2020 isn’t exactly cooperating with many of our plans. With most of us social distancing and working from home, our online presence has become a vital part of our social lives as well as our professional lives. Businesses (Ecommerce and brick and mortar alike) are frantic to keep in touch with current and potential customers.
How does someone engage with their customers when they literally had to close up shop?
There’s no better way to reach a large audience than interactive live content.
We have compiled a list of helpful tips to maximize your live streaming output.
1. Audio needs to be squared away.
It cannot be stressed enough that your audio quality needs to be on point. Obnoxious background noise will get someone to click away from your stream just as quickly as they entered.
Your laptop mic will likely not cut it because they’re sensitive and temperamental little things. Consider investing in a high-quality USB mic with a foam mudder to reduce any background sounds.
You can also grab a pair of headphones with a built in mic as an alternative because they’re easier to ‘grab and go’.
2. Get good rest!
Fair warning, being in front of a camera is absolutely draining.
Hosting a stream is much more than just talking at your computer from home. An engaging and high-quality stream takes a lot of mental stamina, so make sure you’ve gotten some good rest or any necessary caffeine boost and switch your brain into presentation mode.
Then afterwards, try to make time for a break– you definitely earned it.
3. Choose your tone
What is the intention of your live stream?
Know your purpose and then set the tone. If your live stream is informal then be conversational. If you’re intending on sharing important news or educating your viewers then keep on track and circle back for questions later, if at all.
Finding impactful ways to stay on the topic while actively engaging your audience creates a sense of community and impact.
4. Hire a helping hand
If the resource is available to you, having a moderator to make sure any questions or interactions are kept on topic is helpful.
Having a moderator also allows you, as the streamer, to stay on topic without any meaningless distractions. Your moderator will help by typing answers to commenters.
The moderator can also serve as your sidekick by helping to direct viewers back to your website, product, etc.
Tech happens, are we right?
There are some things that you can do to troubleshoot any tech related issues that may arise before your live stream. Many streaming platforms have a demo zone to test out all your bells and whistles beforehand. Try to know your streaming platform inside and out so that you can quickly fix anything that may come up.
Of course, you can always have an informal default mode you fall back on if your tech issue has you online, but things aren’t going well. We’ll leave that creative flow up to you.
6. Embrace minimalism in your setup
Every piece of equipment adds a new level of complexity.
If you hit a snag with a piece of equipment, getting everything back up and running is more confusing, complicated, and more likely to waste time and drive down viewers. Simply put--if you don’t absolutely need it then leave it behind.
7. Practice and Prepare
Knowing what you’re going to say and when you’re going to say it is obviously important.
Unless you are incredibly gifted with patient followers, nobody wants to see someone ramble on without an end in sight. People usually tune in to a live stream because they are anticipating what the person hosting is talking about. Viewers drop off the instant they realize that your talk is going nowhere fast.
Practice what you will say and prepare for any questions you imagine your viewers might have.
8. Show Up
Show your face to your audience. If you are going live to be personable then that will not translate without showing your face.
Make sure your face is well lit and be aware of what you have in the background. Your environment can help to push your message to the next level. For example, if you are live streaming a meditation then sitting in your sunroom with your plants would help to reinforce the tranquil vibe that you want your viewers to partake in.
9. People are Watching
No, we aren’t being facetious. This tip is worth the reminder.
Like any good presentation, having a storyline that someone can invest into is always a great way to keep your content sticking in someone’s mind. Empathizing with viewers by explaining that you understand their problems is a great way to build rapport.
Viewers are more prone to invite the solution you’re offering into their lives if they sense that you genuinely care.
We talked about keeping to the basics. However, there is one piece of equipment that is worth investing in.
Having one monitor to reference for responding to comments, while having another to showcase what is actually on screen for your viewers is really helpful for quick replies and good flow. It also helps you quickly identify problems that may be occuring on stream. This isn’t necessary, of course.
When you hit the big leagues then we think it’s worth seeing double.
11. Consider Streaming to Multiple Platforms.
Publishing your live stream to more than just a single platform is an excellent way to reach more viewers without having to do much at all.
Most streaming platforms have this option.
Keep in mind, this does put more encoding work onto your processor, so make sure your computer is powerful enough and up to the task!
Like all great skills, taking on streaming takes some trial and error to find what works for you.
While there are some guidelines and rules of thumb to follow, there’s not just one way to live stream.
Find the flow and environment that works best for you.
And just implementing a few of these tips will have you starting off on the right foot with engaging content that will keep people consistently coming back to hear what you have to say.
Speaking of what you have to say– viewers want to see your authenticity even if it is with poor lighting, stuttering, and a dead fern in the background when you’re starting out. When you’re juggling two monitors and professional lighting, you’ll be thankful that you started somewhere.