Just as you felt you were getting to grips with Snapchat and Instagram, social media has introduced a whole new format. Live video is set to bring a huge change in the way brands communicate with markets in 2017. It requires a whole new set of skills, best practices, techniques and understanding. The work begins long before the broadcast is made and continues all the way through post-broadcast.

Start With A Warm-Up Show

There's nothing wrong with the odd spontaneous broadcast. I've brought audiences into the kitchen as I make dinner and alongside me on my daily walk. Those broadcasts keep people close. But the most effective live broadcasts, with the biggest audiences, are planned.

Tell your audience when you'll be broadcasting and on which platform. But make sure they also know why you're broadcasting and what the broadcast will be about. You need to think of this preparation period not as an announcement for your video but as a complete warm-up show.

Whenever I stand in front of an audience, I don't just want them to listen. I want them to participate. I expect them to shout out answers, make notes, even laugh at my jokes. (That's a big ask, I know!) I hope that they're energized and ready to take part before I even take to the stage.

The preparation you do before a live broadcast should have the same effect. The audience should arrive expecting to be entertained. They should come with questions, hungry for information and ready to take part. Check out the atmosphere in this Buzzfeed video recommended by Facebook. Your broadcast preparation should begin with your audience this buzzed!

Keep Your Audience Moving

No one should fall asleep, check their email or read tweets during a keynote address and no one should be looking away during a live broadcast. Facebook recommends greeting commenters by name and answering their questions during the broadcast. That's the minimum. You should also be encouraging reactions, urging people to write comments and adjusting your broadcast in response to the audience. When audience members feel that they can affect the broadcast, you make them co-producers of the content. That's powerful. It keeps people engaged and it makes a real impression.

Bring The Audience Back

Instagram's live video feature doesn't allow viewers to see old broadcasts but both Facebook and Twitter Live do. So even when the broadcast has finished you can still increase your audience by promoting those videos, and you can create follow-up videos that add even more information. YouTube's recommendation to post behind-the-scenes videos is a good idea if the video itself took some preparation to make. Live bands often supplement their music videos with even longer footage that explains how they made the video. Other broadcasters can use the same idea. If you've filmed an interview, you could continue the conversation informally in a restaurant, and upload a video with more discussion. If you've offered advice, a second video could make the sales pitch.

Live video works best when it's prepared, broadcast carefully and made as part of a comprehensive content campaign. It's not easy to become a live video expert, but you can do it. The work starts early, continues late--and makes a big impact! 

Published on: Jan 6, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.