How to get started with live streaming
In this post, we will take you on a journey through the basic aspects of live streaming and give out some useful tips for navigating the complexity of it!
There is a new way of enjoying online content that promises to make communication even more effective for everyone. It’s a tool that responds to today’s audience demand for authenticity and sharing more than other media. We’re talking about live streaming, which can help you achieve two goals: to reach your ideal audiences more precisely and to expand the audience that you want to reach.
With live streaming, you can connect in real time, showcase your brand’s unique strengths, and create engaging video content that will leave a lasting impression. If you don’t want to miss the opportunity to create new opportunities to connect with your audience, you definitely need to know how to do live streaming.
In this post, we will take you on a journey through the basic aspects of live streaming. But first, let’s take a look at how live streaming fits into the larger picture of video marketing.
From video to live streaming: let’s start with the numbers
Here are some figures to confirm the crucial role that video plays within a marketing strategy.
- In 2022, users were twice as likely to share video content on social media posts, product pages, and blog posts with their network (Wyzowl).
- Today, people watch an average of 17 hours of online video content per week. This is down slightly from 2022 and 2021, but confirms the general upward trend of previous years (Wyzowl).
Live video is, however, still an underestimated marketing tool.
- Just 36% of marketers use live streaming video content on social media platforms (Wyzowl).
This last figure has important implications: it means that future possibilities for growth are enormous and the development prospects for live streaming are encouraging. In addition:
- By 2023, the global live streaming market has grown to close to $1.49 billion (1.49 billion), up from $1.240 billion recorded the year before.
- Research and Markets predicts that by 2027, the market will expand to more than $3 billion, at a growth rate of 21.2%. In addition, given the increasing preference for e-learning, the global pay-per-view live streaming market will reach $2.4 billion in 2027 (The Business Research Company).
Now that you have an idea of the size of the live streaming market and you know that there is huge room for growth, let’s see how you can start leveraging it to achieve your communication goals.
How to live stream: a few tips
Here are some practical tips for effectively navigating the complexities of live streaming. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a content creator, or simply someone looking to learn how to do live streaming, here’s what you need to get started.
Set the stage
Before you hit the “Start a live video” button, you must establish all the necessary conditions for a live stream that is seamless and that achieves the results you’re looking for. We’re not talking about a succession of practical steps-that vary somewhat from platform to platform. We’re talking about your online presence. Here’s what you need to do:
- Choose your platform. YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Twitch, or TikTok? Choose a platform that suits your audience and your goals. Even before you decide what you want to create—we’ll address this point soon—you’ll need to decide where to publish your content. Although you can stream on your website, you will attract more traffic if you use a video streaming platform that your audience already uses and whose content they appreciate. These are most often platforms that also offer several streaming applications, which are otherwise very difficult to implement and use stand-alone. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to choose a single platform. To maximize the value of your streaming and grow your audience faster, you can use multiple platforms simultaneously—that is, you can choose to multi-stream.
- Promote your live streaming. For your live streaming to bring real benefit to your strategy, you must let people know it exists. But that’s not enough. You need to generate curiosity and interest. For example, you can upload stories or set up a countdown or even create posts advertising the topic and specifying the time and the platform where it will be streamed. Leverage your social media channels and email lists to launch short advertising previews and micro trailers.
Therefore, strengthening your digital reputation is a prerequisite for your live streaming. The next step, which is equally crucial, concerns the content you plan to stream. Plan your content ahead of time and develop a script that is fluid and open to discussion with your audience. Authenticity is key and, while you might get carried away in the moment from time to time, it’s best to stay on script.
Make sure you have everything you need
Don’t worry, you won’t need Hollywood quality film equipment to get started. But having the proper tools can make all the difference in increasing the overall quality of your live streaming and make a professional impression right away.
- Camera. Your laptop or smartphone webcam is certainly sufficient for video production, but it’s worth spending a little more if you want to convey all your care and effort to your audience. If you are unfamiliar with cameras, choose one with automatic settings that don’t require a lot of manual adjustments.
- Audio. Obviously, good sound quality is the minimum requirement for successful live streaming. Consider purchasing an external microphone to eliminate background noise.
- Lighting. If you don’t have an actual set—or perhaps your streaming project doesn’t because you tend to shoot spontaneously—natural light is definitely your most valuable asset. Position yourself in front of a window or use ring lights (here, you don’t have to spend too much).
- Internet connection. Before you start buying equipment, there is one important thing you need, regardless of your budget: a powerful and reliable internet connection with ample bandwidth. It’s by far the most important component of your live streaming setup. To make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises—buffered live streaming, a weak or intermittent signal—you can also connect directly to the router with an ethernet cable to ensure that there will be no interruptions.
- Software. Live streaming software is a program or app that converts live video input into a digital format suitable for live streaming. This conversion process is called encoding and it’s the basic feature that all live streaming software should have. Streaming software comes in two forms: software that can be downloaded and installed on your computer and browser-based solutions that do not require downloads and work directly from a web browser. Software you have to download usually requires a more powerful computer, while browser-based streaming does not require your computer to have as many resources to work. Whatever your skills, our advice is to choose intuitive streaming software or even tools built into the platforms.
Finally, to close this first preparatory phase there is one step you cannot afford to skip: rehearse! Even a simple rereading of the points in your set list can do the trick. Then make sure you have all the materials you will need on hand during the live show. Don’t risk appearing unprepared: this may convey to your viewers that you don’t care about communicating your message.
Engage your audience
Engaging your audience during a live streaming session is critical for building a loyal community that is eager to participate in your initiatives. Here are some tips to help you interact with your audience effectively.
- Call viewers by name. Greet viewers one by one when they join the stream by calling them by their username. This personal touch can make viewers feel recognized and appreciated.
- Ask questions. Open-ended questions can encourage viewers to join the conversation. Ask for their opinions, thoughts, or experiences related to the topic you are discussing (but without being too pushy).
- Respond to comments. Continuously monitor the comments section and respond to as many comments as possible. Interacting with your viewers in real time shows that you value their input. In any case, take note of questions that you are unable to answer due to time constraints during the live broadcast and follow up later with the answers.
- Use interactive features. Many live streaming platforms offer interactive features such as polls, quizzes, and emoji reactions. Use these tools to keep your audience engaged.
- Encourage live chat. If the situation calls for it (e.g., you have organized a webinar or lecture) and if the context is suitable (e.g., a virtual assembly to discuss a particular topic) encourage viewers to chat with each other, not just with you. Fostering a sense of community among your audience can increase their engagement.
- Tell stories. Share personal anecdotes, stories, or experiences related to your content. Storytelling can captivate your audience and make your live stream even more recognizable.
- Incorporate user-generated content. Ask viewers to share their content, ideas, or questions related to the topic of the stream. You can show user-generated content and discuss it during the streaming, ensuring absolute anonymity if necessary.
- Live Q&A. Set aside time for a live question-and-answer session where you respond directly to your audience. It’s a great way to gain valuable information about your viewers.
- Hold contests. Holding contests with prizes for actively participating viewers can build excitement and increase their engagement.
- Share your behind-the-scenes footage. Give your audience a peek at what happens behind the scene. It’s a sign of transparency that can humanize your brand and make viewers feel part of your journey.
- Collaborate with guests. Inviting guest speakers or co-hosts can open up new perspectives. Among other things, including different voices in an established format can attract a wider audience.
- Express gratitude. Always thank your audience for joining the stream, whether they are new or returning viewers. Gratitude goes a long way toward building an engaged community.
- Monitor and moderate. Be aware of the tone of the chat and make sure it remains respectful and positive. If necessary, hire moderators to help manage the chat and remove any inappropriate content.
- Adapt and be flexible. Pay attention to your audience’s feedback and preferences. If you notice that certain topics or formats are more engaging, consider incorporating them into your live streams more often.
Building a strong connection with your audience takes time. Consistency and a genuine willingness to interact are key to fostering a loyal community that gathers enthusiastically around your live streaming content. Also remember: live streaming is a two-way street. Interact with your viewers if you want them to stay connected with you for as long (and as profitably) as possible.
Don’t neglect post-live streaming
Your live streaming does not end when you click “End streaming.” To maximize your video’s chance of being seen by the right people at the right time and on the right channel there are a few things you can do (and we highly recommend them!):
- Share playback. Once streamed, your live stream can continue to grow in views if you share it on your website and social channels.
- Analyze performance. Use analytics tools to see what worked and what didn’t. You can also administer final surveys to get immediate feedback. There is ultimately one rule: learn and improve for your next live stream.
- Thank your viewers. Show appreciation by thanking your audience for connecting. In addition to being just good practice, it helps solidify the relationship you’ve created through live streaming.
Streaming video can be used by companies as a two-way communication tool to receive feedback from the audience, to answer questions, and to seek new insights for future communications. If you can’t immediately answer the questions posed during the streaming, you can respond in other formats, such as in a “traditional” online video, where your answers will remain available to everyone, for as long as you decide to make the video available.
In addition to explaining how to do live streaming, we have seen that the central issue is mainly the search for authenticity: being present and living in the moment. You are on the verge of establishing a genuine, unfiltered connection that can humanize your brand like nothing else. Your audience can glimpse and sense the real people behind the content.
With live streaming we can take advantage of personalization to the fullest extent of its current digital possibilities, and you can now easily transfer this personal touch to your “traditional” online videos as well, thanks to the Babelee platform. Here, you can personalize your videos according to user characteristics, and users can respond to calls to action directly within the video. Videos made with the Babelee platform are clear, entertaining, and engaging: they capture the viewer’s attention without ever letting them go, except to motivate them to take the action you want, whether it’s to get more information or to buy a product or service.
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