Find your audience and connect with them where they are active
Live streaming need not be intimidating. Thanks to technology that makes everything easier than ever, streamers can concentrate where it counts — on their messages.
Alice Fuller, principal consultant at Sheer Social, appreciates the convenience when working with clients. Once upon a time, the social media consultant was a TV producer.
“I turned an entertainment blog into a social media marketing business,” she said. “Now at Sheer Social, we train and consult businesses and professionals on how to use social media to reach business goals while improving audience engagement and online reputations.”
Mistakes happen and bring out the real you for your audience
Live streaming is a prime reputation builder, which Fuller discussed with digital marketing expert Madalyn Sklar. They agreed that live streaming should part of a brand’s marketing strategy.
“There are so many ways brand’s can really leverage live streaming,” Fuller said. “The expectation of high production value has lessened. Keep it simple. Get your message out to the world.
“Look at the reach,” she said. “Live video still gets better organic reach on Facebook and other platforms. Now is the time to leverage that.”
Whatever the approach, viewers have to be uppermost in mind.
“If you’re interested in creating video content and it’s something that appeals to your target audience, then live streaming is definitely worth trying,” Sklar said. “It can be an amazing way to connect with your audience in real time.
“Another great thing about live streaming is how easy it is to share and repurpose your videos as part of your marketing strategy so your content can live on,” she said.
Where Are the People?
Platforms for live streaming are in a growth spurt.
“It’s common for people to go live on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and even TikTok,” Sklar said. “Twitch is another popular live-streaming platform. Which one you focus on will really depend on where your audience spends most of their time.
“Sometimes people don’t even start because they are trying too hard to make it a big production,” she said. “It’s better to just start and build from there.”
Fuller noted that Facebook and YouTube are good for streaming. Instagram is for those who prefer using their phones.
It’s easy to violate copyright protections when recording
Among best practices for beginners — as well as veterans — is to be sure you have clearance for anything you live stream, especially music in the background.
“Jot down notes before going live,” Sklar said. “Many people get nervous when live streaming, especially if it’s their first time. Having notes that you can refer to will keep you on track and ensure you don’t forget to mention your most important points.”
Top live-streaming tips cut across professions.
“As a freelance TV producer, the rules still apply,” Fuller said. “Plan as many of the elements as you can. Have talking points so you’re not rambling. Have a friend help moderate, too. Comments can sometimes get cray. Don’t fear messing up. Just deliver value.
“Don’t worry so much when starting out about doing a Hollywood production,” she said. “Start simple, then build on that.”
Questionable Outside Help
Adding to the legal caution, Fuller said it’s a must to follow the rules of the platform when streaming.
“Some third-party tools might get you in trouble with the social media platform you’re using,” she said.
Style points count for a lot on video and audio presentations.
“Avoid rambling,” Sklar said. “It’s easy to go off on a tangent on a live stream, especially if nerves start kicking in. However, this is when you might start to lose viewers. Do your best to stay focused on the topic at hand.”
When video for chats and hanging around was just a thought
Toying with bright, shiny objects can come with a heavy price.
“Leave the copyrighted material alone,“ Fuller said. “That includes your favorite songs and logos. Even if you’re not making money now, the platforms plan to put ads around your replays. Also, you don’t want a message from anyone’s attorney.
“Use free music libraries,” she said. “YouTube and Facebook have their own. There are plenty of sources of music and videos you can use during your live streams that won’t get you in trouble. Google is your friend. Use it.”
Novices should soon learn that the eyes have it.
“For newbie streamers, remember not to look at your monitors or phone screens so much,” Fuller said. “Look directly into the camera so you appear to be looking at the viewer. That said, your camera should be at eye level — not above nor below your eyes.”
Follow Active Ones
Viewers have the deciding vote on streaming locales.
“The most effective platform for live streaming is the one that helps get you in front of your audience,” Sklar said. “You want to be where they’re most active so they’ll be more likely to see your video and tune in.”
Fuller asks, How do you define effective? What’s the goal?
“You need a goal,” she said. “Most platforms are effective in producing a decent live stream. Some are better than others, which Is why I stream using Ester Camm. OBS, StreamYard and BeLive will help too, but Ecamm is for Macs.”
Play up and emphasize your ideal customer’s persona traits
Instagram is another story.
“I don’t play with third-party tools for live streaming to Instagram,” Fuller said. “It’s against Instagram’s terms of service, which most folks don’t read. One day Instagram just might ban them and the account using them.
“If you want to learn the pros and cons of various platforms like Twitch, Amazon Live and YouTube, get the replays from my Live And In Color Summit,” she said. “We gained great insights on many platforms.”
Figure out how to live stream across one platform at a time. Being confident is better than being overwhelmed.
“Live streaming on multiple platforms is great for getting more exposure,” Sklar said. “However, it can be a little stressful for beginners, especially since it can lead to more technical difficulties.”
Multiple Places As Needed
Streaming across multiple platforms is certainly not mandatory.
“Be willing to test,” Fuller said. “If you know your audience isn’t on Facebook, why spend time feeding content there? I stream to multiple, currently, because I’m testing where I get the best audience reach and engagement.
“There ain’t nothing wrong with testing multi-streaming,” she said. “See what you can do. Then decide to just stream to one social media platform.”
Unless you’re happy with live streaming as a hobby, monetizing could be the next step.
“Always take a moment to throw in a call to action where you share your latest paid product or service,” Sklar said. “You create amazing things. You should spread the word about what you have to offer.”
Jump into promoting events on video as soon as possible
Even small monetizations come with a cost.
“Most platforms now are testing tip jars, but they usually take a percentage,” Fuller said. “Subscription is the new money pit. Also, you can have people pay for access like with Facebook Live events. You can also do Amazon Live with affiliate marketing. Get yo money, honey.
“Live shopping is the next frontier,” she said. “Facebook, Instagram, Amazon Live and YouTube all provide live streaming with a layer of e-commerce. Don’t sleep on that.”
One such example is Amazon Explore.
“It integrates travel and live streaming,” Fuller said. “Amazon is paying people to go live and be your personal travel escort.”
Choose Fundamental Tools
Live-stream tools can be pretty basic
“A great webcam and microphone really go a long way in stepping up the quality of your live streams,” Sklar said. “Although, you don’t need to have the fanciest equipment to get started, it’s just worth upgrading if you know live streaming is a long-term strategy.”
Live streams bring greater attention and more money
She has a list of all the gear she uses — and others she recommends — for live streams, webinars and podcasts.
- Mac M1: Ecamm Live and Restream.
- Keynote for graphics.
- Two key lights.
- Blue Yeti microphone with a mic arm.
- The blue-green screen comes in handy.
“Live streamers — and especially gamers — have setups that look like a TV engineer and set designer built them,” Fuller said. “They really put old-school TV folks like me to shame.
“People can forgive bad video, but not bad sound,” she said. “If you see that little audio meter dip into the yellow, you’re too hot. Monitor your sound levels. I like to do so from my computer or from a different device where the stream is playing.”
About The Author