Live streams on Facebook and Instagram have always been an excellent way of creating a direct connection with an audience. And now more so than ever, in these times of increased online engagement, their importance cannot be overstated.
So, while traditional video content still leads the pack in terms of audience outreach, companies and content creators are starting to leverage the increase engagement that comes with live content, and so should anyone else looking to build a successful brand.
So, if you still haven’t tapped into their potential, then it’s up to you to rise to the challenge — but don’t worry, we are here to help you with 7 tips that will ensure your live become a powerful asset in your outreach and inbound marketing efforts!
Set Specific Goals for your Live Streams
The first thing you should ask yourself is, “what am I aiming for with this stream?”. Are you trying to create hype for an upcoming release? Or are you promoting your flagship product? Are you trying to expand your following by reaching out to a new audience? Or maybe you are looking to cement your relationship with your current followers?
Whatever it is, having a clear, specific goal in mind is fundamental if you want to start off on the right foot.
The advantage this clarity provides is twofold: on the one hand, it will guide you when planning your live stream by helping you decide which means are better suited to your ends; on the other, it will determine how you measure the success of your campaign afterward, whether it will be by the number of sales, new followers, visits to your website, etc.
Promoting your stream ahead of Time is Key
Many people tune in to a stream in the spur of the moment, but you can’t rely on spontaneous visitors alone!
If you want to improve your view counts, your safest bet is to build anticipation by heavily promoting the event in advance. The most obvious way would be to remind people with daily posts, online ads and teasers, and even direct messages.
However, while these channels are useful to remind people to tune in, they still don’t give them a reason to do so. The secret ingredient you need to add is motivation.
When promoting the event, you should seek to be informative as well as intriguing. You need to spark people’s curiosity. Ask yourself: “why would they be interested in watching my live stream?”
Brands employ several strategies when tackling this problem. They offer giveaways, discounts, or provide other benefits exclusive to those who attend. Other times, they leverage brand loyalty by offering a sneak peek of an upcoming release.
Think of how many faithful users are eager to know all about the latest upgrade! So, give them a reason to show up.
Prepare Your Content
While a great part of the appeal of a live stream derives from the spontaneity that comes with the medium, that doesn’t mean that what you normally see on screen is completely unprepared.
A live video is still a form of entertainment, and as such, it aims to keep viewers engaged. The best way to do this is by making sure the stream flows smoothly from one topic to the next and never seems to be stuck or wandering aimlessly.
Also, by having at least a general outline of the contents of the video, you will be able to guesstimate how long the stream could last. This helps prevent two potential problems you can otherwise encounter: running out of time (and either sacrificing a topic or activity you intended to cover or squeezing everything in the last ten minutes); or worse, finding yourself without material halfway through your broadcast.
Another key reason to prep your content ahead is that it can help you promote your stream more effectively. After all, how can you expect viewers to watch a broadcast without knowing more or less what it will be about, and how long it could last?
Content is Great, but Keep in Mind the Technical Side as Well
Doing a live stream is not only a creative enterprise; it is also a technical feat. To ensure that the day of the broadcast, things run smoothly and your brand is adequately represented, be aware of all the technical factors that come into play the day you go live.
Now, this is nothing to get overly obsessed about! But you do need to remember that your stream is indirectly competing with other OTT video apps’ content, and just a tiny bit of effort can go a long way!
First of all, make sure that you can be properly seen and heard. If the room is dimly lit, then grab a couple of lamps and arrange them in a way so that they don’t project weird shadows.
Stream from a quiet place, for the audience will eventually get tired of hearing background noises, especially if they get in the way of understanding what people are saying. If you’re going to stream music, videos, or even screen-share, then look into the necessary software for doing so.
And above all, make sure you have a reliable internet connection!
Interaction is the Soul of Any Stream!
There’s one thing that sets live videos apart from all other videos: they are live – shocking, I know. So, why would your stream be a one-sided, passive experience?
As we said earlier, it is great for you to plan ahead and have some content prepared in advance, but make sure you leave room for audience participation as well! Encourage people to take an active role by commenting, sending questions, or even voting on what should happen next.
By now, you are probably starting to realize that all the different aspects of preparing a live broadcast connect and complement each other. Interaction, for example, can also be one of the ways in which you create interest.
From the get-go, make it clear to your audience that this live event will give both of you a chance to be closer. Display a welcoming attitude while also expressing an interest in what they have to say.
If you are an artist, a celebrity, or an expert in any field, then perhaps the most enticing thing you have to offer is the opportunity to chat with you. Wouldn’t you tune in for the chance to exchange a few words with a person you admire?
Partnering Up Can Go a Long Way
If you are only starting out, your brand is rather new, or for whatever reason, fear that you just can’t conjure up enough people to make sure that your live stream will be a success in terms of attendance, then you might have better luck joining forces with others.
Whether it be another person, brand, or video company, sometimes the best way to expand your base is by connecting it to somebody else’s.
Having a guest or interviewing someone relevant to your niche can be a great way to get yourself noticed by a different group of people that also share the interests of your current followers. It could even be a person from another professional field, again, as long as it can relate to the interests of your target audience.
In the case of other brands, even if they are competitors, you may still both find it mutually beneficial to organize a broadcast together if it serves to provide both of you with a greater reach and credibility. So, don’t discount them outright.
Always Finish with an Effective Call to Action
A call to action (or CTA) is one of the key concepts of live videos – and any promotional piece, for that matter.
Since the main appeal of a live video is the interactive experience it provides, a call to action basically extends the back-and-forth between you and the audience beyond the limits of the live event.
Simply put, CTAs consist of you suggesting how to follow up after the stream is done. Again, as determined by the goal you set yourself at the beginning.
If you were looking for more followers, then remind people to follow you on Facebook, Instagram, and any other network. Let them know about future events you have already scheduled, or tell them to be on the lookout for upcoming announcements. If sales were what you were aiming for, then redirect them to your online store, or provide a special deal for a limited amount of time.
Calls to action can also be a great way to gather information for your database. If, for example, you offer a giveaway to all those who send you an email, then you will soon collect enough addresses to put together a mailing list that will more than come in handy in your future marketing campaigns.
Some Parting Thoughts
As you may have seen already, everything connects with everything when it comes to planning a successful live stream.
While we offered some tips to make things easier for you, we understand that it may seem like there’s a lot of ground to cover at first impressions. But relax! As is the case with most things, practice makes perfect, and the more experience you gain, the easier it will become with time. Keep in mind you can always do a dry run with no audience, except for a few people you trust, just to try things out. Their feedback will be most valuable.
Doing a live stream can be one of the most gratifying ways of marketing your brand. You get to be very creative in all its different stages and get the chance to make first-hand contact with your audience.
So what are you waiting for? Try a fresh approach to marketing and go live!