SWITCHED ON: A basic guide on how to run a live broadcast on social media

Live video is very much a thing yet it surprises me how it’s often not part of the comms tool box.

If you’re making data-led decisions then live needs to be part of the mix.

Here’s some fresh Ofcom data around who is using live and in what channel.

If you think live is just the arena of young people you’d be very wrong.

Who uses what

The broad figures from Ofcom are really useful in decision making. The only complaint I’d make is that LinkedIn is very much part of the live video mix which the regulator’s snapshot misses out on.

Leaving the LinkedIn issue aside, 16-24-year-olds are the heaviest users with more than half regularly watching YouTube and TikTok lives narrowly beating Instagram as their favoured platform.

For 25 to 34, around half regularly watch Instagram and YouTube lives and as you reach the over 45s, around third of 45-year-olds are regularly watching Facebook lives falling to a quarter as you reach 55-year-olds.

Live video stops being a meaningful proposition to over 65s.

How do you choose a channel for live video?

The data around who uses what is your starting point. If your audience is on Facebook then head to Facebook. If you’re looking to reach a younger audience then look to use something like Instagram or TikTok. If you’re looking to reach a professional audience then head to LinkedIn.

How do you plan it?

You need to plan out a rough shape for the broadcast – and yes, lets call it by the right term – and you need to shout about it in advance so people can head to that spot at that time. There’s things to do afterwards but we’ll save that for a second.

The plan needs to be who is taking part, what ground and what you’ll cover in what order.

It’s also a good idea to think of some questions to get the ball rolling in the first few minutes of the broadcast.

During the planning stage, there’s a couple of other things to think about. The BBC have good guidance on what they plan for for live broadcasts. Included is being aware of strong language and stage invasions. That’s certainly something to be aware of. Start a live broadcast in the middle of Pride and the chances are someone will shout something. So, think about where you film it.

Have a plan for if something goes wrong. I’d say switch it off.

You’ll also need to be aware of GDPR. You need contributor’s permission. They’ll also need to be aware its live.

Whatever you do, run a test beforehand and if the participants aren’t used to live broadcasts this will be especially beneficial. You can test the tech, too.

Lastly, have someone in your corner, too. That’s someone from the team who can keep an eye on the broadcast and can WhatsApp you if there’s a problem. If you do that, keep your device with WhatsApp near.

What tech should I use?

You can use a smartphone or a tablet. It’s certainly authentic. But if its more than just you I’d look at something like Streamyard. This is a tool that can plug into your platform and you can broadcast using it. All you need is a webcam and you can invite guests to join from their webcam too. You can add titles, have a ticker running along the bottom and you can pull in questions from the platform while ignoring others. Its a real game changer.

Not only is Streamyard a handy platform but there’s a free version and you can run it with Facebook groups and pages, LinkedIn profiles and pages, YouTube and Twitter. There’s a pro version for more functionality.

How do you get an audience?

Shout. Tell people about it beforehand not just on the channel but in every way possible online and offline. If you’re looking to run an explainer on how to apply for your child’s senior school place then tell people and signpost people towards you ahead of time.

Create an event if you’re able on the platform in question.

What to do when you’re live?

When you go live leave a bit of a buffer. You press the button it’ll take a few seconds for the stream to work. It’s one of the reason I like Streamyard because it gives a 30-second countdown clock at the start.

There’s a few basic tricks the presenter can think about.

Welcome people.

Acknowledge a cross section people when they join.

Ask them to say where they are watching from.

Ask them to ask a question in the comments

Sell forward. Say what you are heading to and sell your sword of Damocles.

How do you end it?

Thank people and then end the broadcast. From experience switching to a short piece of footage is useful as there’s a few seconds of uncertainty.

Then what?

Once you’ve executed the broadcast, make the most of it. Facebook say that seven times as many people often come back and watch the live broadcast if its available than those who saw it live. People are busy so that makes sense.
Facebook gives the ability to re-post the live video. If you can, do it. Then embed the broadcast on a relevant webpage.

I hope you found the post useful. Live video is included in my ESSENTIAL VIDEO SAKILLS REBOOTED workshop. For more information head here.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: