the hard way.

Preparing a post-broadcast strategy is also important. Most platforms allow users to save their footage, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to extend the reach of your message. Share it on your website, your social channels and across all of your digital platforms.

Showcase Your Brand's Character

Choosing the right personalities to participate in your live-stream is essential, especially if you’re planning to spotlight your brand’s character. Whether you’re offering a behind-the-scenes perspective, conducting a Q&A session or introducing a new product or service, the people you choose to represent your brand will have a heavy influence on the success of your broadcast and how your company is perceived.

Some brands have already perfected this strategy. Tough Mudder’s own Coach T. Mud offered a great mix of energy and audience engagement during a recent live-stream of a training event in Michigan. Enlisting celebrities or influencers for your broadcast is another great approach, as long as they align with your brand’s personality. A pioneer in branded live streaming, GE racked up thousands of views when it live-streamed a behind- the-scenes chat with scientist celebrities Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye.

Testing 1, 2, 3

It may seem like a no-brainer, but ensuring you have your streaming gear in order, including a strong Internet connection, may be the most important tip of all. Luring viewers into your broadcast only to have the stream fizzle out is the quickest way to turn off your audience. Conducting a test live-stream in the location you plan to broadcast from is an essential best practice, allowing you to work out the kinks before you have a live, captive audience. You don’t want to follow in the footsteps of BuzzFeed, whose botched live-stream of an interview with President Obama left the brand embarrassed and viewers frustrated.

Like any new tech tool, practice will make perfect when it comes to live streaming, so play with your options until you’re comfortable enough to go live.

Ready? Action!

Posted by Chloe Raison | Request as a Speaker

Believer in the power of social media. Awed by digital. Maker of humans. Baker of cakes. Lover of travel.