How to effectively engage your audience through live streaming
Live streaming is the future of entertainment, education, and everything in between. Why? Because it can engage viewers, unlike other video formats!
Originally published on Medium here
In this article you’ll learn:
How live streaming use to be
How live streaming is currently used
The effects the pandemic had on live streaming
Live streaming and its success with audience engagement
Tips and tricks to get your live stream started
Live streaming in the past
Live streaming previously was viewed as a niche content format that the mainstream audience didn’t understand. This was because the majority of content on streaming platforms revolved around video games and esports. Due to this, people would associate live streaming by watching other people play video games, which didn’t resonate with the average viewer. It was only until recently that the general public discovered what live streaming was and the vast amount of different content that can be broadcasted.
Live streaming today
More and more people are not only consuming streaming services but creating their own. This can be attributed to the fact that the pandemic caused people to be indoors more than ever, giving people more time to consume new content. This goes for viewing and producing content: the world saw people doing live fitness classes, dance classes, different businesses doing Q&A sessions. People who never gave watching or producing live streaming content a chance suddenly were using it for a different variety of needs.
This has normalized live streaming, which was previously missing in the past. The numbers speak to this as well, as a popular streaming platform, Twitch, reached 3.1 billion hours watched, up 17% quarter-over-quarter, and 33% unique channels. YouTube also saw dramatic rises, reaching 1.1 billion total hours watched, which is up 13% quarter-over-quarter.
How the pandemic was pivotal for live streaming
The main reason why so many people are now giving live-streaming a chance is that the pandemic caused people to be more isolated than ever, which meant more internet time and people craving some kind of human connection. Watching creators’ live streams or creating your own, allows you to interact with other people from all over the world. This wasn’t just a switch for how people recreationally engaged with online videos. Businesses and schools around the world were forced to adopt an online-only model. This switch in every aspect of life has made the average person feel more comfortable with getting online, whether that be just as a viewer or creating their stream.
How live streaming is effective at engaging your audience
When posting pre-recorded videos on YouTube or another platform, the only way to engage with your audience is after the fact, through comments and likes. However, with live streaming, engagement is taken to a whole other level. This is because you can interact with your viewers in real-time and not just through comments. You can talk to them and make them feel more than just a “fan” but more so, as a “friend”. This completely amplifies the experience for all viewers, which makes them more connected to the community you are trying to build.
Ready to start? Here are some tips!
Step 1. Plan the Content
Just with any type of strategy, you need to start with defining the goal of your live stream. Whether that be to increase your engagement with your viewers or to simply open up another avenue of revenue, for example. Then think about why live streaming will achieve your goals better than just producing a regular video.
Once you determine why you want to start a live stream you have to plan the content. This must align with your original goal. Once you examine how your original goal pairs with your current content creation strategy, you will be better positioned to plan out your live streaming strategy.
Step 2: Choose the Platform
Nearly every platform now offers a streaming service. However, not every site will meet your goal. You should choose the platform that best connects with where your audience already is. For example, if your audience is primarily on Instagram, then streaming there would be a good choice. However, if you already post YouTube videos and have a following there, choosing to stream on YouTube would be the correct decision. Ensuring the platform you choose aligns with not only your goals but where your audience already resigns is critical for the success of your streams.
If you are unsure of all the different options available to live stream, don’t worry, we got you covered! Nearly every platform now offers some kind of streaming service, which is a testament to its effectiveness.
However, listed below will be the 4 most popular platforms to broadcast to your audience:
The most popular is Twitch. With nearly 9 million unique streamers and an average of 2.6 million viewers on the platform at any time.
Facebook Gaming has recently gotten a lot more popular, with more and more content creators joining the platform to broadcast.
YouTube allows content creators to not just post pre-record videos, but also to connect with their audience in real-time.
Instagram allows any user with an account to broadcast to their following.
Step 3: Choose a Good Time
When you choose to stream will have a direct impact on how many viewers and engagements you get. The best time to stream is when your audience is the most active. . To determine the optimal time to stream, you can use YouTube analytics to see when you get the most views on your videos. Other metrics to consider are when your top fans are most active, or when your audience engages the most. These are metrics that are tracked at Backr, check it out here.
Step 4: Promote the Live Stream
Having a strategy in place with how you plan to promote your live stream will be crucial to getting viewers- if you don’t tell them, they won’t come! You should promote your live stream in advance, and tell people what they can expect from it. This plan could include Instagram posts with your streaming schedule, a YouTube video promoting the stream, and any other ways to get eyes on your stream! Wherever you promote your stream, make sure to build anticipation around it. Maybe you’ll be doing a giveaway, or doing a new product release, this way viewers are more inclined to join.
Step 5: Engage during Live Stream
Lastly, just as you must engage with your viewers on your YouTube videos, it is equally important to engage with your viewers during your live streams. This can be done by shouting out to viewers, replying to their comments in the chatbox, or doing live Q&As. By following similar engagement principles that you have on your YouTube videos, it will ensure your viewers are excited and eager to view your live streams.
We would love to know about all of your personal experiences regarding living streaming. If you have any previous experiences, please reach out and tell us your tips and tricks. And if you are thinking of trying live streaming for the very first time, also feel free to reach out and let us know what your main goals for starting your live streaming journey are!