Live Streaming: How Brands Can Up Their Game On This Expanding Medium

It’s been a year since that epic battle between Meerkat and Periscope, the first major live mobile video platforms to hit the market, and in the time that’s passed since then, Facebook and YouTube have perfected and launched their own live streaming offerings. It seems that once again, we’ve reached a new pinnacle of social media sharing. It’s hard to know what could possibly be the next step, having achieved instant consumer broadcastability that’s both live and mobile.

Although it has only just begun, live streaming will doubtlessly achieve individual and brand entrenchment going forward. As such, personal creators and organizations alike would greatly benefit by arming themselves with best practice tips in the ongoing struggle for online attention and distinctiveness across the social channels. Live streaming like a pro can give your organization a new and momentum-driving alternative to achieving your target numbers, and we have compiled a practical list of advice for brand marketers seeking mastery in this rapidly growing medium.

Plan Your Broadcast

Audience attention spans are notoriously short and constantly shrinking, and no one will sit through fumbling or lagging airtime. Live streaming is like live TV in that there is no editing and no turning back – you, the brand, must keep things moving along. Make sure to have a general plan of the show, including topics, guests or even your loyal customers, photo or video cut-ins, and closing segue. It’s also important to tell your audience how long they can expect the broadcast to be, because unlike regular online video, there is no way for them to know the presentation’s length in advance.

Keep A Steady And Stable Environment

Run a test recording before you go live to check for lighting, ambient sound, and general environmental conditions. Consider any scenarios, however unlikely, of interruption in the middle of your broadcast and make every possible effort to limit them. Camera stability is of paramount importance, as nothing cools off viewer enthusiasm more than jolty, blurry video. A tripod or high-quality webcam is highly recommended, and indoor shooting is almost always better quality than outdoor.

Be Real And Throw Away The Script

Although steps should be taken to suit your environment to your presentation as described above, keep in mind that a large part of the appeal of live streaming is its raw, unscripted, organic nature. Therefore, your presenters should come off as people who know in advance what they want to say – but are also speaking live and unscripted. The social Internet, in general, can be seen as a reclaiming of media and messaging by promoters and companies of all sizes, and what audiences expect is something more authentic than the same old teleprompter scripts, talking heads and formulaic delivery.

Use The Medium To Capture More

Another reason for live streaming’s increasing popularity is that brand marketers are generally unfettered by rigid corporate structures and network requirements. Particularly when covering keynote addresses, trade shows, and the like, your organization can act as a surrogate attendee, in a sense – talking to participants, presenting points of view, and accessing areas that wouldn’t otherwise be explored by general mainstream coverage. You will still need to be careful with using copyrighted material such as background music or licensed imagery, but don’t lose sight of the fact that your viewers are there for a more real and less constricted window than they can find elsewhere.

Don’t Be Afraid To Be Weird

It’s all about engagement. Above all, streaming live on your dedicated company channel is a vehicle for unique expression of your points of view, unique market offerings, and brand creativity. Don’t hold back! Even if your channel is not comedic in theme, and even if you’re presenting a somewhat serious or dry topic, sprinkling your broadcast with jokes, irony, or cultural references will set you apart from the rest and make you shine.

As the streaming space rapidly fills up, most notably through the sheer numbers and reach of Facebook’s platform, brand content producers will need to be at the top of their game to differentiate themselves from the competition and attract and retain followers. Whatever the next content dissemination platform ends up being – whether Wi-Fi-carried human telepathy, robotically produced original TV shows, or anything else imaginable – it’s probably safe to say that it’s not exactly around the corner. Thus, developing polish and expertise in creative live streaming on all applicable platforms is a highly worthwhile investment for creators and producers across the gamut of content genres and styles.