What is Live Streaming? How to Do It Successfully?

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We are living in the golden age of live video. Over the past few years, we witnessed many public figures, celebrities, artists, brands, and friends go live on various platforms to host interviews, presentations, conferences, or cookie recipes.

On Facebook, one in five videos is now a live broadcast. And daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts grew four times over the course of a year. Live streaming’s popularity is expected to increase, reaching a 17% share of all internet traffic by growing 15-fold by 2022. Are you planning to jump on the live-stream bandwagon, too, for your brand?  

Let’s get started with what live streaming is. 

What is Live Streaming?

There are different ways to stream videos. Streaming means that a video was shot and then uploaded on a video hosting platform. When it is live streaming, it means that the video is recorded and broadcasted in real-time.  

74% of businesses use live streaming to engage with their customer base.  

To stream live videos, you basically use cameras, audio, and an encoder. An encoder compresses the video to meet video and streaming standards. You can use your mobile phone as an encoder for both video and audio, or you can choose a dedicated encoder that lets you stream, and use hardware like preamps, mics, and cameras. 

Why Go Live?

According to Facebook data, audiences watch Facebook Live videos 3 times longer than regular video posts. 

Get Instant Feedback

Live broadcasts turn your videos into a platform to have conversations. Audiences can share comments and questions that you can respond in real-time. This allows you to build trust and engage with your audience. You can adjust your brand according to the audience’s feedback and improve your content.

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Image: WCCF Tech, Live streaming comments. You can use social media platforms to answer the audience’s questions. For example, Twitter users can ask their questions with hashtags, and you can respond in real-time.

Capture the Attention

According to a survey conducted by Livestream and New York Magazine, 80% of respondents would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog. Also, audiences watch Facebook Live videos 3 times longer than regular video posts. This suggests that you should go live because your audience might be demanding it. 

Create Connection

Live streaming allows you to get real and show your audience the human and vulnerable side of your brand.

Consumers who perceive your brand as human are 2.1 times more likely to love and 1.9 times more likely to be satisfied with it. Also, consumers who perceive a brand as human are 1.6 times more likely to purchase from and 1.8 times more likely to recommend it.  

You can benefit from live streaming by creating close connections with your audience. 

Improve Your Message

You can stream live to announce product updates, new product releases, share news, and do all these with a clearer message. Our brains process visuals 60000x faster than text and keep 80% of what we see compared to 20% of what we read. If pictures say a thousand words, videos say a million. With streaming videos, you will have a chance to convey your message clearly and correct any misunderstandings or respond to any questions in real-time.  

Getting Started With Live Streaming

When you are ready to go live,  you can follow these steps:

Plan Your Live Stream

Put thought and due diligence into your live stream as if you are planning a live in-person event. Start by getting to know your target audience. It helps you decide the important details on what kind of content you will serve and which platform you will be on. The details, such as your audience’s language or their time zones and holidays, are important when it comes to live streaming.

After having information about your target audience, think about what this audience would be interested in, need, or want from a live video. For example, if your audience is interested in an event that you are attending as a brand, you can broadcast from this event. If you are looking for new teammates, you can live stream in-office events to show your company culture. If your audience has questions about your brand or product or any relevant issue, you can arrange live Q&As.

Also, pick a location that fits your live streaming goals. Consider if the lighting is good, if the external sounds are not distracting, etc.

Choose Your Equipment Right

If you decide to use your mobile device to live stream, make sure that you are using a tripod to have a professional look and, of course, to avoid your arms shaking.  

Also, consider your sound quality. Even if most cameras have a microphone, you can use body mics if you are live streaming in a place prone to noise. To avoid any problems with the audio, make sure to test before going live. 

As we mentioned earlier, if you are using an external camera, you need encoding software that converts your video into a format that the streaming platform can read.  

Make sure that you have a network that can handle a live stream. Make sure that you have both a wired and a wireless connection.

Choose Your Platform

You should stream where your audience is at. Let’s look at the demographics of social media platforms where you can live stream. 

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Image: Hootsuite

Twitter

Even if you don’t have thousands of followers, you can easily share and promote content to a wide audience on Twitter. Hot topics spread quickly. You can use the Twitter application to go live.

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Image: Engadget

Facebook

Facebook launched Facebook Live in 2016, and since then, streaming video has exploded. Facebook Live videos produce 6 times as many interactions as traditional videos!  

Image: Facebook

Instagram

Instagram Live is a functionality of the Instagram Stories feature. Instagram allows users to stream live and save the shooting in IGTV. Instagram stories are used by 500 million users per day, and one-third of most-viewed Stories are from businesses. 

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Image: TechCrunch

Apart from these social media channels, there some platforms specific for live streaming such as Periscope, Livestream, Twitch

Live Stream on Your App

Your brand is already meeting your audience at your app. So, it is a great opportunity to catch their attention while they are using your app and focusing on what you are already offering them. 

Live streaming by e-retailers began in China. During live streaming, hosts would try on different clothes, and users would interact with them via app chat windows. Viewers could ask questions about the fabric, for example, or ask the host to try clothes with different accessories.

In 2018, live streaming e-commerce generated over 100 billion RMB ($14 billion) on Taobao, Alibaba’s premier C2C e-commerce marketplace in China.

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Image: MIT Technology Review, JD.com, online retailer, broadcasting on its app

Have a Roadmap

Before you live stream, get prepared, create a roadmap, and have a rehearsal (with your guests if you are hosting). You are live streaming for a goal, so even though you may need to improvise during the broadcast or have technical problems, you should make sure that these problems don’t occur because you aren’t unprepared or you don’t have a backup plan.

Promote Your Live Stream

How do you get people to watch your live stream? Let your audience be aware of your live stream through different channels. You can create count downs, send via e-mails, prepare landing pages, set your social media accounts to promote your planned live stream.

If you are live streaming on your app, you can send push notifications and in-app messages too.

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Make It Timely

Your video is competing with thousands of live videos. To stand out, you can use the power of current events, seasonality, etc., to make your video timely. For example, consider going live for a Christmas dinner recipe around Christmas time.

Keep the Context Clear

Make sure that your audience knows what your live streaming is about, both for the viewers who follow from the beginning and for those who come and go through your broadcast. You can occasionally reiterate the topic and place a watermark or logo to clarify who is on the screen and what the topic is.

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Image: Hootsuite

Engage Real-Time

One of the most important aims of live streaming is connecting your audience. Hence, you can encourage them to engage by replying to their questions, greeting them, etc.

After Your Live Stream

After your live stream ends, thank your audience for their time and invite them to have a look at your other relevant content. Keep nurturing your audience and measure your performance every time. Respond to unanswered questions, and don’t forget to look for useful feedback.

If your audience loves video, which a high probability, according to statistics, go live. Now, you know which steps to take and what you can offer to your audience. Make sure that you are well-prepared and ready to live stream.

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