Live streaming: Focus on what you need to know

Live streaming: Focus on what you need to know

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A whopping 80 per cent of online audiences would rather watch a live video than read your blog. And 81 per cent would rather see a live video of your business than your social media posts. 

These stats, from the Livestream live video platform, highlight the increasing demand for video content in the digital space for freelancers. 

A live stream is when you transmit live video or audio content over the internet.

There are many benefits to live streaming as a freelancer. It can bring your business to life, allowing you to reach a wider audience with live streaming posts, increasing your organic reach by 135 per cent compared to a regular photo post. You can also engage with your audience directly. For example,

during a live stream, viewers can ask you questions which you can respond to in real time. You could interact either through the comments section linked to your live stream or a chat feed, depending on the service you use.

These interactions will help you to build relationships with viewers, and such positive reinforcement can help turn viewers into customers. Also, most live streaming services are free to use.

So, what have you got to lose? Well, you don’t want to tarnish your brand with a poor quality (or pointless) live stream. So, here are some tips to help you get started:

Choose your service

Your first decision is which service to use. If you’re new to live streaming, you may want to try one of the Facebook Live, Twitter Live, or YouTube Live services. These are simple to use – you just hit ‘live video’ and off you go.

Facebook Live is great for exposure, and you can choose to live stream from your business page or group. The stream quality is usually pretty good, but it is difficult to repurpose your content if, for example, you wanted to upload your videos to YouTube.

On Twitter Live your video can go anywhere a tweet can go. So, it will appear on the Twitter app and website, and it can be embedded on other websites. Also, your video will be uploaded to the Twitter-owned Periscope live streaming app (more on that later). Twitter also makes it easy for your audience to interact with you and each other using your @ handles during a stream.

YouTube Live doesn’t have quite the same reach as Twitter and Facebook, but it is more suitable for repurposable and evergreen content. Your recordings are automatically saved, and notifications are sent to your subscribers when you live stream. YouTube Live also lets you monetise on your live stream through its ads.

But, if you want to further extend your reach, you could download a third-party live streaming app that integrates with your social media accounts.

Periscope is a free app for Android and iOS. Your live streams can also be replayed at any time, and there are also a load of integrated social features to boost audience participation and feedback. There’s also a nice map function to localise your streams and make them discoverable on the app’s Global Maps feature.

Livestream is a free iOS app where you can engage with viewers via the built-in chat feature. The app also connects well with GoPro cameras so you can produce a higher quality stream compared with other apps.

So, now you’re set up with a service – what are you going to stream?

Before your broadcast

It’s important to do a little prep work before going live.

First, you need to come up with an engaging topic that will give real value to your viewers. You could always repurpose an old blog post to pull it into the present day, for example.

Whatever you decide, make sure you share your expertise with your audience. You may want to outline the points you’re going to raise and practise a little.

Have a clear goal in mind before your live stream. You may want, for example, to build a bigger audience or promote an event or product. Write down your CTA (Call To Action) and have it on hand when you start broadcasting.

Also, make sure you let your fans know when you’re about to live stream to boost your audience figures. You could just do this a few minutes before your stream, or give them a little more warning.

Check the camera set-up so you can see what your viewers will see. You don’t want to leave any sensitive information in the background or film at an unflattering angle, for example. And make sure your battery is charged, so you don’t cut out unexpectedly.

Last, you need to come up with a catchy headline for your live stream. Be bold in your language and try to pull viewers in by making it clear what they’ll get from watching.

During your broadcast

Start with a quick intro which tells your viewers what they’re going to get out of your broadcast.

You could also start by asking them to subscribe to your channel, so they don’t miss out on future content. Remember, while you don’t want to be overly promotional during a stream, you do want to build an audience.

You may want to add some movement to your live stream. For example, you may want to take viewers on a tour of your office or live stream a specific event. The most important factor to bear in mind when live streaming is to interact with your audience. That’s the beauty of live streaming and why people choose to watch such videos. So, respond to comments and questions and be prepared to go with the flow of your live stream (while keeping that end goal in mind).

Finally, thank your viewers for watching and finish with that all-important CTA.

After your broadcast

Rewatch your content and make sure it has uploaded to your desired platform. Also, make sure you download the video in case you want to repurpose it in the future.

Finally, add some CTA links to the comments/chat section of your live stream and go through any questions that you didn’t have the time to answer during the stream.

After all, the cornerstone of live streaming is increased interaction with your audience. If you can perfect this, then you could be a live streaming star before you know it (and way before your competition).

By Gemma Church