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Livestream Best Practices

Livestreams have become increasingly popular since the pandemic struck. With conferences and presentations being canceled globally, the internet has become the best platform for entertainers, creators, knowledge experts, entrepreneurs, gamers, marketers, and event organizers to showcase their talents and original content. Livestreaming allows audiences to engage with what they’re viewing in real-time, an interaction previously only available during live, face-to-face shows and interactions. 

Before going live, you should make sure that your presentation is professional and appealing. Here are seven practices that can help you improve your livestream videos and keep your audience engaged.

1. Promote the Livestream Event

Building up anticipation about the event will help bring in more eyeballs. Here are practical ways to ensure your audience tunes in:

  • Create a video sneak preview of what your livestream will feature in order to generate interest. Even a 10-second teaser video will help bolster views.
  • Notify your followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Don’t forget to share it on your blog as well. Ensure that the post is shareable so that your followers can re-share it with their followers. Announce it a week in advance and provide a quick reminder on the day of the stream.
  • Ask people to register for the event. This allows you to collect user information, which you can use to send alerts and notifications and to publicize subsequent events.
  • Send an email to your subscribers a few days before the livestream. If possible, personalize the message based on the information you have about the recipient. Follow up with a reminder email one day before the event.

Feeling ambitious? Create a behind-the-scenes video to share and add attention-grabbing, royalty free music to your promotional videos. Creativity is the key to generating interest among viewers.

2. Ensure the Reliability of Your Internet Connection

The last thing that you want during the livestream is to experience internet mishaps. WiFi issues can affect your presentation and can deter your audience from watching future streams. Connect directly to your router, and ensure that there is enough bandwidth to stream without hitches. If you’re streaming from a business, consider obtaining a dedicated internet feed for your streams. If streaming from a household setting, ensure everyone knows when you need that extra bandwidth so that family members are not downloading movies or games while you’re live.

After you identify a reliable solution, consider a “Plan B” should your connection fail. You’ll undoubtedly be busy during the event, so have an assistant keep an eye on your internet as you concentrate on the livestream. If you do have to cancel or postpone the event, communicate this to your audience as soon as possible, including a new date for the stream.

3. Gather the Equipment and Test It

You’ll need the best streaming equipment to broadcast live on Facebook, YouTube, or other platforms. Aside from a camera (which could be your smartphone), you’ll need:

  • A desktop or professional-looking backdrop
  • High-quality microphone
  • Audio mixer
  • Acoustic treatment
  • A dedicated, fixed camera (if fancy equipment is in the budget)

It’s a good idea to have a pre-stream session where you set up your gear and test it beforehand. Stream on a private setting to a select group, testing not only your equipment but your layout, sound levels, and delivery.

The rehearsal can help you with equipment issues and mistakes that can inconvenience your actual livestream session. Using professional equipment is likely to create a more technologically pleasing experience for your audience. Don’t over-rehearse the actual content, though. Your live presentation should come across as authentic and genuine. 

Test your equipment before every stream, without fail… or it will take that opportunity to fail. If any of your equipment is battery operated, keep a stash of those batteries on hand.

4. Provide a Clear Call to Action (CTA)

Your livestream should have a CTA to evoke the proper response from your followers. After all, that’s why you’re putting on this event, right? Avoid making your CTA too “salesy.” It should be polite and spark genuine enthusiasm among viewers. Here are great CTA examples that you can include in your livestreams:

  • Tune in next week: Essential if you schedule regular livestreams.
  • Download: Invite viewers to learn more by accessing related content, whether it be an eBook, a video, or an infographic.
  • Comment, like, and share: Encourage your viewers to spread the word and help grow your audience.
  • Subscribe/sign up: Offer additional related content via a promotion or newsletter; this provides you with viewer data and helps grow your distribution list.
  • Watch this video: You’ve already caught their attention; keep them in your universe by referring them to additional content on your social media platforms or website.
  • Visit our website: Direct your viewers to view additional material on your site and establish your brand as the go-to source for related content.

The CTA you chose should be genuinely helpful and offer your audience a clear next step on how to engage more with your content or get more information about the subject you’re talking about. One or two friendly reminders are enough.

5. Create Time for the Q&A Session

Questions allow you to interact and engage with your audience during your livestream. Forgoing this may leave your audience with questions and unable to offer instant customer feedback

The Q&A session not only promotes interaction but also enriches your content. As you listen to your viewers’ questions, you’ll get to know exactly what your audience wants. This will better inform the content of future livestreams. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge difficult questions head-on, either. Authenticity is key. 

6. Plan Your Content 

You should have a good plan of what you want to offer your audience during the livestream, but avoid scripting it out fully — that’s better suited to video production. List topics and events for the stream, especially if this is your first attempt. Things that you should include:

  • The topics to discuss, in bullet form and large, readable font
  • The platforms and tools you will use
  • The duration of your livestream video (keep a timer or clock where you can see it!)
  • The cohost or assistant for the session
  • Guest speakers you want to include
  • Art assets and audio or video files to present
  • A schedule you are able to keep to

7. Save and Share

Not everyone will manage to catch your stream as it happens. By recording the session, you give the content an extended, productive shelf life. Share it on your social media platforms and other appropriate venues. Make sure the recording is of excellent quality so that your audience isn’t frustrated by the technological experience. It pays to edit out awkward bits and even break up the content into smaller soundbites to share on social platforms, too. 

The Key Takeaway

Preparation is the key to a successful livestream presentation. Plan well and follow the tips above to help ensure your streaming sessions are successful events that help you connect with your audience.

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