As a social media marketer, you know first-hand that the digital landscape is constantly changing. What’s a popular content trend one week is dead the next, and what were once powerful platforms for your messages are discarded for new ones. Rather than see this as a bad thing, you should see this as an excellent opportunity.
If you’ve collaborated with others online, you’re probably familiar with video chat platforms such as Skype and Google Hangouts. But while these services have been previously used for personal and work uses, forward-thinking marketers are beginning to use them as platforms for their brands. Live video streaming is a fancy new medium for promotion, and while the “rules” are still being set, there’s a pattern we can glean in how to set one up for your brand. Here are the steps you should take to start video streaming.
Plan Out Your Broadcast
Before you go on air, it would be best for you to at least have an idea of what you’ll be doing. After all, no one wants to tune in on a broadcast that is woefully unfocused, or worse, completely unprepared. First of all, you’ll want to think through what format you’d like your broadcast to take. Do you want to have a Q&A with the audience? Or would you rather host a video podcast of sorts, talking through an idea with a guest?
Whatever you think would work for your brand, you have to be prepared. There’s no need to write out an entire script to read off of during the cast – that would come across as stilted and robotic – but you might want to have some brief notes to refer to.
Pick a Tool for Broadcasting
After you’ve figured out a general game plan for your live stream, you need to think about which service you’ll use to broadcast your message. The easiest option will probably be Google Hangouts. Hangouts are packed with features, and because it’s Google, you know that it’ll be reliable. With Hangouts, you can broadcast your own private stream to the public or a private group invited through a URL. You can also let others join you on screen, hosting a group chat of sorts that can be viewed by as many people as you want.
But of course, Hangouts isn’t the only service for hosting a live stream. Another option that’s becoming more popular is Periscope, which is owned by Twitter. Much simpler in concept and execution, you’re limited to streaming from your phone, and others can join and respond live through an in-room chat room.
Promote Your Stream
Once things are set in place, you’ve got a good idea of what you’ll talk about and for how long, and you’ve got your participants on the same page, you have to get the word out! Post about your live stream well in advance and be sure to have a solid time locked down. Protip: don’t forget to include the timezone in the time you give your audience! Once you’re live, send out a quick message to let people know you’re currently broadcasting.
Have a Backup Plan
Another thing you’ll want to keep in mind is just how much participation you’re going to open up to the audience. Consider opening up a private room if your broadcasting service allows it. Opening up a discussion to the entire internet can be a double-edged sword; while you’ll definitely be opening your broadcast up to a large audience, you may get some unsavory characters. Have you ever seen YouTube comments? Don’t let unfiltered criticism become associated with your brand. If things start to go south, have a backup plan for cutting the stream in the best way possible.
Have you ever seen YouTube comments? Don’t let unfiltered criticism become associated with your brand. If things start to go south, have a backup plan for cutting the stream in the best way possible.
Livestreaming is an exciting concept and marketers are still working out all the kinks. The whole idea of being live might sound scary, but remember, it gives your brand a human face and allows audiences to interact immediately – something they might not have a chance to do otherwise.