What is Live Streaming & How Does It Differ from Pre-Recorded Production?
Getting your event out into the world can seem like a daunting task. Everyone says you need to be live streaming your content or event to Facebook or any number of other platforms. Yet, what does that mean and how do you do it? We’re not just talking about your friend with an iPhone pushing a video stream to his friends list. Rather, how do you properly express your brand on a live broadcast?
There are several areas that need to be covered before your event in order to get the best exposure for your live presentation on Facebook. Here, we are going to focus on the Facebook Live element, but all of this advice is applicable to any live production that you are looking to produce and stream.
First off, what is streaming video?
Streaming video is content sent in compressed form over the Internet and displayed by the viewer in real-time. With streaming video or streaming media, a Web user does not have to wait to download a file to play it. Instead, the media is sent in a continuous stream of data and is played as it arrives. The user needs a player, which is a special program that uncompresses and sends video data to the display and audio data to speakers. A player can be either an integral part of a browser or downloaded from the software maker’s website. That being said, it’s a fancy way to get your TV show on FB live.
Live Stream Channels
Now that we have that out of the way, and before we discuss production design and tech specs needed for a live event, we need to talk about channels. In order for your production to be seen by the most people, a channel needs to be built around the event, company or product. On Facebook, this is a regular account for an individual or business. You need to work on building a following behind that page BEFORE the event. The event itself can drive growth in this area but it needs to have some following beforehand in order to have a base viewership to start from. Standard social media promotional work needs to be in place and working well before the date of the event. Once you have established a base of people subscribed (following) to your FB page we can create an event and begin to promote it across the page. Encourage every member of your team to “like, comment, and share” the event.
Like, Comment, and Share
In order to gain traction (pre-event) your FB page needs to spread out. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have as many people as you can “like, comment, and share” your page. The more this simple act occurs the more likely people in other networks that might not have seen your page yet will be exposed to your feed.
Consistent promotional timing is important at this stage. Prepackaged video elements detailing what the event is about should be pushed to the page. A preview of value added elements showing what will be featured during the event should also be developed and deployed during this pre-event stage. Some of these can just be graphic based, but since we’re talking about live video events, prepackaged video elements will have a better chance of getting more people interested in the upcoming event. Think of it as the sneak preview phase. It can increase the number of people that are going to watch the main event. Again, liking, commenting and sharing your content is extremely important to the end success of the event and overall brand awareness. Basically, the further the previews travel, the greater the end audience for the main event will be.
Now that we have an established channel that we want to stream live to, the next thing to work out is some pre-production details, or “how is it going to look?”
Location, Location, Location
One of the largest decisions that needs to be considered is where you want to stage the live event from. This should be a place that can help visually represent your brand, as well as provide an appealing aesthetic that compliments your message. Part of the reason that TED talks work so well is the design of the stage. The very minimal presentation allows the focus to be on the message. It would not be nearly as effective if it came from an employee cafeteria. This is, however, when practicality does factor in. We don’t always have the ability to shoot at a killer location, but it’s something to consider if you have the ability and want to help elevate your production to the next level.
Infrastructure of the location is also an important consideration. You need to have a strong internet connection (DSL or higher), and you need to be able to connect directly, no Wi-Fi connections. If you choose a remote location, then you can look to a cellular connection, but your interface to your cellular streaming device should not be over a Wi-Fi connection.
Let’s Talk Tech
Next, we need to set up the tech elements of the actual show, and how it will look to the end viewer.
This is where cost factors the most. The number of cameras that you have for a production will dictate how the end product looks and the total cost of the production. By adding a 2nd or 3rd camera, the look of the production will begin to seem more like a television show. If you are constrained to a single camera set up, you have to accept that elements of your show are going to come across like the evening news or, again, depending on the location, live from the employee cafeteria. Sometimes this is the best way to go, because it is more cost effective. Furthermore, a stripped down, straight forward production can be conducive to your message. For instance, you don’t want to have a bunch of bells and whistles in your presentation if you are talking about “downsizing” or “restructuring.”
Two technical elements that are needed no matter the configuration is a switcher and streaming box. These allow you to select from multiple sources (cameras, graphics, video playback) and output to the streaming box, which converts the source into a useable signal for online distribution. There are simpler ways to go, however, this configuration allows for the most control of the tech elements, and can create a more produced look (again, as opposed to your friend with his iPhone). You need to be able to “hardwire” your computer to the network that is pushing the converted signal from the streaming box. You cannot use a Wi-Fi network. I cannot stress this enough. The Wi-Fi network is subject to the number of users on it at any given point and can cause your stream to drop.
These are just a few considerations that you should think about when planning a live broadcast of an event. There are a lot of other factors that will contribute to the success of your live event, but if you start with a few of the above outlined points, you will be on the right track.
Why Live Streaming Video is the New Frontier in Marketing
Lower Production Cost / Concept Testing
With Facebook deploying its live platform last year, YouTube following shortly after, and Twitter, Periscope, and Instagram all coming into the live presentation arena of social media, there is a fundamental change in how live content can be distributed. It is now possible to have a small-scale production reach a large audience through these platforms.
There is a need to produce high quality productions in order to reach and maintain an audience. Studies have shown that a viewer will only watch 8 seconds of a video if the production value is poor. Audiences have become fickle, and will not engage at the level needed to make your production effective if it does not look great. Costs have become much more reasonable in order for a mid-level production to achieve a good look for their live stream.
The lower cost of this type of event allows for the ability to concept test a theme or idea with instant feedback, provided that you can commit the time to the production. But, it can become a platform to “float” a concept and get feedback from your audience in real time.
Live Engagement and Feedback
The easiest way to find out what consumers think about your product is to ask them. One of the best features that this new mode of production provides is instant feedback from your audience through comments on your live stream and Twitter, etc. You can tell right off the bat if you are connecting with your audience. This can also broaden your audience.
Sales in Real-Time
Alongside FB Live, is FB Marketplace. This can allow for your product to move straight from FB orders, which can be pushed through your live presentation. Product demos can move sales in this way. Experts using your product in a demo on a FB Live presentation is a great way to get your name out there and capitalize on associations that you have with known industry professionals. Product placement can also be an additional revenue stream to help offset production cost, and is a smart way to showcase other products.
There are many aspects of a production of this nature to take into consideration in order to make it a success and a worthwhile endeavor. We can help get you the look that you want and have the success you need. Please let us show you how effective this can be in growing your business and moving to greater things.