Many businesses and entrepreneurs have helped create the recent buzz surrounding live streaming. Unfortunately, many of those efforts have come remarkably short of mediocre let alone fabulous. And the reality is that one in five live stream viewers will immediately abandon a poor experience. Successful live streaming requires a great deal of preparation, thought and careful execution. Don’t join the myriad of unexceptional attempts at this communication channel. Avoid these common streaming mistakes so your live event is wonderfully informative and absolutely engaging.
Choosing the Wrong Content
People want something of value for the time they put into watching your live stream. As with all of your content, the focus should not be on your brand but rather on your target audience, their needs, wants and pain points. Choose content that is entertaining or helpful or provides a behind the scenes look at your brand. Anything that will interest and engage your viewers.
Look at a live streaming event as an opportunity to not only address your audience but also to provide them an opportunity to participate in the event. Engage with your audience via live audience polling, a question and answer segment, live chat, or a survey. Address participants by name, thank them for their interactions and let them know you value their input and questions. The more personal the experience, the more loyalty you will build amongst your audience and the more likely they will be to engage with your content in the future.
Failing to Promote Your Live Stream Event
To build a proper audience, begin promotion of your event well in advance of the event date. Use multiple channels to announce the upcoming event. Run an email campaign to invite people on your mailing list to attend. Discuss the topic of your live stream in your blog posts and make the sign-up available in multiple places on your website. Push out posts on all of your social media accounts to announce the event and periodically remind your followers as the date draws near. Consider embedding video of the live event into your social feeds so views can watch it within their established social networks.
The last thing you want to project is a perception of disorganization and a lack of professionalism. Properly preparing, in advance, for all aspects of your live stream event will help you execute the event in an engaging and professional manner.
The location of your live event is important. The more you can control the environment during the shoot, the better. It should be copacetic with the aesthetic you are hoping to achieve. Avoid distractions like passing trains or the potential for crowd noise to distort the sound quality.
Confirm your location offers adequate bandwidth. Continuous buffering of a video stream will quickly cause viewers to leave the event. Ask the IT team to ensure that the network being used can handle the anticipated volume of traffic for the duration of the event. Upload speed is another important aspect to confirm prior to the event taking place.
Check your audio ahead of time to make sure that all of your connections are running properly. In addition to audio quality, remember to keep careful tabs on the use of the mute function. If you and your team have muted the audio to enable pre-broadcast communication, don’t forget to reengage the sound prior to starting your live event. The easiest way to combat this potential issue, and others, is to have someone on your team monitor the stream throughout the event. (Monitoring will also ensure you catch any other issues as soon as they occur.)
Live Streaming with Poor Quality Audio, Video, or Connection
Regardless of how amazing your content and presentation of the content may be, if your live stream has choppy Internet or poor-quality visual or audio, the entire experience is a wash. Use approximately half of your upload speed to allow even viewers with a slow Internet connection to watch your event without interruption.
A video stream that is too dark or too bright will detract from the content of your event. Don’t depend on natural lighting – have a lighting plan. Ideally, use a three-point lighting configuration where you have one light set front left, another front right, and a third that provides backlighting. This set up helps keep you illuminated while creating a more natural lighting environment.
While the look of your video is important, let’s be honest. There are a number of people who multi-task when they view live events so your audio must absolutely be spot on as well. Use high-quality microphones as be sure to place them where they not only capture the speaker but also limit any audio distractions. If there are multiple speakers, be sure there are enough microphones to cover everyone.
A Poor Choice for Your Hosting Service
There are things out of your control so the best thing you can do is choose a hosting service that will allow you to present a successful live experience. There are free options such as YouTube Live and Facebook Live which both provide an excellent level of reach when utilized properly. Skype and JoinMe also offer free options but are best used for streams with only a few viewers. Livestream, one of the more popular hosting services, works well for a variety of budgets and event types. You can also choose to utilize a resource like Restream which allows you to stream content across a large number of platforms at the same time.
A Poor First Impression
First impressions are everything and you only have one chance to make one. There are several things you can do to ensure that your live stream event makes a strong first impression. First and foremost, make sure everything starts on time! Second, if you are offering pre-show content, be sure to provide a clear transition to the main event to avoid any confusion on the part of your viewers. And finally, start things off with an enthusiastic welcome or hook the viewers right away with a compelling piece of content.
No Post Event Strategy
Follow up of an event can be just as important as promoting the event was. Build in a compelling call to action or next step for your viewers at the end of your event. Provide a clickable overlay to your video that asks them to visit a registration page or your web store. Include a promotion for your next episode to encourage your viewers to not only return for more but also to tell a friend or colleague about the next live event opportunity. In addition, consider creating the opportunity for on-demand viewing by creating a version of your live event that can be accessed later. Even better, make the video easily sharable via email and social sharing.
Live streaming is definitely more involved than setting up a camera and pressing the record button. Use a scalable platform, be mobile friendly, and pay attention to the details:
Choose engaging content
Promote the event ahead of time
Offer high-quality audio, video, and Internet connections
Choose your hosting service wisely
Create a strong first impression
Establish post event strategies to follow up
The team at Strategy Driven Marketing has years of experience working with businesses of all sizes and from a variety of industries. We’d love to learn more about your brand, your vision, and your marketing goals. The variety and breadth of our experiences help us understand your target audience and how to best convey your message to them. Contact us today for a free consultation!