The Whys and Whats of Live Streaming on Social Media

If you’ve shied away from going live on social media, we’re here to show you it may not be as scary as you think. Or perhaps the reason you’re staying away is because you think it’s a passing fad? Well, you’ll get our two cents on that, too.

Why Live Video?

First, let’s discuss why live streaming is all the rage and why we don’t think it’s going out of style anytime soon. At the beginning of the year, we made a (well-researched) prediction: “Live videos are now the way to go. Posting live gives users the feeling of being in the moment and of having a vicarious experience.” And we’re sticking to that—and adding a bit more.

Live video offers viewers and content consumers something no other form of content can: immediate results. Not only can people vicariously be a part of what you’re doing or presenting, your viewers can interact with each other, creating a sense of community, and, of course, interact with you. The benefit for you is that you immediately see how many viewers are watching and whether they are commenting, which gives you instant feedback on how well your message is being received.

In addition to creating a sense of community with viewers, you are also creating a more personal connection to you. Live stream “intro to the team” videos and product launches, and you’re letting followers get to know who’s behind the screen and allowing them to be the first to see new or exclusive products.

What to Live Stream

So, what are the best uses of your live-streaming time? You obviously don’t want to go live every hour of every day, and you don’t want to share mundane information (or information that actually is better delivered in written form). But across the social media–expert board, the vote is in that the following types of information most effectively draw live content viewers (in no particular order).

  • Product launches: Brand-new product or service coming out? Why not unveil it to a live audience?
  • Q&A or AMA (ask me anything): Get personal with your viewers and allow them to submit questions about you, your company, or your products.
  • Meet the team and other interviews: Introduce your hardworking team members so viewers can see who provides the awesome services and products they come to you for. Alternatively, ask customers to provide live testimonials or interviews about how your products or services help them.
  • Specials: Giveaways, announcements, discounts, appearances—nothing draws a crowd like a limited-edition, one-time-only, or free product! Go live to announce a contest for products or services or to announce winners of a recent giveaway. Allow a certain period of free entrance to your membership site if viewers comment that they are watching now, etc.
  • Behind the scenes: Give viewers a peek at the daily life of your business. What better way to draw viewers than to give them an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what you and your team do to create such great products. Show them how you design and produce the goods they love.
  • Live from the event: If you’re presenting at a seminar, training, or trade show, why not let your followers feel like they’re part of the action—especially if they can’t be there in person? And it doesn’t have to be during your presentation. Go live as you walk through the crowd or as your team members are meeting with customers. Don’t just tell them your story, show them.
  • Challenges: Get customers involved by competing with (or against!) you in a challenge you announce live. Tell them about the challenge and follow up with live status reports.
  • Product demos/tutorials: Let your customers see how you, the designer, creator, producer of the product use it. Give them tutorials on a brand-new product so they’re up-to-speed or can learn special tricks of the trade.

Where to Live Stream

So, where to do all this live streaming? On your social media platforms, of course. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Facebook Live: The biggest social media platform allows profiles and Pages users to go live. When the live video ends, it’s published to the Page or profile so followers who missed the live broadcast can view it later. Followers can subscribe to your profile or Page so they can be notified when you go live. Additionally, a follower may get a notification that alerts them when you go live.
  • Instagram Live: About a year ago, Instagram announced the ability to go live via their Stories feature. On your Instagram account, you simply go to your profile, swipe right, open the camera, and start broadcasting. Followers will get a notification when you start a live video, and your profile picture in the Stories bar will show “live.”
  • YouTube Live: The place for videos has a place for live streaming, too! If you have a YouTube channel, you can go live. Check out YouTube’s FAQs to get the best and most up-to-date tips on live streaming from the world’s most popular website for videos.
  • Periscope (owned by Twitter): This live video app was acquired by Twitter before it even launched in 2015 and was created on the very basis that seeing the world through someone else’s view connects people in a way nothing else can.

Best Tips for Live Streaming

Ready to go live? Let’s cover a few basic tips for ensuring that you and your followers will have the best live experience possible.

  1. Post status updates of when and where you’ll be going live. You want as many followers watching as possible, so invite them to meet you back here on said platform at a certain time so they’re privy to the awesome announcement you’re going to make.
  2. Make sure you have a good connection. Even though going live while hiking Mount Everest sounds cool, if you don’t have a good connection and no one can see or hear you, they may get so frustrated at the choppy connection that they leave.
  3. Prepare! Although going live feels spontaneous, don’t fly by the seat of your pants. At least have an idea of what you’re going to talk about or present, and if you’re really nervous, have a script.
  4. Interact. Once you’re live, take notice of the people liking and commenting on your post. Acknowledge their efforts to be there so they are encouraged to come back.
  5. Broadcast for longer than a minute or two. On Facebook, you can go live for up to ninety minutes! While you may not be ready for that, go live long enough to allow your followers to get to your video—and even longer so it gives them time to share with their friends.
  6. At some point during the broadcast, invite your followers to subscribe to your live channel so they can be notified of the next time you’re live.
  7. Don’t just end the broadcast—tell them “Goodbye,” “See you later,” or “Catch you next time!” You don’t want your followers’ screens to just go black and leave them wondering if you’re coming back.
  8. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake, stumbling over your words, or even tripping. We know you don’t want that to happen, but remember, going live is giving your followers a more human connection. We all make mistakes, stumble, and trip. Just pick yourself up and keep on going!

Have you gone live? Do you have any tips and tricks for our readers? We want to hear about it! You know where to go (comment box below).

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Categories: Social Media
About Lindsay Flanagan

Lindsay Flanagan is a senior editor and project and social media manager at Eschler Editing. She earned her Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and spent over a decade working in higher education before joining the Eschler team. She and her husband are the proud parents of two brilliant daughters and make their home in Heber, Utah.



    Ariane Cap

    November 29, 2017

    Excellent post woth plenty of great ideas. I have gone live several times to announce member-only QAs. I think I may try using Facebook live to broadcast part of the members only event there.

      Lindsay Flanagan

      November 29, 2017

      Hi, Ariane, Thanks for the feedback and sharing your live experiences with our readers. Good luck going live on FB! Lindsay