If you’ve been following this blog (and I’m keeping my fingers crossed and my hopes up that you have been!), you already know about why I think livestreaming and social media are a naturally good mix.
I’ve also shared with you some tips and best practices that you could apply when you decide to go ahead and incorporate livestreaming into your social media management strategy.
Today, let’s take some time to talk about the elements that comprise a successful livestreaming campaign on social media. Breaking down livestreaming into steps will make it a lot easier for first-timers to fully grasp the scope of the tasks involved in the process.
Here’s a fact: Livestreaming is not as simple as just picking up a camera and taking a video of yourself or your event for the entire Internet to see (as much as I wish it were). Still, by knowing what you need to do, you can prepare everything and carefully plan how you’ll go about livestreaming your event.
Essential Components of a Successful Livestreaming Campaign
1. A recording device
Well, to start off, you need a digital camera, laptop, tablet, mobile phone… basically, anything that can record your activity. Heck, even a simple webcam would work. If you have an iOS or Android-enabled phone, you can use that to stream your videos directly to your followers on Facebook or Twitter using apps such as Meerkat or Periscope (which makes the whole process easier and lets you breeze through a step or two in the overall procedure).
Other folks would recommend using multiple cameras positioned at different angles to give your viewers a more comprehensive look at your event. Most people I know use two cameras to provide viewers with multiple angles and keep the production from getting stale or boring. Ultimately, it depends on what you think would work best for what you’re trying to show your audience.
2. A stable Internet connection
The second thing you need, of course, is an internet connection with enough juice to support your live stream as seamlessly as possible. You can check your connection via speedtest.net to see if it’s enough for you to successfully pull off your live streaming event. Otherwise, your livestreaming event might end up becoming a (very) delayed telecast!
3. An online video platform (OVP)
This is the livestreaming platform you’ll use to allow your audience to watch your event. Some popular examples are Livestream, Ustream, the aforementioned Meerkat and Periscope, and the ever-popular YouTube.
4. An encoder
Encoders serve as the capture point for your content (from your recording device), where it is where your video is processed and prepared for sending to your audience. Some examples are Adobe’s Live Media Encoder, Telestream’s Wirecast, and Cisco AS Range. If you plan to use YouTube, it has its own list of verified encoding software that you can use. You can get either a free encoder or an encoder that requires payment; naturally, the price varies depending on the features it offers.
This is the part that really comprises the meat of your livestream event. When it comes to livestreaming, content is what truly matters to your audience. You can have all the necessary equipment for a livestream session, but if your content isn’t useful or compelling, there’s no reason for your audience to tune in.
Here are some important questions that you need to be asking yourself before or during the course of your livestreaming event:
- What is my maximum budget for this livestream campaign?
- What am I expecting in terms of monetization/ROI? What are the requirements for me to get my desired monetization levels, and do I have them?
- What is my livestreaming content strategy? Is it relevant to my objectives?
- Will my content be readily accessible wherever and whenever I need to?
- Will my content appeal to my audience?
- Will I be providing value to my audience through my content?
- Will I be able to interact with my audience?
- How is my audience distributed, in terms of demographics and geographical location?
- Have I surveyed the site where the livestream event will be broadcast from?
- Do I have a date and time set for the event?
- Do I have all the necessary tools and equipment on hand?
- Will I be working with a team on this project, or will this be a one-man show?
- How confident am I that I can handle all tech integration and stream configuration issues? Should I hire a professional to help me out?
- What is my overall marketing plan, and will livestreaming truly be beneficial for it?
- Am I presenting my content in such a manner that leaves it accessible to my Viewers, allowing them to make the most out of my livestream?
- Will I be able to derive meaningful statistics and data during and after the livestream?
- Will I be able to communicate with my audience during the livestream?
- Will my audience be able to chat/interact with one another during the livestream?
- Can my content be accessed from all the devices I should be targeting?
- Will my content be able to provide the same experience for my audience regardless of the time they tune in or the place where they’re located, given that they won’t all be tuning in at the same time?
One more thing: if there’s anything about the technical aspects of your livestream that you don’t completely understand, don’t be afraid to call a professional. It’s better to spend a bit of money on getting it right than to experiment and potentially cause more harm or waste more time than you’re ready to lose.
If done right, livestreaming can boost your social media presence tremendously. Need proof? Check out some interesting facts on livestreaming and see how powerful it has become over the past couple of years.
Liz Azyan is interested in the ways new kinds of social data and technology introduce challenges and opportunities to society. Get involved with Liz’s latest project here.