Community Management

Live Streaming 101 for Online Communities

We’ve all seen live streaming on Facebook and YouTube. It’s quite something to experience a moment — continue reading
Posted by Taco Potze
August 22, 2018

We’ve all seen live streaming on Facebook and YouTube. It’s quite something to experience a moment live with someone else from across the world. How about offering the same experience to your community members?

As a community manager, nothing is more important than connecting with your members and creating lasting relationships. And staying up to date with the latest ways to engage them.

When managing a large audience, it’s difficult to facilitate real connections with each community member. Advocating a community’s tone and voice on social platforms might seem like a breeze, but as community managers know, it can actually be quite challenging.

Online video content has been popular on social media platforms for quite some time now, but live videos have recently taken over. Live streaming videos is one of the best ways for community managers to genuinely connect with their online community while churning out huge traffic numbers and creating a viral buzz.

Live streaming might be a new concept to a number of communities out there, but with continuous new developments and the ability to communicate with more users, community managers need to find ways to act on this trend.

What is Live Streaming?

Livestream video is the broadcasting of video in real-time to an audience all over the internet. All you need to live stream is an internet-enabled device, like a smartphone or tablet, and a platform to broadcast on. Live streaming is widely popular among today’s social media users, as it presents the chance to broadcast anything you’re doing in an instant and have an audience view it from around the world. In fact, 63% of people ages 18-34 are watching live-streaming content regularly.

Online communities can choose to live stream from a number of different platforms. They can live stream from their own community platform if it allows it. They can also choose from specialized live stream apps, like Periscope and YouNow, to social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, live stream content is becoming accessible almost anywhere online.

When selecting which platform your community should use for live stream content, it’s important to consider the features that best meet your needs and goals. For example, Facebook Live has become one of the most popular live stream platforms to date, with 17% of live stream viewers utilizing Facebook Live. It’s likely that your community has already built an audience on Facebook, so adding live sessions should garner immediate interest and help you gain traction quickly. Twitter’s Periscope application and Instagram’s Live are additional social platforms that have risen in popularity for the same reason.

There’s no one “right” platform for live streaming — each community’s online community has different factors to consider.  Choosing to live stream on social platforms may entice new members to join your own platform, but streaming on your personal platform can better connect you to your current community.


live streaming for communities

Why Livestream is Beneficial for Community Management

For community managers, streaming videos is a great way to connect with your members and provide a casual, behind-the-scenes look into the life behind the community or organization. Live engagement has an authentic, personal touch and makes you feel more accessible to your audience.

In what other circumstance can you hold a real-time conversation with your community? When individuals feel personally connected to your community, they’re more likely to maintain a long-term relationship. This could lead to greater sales, positive reviews, and overall more interactions between customer and community.

When creating a live stream video, remember to gather insight from your community. How can you get your community to participate and engage? Managers could get inspiration by looking at which groups and topics are most popular. They could live stream events or even meetings related to the community.

Successful live streaming should encourage your community to share their own questions or comments and open the floor to discussion. Not only can your community learn more about you and your community, but you can learn more about your community. Ask them their opinions of product launches or other community activities and take note of their feedback.

Live streaming on your platform: 3 Steps

1. Gather the right audience

There’s little use in creating live content if you don’t have an audience. To ensure your live stream events gather a great deal of viewership, take the time to plan ahead and build interest with your online community.

2. Announce your live stream

Make sure to notify your audience of the date and time of the live stream and what platform they can view it on. To entice viewers to watch your live stream, offer them content they can’t access elsewhere or make a limited-time offer for viewers. This way, your community will be motivated to join your stream.

2. Grasp the attention

When it’s time to broadcast your live stream video, it’s important to grasp your audience’s attention in the first few seconds. Any delay in action might lead your audience to click away in hopes to find something more interesting. Adweek advises to “avoid drawn-out countdowns to interviews, offers, events and the like; and try to ensure no significant periods of lag occur during the broadcast.” There are plenty of ways to keep your community engaged and maintain their interest throughout the entire live stream.

What should you live stream?

Live streaming is a great opportunity for your community to let its personality shine. What makes your organization different from the rest? With live video, you can show off new products, team dynamics, or even a tour of the office. Buzzfeed used Facebook Live to determine how many rubber bands would it take to crush a watermelon. Though it may seem silly, their unique take on live video gathered over 800K live viewers! Your audience will be excited to learn more about the inner workings of your company and feel more connected to your operations.

Here are a few ideas for your next live stream!

  • Big product announcements
  • A behind-the-scenes look at your company culture
  • Q&A session with a community manager or CEO
  • Giveaway contest
  • Product tutorials

If you don’t have a company, try these instead!

  • “Get to know me” Q&A
  • Viewing session of a popular movie or TV show
  • A look at daily tasks like running errands, cooking or getting ready

After the Livestream

For Open Social users, make sure to save your video after the live stream event is over. That way, you can share content with your Open Social community. Try using a service like oEmbed to embed the URL of your live stream on your Open Social feed, so your live stream content is able to view on additional platforms.

It’s also important to monitor data that you’ve gathered throughout the live stream, like the number of viewers or comments from the audience. Livestream content can provide a great amount of community insight, so be sure to note their questions, comments, and opinions.

Overall, live streaming facilitates the best kind of community interactions– it’s genuine! Connecting with your community in a natural setting is the most effective way to build relationships.

It’s important to take into consideration the perspective of your community members. They want to get to know you as much as possible, and live streaming is the best way to do that. When fostering a mutually beneficial community, it’s crucial to build relationships that carry into the long term.

Establishing more personal and authentic interactions ensures that your community is in it for the long haul.

How has your community utilized live streaming? Let us know in the comments below.

By Amanda Peterson, Enlightened Digital

Contributor to Enlightened Digital and software engineer from the one, the only New York City. When I’m not trying to find the best record store in the city, you can find me curling up to watch some Netflix with my Puggle, Hendrix.

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