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6 Tips for Live Streaming on Social Media

social media live streaming

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so just think of how much you can say (or show) with live social video. But using a live media platform is different than creating recorded video content (which is still super valuable), both in regards to what it means to be “live”, and how you set yourself up to get the most eyeballs on your content.

1. Understand Push vs. Pull Notifications

Before diving into Instagram Live (or any other live platform like Periscope, Facebook Live, etc.) it’s important to understand what being “live” actually means. The biggest difference here (other than being in the moment vs pre-taped) is how this content comes across the eyes of your audience.

In a world without live content, your followers probably check their devices every now and then, with badging to alert of new or important posts. That’s a pull notification, because your phone is pulling in new data every 1, 5, or 10 minutes.

In a world with live content, your viewers will still get those notifications (depending on the platform and their device settings) but here’s the thing… it’s live. So either your audience is catching the content in the moment or, depending on the platform, it’s gone forever. This relies on a push notification, where the app pops a message on your screen (like a text message) in real time.

What does this mean for you? It means you need to take into consideration how/when your audience is able to view your content, avoiding times when they may not be able to see your Live notification, or be able to take the time to stop what they’re doing to view. It also means that you’ll need to lay some groundwork to let people know when you’re going to be live, or use the fact that you may be catching an audience unaware to your advantage (like time based promotions).

2. Capture Metrics, If You Can

One of the nicest parts about using social media for work is the ability to plan, and track your social posts through a single tool. However, when it comes to live content this is not necessarily the case. Platforms like Instagram Live now let you save the video, but don’t save the analytics for who likes or interacts with your feed.

Before picking a platform (see #6), check out what analytics and tools are available for you as a broadcaster or publisher. You may find one serves your audience and process better than another, or that a lack of analytics is worth a tradeoff for a larger pool of viewers.

3. Harness the Power of FOMO

FOMO (or Fear of Missing Out) is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.”

Whether you’re holding an event or just hanging out on the street, one of the best parts about live social media is that if your audience says, “I want to go there!”, they can actually go there.

Or at least they can in theory, which makes it all the more alluring.

When deciding on where and when to go live, think about how accessible you (or your event) are to your audience. Do you want people to come join you, or do you want to show them somewhere they can’t go (like backstage at a concert)? How you relate to your audience will change how you use FOMO to your advantage.

4. Make it Interactive!

Being live is all about LIVE! Interact with your audience in-the-moment, whether it’s handing out promos on the street, running a quick Q&A session, or just chatting. There’s always the possibility that something unplanned or spontaneous will happen, that’s part of the fun of live social.

Also, different platforms allow for different types of audience reactions. For example, Instagram Live only allows viewers to send likes (hearts), while Facebook Live allows a full spectrum of reactions.

If you’re planning on having a Q&A with your audience you may need to pull in other channels like Twitter to be able to send and receive messages (if the platform you’re using doesn’t allow viewers to post comments as you’re live streaming).

5. Live Your Brand

The idea of a personal brand is no-longer the abstract concept it used to be. With individuals monetizing their online presence, a personal brand means more than just a color scheme or typeface, it means defining how your audience relates to you (or your company). When going live, think of how what you show, or where you’re broadcasting from, and how it relates back to your core marketing mission.

For example, if you’re running a brand known for impeccable visuals, is going backstage going to help or hurt your perception? Sometimes showing how the sausage is made portrays authenticity, but other times it may ruin some magic for your audience.

6. Know Your Options

Live video has been catching on more and more in recent years, with larger companies like Facebook and YouTube getting in on the action. Each platform has its own perks and drawbacks, so do your research into which is the best fit. Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular social platforms with live video:

  • Facebook Live:
    Embedded within Facebook itself, Facebook Live is the most popular streaming platform, provides a full range of reactions, and provides the most analytics to its publishers. For tips on using Facebook Live from Facebook itself, check out their best practices.
  • Instagram Live:
    The second most popular platform, Instagram allows users to broadcast live and stores the video in your Instagram Stories (which means these are deleted after viewing). For more information on Instagram Live and embedded features, check out their announcement post.
  • YouTube Live:
    A growing behemoth in the live streaming world, YouTube Live has caught on amongst a whole set of content creators. For more information on YouTube live, check out their FAQs.
  • Periscope (owned by Twitter):
    Periscope made a big splash when it entered the scene as an early player in streaming video and acquired by Twitter in 2016, though other platforms backed by large players are also now on the scene. To learn more about Periscope, check out their website.

Of course, all of your efforts will go to waste if you’re not actively recruiting followers to tune into your live broadcasts. To boost your followers and get started on the right foot, add the AddThis Follow Buttons. It’s quick and easy, and the fastest way to gain new followers on popular live-streaming platforms like the ones covered above: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Periscope.

Start growing your social media live-streaming audience with free AddThis Follow Buttons!
6 Tips for Live Streaming on Social Media
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