The variety of content expected by users online is ever expanding, as companies diversify their output to accommodate new capabilities on social platforms.
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn all offer live streaming options, meaning you can stream video and audio of your event live to your social audience.
There are a number of benefits to live streaming events, including creating long form video content to be re-shared later as well as providing a unique opportunity to engage with your audience in a new way.
Because live streaming events demands a high level of attention to detail, we’ve laid out five steps that will help you navigate the process successfully.
Choose Your Platform
First things first: what's your goal and who’s your audience?
The answers to these questions will determine which platform will facilitate the most engagement with your live stream.
In this day and age, the two most popular platforms for live streaming events are Instagram and Facebook, and you can also live stream an event on YouTube or LinkedIn.
Make sure to do some research before your event to find out which of your platforms is getting the most traction among your followers.
Bonus points if you can get some demographic data to cater your content to!
It can be tricky to decide on a platform.
For instance, you might have more followers on Instagram, but your Facebook audience is much more engaged, with a solid group of followers who always like, comment, and share your content.
In this case, it might be best to stream to the Facebook audience - your livestream will be reaching a more dedicated audience who will get more from the content.
Weigh your objectives against the benefits of each platform - are you looking to reach a more professional audience?
In that case, LinkedIn is looking like the better option.
You can always stream on multiple platforms at once, but for each platform you add, you will also have to account for any potential issues in your project plan.
Develop a Timeline
The one thing that you absolutely don’t want to do when live streaming an event is to have it seem unplanned to your audience.
For a successful live stream, it is ideal that everything runs smoothly - unlike Saturday Night Live, there is usually a lack of humor when things don’t go as planned with an event livestream.
Make sure you have a detailed plan of how you want things to go, and in what order.
Make your life easier and delegate responsibility!
Set an exact time for the stream to begin and have everyone in place at least a few minutes before showtime.
Designate one person as the camera man, and make sure he or she knows exactly where to be and what angles to film.
Assign audio responsibility to someone who knows the script, so they are sure to capture the sound from key players at all times.
For reference, watch a livestream of a similar event - there are plenty to choose from on Youtube.
Watch with a discerning eye, taking note of what worked and what did not work.
Consider all of these factors when planning your stream, and remember, detail is key.
When putting together your plan, remember that live streaming events can be a difficult process, especially with so many chefs in the kitchen.
The more detailed your plan, the better.
Keep a Copy
Live streaming events is a great way to engage with your audience, but once the stream is over, the content has reached the end of its lifespan.
At least, that’s the way it might seem.
However, if you ensure that you have also recorded a local version of the stream, there are several benefits to consider.
For one, you can share the recorded version on your social platforms, cut down into bite-sized pieces of content that are share-friendly for your audience.
There are countless ways to cut and edit old footage together, creating fresh content without having to re-film anything.
You are essentially stretching the utility of the stream and ensuring that its message remains relevant on your pages over time.
The other benefit of saving a copy is that you will be able to watch the stream from a new angle: as an audience member.
For the original stream, you were focused on the quality of the video and ensuring that everything went off without a hitch.
Now, watching the recorded version, you can identify what went right and what went wrong as you put yourself in the shoes of your audience.
Rewatching will give you valuable insight on how you might improve your live stream next time.
Test, Test, and Test Again
By live streaming events, you’re taking an important step towards being up to date with current trends on social media.
However, by implementing a technology that is still relatively new, you are also exposing yourself to plenty of opportunities for technical glitches and missteps.
This is not to say that these issues are unavoidable.
In this case, practice makes perfect.
First, start with your audio and video.
Ensure that you have the proper equipment, and if necessary, consult with a technician to get an outside opinion on the capabilities of your camera and recording devices.
Next, create a dummy account on Facebook, Instagram, or whatever platform you plan on using for your stream.
Do a practice stream on this dummy account (to an audience of nobody, instead of to your usual audience) so you can work out the kinks and get an idea of what your stream will look and sound like.
This will give you the chance to identify any potential technical issues before the stream actually occurs.
Once you have the basics down, run through the script and keep track of the time.
Was your stream too long to maintain an audience’s attention?
It’s also helpful to save a copy of each of your practice streams so you can get a feel for what your audience is going to see, before they see it.
This gives you the opportunity to recognize a bad joke or a boring segment and correct it.
Of course, there is always the risk that something will go wrong, but by committing to dry runs on a dummy account, you will learn how to livestream an event while simultaneously mitigating the major pain points.
Engage With Your Audience
When you live stream an event, you are creating a few obvious roles within your team: someone needs to handle video, someone needs to handle audio, and someone needs to set up the stream on social media platforms.
However, there is one other role that is supremely important - someone who is engaging with your audience using the chat function on your platform during the video stream!
Facebook and Instagram both allow users to comment in real time in the chat box of a video stream, while the stream is happening.
One of the benefits of live streaming events is that your audience gets to enjoy the excitement of seeing something unfold live, uncut and unscripted.
This excitement is something that they will certainly be expressing in the chat box.
To ensure that they feel listened to, enlist a member of your team to respond in real time.
This way, you will be able to answer pertinent questions, respond to general praise, and take the temperature of your audience in real time to see what is working with your live stream and what isn’t.
If you are utilizing these five tips, hopefully there will be more working than not!
Live streaming can be just like event planning - managing chaos.
There are a variety of factors to consider, and as is true with any kind of live recording, there are several moving parts in play that could go wrong at any moment.
However, part of being a successful event planner and a successful live streamer is to learn to roll with the punches and make quick fixes.
In addition, plan, practice, and plan some more - and be sure to pay attention to all of the little details.
Looking for more event planning insights? Check out our guide to seeking a unique venue for your next event.