7 Live Video Expert Tips for Business
Instagram Live has arrived. So has Twitter Live, with Periscope. Facebook has long been live and Snapchat is predicted to follow suit. For brands, live video is the next big communication channel — a way to build engagement with urgency and exclusivity.
But you need to do it right. Here are seven tips to become a live video expert for your business:
1. Don’t Just Talk, Move!
The most common live videos consist of moving selfies. Someone turns their webcam on or picks up their phone and starts talking. And that’s fine. But you can win more engagement if you combine those videos with action shots. Use a GoPro to broadcast yourself biking down a mountain trail, or talk while walking through a farmer’s market.
“Even just bringing your audience with you on a stroll turns your broadcast into an event,” says Joel Comm, a live video expert who has been using this format for more than eight years. “It gives viewers more to see and takes them away from their desks. It’s much more engaging.”
2. Make Sure People Know When You’re Broadcasting
Spontaneity is a great thing, but if you want a big audience, you need to tell people when and where you’ll be talking. Use your Facebook page, your Twitter account and any other social media channel to tell your audience where you’ll be and how to access the video.
And make sure you pick a time when you know your audience will be online. You’ll always miss some of your potential audience, but pick the right hour based on your user data and remind people when you’re doing your broadcast. You should find that a good portion tune in.
3. Make Your Broadcast Personal
The benefits of live video extend beyond urgency and immediacy. The format also brings a personal connection between the business and the audience. You’ll be able to see who’s joining and you’ll be able to answer their questions in real time. Dale Carnegie has described someone’s name as their sweetest sound. As you’re broadcasting, you’ll see those names as your audience builds. Mention them to make a mass broadcast feel like a personal chat.
4. Pick a Topic You Know
Tell people that they should be producing live videos and one of the first responses will be, “What should I broadcast about?” The answer is simple: Talk about what you know. Discuss the topics you love to talk about and the issues that are on your mind.
“How about choosing a topic you would have covered on your blog anyway?” social media expert Kim Garst asks SmartHustle magazine. “You would have traditionally sat down to write and spent three to four hours getting everything prepared and posted on the website. Do a video instead! You know your stuff, and it will come across in more of a human tone when you are speaking directly to your audience.”
That’s smart advice!
5. Include Calls to Action
The result of a live broadcast should be stronger engagement but you can also pick up other strong measurable results. When you have people looking at you and you can address them by name, there’s no better moment to drive them to act. Be bold! Invite your audience to sign up for your newsletter or to receive notifications. Tell them where they can download your free report and tell them to do it while they’re watching.
It’s easy to avoid a call to action on a Web page. It’s much harder when the person asking you to take action is right in front of you and addressing you by name.
6. Make 20 Minutes Your Minimum
You can broadcast for as long as you want, but if you only talk for a few minutes you won’t allow time for an audience to build. Live videos need to be thought of as a mix between a television show and a call-in radio show, rather than a vocal blog post. They might cover different topics, include live interviews and allow for audience participation. Darren Rowse, a professional blogger, recommends taking at least 20 minutes, and has himself gone a full 90.
“Going this long gave me a chance to answer a lot of questions and quite a few of my viewers said that they really enjoyed ‘hanging out’ in that way,” he wrote on his blog.
No one ever gets anything right the first time. Everything gets better with practice and experience. Your first live videos might have an audience consisting of little more than your mom, a bot and your cat. You might struggle with bandwidth and get halfway through the broadcast before you realize that you microphone is off. It gets better.
“The more you broadcast, the better it gets,” says Joel Comm. “You get a feel for your audience and their needs, and most important of all, you get a feel for your own voice. That’s when the magic happens.”
Travis Wright is a successful author, consultant, keynote speaker, entrepreneur, data & analytics geek, tech journalist, growth hacker, podcast host and mediocre stand-up comic. He is the former global digital and social strategist at Symantec for the Norton brand, he was a Russian linguist in the US Army, and is the cofounder and Chief Marketing Technology Officer at CCP.Digital, a Kansas City & SF-based digital ad & content agency.
Over the past 18 years, Wright has helped hundreds of B-to-B and B-to-C companies, from well-funded start-ups and SMBs to the Fortune 100. He is also a columnist at Inc. Magazine, podcast host of VentureBeat’s VB Engage, and author of his first book with Wiley & Sons, Digital Sense, which publishes in December 2016.