How to Do Event Livestreaming Right

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Event livestreaming has existed for years, but businesses are taking a renewed interest in the experience. The emergence of platforms such as Facebook Live and Periscope, and the need to manage events more cost effectively, are among the reasons for the resurgence in popularity of livestreaming. But doing a livestreaming is no slam dunk, as BuzzFeed and Facebook learned recently when the two companies partnered to livestream an interview with President Obama only to experience a number of embarrassing technology glitches that generated headlines for all the wrong reasons. Here are some tips for making sure you get the most out of your livestream:

Have a Purpose

Don’t dive into livestreaming without defining an approach that supports the purpose of your event. For instance:

  • Are you using livestreaming to support an internal corporate event by making it possible for employees in far-flung locations to view content that cannot be shared to everyone in person? Or do you seek to maximize exposure for content that you want to make available publicly?
  • Do you need to livestream an entire event or just one or two presentations?
  • Do you want to give livestreamed content a limited shelf life, or do you want to make replay available for people to view long after the event?

How you answer those questions dictates a number of choices you will make, such as how and whether to promote a livestream in advance, whether you’ll want to complement the livestream with social media, and the technology platform you use. For example, social platforms such as Facebook Live and Periscope may work well for livestreaming brief snippets of content in a public setting, but they may not be appropriate for a deep, content-rich livestream.

Find the Right Partner

Livestreaming requires deep expertise that you may need to go outside to find. You need someone who possesses technology expertise, digital savvy, and the production expertise of a movie studio. A good resource will understand how to use livestreaming to support your objectives instead of the other way around. For instance, a strong livestreaming vendor should not only understand how to employ 360-degree live video into your experience but also advise you on whether a 360-degree live video is right for you in the first place. A strong resource needs to possess attention to technical detail (e.g., an understanding of the impact of audience size on bandwidth requirements; an ability to manage sound levels for a speaker versus a musical entertainer) but also an aesthetic sensibility (e.g., an ability to employ cameras judiciously to give livestream viewers a you-are-there experience).

In short, a good resource needs to possess a blend of right-brain creativity with left-brain planning and executional skills.

Make the Experience Special

One of the challenges of livestreaming is keeping your remote audience engaged. They’re likely viewing your livestream while they do work from their desks or sip a latte at Starbucks. You’ll have to work hard to engage them. One way to do so is to give them a “you are there” experience — for instance, by using cameras effectively to provide close-ups of speakers or entertainers onstage, shots of the audience reacting to a particularly impactful moment, or even behind-the-scenes content such as a brief backstage tour of an entertainer rehearsing (which is how many brands use Periscope).

At the same time, don’t forget the needs of attendees who are at an event in person. If the livestreaming experience is better than the in-person experience, then attendees may lose their motivation to attend. Fortunately you have many options to keep the in-person experience special, such as VIP meet-and-greets with speakers, the ambience of a location, and memorable give-aways.

Think of your audience on two levels: those who are there in person and those who attend remotely. Make the experience memorable for both.

These tips barely scratch the surface. The larger point to keep in mind is that livestreams require the vision to understand how to use the tool to support an event, and the attention to detail to pull off your vision.

Image source: Instalively.com

We Love Live. For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing bduffy@onesmoothstone.com

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