Live video streaming is a great way to connect with your audience and can help nurture your relationships with borrowers and referral partners. While live streaming on Facebook, Periscope, Instagram, YouTube or various other platforms can seem daunting, it’s actually quite simple — and we’re here to provide a little guidance.
One of our favorite live video streaming platforms is StreamYard – check out this video for how to go live on Facebook with this video platform.
Here are 20 tips to help you successfully go live with video:
- Practice, Practice, Practice
If you’re camera shy or this is your first-time live video streaming, do a practice run. There is no shame in verbally talking through your main topics if it makes you feel more comfortable. One of the most important elements of a good live stream is that you’re comfortable talking to your audience, so if you’re nervous, practice will be your best friend.
- Have a Backup Plan
The number one rule of live video streaming is to be prepared. There are numerous things that can go wrong during a live broadcast, so planning for as many issues as you can beforehand can help lessen stress. The most common streaming issues include losing signal due to your network not having enough bandwidth to stream smoothly, overload on the streaming platform, having a weak internet connection, audio lags and experiencing echoes with sound. Doing a run-through before your live stream can help you get ahead of any issues that could arise.
- Test Your Internet Connection
We cannot stress this enough — test your internet connection! If you need to, use a cellular hotspot or an ethernet cable. If you’re streaming on a weak Wi-Fi connection, other devices using Wi-Fi near you should be turned off, along with other appliances that could interfere with the signal like Bluetooth devices, smart speakers, baby monitors, garage door openers, etc.). When in doubt, move your live streaming device closer to your router and test your connection by going live privately to yourself on Facebook. Additionally, you can test your internet speed by visiting speedtest.net.
- Give People Time to Join
Once you go live, it will take a few minutes for your audience to be notified, so plan in advance to wait to push your hardest-hitting content to at least a few minutes into the live stream. The first 1-3 minutes should focus on introducing yourself, your guest (if you have one) and the main topic of discussion.
- Hook Viewers with a Strong Opening
After you’ve given viewers a couple of minutes to join your live stream, make sure to set expectations and tell them exactly what they will get from watching the entire live stream. Dive into one of your strong (but not the strongest) topics to hook your audience into staying — you don’t want people watching for 10 seconds, then leaving your live stream altogether.
- Save the Best Content for the End
Throughout your live stream, plant seeds for the strongest part of your broadcast and let viewers know you will address it toward the middle or end of the video. This could be something like teasing that your interviewee will be discussing a hot topic or that you will field questions from viewers. Whatever it is, by dropping bread crumbs throughout your stream, you can keep your audience engaged and actively watching until the end.
- Prepare Questions in Advance
Preparing questions in advance is a no-brainer, especially for those of you who are new to live streaming. If your interviewee is not used to being on camera, sending them the questions in advance is a good way to alleviate their anxiety and avoid freezing on camera. You might also want to do a quick test run together if that will make you both feel more comfortable.
- Interact with Viewers
It’s important to make your audience feel like part of the broadcast, so build a relationship with your viewers by asking them to comment or ask questions. A simple “Hi, thank you for watching,” makes viewers feel noticed and entices them to stay engaged. Don’t be afraid to mention your viewers as they tune in and use their names, if possible, when answering their questions. This element of interaction creates a personal touch with your audience and adds a natural flow to your video.
- Be Mindful of Lighting
When setting up your live stream, consider your lighting. It’s important that you do not sit in front of a window as this will result in a dark shadow and make it difficult for viewers to see you. Instead, try facing towards your window or another light source. Natural lighting will work best in giving you the soft, flattering look you are aiming for.
- Select an Appropriate Background
Set yourself up in front of a solid-colored wall or branded backdrop to create a simple and professional look. Try to avoid distractions or busy backgrounds. Remember, you are the focal point of your live stream, so choose a background that doesn’t take away from you.
- Wear Solid Colors
If you wear busy or complex patterns on camera, they can distort through the lens and distract the viewer. Avoid this by wearing solid colors or patterns that are not closely woven. Additionally, make sure your clothing doesn’t blend into your background or clash with it.
- Let People Know When You’re Going Live
Prepare a simple graphic or at least post copy to promote your live video before streaming. Try promoting your video 24-hours in advance and then again a few hours before you go live. This gives your audience enough time to gain awareness about your live stream and reminds them to tune in. Also, if you’re going live frequently, try to be consistent with timing. If you promote your live video for 4pm ET, do everything in your power to not make any changes to that schedule.
- Write Strong Post Copy
It’s all about the hook! Grab your audience’s attention with a short phrase about your video that will interest them. Use emojis and capitalizations that make people stop their scrolling and read your post. It’s important to start your post by saying that you’re “live” and keep your post copy to 2-3 sentences maximum, including what your live video is about and requesting that people tune in and ask questions.
- Re-introduce Yourself, Your Topic & Your Guest
While it’s true that viewership of live videos is 3 times as long as a pre-recorded video, there will still be viewers who join later and miss the introduction. A simple reintroduction halfway through the live stream (or whenever you see a spike in new viewers) can be effective.
Example: “Hey, if you’re just joining us, welcome to our broadcast. I’m talking to [guest name] and we’re currently talking about [topic].”
- Have a Chat Moderator
If you anticipate receiving a lot of comments or are interviewing a well-known guest, you may want to enlist a friend or co-worker to moderate the chat comments during the live stream. Your focus should be on engaging with your audience and asking your interviewee relevant questions, so having a helping hand on deck can help you keep your focus on the actual live stream.
- Thank New and Returning Viewers
This is a simple tip but one that can go a long way. By simply addressing your audience and thanking them for tuning in, you’re creating a relationship with them. People enjoy being acknowledged for their efforts and by making your audience part of your live video, you’re increasing the chances that they’ll want to watch and engage in the future.
- Plug Your Next Live Stream
Each time you’re in front of a captive audience, use this opportunity to share any upcoming campaigns or future live streams. Make sure to be prescriptive in exactly what you want them to do with that information (register for a webinar, tune-in tomorrow, send a direct message any time, etc.)
- Make Eye Contact
Part of engaging with your audience is maintaining strong eye contact with the camera. Besides showing your audience that you’re present and alert, it’s also a way to minimize the feeling of distance between the camera and the viewer and make it feel like a more intimate conversation. To help your audience feel more connected, frame your live stream to focus on the subject’s head and shoulders or frame from the waist up.
- Engage in Active Listening
It’s important to show the audience and your interviewee that you’re listening to the wisdom they’re sharing. You can do this simply by nodding your head, using facial expressions and reacting to the information being shared. Remember, even when another person is talking during the live stream, your face is being broadcast to your audience!
- Roll with the Punches
There’s only so much you can plan for and you may be at the mercy of your live streaming platform or network connection. If you encounter issues, remember to breathe and be patient. If your live stream gets disconnected, wait a minute then attempt to reconnect. If your reconnection is successful, let your audience know that you’re back and pick up where you left off.
It’s also a good idea to connect with your live stream guests and let them know what your backup plan is in case an issue arises. This can help calm nerves and avoid a negative experience.