The Marketer’s Guide to Live Stream Video: 7 Practical Tips to Make Sure You Don’t Get Left Behind

Live stream video is the hottest new thing in social media. In last Thursday’s blog post, I wrote about the top three tools that are battling it out for MVP in this category. Choosing the right live stream app for you is only the first step, though. It’s critical to know how to use live stream video well in marketing your brand or product.

Here are seven tips for using live stream video well, so you don’t get left behind!

1. Watch Other Broadcasts

The best way to learn is always to identify the mistakes and best practices of other people. Why risk your own game of trial and error when you can learn those lessons from others who have gone before you? There are some awesome early adopters of the tool who have truly mastered the art of brand-building through live video. Michael Hyatt and Chalene Johnson are strong examples of this. And then there are some other folks tinkering with the tool who aren’t quite as smooth. Watch both types, and be very aware of what works and what doesn’t. Pay particular attention to how these hosts open and close the broadcast, how they ask for engagement, what seems planned and what seems off-the-cuff. The best are the best because they’ve studied strategically and are thoughtful in execution.

The best are the best because they’ve studied strategically and are thoughtful in execution.

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2. Start Simple

As with anything new, it’s risky to go from 0 to 100 without practice in between. Start simple with live stream video. Begin with a simple goal in mind (for example, “I want to get comfortable behind the camera and tell a few folks I’ll be doing this consistently”) and be satisfied with a small viewership and a short broadcast. Once you’re comfortable with the basics, you can expand beyond them to more complex video goals and longer streams, to recruiting audiences and embedding live links. The capabilities are wide, but go for excellence in simplicity and build from there.

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3. Have a Strategy Prior to Broadcast

As you’ll quickly see from watching other broadcasts (you read #1, right?), the best videos are hosted by a person with a plan. A long, drawn-out, meandering video without a clear strategy is painful to watch and won’t keep viewers tuned in for very long. Prior to even considering broadcasting, have a plan for how you will spend your minutes on-screen. What’s your goal, and how do you want to communicate that to the people involved? What value will you offer them, and how will you ask for engagement? As with any brand-building activity, bake your target audience’s needs into your live video broadcast strategy.

4. Spend Time Crafting a Compelling Title

For a broadcast to be effective in building a brand, you need viewers, right? What good is a video if no one is watching? Whether you pop up live on video without warning or you announce to your followers a few hours before that you plan to broadcast, there’s one key element that will attract viewers or not: the title. What you call the video–those few words that users see as they scroll–are the “make it or break it” for people making that split-second decision of whether or not to spend their precious time tuning in. Make your title provocative and hyper tuned in to the needs of your intended audience. Spend time on crafting these words. Either they grab attention, or they don’t.

5. Respond to Comments

One of my favorite parts of live stream video is the way it offers viewers a chance to engage via comments. Not only should you as the host ask for engagement through specific questions, you should also respond to it. Social media is two-way dialogue; that’s what we’ve come to expect. You reward your viewers for their attention and engagement by responding to their comments. Answer questions, laugh at jokes, express gratitude for hearts (on Periscope). In live stream video, the more a viewer feels acknowledged and appreciated, the more likely she is to tune in for your next broadcast. Don’t forget: a brand is a relationship. Relationships involve communication from both sides.

6. Experiment

While I did say that it’s important to start simple and to come with a strategy, live video streaming should not follow a formula. Don’t be afraid to experiment. This is still such new technology, and there are a million new things under the sun that can be done with it to engage an audience, to establish authority, to sell a product, to introduce your personality or cats to the world. Don’t copy others; don’t do the same thing over and over; don’t get stuck in a rut. Creativity, when paired with strategy, wins.

7. Consistency is Important

Try new, creative approaches, as I said above… but within the confines of a certain degree of consistency. Keep your brand voice steady; let your messaging around your value proposition be strong and unchanging. In the ways you announce your videos and the frequency with which you broadcast, be consistent. A strong brand relationship is built on trust. People like to feel that they know a brand, that they are familiar with what you do and how you do it.

For those just beginning to dabble in this new world of live video streaming (which is most of us since it’s so new!), go for it! Periscope, Meerkat, and others offer such a significant way to interact with a target audience and introduce the heart behind our brand. Nothing beats real-time and face-to-face (screen-to-screen) communication, and live video offers this to marketers like never before.

What are the best marketing practices you’ve seen for live stream video? I’d love to know! It’s so important to share ideas and learn from our community. Will you leave a comment below, or tell me on Twitter? @ccannon

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