Does the thought of broadcasting live video make you want to plan an escape route to 1997? You might have reservations about the way you look or sound, or how well you are able to convey a message. I felt that way too until I was smacked with a dose of research and realized how much I enjoy watching live-stream videos.
The research is undeniable. People prefer video to all other online media. By 2021, video will account for an eye-popping 82% of global web traffic. We need to meet our audiences where they want to receive content. They’re more likely to view a video in their Facebook news feed, for example, than to click an article link.
Embrace live video now. You’ll be amazed by how effective it can be for your organization. Recently, I helped plan a fundraiser at my local animal shelter. We streamed a series of live videos in one evening… and raised thousands of dollars while spreading awareness. Imagine the impact live video could have for you. Let’s get started! Here are 10 fun tips to help you win at live video streaming.
Tip #1 – Prepare, prepare, prepare
Just because your video is live doesn’t mean you wing it. Think through why you need to share your message, what you are going to say, and how much time each part of your presentation will take. Feel free to have a note card with bullet points in hand during your live video and refer to it. Your audience will appreciate that you cared enough to stay on topic and not waste their time
Tip #2 – Do a run-through
The best way to practice before going live on your stream is to do a run-through in a private Facebook group. This could be your organization’s internal marketing Facebook group or one that you create today. I’ve practiced live video by creating a Facebook group with only my husband and me, and it works marvelously. You can test the lighting, the background, the props, your presentation, the timing, and (of course!) the technology.
Tip #3 – Get pumped up
Something odd happens when someone, who is usually full of pep, gets in front of the video camera for the first time: the energy level plummets. It’s like the brain kicks into self-preservation mode, and all it focuses on is what to say next.
Before I record a video or present to a group, I like to jump up and down for 15 seconds to get my blood pumping. It so simple, yet does wonders to improve my liveliness. Run around, do a happy dance, listen to your jam, sneak in a few push-ups. Whatever it is, you need to find a way to create energy before pressing the “go live” button so that your audience doesn’t wonder if you’ve flatlined.
Tip #4 – Remember the audience
If you are feeling self-conscious about appearing on live video, think about the most important element: your audience. It’s not about you – it’s about them. Focus on your mission and tap into all that passion you have for what you do. Video is just a way to express your message quickly and effectively to people who matter.
Before going live, close your eyes for a moment and remember why you are speaking and envision what it will feel like when they are inspired to take action.
Tip #5 – Smile often
As the saying goes, perception is everything. Smiling on video conveys that you are trustworthy, authentic, interesting, and care about your audience. Have you ever noticed when people smile as they talk, you can hear the smile in their voice? You want people to connect to your message, and of the easiest and best ways to do that is with a friendly smile.
If smiling on video doesn’t come naturally for you, tape the word smile to your phone or the camera tripod as a reminder during the broadcast.
Tip #6 – Look at the camera lens
Want to connect with your audience while recording live video? Look them in the eyes. You do that by maintaining eye contact with that tiny dot on your phone. Your eyes are naturally drawn to your own face while recording from your phone, so you will need to resist looking at yourself. If you need extra help, write an arrow on a Post-It note and tape it close to the lens as a reminder.
(P.S. Your hair looks great, and you don’t look fat or tired. You got this! Just look into the lens and share your message.)
Tip #7 – Get right to your message
Yes, you should introduce yourself and tell your audience what to expect from your live video. But after that, jump right into your content. Do not wait around for people to show up for the live recording. And do not make small talk with attendees.
You want to give your audience the best experience possible, so respect their time and add value right away. Keep in mind, too, that the most views of your video will be in its replay, so you don’t want to waste a moment.
Tip #8 – Engage your audience periodically
The wonderful thing about live video is that you have an opportunity to virtually hug your audience. Show your appreciation for those who show up to your live broadcasting by strategically addressing any questions or comments they have. For example, you may wish to ask a question relating to what you have just said. While you wait for them to ponder the question, give a personal answer to add value while waiting for them to comment with their own perspective.
A word of warning: Don’t continuously look at the comments as they flow in. You will be thrown off track and, consequently, lose people. I recommend being upfront at the beginning of your live stream about when you will seek their participation. Stick to that. Only review and respond to the comments aloud at those times.
Tip #9 – Include a Call-to-Action
For your video to be the most effective, make sure you include a call-to-action (CTA) so that your audience knows exactly what they should do next. Perhaps the CTA is something as simple as sharing the video, or maybe you’d like them to sign up for a program or make a donation. The action you want them to take may seem obvious to you, but you need to repeat it a few times so that they know, without question, what is expected and appreciated.
Tip #10 – Have fun!
Live video provides an amazing opportunity to spread your important message. Know upfront that something is bound to go wrong… and that’s okay. As long as you used their time well by providing great value, your audience will be very forgiving. Plus, if you're having fun, your audience will mirror your energy.
What’s more is live video adds to your (and your organization’s) credibility. So, have fun and know that the more often you go live, the better your videos will be, the larger your audience will grow, and the more you will make an impact!