It can be daunting to commit to doing your first live video broadcast for your business. I’ve been doing videos and webinars for my business since 2012, but I still felt a little thrill of nervousness and excitement when I pushed “GO LIVE” on my first live video!
But the potential of live video is just too good to ignore. Beyond the fact that live video gets shown to more of your audience organically (ie: without you spending a cent!), it’s also an incredible way for you to connect with your people authentically and in real-time.
Whether you’ve tried live video a few times or are going live for the first time, these pro tips and tricks will help you feel like a master at live video from the very first time you click “GO LIVE!”
I’ve also created a Streamlined Structure Worksheet for you — of course, there’s not one format for every Livestream, but if you want a streamlined structure to follow for your next Livestream where you deliver a training, host a Q&A, conduct an interview, or share a story with your audience, here it is!
Start with the basics
Before you decide to go live with your first video, take a moment to cover your basics:
- Choose whether you will shoot your video vertically or horizontally. Both work for different reasons, but you don’t want to switch around mid-way through. Also, if you plan to use your videos anywhere else (on your blog, YouTube, etc.) shoot horizontally to avoid the black bars on either side in the finished video.
- Check your background. Unless you’re walking around or demonstrating something, you’ll want to make sure you have an attractive, uncluttered, and brand-appropriate background for your vid (even if that’s just a blank wall for now!).
- Take a moment to write a compelling description that’s on-brand. Sometimes these few words can be the difference between someone watching — or not. You can also edit your description after the live video is over in case your broadcast topic took a left turn.
- Decide when you will go live. One good way to choose a time is to look at your Facebook page insights and see when the majority of your audience is online. But the type of video you’re doing may also influence when you want to go live. For instance, a baking demonstration might be best for an evening or weekend when people are at home, but a business tips video might be more appropriate during the work day.
- Make a plan. Don’t just show up and shoot from the hip. Make a short outline — even if it’s just a few handwritten notes — of what you want to say so that you don’t become tongue-tied or forget what you wanted to say when the video goes live.
- Be sure to promote your event before you go live. Tease it several times and let people know what time they can expect to tune in. You can also tease it on other channels like other social media accounts or through blog posts or email. With third-party software (see below), you can actually schedule your videos in advance, and your audience can click a button to get a notice when you go live.
- Promote your video as soon as you go live, too, by sharing it to your personal Facebook page and any groups you may have. The more places you share it, the more people may get the opportunity to watch.
- Introduce yourself. Hopefully your video is going to reach some people who may be newer to you and your business than your core group of super fans, so be sure to take a moment at the beginning to introduce yourself and let them know what you do and what the video will be about.
- Pay attention to comments. One of the best things about live video is the ability to interact with your audience in real time, so don’t ignore them! Say hi to people who like and comment on your video, answer questions and address people by name. It’s also a good idea to remind people to like and comment while you’re live.
- End with a call to action. When you’re ready to wrap up, ask your viewers to take an action — it could be as simple as asking them to like or share the video, or more involved like visiting a website or signing up for an email list. But always end with a call to action.
- Wait for the ping! Finally, hold still for a moment when you’re done and wait for the ping that lets you know the broadcast has ended. Otherwise things could get a little awkward!
You can download my Streamlined Structure worksheet for a minute-by-minute breakdown of the parts of a 15-minute live stream.
With these basic tips, you’re ready to rock and roll for your first live video! But if you want to go even further, you can take your live video game to the next level…
Use products to enhance your videos
As the cameras on our phones get better and better, anyone can capture high quality video without a lot of extra gear. But you may find that some of these tools will help you produce luxe-looking videos without a huge setup:
- Try a selfie ring light like this one to ensure you are ready for your close up no matter what the lighting conditions are.
- For a steady shot, consider a tripod or a selfie stick (this one is both!) — because you don’t want your videos to look like the Blair Witch Project shot them…
- And for quality audio, you can invest in an inexpensive lavalier microphone that plugs directly into your phone. Surveys show that people will continue to watch a video if the audio is good, even if the video is bad (but not the other way around!).
You don’t have to have any of this to get started, but for a very minimal investment, you can really take the quality of your videos to the next level to be on par with your brand.
Try third-party software for more bells and whistles
Finally, if you want to go beyond just shooting video with your phone — which is great in some situations, and insufficient in others! — there are several options for third-party software that can add some extra features to your live videos.
- BeLive.tv allows you to broadcast from your computer, chat with up to two other people in a split-screen-style interview, share your screen, present an agenda or comments as graphics, and more. The best part is that it’s free to try and use on a limited basis. It also lets you schedule live videos to Facebook in advance.
- eCamm Live is software you download for your Mac that offers many of the same features as BeLive. The difference is that it also allows you to broadcast pre-recorded videos live and is a one-time price, compared to the subscription price for BeLive. (Sorry PC users; this one is only for Mac.)
- OBS Studio is another software app for Mac or PC that’s free and feature-rich, but also considerably more complicated than the first two options. You’ll need a good tutorial to get it set up, but once you do, you may find you like the ability to configure everything.
- If you want to interact with a crowd of people on camera (instead of just one or two) Zoom and CrowdCast both offer the option to broadcast a more traditional webinar live to Facebook — which could be an interesting way to get more people to participate and engage. Both options are feature-rich, with lots of goodies that go well beyond live streaming, and they both cost more than the options above accordingly.
For certain types of live videos (like interviews and screen-sharing) these third-party add-ons are a must. And the different features — like the ability to broadcast pre-recorded video or show picture-in-picture — can open up a whole world of creative possibilities. The solution you choose will depend on your unique requirements.
Once you’ve got these basics down — including a Streamlined Structure for most types of live videos — you’ll be live-streaming like a pro in no time! But if you’re looking for one more must-have tool on my list — the Live Video Destination Guide for Business Class Members would be it!