Few types of content, if any, are more engaging than a live stream. When you go live, you can interact with your audience in real-time. This two-way communication is the perfect opportunity to solidify your customer relationships and bring value to your audience.
But live streaming isn’t always effortless. You can’t edit out the blunders, which means you need to proactively prevent issues before you begin. And if you want to ensure a live audience actually shows up, marketing your live stream is a must.
This article will help you effectively reach your audience and attract customers with live streams, with no awkward moments once you hit record.
1. Get to Know Your Live Streaming Platform
Live streaming is available on countless platforms these days. From social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube to business webinar platforms like Zoom, your options for starting a live stream are endless. But no two platforms are built exactly the same way.
Before you start your stream, explore your platform’s unique features. Understand what technology it supports, potential limitations (like maximum times or number of guests), and how to start and stop your stream. Getting comfortable with your platform ahead of time will help you smoothly transition your way through your entire live event.
2. Create an Agenda
The best live events are never scripted, but they do follow an agenda. By the time you go live, you should always have a strong idea of what you should be talking about and when. This minimizes any awkward pauses, confusing transitions, and incorrect event length estimates, which can reduce interest in your live stream.
Create an agenda that includes:
- Core topics and time stamps
- Key messages
- Opportunities to involve the audience
Once created, you can even share your core topics and estimate timestamps with your audience so they can easily follow along.
3. Schedule Out Promotions
Live events on social media platforms can draw in users as soon as you start streaming since followers get notifications on their apps. But if you want to maximize attendance, you’ll want to promote your upcoming streams across your marketing channels.
Include details about your live streams in emails, social media posts, and more. Even if you’re not live streaming on Facebook, create a Facebook event (or an Eventbrite event) so users can get reminders, and you can get an estimated headcount. For particularly high-value events, you can even consider running social media ads.
When creating your promotions, highlighting an incentive is an excellent way of drawing people in and encouraging them to stay. Will you be giving prizes throughout your stream? Do you have a special guest or special announcement? Be clear about why users should attend.
4. Prevent Tech Issues
When you’re hosting an event on the internet, tech issues can be your biggest enemies. From muffled audio to bad connections, tech problems can instantly cause users to disengage.
To prevent these issues from arising, test your bandwidth and equipment at least a week ahead of time. Platforms like Twitch and Facebook even allow you to run test streams (which only you and sometimes other admins can see), so you can pinpoint any problems in advance.
Once you’re live, you should ideally have a team member helping you monitor sound issues and comments, so you can fix any unexpected problems as soon as possible.
Always have a backup plan. For example, if your internet suddenly goes down, have a reliable hotspot ready.
New to live streaming? If you’re not 100% comfortable with going live or using your equipment quite yet, you can consider premiering a pre-recorded video instead of going live on your first go-around. Although this reduces your ability to connect with clients in real-time, you can still make your video interactive with linked calls to action, section dividers, and more.
5. Get Feedback as You Go
Customer relationships are key in creating a great digital experience. You can’t meet clients’ needs unless you know who they are and how they’re feeling throughout the live stream.
Throughout your live stream, ask questions to both engage and learn from your audience. For example, at the start of your stream, you can ask why customers are attending, what they do for a living, and what topics they’re most interested in. You’ll be able to cater your content to your attendees.
Simple questions like “Does that make sense?” or “What do you think?” can also help you gauge your audience’s opinions, so you can determine if you need to switch up your tactics.
After your live stream, consider sending out a survey to attendees — by email, if you have their contact information, or by linking the survey in your live stream comments. This will help you better understand what you can improve on in future live events.
6. Add Interactive Elements to Your Stream
No live event attendee wants to be watching a talking head for an hour. The best thing you can do is show, not tell. Demonstrate how your product works or offer visuals of what you’re explaining.
You can also add interactive features on top of your video, like live polls or Q&As, to keep your audience highly engaged.
Build Relationships With Live Streams
Live streams help you connect with potential customers from all over the world in real-time. By smoothing out technical issues and planning out your event in advance, you can prevent the pitfalls of live streaming that can make your event anything but a success. Once you’re live, make sure to offer opportunities for audience members to engage and provide helpful feedback that can guide your live stream.