Story written by Silas Grant –
“You are loooooooking liiiiiiiive”. It’s the famous quote from Brent Musburger that most of us know and recognize. And now all of us are looking live more than ever. Recently, Instagram decided to add a “live” feature to their arsenal of weapons in the battle of supremacy for social platforms. And almost immediately, users have been taking advantage of the feature. For many users, social platforms are an outlet for entertainment and connecting with friends. For some, it’s become more than just “social”. Many are building personal and professional brands through social platforms. Exposure and accessibility are important for brand builders. With Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope offering “live” feeds, how does that impact an individual building a brand? Let’s see..
As mentioned, Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope all have the “live” feature. If you are building a brand, you have to make a decision on where you will “unpack your bags” and hold court. If you are in business, advocating for an issue, or fulfilling a mission, chances are you’ve already established a presence on one, two, or all three platforms. Which platform are you the strongest on? Which platform has the most lasting impact in the market? Which platform are you engaged on the most? All of these questions must be answered in order for your strategy to be developed and executed. Most of us with Facebook accounts are connected to family and classmates on that platform. Most of us on Instagram are connected to life-long friends and those we’ve also met along the way. And Periscope seems to be this wild-card or extension of both. So, as you look at going “live” it is important to make a decision on which platform connects you to the audience you intend on reaching. You have to also be aware of the trends in usage of each platform and prepare to pivot in the event one platform is no longer trendy or in existence.
No matter your choice, prepare for your “live” moment. It is important to have a goal when going “live”. If you have a brand, the goal could be to announce or explain the path of your brand, to show off a product, to provide periodic updates, or to simply remain in contact with supporters. No matter the goal, supporters appreciate preparation. It’s a sign of respect for their time and support of your brand. We’ve all see Facebook “live” feeds where the host is totally unprepared. Maybe the host is waiting for more users to join. Maybe the host is preoccupied with “live” comments streaming in. Maybe the wifi connection is sketchy because the host is in a bad public area for reception. Maybe the person is just “winging it”. There could be many reasons for a subpar “live” presentation on a social platform. The common denominator tends to be a lack of preparation.
STRUCTURE AND SETUP
In addition to preparation, structure and setup are important. These are functions that bleed over from preparation. For example, some of us believe that “live” means unscripted. You should always rehearse your talking points prior to going “live” as well as testing any props or additives that you will use for the audience. You should come prepared with notes or bullet points, but refrain from reading verbatim from a sheet of paper. When addressing the audience, start off by giving the goal of the “live” feed and give the audience a general feel for how long you will be on the feed. Supporters will then have an idea for the length of the feed and the level of commitment needed from them to partake in the session.
As a note, as of today, Instagram does not retain footage of “live” feeds on a permanent basis (only for 24 hours). However, Facebook and Periscope allow you to retain the “live” feeds. This should also impact your strategy on the usage of the platform of your choice. For some, the Instagram 24 hour period may be a turn off. For others, if you want a sense of “exclusivity” or “a moment in time”, maybe it’s an advantage.
Commenting during “live” feeds is something that supporters get to do. Some supporters ask questions, others leave feedback, and some post random statements. Don’t get distracted by those. In fact, you should guide the commenting feature. You could ask for comments at a certain time on a certain subtopic. You could also notify supporters to email you while you’re going “live” so you are certain that you’ve captured all of the responses. Having other sites and outlets are great for increasing engagement. Don’t let the “live” feed serve as the only area for engagement. Use it as the central place to promote other avenues for supporters to connect with you as well.
Staying connected is very important in building your brand. When going “live”, as supporter to reach out via email. This is an opportunity to collect data on supporters and to communicate with them. It’s also a way to send out the “live” feed at a later time. If you send the Facebook or Periscope “live” video to all of the viewers, they can then send it to friends who also may be interested. Email is also another good way to announce future “live” broadcasts. Maybe you set up a weekly slot and people can anticipate it in advance. Supporters knowing when you’re going “live”is always a plus in the realm of metrics and gauging support.
“LIVE IS LIVE”
Lastly, know that “live” means LIVE! Consider this when contemplating adding others as guests to your “live” feed. Make sure you and all of your guests are aware. Consider this when determining the setting for recording. Your grandmother yelling down asking if you made up your bed or saying to you that dinner is ready could be a big distraction as well.