Live streaming has become one of the best ways to share timely information and engage with your audience. Building a community on a live streaming platform, however, requires a certain amount of time and a clear strategy. Let’s look at some guidelines to help you grow a loyal live stream audience for your brand.
Choose Your Platform
There are many ways to live stream, including popular social media platforms such as Facebook Live and YouTube Live. You can also opt to use a private streaming platform that allows for a greater degree of security and customization. If you want to build an audience, you need to choose a direction and focus your efforts there. However, you can broadcast on multiple platforms for greater exposure.
Create a Schedule
For many people, especially millennials and Gen-Zers, streaming is largely replacing television. While you can create a live stream whenever you want, a consistent schedule makes it easier to build an audience. If people know that you’re on at a certain time every day or on certain days of the week, they can develop the habit of watching you. Your schedule needn’t be set in stone. Test different days and times and find out which gives you the best results.
Make Your Live Streams Engaging
Depending on your brand and goals, you may want to portray a casual, hip, or professional style in your live stream. No matter how you want to brand yourself, there are ways to make your presentations more engaging, making viewers more likely to return and recommend you.
- Use equipment that lets you create high quality broadcasts. Demand Sage reports that 67% of viewers rate video quality as the top factor when watching live streams. In order to make your broadcasts professional and engaging, make sure you choose the right live streaming equipment. This includes the right software or service, camera, microphone, and additional tools such as an encoder that allows you to stream footage online.
- Use an engaging thumbnail. Just as thumbnails help to attract viewers to YouTube videos, they are important for live streams. This is a static image that can inform viewers about the content for your next presentation, such as the topic, time, and any guests. Share the thumbnail on social media.
- Have a compelling backdrop – A backdrop helps to brand your program. You can use a backdrop of nature, a city skyline, outer space, artwork, or anything you choose.
- Create a branded intro and outro. Create short intros and outros to brand your live streams.
- Add music – Using theme music to introduce the program and to fill in gaps between segments is another way to keep viewers engaged. Make sure you have the right to use whatever music you include as you don’t want to be accused of copyright infringement.
Engage With Your Audience
One feature that sets live streaming apart from static videos is the ability to interact with your audience. If you want viewers to feel like they are part of the action, be sure to watch and respond to their comments. Ask questions and respond to the answers. If you have more than one host, one person can respond to comments, either via chat or verbally. It’s a little trickier for one person to monitor chat while also talking but it’s important to stay connected to the audience as much as possible.
Chatbots can be useful for automating tasks such as including links, announcing upcoming events, and answering frequently asked questions. However, they shouldn’t be used as a replacement for human interaction. It’s still good to answer specific questions and give shoutouts to active audience members. People love to get personal attention and hear their names mentioned.
Connect Your Live Stream With Other Channels
You can use live streaming to promote all of your brand’s platforms and channels. Likewise, you can promote your live stream on all your other platforms. You don’t have to be active everywhere but focus on a few channels where your audience is active.
- Social media pages. Publicize your stream on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites. Facebook and other social media groups are another way to get viewers to participate in a wider community.
- Blog. A blog can complement your live stream. You can remind readers of your live streams and go into more detail on the topics you cover in long form posts.
- Videos. Videos on YouTube, TikTok, and other platforms is another way to build your community. Of course, you can always post your live streams as videos later as well.
- Discord –A very popular app where you can promote your live streams. While Discord was originally created for gamers, it’s now used to share all types of content.
Interviewing guests in your niche or industry can make your live streams more interesting. If you can find influencers or respected authorities on a subject, it brings you more credibility. It also lets you leverage the followings your guests may have. When someone appears on your broadcast, they will surely want to share the link with their own audience.
If you don’t yet have a large following, you may not be able to attract guests who are famous or who have millions of followers. However, you can seek out vloggers, authors, entertainers, podcasters, educators, or social media micro-influencers with niche followings. Look at other presenters in your field as potential collaborators rather than competitors. They may also invite you on their live streams or podcasts. Appearing on other channels is another way to grow your own following and community.
Live streaming is itself content, of course. However, if you want to build your following and create a sense of community, it helps if you also create content in other formats as well. Live streaming is good for spontaneous and real-time sharing. Other types of content are more appropriate for sharing more complex information and establishing your expertise. This includes:
- Long-form videos.
- Articles, reports, or white papers.
- Books. Self-publishing a print book, e-book, and/or audiobook is ideal for building authority.
- Podcasting – A podcast is another effective way to get your message across and bring more viewers to your live streams.
Provide Perks and Free Gifts
One way to attract loyal viewers is to hold contests and giveaways. Prizes and swag give people an incentive to return to your stream and follow links to your social media channels. You can hold sweepstakes where random winners are chosen or award prizes for user-generated content such as photos or videos.
If you don’t already have branded swag, consider creating it. People always enjoy winning prizes such as t-shirts and mugs. This also gives you a chance to promote your brand. You can also sell these products. Niche-related prizes are also good. Give away items that your audience will appreciate. Companies may provide you with products in exchange for publicity.
Build an Email List
Email marketing is one of the oldest forms of online marketing and is still as relevant as ever. The advantage of an email list is that it’s completely under your control and gives you a way to reach your subscribers whenever you choose. Sending out a regular newsletter gives you a chance to remind subscribers to tune into your live stream. You can also market your newsletter on your live streams, which can help you grow your list.
Record and Repurpose Your Live Streams
When the live stream is over, you don’t have to simply forget about it. You can get more mileage out of it by posting it as a video. You could also turn the audio into a podcast. You can trim parts of them and turn them into short videos for YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram reels. Embed the live streams on your blog or website.
Add Captions to Your Live Streams
Providing captions to live videos will help you reach a wider audience. While captions are useful for the hearing impaired, they are also helpful for many other viewers. Many videos and live streams, especially on mobile devices, are watched without sound. People may be scrolling in an environment where they don’t want to disturb others. For all these scenarios, captions ensure that your message is received. Many platforms, such as YouTube provide tools to add captions to live streams.
Track Your Results
As with any content you release, some of your live streaming content will be more popular than others. If you want to find out what is working and what isn’t, you need to track analytics for all your presentations. While it’s simple to track simple metrics such as viewer count, you should dig deeper to get more insights. The following are some key metrics to track.
- Peak time for viewership.
- Average viewer duration.
- New vs returning viewers.
- Live chat messages.
- Likes (on YouTube and other platforms with this option).
- Traffic sources.
- Devices used to access the live stream.
- Location of viewers.
Depending on the streaming platform, you can track these and other metrics to help you learn more about your audience as well as the most popular times and topics for live streams.
Building a Live Stream Community Takes Time, Effort, and Research
Building any type of community takes a concerted effort and an ongoing process of analyzing your results and making changes as needed. Your challenge is not to be perfect but to aim for continuous improvement. The most important factors are consistency and a willingness to listen to your audience and make sure you’re meeting their needs.