Streaming is the way to go. In branding, marketing, gaming, education, do-it-yourself, and more, streaming has shown its power and potential. Streaming has been owned by techies and amateurs, but more people see a role and social media channel for themselves, their interests, and their products.
If you’re going live, here are 10 tips for a successful streaming session:
1. Take baby steps. You can start with a microphone and a camera. You don’t need a studio with top dollar equipment. But, it will help if you can upgrade your equipment sooner than later.
You’ll want to invest in a good video switcher to mix and edit your video and audio inputs from various sources into out quality output.
2. Build and hold your audience. You cannot build an audience if you’re not there when they expect. You must stream consistently as scheduled if you want people to find you. You can be engaging, original, and innovative, but if you’re not live when the audience is, you will lose them.
Rare or spur-of-the-moment appearances fail to capture and sustain a market. The streaming culture invites you to build audience relationships in which you treat your market like friends you know well. So, it pays to let them in on what you are doing and where you are going. It pays to invite the audience.
3. Use pictures and words. Unlike television or film, streaming is meant for more than observation. It feeds its viewers and expects much from them in return. Streaming is a mutual experience, a chat, game, or conversation.
Streaming banks on a social relationship. It is not a passive experience, you will lose people if you just sit there and talk. You must optimize the potential for visuals, animation, and slides. You must invite and use audience feedback, surveys, and polls.
4. Exploit contacts. You live and work in a social media world. Many live heavily in your social networks. Social media drew you into the streaming universe. It’s where you can assess what works and doesn’t. And, it’s where you added contacts with whom you share everything from selfies and pics of your lunch to personal opinions and good things shared with you.
So, to launch your streaming, your contacts are your first audience. When you tell a friend and your friends tell their friends, you reach an audience you would not reach otherwise. And, if you ask them not to share until you have worked out your kinks, your social network friends will follow your lead.
5. Have fun. Streaming is not a “chalk and talk” life. If you don’t have some fun with what you’re doing, the audience will walk. The fun can be visual with use of animation, cartoons, illustrations, and more. Even the serious topics at Khan Academy have a light tone of voice. But, if you think of Tom and Hank Green’s Crash Course series, you see the best of lively media integration: good scripts, amusing visuals, sound effects, and the mobile energy and good humor of the host.
Not all subject matters deserve such light treatment, but without humor, empathy, and likability, you will not connect with viewers. You can still take your matter seriously while not taking yourself too seriously.
6. Stay on script. Audience building and retention depend on content, too. Too many streamers, trying to appear casual and chill, end up looking careless, unspecific, and confused about their content. You must be prepared to share something of value, and that takes forethought and good content.
You need to work from a script you have rehearsed. You’ll find this makes for better production, and it will lower the costs of editing. It takes some effort to appear effortless.
7. Develop a look. You must decide how you want to come off. You may need makeup and costumes to host gaming, a lab coat to teach science, gardeners’ gear for a how-to stream, or business dress for financial advice.
But, you must develop a knack for observing yourself objectively. The criteria are not how you look but how you look to the audience. You may have the perfect attitude and intelligence, but if the audience doesn’t like your look, you have a problem. Many hosts never appear, preferring to remain behind a character. The character must be original and relatable; it must be consistent and responsive.
8. Stay active outside. With all your attention on streaming, you risk losing social contacts because you are not paying them attention. You must remain active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and whatever networks available to you. You should use them to continue regular interchanges and occasionally share a streaming feed.
Invite them to offer feedback and urge them to follow or subscribe. If your family is your first circle of contacts, social media takes you into expanding circles you can differentiate according to their subject matter interest, demographics, feedback, and other analytics. But, you must actively traffic on social media platforms and integrate what you have learned.
9. Stay on top of things. You must moderate the streaming. If you expect to succeed with customer engagement and exchange, you must keep your eye on the viewer response.
You must establish and communicate rules for chatting and comments. Participants can offer critical or chill comments and still be civil. Angry, scurrilous, and obscene respondents can cost you a customer base. So, you might look into tools that respond to and censor unwanted stuff as soon as it appears.
10. Stay white hat. Your work must comply with Google SEO expectations. If browsers can’t find you, users won’t connect. You must research what Google wants and be prepared for their habitual changing of the rules.
You must learn and grasp Google’s Streamer Database preferences. They will require a profile that includes your stream name, plan, hosting etiquette, audience interaction tools, networking strategy, and more.
Hitting the worldwide market with a new stream is a challenge you can beat. But, it takes passion, energy, and a lot of work. The streaming community is willing to help, and you should tap their collaborative experience and wisdom to pull off your plan.
If it stops being fun, you should give up. But, there is plenty of data, information, support, models, and tools to build on if you open yourself to the help. You’ll want to get into the stream sooner than later. As Small Business Chron says, “streaming allows for virtually unlimited channels to be transmitted cheaply, with costs continuing to fall as the technology improves.” And, that means there’s money to be had.