You’ve heard of live streaming, you know what it’s like, but the numbers still aren’t adding up. Sure you can build a big event, produce the heck out of a show, and push quality video online, but where are all the viewers? Why is 100 viewers feel like a good day? Is this really worth the effort and cost?
The answer to “is it worth it” is yes and will always be yes. You need to prepare your audience and get them excited to watch your stream. YouTube and Facebook send notifications to your followers and friends that you are live, but that isn’t enough. Below are important steps to make sure your public live streams get the viewership they deserve.
A company recently asked Repertoire what the best way to bring a lot of people to the live stream is. We gave them a very simple response and asked them, “who do you know with a page that shares your vision, principles, and style?” That page and that friend is the person you should share or piggyback your audience to reach a large pool of viewers.
For 1000 friends on Facebook, only a fraction is actually online when your stream will occur, another fraction will be interested, and an even smaller fraction will have the time to keep watching. So if you want your viewer numbers to be over 1000, you’ll need a large multiple of that to retain an audience.
Consider two of the major streaming networks in the U.S., Netflix and HBO. They create content and trailers to generate buzz and awareness of their big releases. Technically, those streaming networks are using a very different technology to post their videos, but the anticipation of an audience is the same. You have got to get your audience excited to watch your stream. It is an event, and events are for people, lots of people.
The best way to generate awareness and excitement for a live stream is to announce the stream in a PR push. Create content rich posts, email blasts, and articles with teaser content, images, and information at LEAST one week in advance. Content is king and the critical component to this is making your audience feel like they learn something with each post.
In the first week, talk about who will be speaking, what they will be sharing, and show pictures of what they look like or what their product is. Then the day before, blast again with a reminder that that it is happening tomorrow! Share any updates, sneak previews, talk about the schedule, and how everyone can watch it. On the day of, send a one hour reminder with links to all the content and where to view it. Share another preview, maybe even one from the location itself. Now is the time to remind people to find a quiet place to start watching.
When the stream is about to go live is a critical moment. The moment you go live on Facebook and YouTube, the site automatically starts notifying your followers. Make sure that your first wave of viewers is rewarded with engaging content. DO NOT just send a static image and no music. The first wave of viewers will assume it is broken and leave. Instead, stream local cameras that show people sitting down, the venue’s cool architecture, play royalty free music, or even a personality talking about who is here and what is going to be talked about. Then when the real program starts, your audience is fully engaged and excited.
We’ve written articles before on how to produce the perfect live stream, and how to create beautiful video for your events. Facebook wants you to stream your content to one page and share that stream on additional pages. Simulcasting across platforms and pages is currently not favored by YouTube and Facebook. This is likely because it is easier before and after your event to track viewers and engagement if you can trace who shared it, when, and to what page. Leverage the infrastructure Facebook is creating to your advantage. By sharing the original post, you are bringing the different pools of audiences together and creating opportunity for cross pollination and discovery.
If you need a production company to make sure this is done right, I’ll mention that Repertoire has produced over 1000 perfect live streams for hundreds of companies you have heard of. We do have an advantage and are lucky enough to be in business in Silicon Valley, but that advantage is your advantage when we work together. Reach out to us if you have any questions or would like to produce a perfect live stream for your business.