Note: This is an excerpt from our recent ebook, SMB's Guide to Social Media: The Essentials. Visit this link to get your free copy!
Live video is an extremely powerful social media-based method of attracting followers.
The first rule of Live Video is don’t go live without a plan.
Similarly, the second rule of Live Video is don’t go live without a plan.
Finally, the third rule of Live Video is—and this should come as no surprise—don’t go live without a plan.
You might think winging it is an acceptable practice, but you’ll flounder. You need a plan, even if it’s only a loose outline.
As with every other piece of your marketing, start with the end in mind: What do you want the viewer to do after viewing your live recording?
Be intentional. Be strategic.
You shouldn’t go live without a goal. Figure out your goal, then communicate with involved, including the person behind the camera.
Announcing Ahead of Time
You should never go live without announcing it first. What do we mean by announcing it? Post about it, for one.
Say you’re attending an industry conference on Friday, and you’ve scheduled time to interview two of your colleagues there.
On Monday, you should make a post saying something like, “Make sure you tune in for my Live video on Friday when I interview [So-and-So 1] and [So-and-So 2]!”
On Wednesday, send out another reminder: “T Minus 48 hours until my interview with [So-and-So 1] and [So-and-So 2]! We’ll talk about [important topic 1] and [important topic 2]. Don’t miss it!”
On Thursday: “Check me out tomorrow with [interviewees] when we talk about [topics].”
Then, on Friday: “Going Live with [So-and-So 1] and [So-and-So 2] in 15 minutes!”
This sort of cadence will build anticipation and excitement, as well as give people time to prepare their schedules.
Setting Up the Shot
Before you go live, whip out your camera and take note of a few things:
How’s your lighting? Can you be seen on camera? Can the thing you’re talking about be seen? You may need to bring in some extra lamps.
What’s in the background? Is the background messy, cluttered, or otherwise distracting? Is there proprietary information or private customer data sitting out? While being messy isn’t necessary a bad thing for every brand, distractions are, as well as releasing private company or customer information.
What’s the volume like? We’ve filmed during busy conventions before, and the ambient noise can be loud. That required us to hold the microphone closer than usual. Since we were using a phone, the camera was also closer. Fortunately, we didn’t have to worry too much about what was in the shot for our purposes, but it goes to show how one factor can interrupt another when you don’t have advanced equipment.
Do you need to use an expensive camera/microphone combo? In general, no. Many get by with a simple cell phone or a high-quality camera on their desktop computer.
That said, it may behoove you to make a few investments if you want a high-quality show. For example, if you want to conduct a formal interview with your CEO, it’d be good to have a couple of microphones to better pick up voice, and some nice chairs set out for you to sit upon.
The most important thing is to be on brand. If you’re a boutique children’s store, it makes no sense for you to film all of your shots with an ornate background, as if you were filming from the Ritz.
Practice Your Words
You don’t want to go live tongue-tied. If you want a super-polished look when you go live, rehearse a few times so you’re comfortable using your own words.
In addition, it’s never a bad idea to warm up with a few tongue twisters or more traditional vocal exercises. This will help you speak clearly instead of stumbling over your words every few minutes.
Plan On Being Live For At Least 15 Minutes (Though Less is OK)
Recent research has shown the best Live streams only last a few minutes. For many of us, however, that's not enough time.
There are a number of factors at play here. First, you need to give people time to “come in” and check you out. Your followers will get the notification that you’ve gone live, but it’ll take time for people to come check you out. If you start and stop within five minutes, nobody will get to catch it.
Go Live When People Will See You
For example, if you’re a neighborhood bar trying to build up hype for your new Saturday night live entertainment schedule, don’t go live at 10:30 AM on Monday—when most of your patrons are hard at work.
During the Event
During your live stream, you’ll be able to see people come in. Welcome them—as much as possible. As you go live more and more, and you may start to recognize certain names as regulars. Give these individuals special call outs. If you get to know these individuals personally, feel free to ask them how their kids are, how their over 30 soccer team did over the weekend—anything you can do to make the individual feel special.
This makes the individual feel especially important, but it also shows your other listeners that you genuinely care about your followers, and you’re willing to take the time to build those personal relationships.
Invite Questions and Engagement
Once you have people watching, you want them to stick around. Hold their interest by getting them involved. Ask open-ended questions and give people time to respond. For example, say you’re demonstrating your company’s new skin care product that works as a specialized sunscreen. You might ask, “What’s your biggest complaint in skincare? Go ahead, I’ll give you a chance to say what it is.” After giving people a moment to respond, read off a few of them and provide some of your own input. After a few reads and responses, continue with, “Well, my biggest complaint is greasy or alcohol-based sunscreen that smells bad, feels bad, and often needs reapplied.”
You can also ask simpler questions or prompt actions with phrases like, “Who here hates putting on sunscreen? Hit the Like button if that’s you!”
Repeat Your Purpose
In the first few minutes, you’ll see a number of people roll into your live stream. Early on in your set, you should insert little reminders on what you’re talking about. You could even weave that language into your conversation at intervals throughout the show.
Get Professional Assistance
If you still need guidance, contact us at Poetica Marketing. We'll coach you through each stage so that your show goes without a hitch!