Let's walk through two scenarios you’ve likely found yourself in at some point lately.
You’re sitting at your desk, in the midst of changing the world, when suddenly you receive a notification from Facebook: “Innovative Company is live now: Interview with John Smith.” You decide to see who the heck John Smith is and tune in. Unfortunately, you’ve joined mid-stream, and John is busy explaining something that you missed.
You try to watch the comments stream for some sort of direction, but the hosts aren’t acknowledging the comments section, most likely because John is still talking about himself. Your attention is lost and you decide to jump ship. “I’ll just watch the recording," you say.
But let's be honest, we both know you’ll forget and probably won’t watch it again.
You and your co-worker decide to get in on the action that is live broadcasting. You find a quiet spot in the office, set up your smartphone, and hit that beautiful “Go Live” button. In three quick seconds, you’re now accessible to your entire Facebook community. “Hey Guys!” seems to be a proper opener right? You slowly start to talk about a topic you know well and hope if you drag it out long enough, surely more people will join. Only they don’t. You’re left broadcasting to yourself, and probably wondering “Why did I do this live? I could’ve done better just making a produced video.”
We know these scenarios as good as anyone; mainly because we’ve been in both. At The Sales Lion, we’ve worked with our clients to develop a winning live content strategy to add to an effective video marketing strategy. The problem, most times, isn’t the content within the video, but the techniques used before, during, and after the broadcast.
Through the experience of live broadcasting from The Sales Lion's channels, as well as our own personal profiles, we’ve developed a series of best practices you should be familiar with before you hit that magical button.
If you use these strategies properly, you’ll likely see an increase in live viewers and engagement as well as save yourself the embarrassment of a one-on-one live conversation with yourself.
#1. Schedule and Promote your broadcast
The more viewers you can get onboard ahead of time, the better. If you’ve got some good content to share with the world, let them know when to expect it. Schedule a date and time for your broadcast, and allow your audience to decide ahead of time. Additionally, you can send out promotional materials on your other social profiles, on your website, or to your email lists.
Using the native scheduling features on Facebook, you can also alert your existing followers that you intend to go live. If they choose to, they can opt in for a notification shortly before the time you’re set to broadcast.
Make sure you include enough detail within the title and description of your promo to give potential viewers a grasp of what to expect. This requires planning, but as we continue on, you’ll see how useful the planning phase is.
#2. Start immediately after your broadcast is live
This is a very common mistake and requires an understanding of exactly how live broadcasts are promoted by Facebook. Shortly after you “Go Live” the Facebook Algorithm gets busy trying to gather a crowd. We’re all very familiar with the notifications, but actually, they don’t all go out at once. I’ve seen it take as long as 15 minutes for someone to receive a notification that a page they follow was live.
This means we can’t wait for viewers to trickle in before we get down to it. Remember, at this point in time, you cannot edit your live video after it’s been recorded, meaning you can’t trim out 2 minutes of nothingness at the beginning of your video.
Instead, once you start broadcasting, get into the good stuff right away. Don’t be afraid that someone is going to miss something, they can always go back and watch it. Remember, even if you only have five viewers to start with, this group is most likely to share the broadcast, meaning increased reach and more opportunities for viewers.
#3. Write a thorough and engaging description
Having a good description in your promotional materials, live broadcast post, and the recording solves two problems:
Potential viewers know what to expect from your live stream
Newcomers during the video will be able to jump in without confusion
We’ve found that by adding a thorough description, viewers tend to engage with the video more and therefore increase view duration. Additionally, adding questions that you’ll be answering, or solutions you’ll be providing, sets an expectation of takeaways and agenda.
In this example, we’ve painted a pretty clear picture of what we will be covering, the main takeaways, and what you’ll gain from tuning in. For the record, by “gain,” I mean you'll get first access to our videographer description template. And furthermore, by joining us live, you'll also "gain" the opportunity to ask us questions to be answered in real time.
After your live stream is over, make sure you change your description as necessary. Add questions you answered, tease something crazy that happened during the stream, add links to things you talked about, whatever it takes to make it relevant and enticing to someone who might see the recording in their timeline.
#4. Tease the result at the beginning
This is one of most underrated video marketing techniques, used by some of the most successful YouTubers in produced video and live streams as well. Fact is, keeping the attention of an internet user is tricky. You’ve got to make the value of your message abundantly clear and upfront. Simply relying on the quality of the content within just won’t cut it.
Instead, make your viewers a promise that your message will deliver on.
“In this video, we’re gonna teach you how to make lasagna. By the end of the video, you’ll know what ingredients to buy, common mistakes to avoid, and how to make an authentic Italian dish your family will love. Also, I’ll tell you why cottage cheese will ruin the recipe. Stick around and you’ll be ready to make this classic meal in time for dinner.”
Sounds pretty enticing right? Using this technique in both the video dialogue and the description will generate interest in your message, and therefore keep your viewers engaged.
#5. Encourage interaction with your live viewers
It’s very important to make all your viewers feel as involved with the stream as possible. From the moment they start engaging with you, you must acknowledge it.
For the sake of explanation here are some examples of what you might say during the lasagna making tutorial:
“Hey George, thanks for joining.”
“I use Generic brand pasta sauce, how about you? Kevin says he uses XYZ sauce.”
“Patrick asks: Do you need an oven to make this dish? Yes, Patrick. Great question. You need an oven because...”
Making an honest attempt to interact with every viewer is how you create a really engaging broadcast. In some cases, there may be too many, but viewers will know you are doing your best.
In exchange for making this thriving and collaborative stream, ask that your viewers to PLEASE share the broadcast, and while they're at it, go ahead and hit the like button. If you’re interacting with your community genuinely, it will be much easier to ask them for that favor.
Using these techniques to get more viewers and keep them watching
When you’ve developed a great video content strategy, or in this case developed a great live video content strategy, it comes down to planning and execution. The more you can show in advance, the more viewers you’ll attract.
Why, in cinema culture, do we need to watch movie trailers? Because they give us a preview of how exciting or entertaining the full-length film will be.
Also, preparation allows you to be confident in your delivery while granting room for improvisation. Some of the best magic moments occur when you can use real human communication, the kind that’s unplanned.
Whatever you do, just keep making GREAT content, use the techniques that work for your community, and keep doing your best. Remember, even if you only have 5 live viewers, those could be the best followers, customers, or advocates you have. Great communities are made one person at a time.