You can’t edit mistakes that occur during live streams, so we’ve put together a watertight plan to help you manage the flow; keep things interesting and grow your audience
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In our previous article, experts offered advice on how to prepare for a live stream and this time they tell you how to get through the actual stream like a pro. Three creatives with broadcasting experience share their tips on how to master live streams: Marketing and events creative, brand strategist and entrepreneur, Tsakane Ndubane; founder of Soon.Agency, a brand and content hub, Eric Says; and social media manager and influencer marketer, Pamela Mtanga share their do’s and don’ts of live streams.
“Call your guest before you go live. They should be online so that when you go live and do a short introduction, they are able to send the request to join the live and you can accept it immediately. Mtanga says this is also to avoid being awkward while you wait for the guest to join which also makes your stream seem disorganised.
Start the live with the introducing the topic and the guest, “here you give the audience the context of the intention behind the live, background of the person we’re all about to engage with and finally setting the scene. The idea here is to give the audience an idea of where we are, where we’re going and queue them for their involvement,” Says advises. Mtanga cautions that you should not say things like, “‘if you don’t know so-and-so I don’t know what rock you’ve been living under.’ Represent [your guest] and let me know why I should stick around for the live.”
Says says whether the chat/interview is formal or informal, it’s important to stick to the themes you’d like your guest to cover. “As the host, you’re moderating the chat and it’s important you keep the guest on topic to keep the audience attentive,” he says. Because live audiences exit and join streams at any time, you can break the different themes with a reintroduction of the guest to those who might have joined late.
Listen to your guest. “Sometimes people want to go through all the questions [they have prepared] and they don’t really pay attention to valuable and (sometimes) exclusive information that the interviewee is sharing,” Mtanga says.
What to say
Be as personal as possible. Ndubane advises against saying: “Hi guys welcome to…” Rather say: “Welcome to this week’s round table I’m so glad you could join me…” She says this makes your audience feel like you’re addressing them individually.
“When interviewing a friend remember never to alienate your audience by having inside jokes. Also mind your language and put your best foot forward because you never know who’s listening,” Ndubane says.
Questions and comments
Turn off the comments once the interviewee joins the live because a lot of conversations happen in the comments and it’s very distracting. “Alert your followers that you’re going to turn the comments off [for the duration of the live] and that you’ll turn them back on when you’re opening up the floor for questions,” Mtanga says. However, they can also drop their questions in the questions box.
Says says that while the guest answers, the host needs to go through the rest of the questions to identify which questions align with the identified themes. “Questions are a chance for the audience to engage with the guest and the host’s job here is to simply facilitate this engagement without too much involvement of their own,” he adds.
“End the live with a clear call to action; for example, follow our blog, website, subscribe or announce your next live session,” Ndubane says.
Sometimes people haven’t mastered hosting live streams, but they still want to have their own shows. If that’s the case, there’s an option to pre-record your interview, edit the video (have an intro, cut parts that aren’t useful to the interview), and post the clip as a live video or on IGTV. “It’s not as engaging but at least with that it’s much more controlled because some people are not good hosts, but they have the personality and the skill,” Mtanga says.
After the live
Your guest can answer any unanswered questions in the comments section as this increases engagement and builds trust. “If s/he can’t, you can send them the questions and ask them to answer in written format and it can be a blog post — that also allows the content live a little bit longer,” Ndubane says.
Watch your live video after the live to note highlights and lowlights, this helps you to find ways to improve your live videos going forward.
Learn and use the analytics tools provided by the platforms — analyse this data to better understand your audience and help you make better decisions about how, when and what package works for them. These will result in campaigns or strategies becoming more effective and more efficient, resulting in increased growth and profitability.
It’s understandable that one would think that this guideline interferes with the authenticity of the stream but Says say, “organic comes from personality but organic has to have a structure because you’re giving someone content and you’re creating something. So, you can’t just rely on your own personality because your own personality still has to work within a structure because you’re trying to get something out of someone. It’s like going into an interview unprepared, you might miss some things.
“You need to think of content as content and not the platform. So it doesn’t matter, platforms are different but content is content and an audience is an audience — whether you’re on radio, whether you’re reading a magazine, whether you are watching a live, you are a consumer of content. When you’re creating content, the same rules apply everywhere,” he concludes.