The sudden uptake in the live-streaming trend during COVID-19 has a lot of social media marketers hunting for best practices, and there's no better place to look for tips, tricks, and advice on social media trends than #SMTLive.
We hope you enjoy this recap of this week's chat, and come away learning more about live streaming than you knew before.
Live streaming gained momentum in 2016 when Facebook released “Facebook Live” as an option to all users. Now live streaming options are offered on nearly every social platform and marketers have this great opportunity to connect in real-time with their audience. #SMTLive— Social Media Today (@socialmedia2day) April 21, 2020
Live streaming is a mere toddler at only four years old. Perhaps COVID-19 will give the function the growth spurt it needed.
Our #SMTLive participants had a few definitive answers as to live streaming essentials. Namely, a good source of light or a ring light, and a good microphone.
#SMTLive A1— MarketingFromHome (@Smita_DigiMarke) April 21, 2020
Ring light or a good source of natural light
Good, neat and spacious room
Good mic, good lighting, if possible good phone/camera too, tripod in some cases too? #SMTLive— Safeera Sarjoo ???????? (@SafeeraSarjoo) April 21, 2020
A1. 1)Great light, natural is best ????but ring lights look amazing too. 2) Great audio. A stand alone mic tends to work better than built-in computer mic.— Mrs. Brandi (@Brandi_Rand) April 21, 2020
Basically, everyone was in agreement that those two pieces of equipment are must-haves for live streaming.
A1: A basic ring light will elevate your video dramatically. But don't forget to go for a quality mic and closed captioning to help people know what you have to say. #smtlive— Jess Dobson (@SheSpeaksSocial) April 21, 2020
@SheSpeaksSocial also added that closed captioning can't hurt.
A1: a good-quality microphone ????️ #SMTLive— Sarah Marks (@_ofwanderings) April 21, 2020
A1: I have found that having a good microphone is key! Nothing is worse than watching a video and not being able to hear the message that is being relayed #SMTLive— Lindsay Hottovy (@LHContent) April 21, 2020
With all this talk about microphones, we wanted to know if anyone had any specific recommendations as to which ones have worked best for them.
While not everyone was in agreement here, it's still nice to know which products have worked best for our audio-savvy community members.
These were a game chager for our agency! We sometimes rent lighting equipment, but other than that we shoot all kinds of video with just our phones and these mics. @rodemics have other great iPhone compatible options as well. #SMTLive https://t.co/m7xE8Hbp3F— Hydrate Marketing (@HydrateMktg) April 21, 2020
Rode are the best https://t.co/yJSmmp7t31— STRONGFORT (@STRONGFORTDIGI) April 21, 2020
But no matter what fancy tech you invest in, authenticity feels like the most important aspect of any sort of social media content creation.
Like we said before, live streaming is relatively new to most of our social media strategies.
Experimenting with new trends or features on social is always a bit scary, but it can be especially so when your whole audience has the opportunity to see you through this process live. Here's what spooks #SMTLivers the most about going live, as well as some helpful tips on quelling those fears.
A2: The fear of messing up or something going wrong. When you are going live, you get one shot to do something and if something goes wrong, it is on display for your audience to see. #SMTLive— Lindsay Hottovy (@LHContent) April 21, 2020
Being put on the spot certainly takes confidence...
A2 - A challenge for us is getting people on camera who are usually shy. Whether that's internally or when conducting live interviews. It would be nice for the viewers to see more than the same couple of extroverts during our live streams. #SMTLive— Hydrate Marketing (@HydrateMktg) April 21, 2020
...especially for introverts.
A2: more than anything - tech issues. #SMTLive— Jennifer Baker | Social Media Trainer (@JenniferBakerCo) April 21, 2020
Unpredictable WFH WiFi networks that inevitably fail from time to time cause concern for live streamers.
During a demo my internet was super slow so I said it would be up in a minute and kept talking! #smtlive— Jennifer Baker | Social Media Trainer (@JenniferBakerCo) April 21, 2020
100% Just talk. Kept it relevant. #smtlive— Jennifer Baker | Social Media Trainer (@JenniferBakerCo) April 21, 2020
But rolling with the punches seems to work well for those who have experienced technical difficulties in the past.
A2. Tech & ???? issues should be checked prior to going live...so being able to answer Q's that come up in the chat/feed is a challenge. Having someone keep tabs on the chat is ????. Oh, and I don't go into it w/ fear. That is a set up to...fail. ???? #SMTLive— Mrs. Brandi (@Brandi_Rand) April 21, 2020
Additionally, keeping up with the chat that comes along with live streams can feel intimidating.
It can feel especially difficult when you add some trolls to the mix. Here's how our #SMTLive community has dealt with trolls in the past:
I’ve seen hosts just skip past them if they’re on a roll. Where you have to address them, suggesting a channel to talk about their criticisms where you can give them your full attention might be a good method. #SMTLive— Safeera Sarjoo ???????? (@SafeeraSarjoo) April 21, 2020
@SafeeraSarjoo recommended t-rolling with the punches, if you will.
The person on camera can ignore them... this is where additional team moderation can help. Not only to steer away from negative conversation or mute bots, but to encourage participation. #smtlive— ee (@erininmilwaukee) April 21, 2020
You ignore them. If you can, have someone manage your comments section. Some of the best lives I have watched is when speakers take time to answer questions and block trolls -- and they verbalize it! #SMTLive— Mrs. Brandi (@Brandi_Rand) April 21, 2020
This is also where having a comment moderator can help.
It’s important to have public guidelines for moderation. You have a “document” to point to when taking action. #SMTLive— Seanna Mullen Sumrak (@SeannaMullen) April 21, 2020
Additionally, @SeannaMullen suggested having some written guidelines for your live streams.
If you have a small team or it's just you on your own live streaming, there are tools out there that can help you keep up with the comment section and engage with your audience. #SMTLive users recommended quite a few.
A3 #SMTLive— MarketingFromHome (@Smita_DigiMarke) April 21, 2020
There are many online survey tools to analyse audience responses like@Mentimeter @powervote @engagenow
You can also use multiple platforms to go live at the same time to capture different target audiences
Perhaps one of these tools could be the answer to your live streaming woes.
Many of our #SMTLive participants have been live streaming for a while now, so we asked them to share some tips of the trade for the rest of us out there just getting started now.
A4 #SMTLive— MarketingFromHome (@Smita_DigiMarke) April 21, 2020
BTS always work well
Employee/Senior Team Q/A
Thought leadership style discussion panel to solve industry challenges
Meet the Team's
@Smita_DigiMarke offered a few behind the scenes/Q&A style suggestions.
A4.(1)— Mrs. Brandi (@Brandi_Rand) April 21, 2020
9-5pm: Influencer takeovers & BTS are great for clients
5-9pm: Marketing tips, trainings / webinars, day in the life#SMTLive
Webinars certainly feel like they'd fit into a live format.
We produced two Virtual Coffee with a Cop shows, using Microsoft Teams, streaming through Facebook. It was super popular— DC Sheriff (@dcsheriff) April 21, 2020
Even cops are doing virtual Q&As.
And now, the question we've all been waiting for: How does COVID play into all this?
A5 - If you offer products or services that can help people with things like working from home, keeping children entertained, shopping online, etc. then make live streaming content around those. #SMTLive— Hydrate Marketing (@HydrateMktg) April 21, 2020
It seems like being helpful rather than promotional during this time is key.
Facilitate a two way conversation. It’s not just about self promotion right now. Give audiences something they can take away - a free resource, a useful link, a recommendation they can use in their own time. #SMTLive— Safeera Sarjoo ???????? (@SafeeraSarjoo) April 21, 2020
Additionally, it's more important than ever to be a good listener.
A5. (cont) Important to know your brand voice. That will guide you for what your audience may want to hear from you right now. Are they seeking information/news, entertainment, reassurance and options? This is where staying authentic & a good digital strat. matters. #SMTLive— Mrs. Brandi (@Brandi_Rand) April 21, 2020
Maintaining a familiar brand voice could feel reassuring to a lot of people on social, according to @Brandi_Rand.
Being that we are all working from home right now, making your live streams seem more branded (visually) is on everyone's minds. #SMTLive users offered some creative suggestions for making your home office look more like your company one.
A6 - Top tip: make sure your unmade bed isn't in the background! That's an unprofessional look for most brands. ???? #SMTLive— Hydrate Marketing (@HydrateMktg) April 21, 2020
A6: Keep your background simple. No one wants to see your unmade bed or your pile of dirty dishes in the background. #SMTLive— Lindsay Hottovy (@LHContent) April 21, 2020
Tidying up your background before you start live streaming can't hurt.
Love a pun! ????— Seanna Mullen Sumrak (@SeannaMullen) April 21, 2020
Keeping your viewers in the loop regarding what's going on in the background doesn't sound like a bad idea either, especially if you have sweet songbirds.
A6: Look for small bits of branding you can /naturally/ incorporate into your space. A coffee mug or water bottle with logo, a branded shirt, your books behind you.— Jess Dobson (@SheSpeaksSocial) April 21, 2020
The key is to keep it natural. Follow Coco Channel and before you start, take one thing off/out of frame. #smtlive
A few people suggested adding branded accessories into your frame, but @SheSpeaksSocial hit the nail on the head with keeping said branding tasteful rather than overdoing it.
Thank you so much for joining us for another week of #SMTLive! Next week's topic is just as exciting:
The conversation is still going, but before we all head out, I want to share the topic for next Tuesday on #SMTLive: ????♀️Collaboration Processes: Strategies for Managing Social Media Virtually (RSVP: https://t.co/aeWs3k5KkT)— Social Media Today (@socialmedia2day) April 21, 2020
See the link in the above tweet to RSVP, and be sure to join our mailing list below. See you soon!