Social media researchers are excited about live video as the future of the medium, as users in the United States are expected to average 72 minutes per day streaming digital video this year. With Facebook’s push toward its live video platform and Twitter now allowing users to stream live video directly through the app, the largest social networks are investing in video and driving users more and more toward video streaming.
Facebook finds that users are 10 times more likely to engage with video content than with any other posted content and spend three times as long with video when it is streamed live. Live broadcast events such as big sports match-ups and awards shows are great examples of the timeliness of live video; if you aren’t tuned in at the right time, you’ve missed out.
So, that explains why you will see more and more video online, but what does it mean for you as an association executive?
First of all, the push toward live streaming offers your association the chance to connect with members and potential members in a more authentic way than ever before. Marketers agree that users find live video the best way to find out the real values and thoughts of organizations.
Second, it means that offering video doesn’t have to be the huge expense you might think it is, especially if you already create compelling content such as conferences with keynote speeches, breakout sessions, and special guests. Simply set up a live stream of each of these pieces of your meeting to capitalize on the huge audience there is for live streaming.
Third, live video can help you break into a younger demographic that either isn’t currently part of your membership or is underrepresented in your association. According to Marketo, 16 to 24 year olds spend about three hours a day online through their smartphones; since mobile searching connotes a more personal relationship than does time at a desktop computer, your association’s mobile streaming reaches members of this demographic where they are.
Okay, so live streaming is the way to go. My association has a convention coming up. How do I go about live streaming it?
Before your event, make a plan.
- Review all the moving pieces of your event to determine which lend themselves toward live streaming. While you might immediately think of the keynote speeches and breakout sessions, don’t forget about behind-the-scenes interviews with special guests, fun Q&As with committee members, and shots of event set-up, all of which can help give a more well-rounded sense of the event and engage a broader mix of your audience.
- Create a hashtag for the event to allow for conversations before, during and after the actual live stream. Brainstorm a phrase that is short (so as not to monopolize Twitter characters), easy to type and say (don’t include an underscore or hyphen) and not already in use (do a simple Twitter search of your proposed hashtag to find out).
- Part of your plan should be promoting the live stream. This can be both through text posts on your blog and social media accounts and through short video posts. Think of Saturday Night Live promo ads airing throughout the week to drum up interest in the weekend event. Include the hashtag you’ve decided upon to get social users talking.
- Take stock of your resources for the event. Do you have staff versed in Facebook Live or Blab or Twitter live streaming? Do you have the necessary devices? When expecting big crowds, a smartphone or tablet device won’t provide optimum audio. If you’re short on people and/or equipment for live streaming, consider hiring a company that handles on-site streaming events.
- Finally, build rehearsal time into your plan. While live events will always have some elements you cannot plan for, practicing your live streaming shots can help the event run smoothly.
During the event, encourage engagement as much as possible.
- Post and point out the event hashtag in your signage and introductions, being sure to include these elements in your live stream.
- Have someone manning the association’s social accounts at all times during the event, keeping an eye not only on use of your hashtag but also on any alternate spelling you find attendees using. This social media monitor can not only keep track of any customer service complaints so as to respond and try to fix the issues but can also funnel any questions asked on social accounts to presenters or committee members.
- As many staffers as possible should be participating in social conversations, not only from the official association accounts but also from their personal accounts. This underscores the authenticity of the event itself and also allows for balancing the engagement taking place from the official association account with the actual content being posted from that account.
- Ask all presenters to take questions and encourage viewers to chime in via live chat, Twitter or Facebook.
- Make sure your live stream archives somewhere you can retrieve it.
After the event, your video lives on. Decide whether you want that to be free or gated content. If you have a learning management system, you can easily offer different pieces of the live stream as courses to members and non-members alike, a great way to expand non-dues revenue while providing convenience to your audience.
Learn more about on-site services with TelSpan at https://telspan.com/onsite-services/.