Live streaming is a fun, engaging, and effective way to reach a dedicated audience. Through the use of live streaming, you can increase brand awareness and overall interest in your venture. There are several different platforms that can be used to live stream, including Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram. Instagram is the most popular choice for live streaming in the North American and European market, due to the large and active user base of the platform. The record for most viewers on an Instagram live stream is 3 million viewers. Live streaming gives small brands the ability to reach a relatively wide audience, if executed correctly. Engaging a significant portion of your following is one of the key aspects of a successful live stream. In order to do so, there are several things that you want to ensure before you begin a stream, and others that you want to avoid.
Don’t get your camera ready just yet. Before you begin a live stream, you should engage in a planning process to ensure that you are maximising the potential of your stream.
- Check bandwidth availability
A slow, lagging connection that interrupts the connection of the live stream will cause viewers to drop off. Social media users are surrounded by content – and they are choosing to watch yours. Make sure that your connection is up to speed to avoid any unwanted interruptions that may force viewers to lose interest. Working to ensure that your broadcast will be seamless is crucial to retaining viewers and keeping them interested.
- Use a high-quality camera
It may be tempting to just use the camera on your phone, that’s what they’re made for after all right? Using a low-quality camera like the front-facing camera of a smartphone can lead to a low quality broadcast. By investing in equipment, you ensure that your stream is professional and seamless. Cameras and microphones that are made for live streaming allow for high definition video resolution and lifelike audio. Putting in the extra effort won’t go unnoticed from consumers who value quality.
- Engage with the audience
There are a lot of useful strategies to ensure that your audience stays involved in the live stream. By being interactive in the comments section and responding to viewer feedback, you can help to make the audience feel like they are a part of the experience. Allow yourself to engage with them with active participation, but remember not to lose focus. Instagram also offers streamers the ability to share video with another viewer, allowing users to live stream across multiple accounts to reach a wider audience. Using this feature to your advantage means combining the networks of you and a guest, and effectively expanding your range.
Remember, freestyling your live stream can be extremely chaotic. It’s just as important to know what not to do in a live stream in order to retain a loyal follower base.
- Go off topic
Every live stream should serve a purpose, and the audience should be able to tell what the goal of the stream is. By setting an objective beforehand, you can effectively stay on topic. Guest speakers, interviews, and other special events can make for interesting streams, but remember to keep them relevant to your goals. The expected outcome of your live stream should be outlined prior to streaming as well, in order to understand how to reach that outcome. Know what you want to get across to your audience, but also how you would like to relay that information to them.
- Be inconsistent
Live streaming at a randomly selected time, especially in off-peak social media hours with your target audience, can lead to low engagement rates. Once you begin live streaming regularly, consider setting a schedule and sticking to it. By making your streaming times known, active viewers will expect the streams to begin at their usual time. Encouraging regular viewers to set notifications for your live streams can also boost the engagement rate of your target audience.
- Ignore feedback from the audience
The basis of a live stream is to engage the audience, and if you ignore their feedback, how long do you expect them to stay interested for? Understanding what they like and don’t like, and what they need and don’t need, is crucial to future live streams. The viewers of a live stream can opt out at any moment, so keeping them engaged is critical to retaining a large audience.