Whether you're a creative entrepreneur, growing a small business, or just trying to build your personal brand, live video streaming offers you a chance to interact with your audience in a new, more immediate and more authentic way.
But live streaming can be intimidating, especially if you're not used to being on camera or haven't integrated video into your social media strategy before.
To help you make the most of this rising platform to grow your business and your brand, some of the top experts in the industry shared their secrets for the mindset, tools, and tactics you need to effectively integrate live streaming into your social media strategy.
1. Plan (And Promote) Ahead Of Time
Just because your video won't be available until you go live doesn't mean you shouldn't think about it or talk about it until you do. Jason Keath, CEO of Social Fresh, says planning the promotion for your content ahead of time is key. "Live video is like any other content: you want to maximize your effort by getting it in front of as many of the right people as possible," he says. "Line up multiple partners and accounts that can help share your video content as soon as it goes live."
2. Prioritize Value Over Venue
Facebook? Periscope? Blab? don't worry about it. "Focus less on apps and more on the value, engagement, storytelling and mindset shift available with live video!" says Brian Fanzo, Millennial Speaker and CEO of ISOCIALFANZ. Regardless of which platform you use, Fanzo says, "focus on providing unique and exclusive access to people, places, products and experiences with live video. Live video doesn't replace other initiatives, rather it amplifies what you're doing by empowering your community to become advocates for your brand."
3. Make Your Viewers Part Of The Show
"The unique aspect of live social video is that it allows creators to engage directly with their audience and create a two-way participatory dialogue," says Jesse Redniss, Co-founder of BRaVe Ventures, which is hosting the first ever LiveFronts event in October. Redniss suggests that live video hosts plan for this type of interaction by building in cues and calls to action that encourage participation by the audience. "This can come in many forms depending on your goals, but simple Q&As, polls, trivia and fan comments being pulled directly into the live stream content are a few ways to create that collaborative environment."
4. Same Goes For Your Clients & Customers
Let your customers and clients get in on the action too, says Jen Kavanagh, Principal at BRaVe Ventures. "Conduct scheduled, live interviews with your existing clients," Kavanagh says. "Choose a topic that allows your client to be a thought leader on a subject you know your general audience will appreciate." By combining your knowledge and experience with those of your customers or clients, you both come out looking great, and your viewers get even more value for their view.
5. Keep It Real
Personality is so important on video that Facebook is actually paying some influencers and web personalities to be themselves on Facebook Live. Try to find a tone that works for you, and a format that plays to your strength. When Jeremy Goldman, Founder & CEO of Firebrand Group, goes live on Facebook every Thursday at 10 a.m. with his coworker, Amelia Tran, they intentionally stay true to their off-screen personalities. "We have irreverent conversation that plays into our silliness as well as our love for all things digital communications. But we work with clients where that tone would be entirely off-brand," he says. "We always build a strategy around the personalities in question, as opposed to the other way around."
6. Have The Right Tools
The great thing about live streaming is that you don't need an entire production studio to star in your own show. The cameras built into most smartphones are sufficient for streaming, as long as you manage your expectations about what you're trying to accomplish. "When live streaming from a single phone, don't try to film it like a TV show...it won't work," says Sarah Evans, Digital Correspondent and owner of Sevans Strategy. "For a strong one to two person shot via your phone, invest in a Mevo camera for Facebook Live and Livestream." If you need simultaneous broadcasts, Evans recommends Switcher Pro.
7. Don't Be Afraid To Experiment
Unlike other digital platforms, live streaming is still fairly new for most; best practices aren't yet as well-established. Be prepared to test, analyze and pivot before you get into a rhythm with how you use live streaming for your business. "Experiment with different production styles for live video to see what format works for your audience," suggests Nick Cicero, CEO of Delmondo. "Try going live on location with your phone. Use third-party tools like OBS Studio to broadcast from laptops and HD cameras thanks to the growth of Facebook's Live Video API. Test raw video and highly produced video to see what your fans respond to most."
8. Give Your Content A Life Beyond "Live"
Just because your live broadcast ends, doesn't mean your engagement has to. Carlos Gil, Global Head of Social Media at BMC Software & Social Media Strategist, recommends saving all your Facebook Live broadcasts to be re-purposed elsewhere. "Always save your content and upload it to YouTube so it can be searched and found on one of the most searched sites online, in addition to the most active social network." You can also embed that content on your website, in a blog post or share it across other networks to ensure that you're getting the maximum value our of the live content you create, and that your fans and viewers get the maximum value from it too.