Doing a Live Video Broadcast on Social Media? Follow These Tips

Hitting the “Start Live Video” button on Facebook Live or your social media site of choice can be intimidating. Even people who do live streams all the time likely get butterflies before beginning a live broadcast. But as with most things in life, practice and preparation are two key ingredients for a successful live broadcast. 

In this post, I’ll help you choose a social networking site for your live broadcast, share a few basic live-stream formats, equipment you’ll need, how to prepare, and ways to make the most of your effort. Follow these basic tips and you’ll be well on your way to live stream stardom. 

Which Social Media Platform is Best for Live Streaming? 

The first thing you’ll want to consider is which platform to use. This mostly depends on where your largest, most-engaged audience is, and which platform will get you the most exposure. When Facebook Live first launched, it made a huge splash and was an immediate success among early adopters. But since then, other social networking sites have launched live broadcasting features of their own and you may find success on a platform other than Facebook. In this post, I’ll be sharing ideas that cater to Facebook Live as that is what I am most familiar with. However, the same principals can be applied to most other social media sites.  

What Format is Best for Live Streaming? 

There are three basic formats to consider for a live broadcast: single shot, one-on-one interview, and the walk and talk format. Of these, the single-shot method is the simplest, but requires the most preparation because it means you’ll be speaking directly into the camera, making sure to get all your main points across.  

With a one-on-one interview, you’ll have a little more freedom to ‘wing it’ as you’ll be relying on your guest to fill most of the time. With the interview format, it’s important to have a set of questions ready to go; just as a reporter would.  

Finally, the walk and talk format requires the least amount of preparation, but also runs the risk of being a bit boring if you don’t have a solid game plan or are not in an interesting environment (such as a busy tradeshow floor or a behind-the-scenes look at a major sports venue).  

There are plenty of other live-streaming options such as broadcasting a keynote speaker at an industry event, hosting a live Q&A, or running a whiteboard session, but the above-mentioned formats can all be achieved with nothing more than a smartphone and a good Wi-Fi connection. However, even if you plan to simply broadcast straight from your smartphone, you may want to consider a few pieces of equipment to ensure a high-quality live broadcast.  

What Equipment is Needed for a Live Broadcast? 

Again, all you really need is a smartphone and a strong Wi-Fi connection. Of the three formats I discussed earlier, the one-on-one interview can benefit the most from some additional equipment. Luckily, you still do not need much and can easily put in an order for each item on Amazon. Here my recommended items: 

  1. Tripod with 3-way head. Having something to stabilize your phone during your live stream is easily the most important aspect of a high quality live broadcast. Although a video shot using a smartphone’s native camera app generally comes out looking smooth, that image stabilization is achieved using tech within your phone, which unfortunately does not carry through during a live broadcast. Use a tripod. You can spend hundreds on a good tripod, but I recommend the middle-of-the-road Manfrotto Compact Advanced Aluminum 5-Section Tripod Kit with 3-Way Head
  2. Smartphone Clamp. This is a mandatory item if you plan on using a tripod. This is what screws into the tripod head and holds your smartphone. You can find them for about $5-$10. You can get a spring-loaded version or screw-adjustable version.
  3. Lavalier Microphone. If you’re planning on shooting in a noisy area (such as a trade show floor or busy city street), a lavalier (or lav) mic can help cut out much of the background noise and only pick up the voice directly in front of the mic. Even if you’re filming in an quiet room, the audio quality will be greatly enhanced with the use of an external lavalier mic. Although I have not used this particular mic, this dual lav mic from MAONO should get the job done. If you want to do walking interviews, you might want to invest in a wireless mic system or even a handheld mic. If you’ll be using an iPhone 5 or newer for your live broadcast, you’ll need one of those pesky headphone dongles.
  4. LED On-Camera Light. Good lighting is crucial to shooting a high-quality video. While it’s preferable to find a room with abundant natural light or use a soft-box light kit, a simple on-camera LED light works well in a pinch or just to fill in any shadows cast on your subject. This one on Amazon has everything you’ll need and only costs 38 bucks.
  5. L Bracket Camera Mount. If you’re going to use an LED light, this is what you’ll mount it on. With an L bracket, you also have the option of adding a shotgun mic or an additional LED light. This one on Amazon is only $10.

Preparing for a Live Broadcast 

Once you’ve chosen which platform you plan to live stream from, decided on the format, and purchased any needed equipment, it’s a good idea get everything set up and make sure it is all working the way you envisioned it. Take a photo of your setup for reference when you’re setting up for the actual live stream. Take notes and write out a checklist of items to remember to have on hand for your live stream – this is especially important if you’ll be broadcasting on-location. 

While you can’t actually start a live stream, you can at least set everything up and do a dry run. If you’re planning to interview someone, practice with a coworker or friend so that you feel comfortable with the questions you plan to ask. This is also a time to review your video to make sure you have the shot you want. 

Along with a basic equipment check and practicing on camera, you’ll want to do the necessary prep work before you head out to your live broadcast location (whether that’s at your office or in another city at a trade show). Be sure to reach out to any guests or interviewees well in advance to make sure they’re comfortable doing a live broadcast. Once you have their confirmation, it is a good idea to let them know the basic format and send them any questions you plan to ask, or if they’ll be on camera alone, exactly what information you’d like them to share.  

For a Facebook Live, you’ll also want to create a document with copy included in the post or any preview posts. This includes a short, descriptive headline, correct spellings and titles of any guests, and a longer description of your video. You may also want to draft out and schedule tweets or posts on other social sites to cross-promote the live broadcast.  

What to do after Shooting a Facebook Live Broadcast 

One thing that’s nice about Facebook Live is that you have the option to download the hi-def version of the video. But beware – you must download this immediately after your broadcast ends and before posting to your page. If you wait until after uploading the post to your feed, then you can only down load the lower quality video that was shared live (usually 360p instead of 1080p). Once you’ve saved the high-definition video, you can then make any necessary edits and share to other social sites (YouTube, LinkedIn, IGTV, and so on). Here are a few ideas for getting more out of your video: 

  • Embed the video to your website 
  • Share video in an email 
  • Cut video into smaller snippets for use in multiple social media posts 
  • Create GIFs and pair with direct quotes from the video 

Although a live-video broadcast can be intimidating, it is often well worth the extra legwork for the engagement it can bring to your overall social media marketing strategy. With a bit of preparation and some practice, live streaming will become easier and even fun over time. What tips do you have for going live on social media? 

Social Media Rundown: Facebook Relaunches Search Ads; Government User Data Requests; Instagram ‘Creator Accounts’; Google+ to Officially Die

A relatively quite week in the world of social media. But two news items stick out. The first is the potential launch of Instagram ‘creator accounts’ for supporting social media influencers on the platform. The news isn’t Earth-shattering, but it goes to show just how important influencer marketing has become — it’s now fully part of Instagram’s business model.

The second big story is the end of Google+ after the search giant disclosed its second major bug in just three months. Again, not huge news as most anyone who’s used Google+ can attest that the social networking site was not only a social media ghost town, but also was riddled with spam, NSFW content, and was just generally difficult to use and understand. The bigger story is the data leak; if you still have a Google+ account, it’d be wise to shut it down immediately.

Be sure to check out the lean section for some simple live video tips and an interesting experiment with Twitter threads.

Social Media News:

  • Facebook Relaunches Search Ads to Offset Slowing Revenue (TechCrunch). Facebook is testing ads in its search results and Marketplace, directly competing with Google’s AdWords. The ads will be “repurposed News Feed ads featuring a headline, image, copy text and a link in the static image or carousel format that can point users to external websites.”
  • Twitter Says Governments Are Ramping up Their Demands for User Data (TechCrunch). According to Twitter, the company received 6,904 government requests for information on 16,882 accounts. Twitter turned over at least some data in 56 percent of cases. Most demands came from Russia and Turkey.
  • Instagram Will Offer Special Features to Influencers with New ‘Creator Accounts’ (Mashable). The app is testing “creator accounts,” which would add new analytics and messaging features geared toward influencers and other power users of the photo-sharing app.
  • Google to Close Google+ Social Network After Disclosing Second Bug in 3 Months (The Washington Times). After years of failure, Google is finally pulling the plug on its social networking site. A recent bug leaked the private information of 52.5 million Google+ users to developers, including their names, birth dates and email addresses, among other data. Time to make sure your Google+ account is closed; if you ever had one in the first place.

Learn:

  • 13 Live Video Marketing Strategies, Hacks and Tips (The Social Shake-Up). If you’ve ever considered doing a Facebook Live or other live stream event, this post is for you. From strategy and how to keep your broadcasts engaging to logistics and what gear you need, this post has it all.
  • Can Twitter Threads Increase Reach, Engagement, and Referral Traffic? An Experiment (Buffer). This is an interesting experiment that showed Twitter threads (a series of connected Tweets sent from one account) do in fact increase reach and engagement, but do not improve referral traffic. My takeaway is that it is worth trying if you just want to create awareness or drum up enthusiasm for a particular cause, event, or hashtag. For example, a Twitter thread could be used to remind your followers about the start of an online event by sharing the name and time of the event followed by what participants can expect and maybe a quote or two from the first couple speakers.

Chart of the Week:

Instagram’s Rise to 1 Billion Monthly Active Users (QuickSprout). I think this chart speaks for itself. Click the image for “10 Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2019.”

Instagram reached 1 billion monthly active users in June of 2018.
Instagram has grown steadily since 2010 and shows no sign of slowing down.

Did I miss some major social media news this week? Be sure to let me know in the comments. 

Social Media Rundown: Midterm Social Media Trap; Ability to Delete Sent Facebook Messages; Top Video Trends

The 2018 midterm elections have come and gone without any evidence of significant foreign interference. Attempts to undermine the U.S. election process was limited to attempts at spreading disinformation and fear by an infamous Russian troll farm. It seems the efforts from Facebook, Twitter, and the like were mostly successful in their attempts to tighten up security on their platforms. However, Facebook’s ad screeners seem to have gone a bit too far in what ads were rejected, and a path to government regulation of social media platforms seems somewhat imminent.

Midterms aside, be sure to read on for a new Facebook Messenger feature that allows users to delete sent messages up to 10 minutes after they’ve been sent. This week’s learn section includes a Hootsuite blog post with everything you need to know about LinkedIn videos. Plus, four shifts at Facebook and how to work the changes into your social media marketing strategy.

Social Media News:

  • You’ll Soon Be Able to Delete a Facebook Message up to 10 Minutes After It’s Already Been Sent (Business Insider). The ability to unsend a private message is in addition to the app’s “secret conversations” feature, where users can have their messages expire after a set amount of time.
  • We Tested Facebook’s Ad Screeners and Some Were Too Strict (The Atlantic). Facebook has some kinks to iron out in its pledge to make advertising more transparent and to protect American elections from unlawful influence. “Facebook prohibited 5 percent of our ads for Veterans Day gatherings. Facebook also prohibited 18 percent of national park ads linking to government websites.”
  • Trump Says He’s Open to Working with Democrats in Regulating Social Media Companies like Facebook and Twitter (CNBC). Some options to regulate social media companies include enacting privacy regulations, similar to those being imposed in Europe. Trump warned it would be a balancing act between protecting free speech and finding adequate legal boundaries.
  • A Russian Troll Farm Set an Elaborate Social Media Trap for the Midterms — and No One Bit (NBC News). A website claiming to be run by an infamous troll farm tried to tip journalists and spread fear of election meddling, but failed to generate any serious attention. While social media companies have gotten more serious about preventing the spread of disinformation, hate speech, propaganda, and foreign election interference, some say the issue will never be fixed.

Learn:

  • Everything You Need to Know About LinkedIn Video in 2019 (Hootsuite Blog). LinkedIn has been putting more emphasis on video. This in-depth article tells you everything you need to know, from the video specifications to how to set up video ads. Plus, a nice list of video content ideas.
  • How 4 Shifts at Facebook Will Affect Communicators (PR News). The skinny: ‘Facebook Zero’ is here, Stories gain popularity, video ads could be a better buy than News Feed, and Messenger has become the private news feed for users. Read on to see how to take advantage of these trends.

Chart of the Week:

Top 10 Video Trends [Infographic] (MarketingProfs). Also from the infographic: Video is becoming more search-friendly; thanks to AI and closed captions.

Live streaming is the top video trend for 2018.
The top video trend for 2018 is live streaming.

Social Media Rundown: Pivot to Video? Not So Fast; Facebook Hack; Russian Trolls Influence Brexit

Facebook thumbs up.
Even as Facebook executives were insisting that video consumption was skyrocketing, it was becoming clear that some of the metrics the company had used to calculate time spent on videos were wrong.

Not a lot happening in the world of social media this week; just the usual: shady Facebook news, data breaches, and more revelations on Russia’s influence on the Brexit referendum. For the learning section, I’ve stumbled upon two articles about using video to engage with your online audiences — check it out!

Social Media News:

  • Did Facebook’s Faulty Data Push News Publishers to Make Terrible Decisions on Video? (NiemanLab). Publishers’ “pivot to video” was driven largely by a belief that if Facebook was seeing users, in massive numbers, shift to video from text, the trend must be real. Perhaps we’re not actually in the midst of a video revolution.
  • Facebook’s Latest Hack Was by Spammers Who Just Wanted Money (Mashable). Facebook’s latest hack had the information of 29 million users scraped, but apparently by scammers wanting financial gain, rather than for political or ideological purposes.
  • Russian Trolls Sent Thousands of Pro-Leave Messages on Day of Brexit Referendum, Twitter Data Reveals (The Telegraph). The day of the Brexit vote, Russia mobilized an army of trolls, which at one stage included 3,800 accounts. The fake accounts Tweeted out 1,102 posts with the hashtag #ReasonsToLeaveEU. Now, how will Twitter prevent this from happening again?

Learn:

  • Twitter Has Renewed Its Live Video Push & Here’s What You Need to Know (TopRank Marketing). Once the dominate player in live video, Twitter fell to the likes of Facebook, YouTube, and even LinkedIn. This blog post has a few things to consider before jumping into live Twitter video.
  • 4 Ways to Use LinkedIn Video for Your Business (Social Media Examiner). Speaking of video, this article has some solid ideas on how you can use native LinkedIn video to engage with your audience.