5 Livestreaming Best Practices for Event Planners

Read this before you film or promote your next event with livestream video

Unless your life is entirely void of social media, you're likely already aware of livestreaming video's ubiquitous nature-for that matter, even social media naysayers have probably come across it elsewhere. And while the concept has been around for some time, only in recent years (thanks largely to faster internet speed) has the storytelling tool begun to amass major popularity. 

But while a Justin Bieber concert or your dog endlessly chasing its tail in the living room are both solid reasons to start a personal livestream video, the impetus isn't so self-explanatory for businesses, marketers and planners. Often we get so bogged down in the "cool factor" associated with livestreaming that we forget a) whether our event actually needs to be filmed in real time, and b) best practices for livestreaming altogether. 

First and Foremost: Does Your Content Really Need to Be Live? 

According to an infographic from Small Business Trends, 80 percent of respondents in one survey said they preferred live video over blogs, while 82 percent favored live video over traditional social posts. With statistics as robust as those, it can be tempting for planners to translate any event they arrange into a live experience. But as an article from Forbes suggests, just because livestreaming is a popular storytelling tool doesn't necessarily mean you should use it. 

When you're holding a livestream, you're essentially putting on a play-viewers watching will search for (and expect) perfection, with even seemingly minor mistakes amplified. So you need to be real with yourself and ask: Am I truly ready to deliver a performance to my online attendees? Depending on the frequency of the events you plan for particular clients, consider spotlighting one or two live events per quarter-and saving your budget to ensure they are perfect. 

Pick the Right Tool

In the same way your events won't always be livestream-worthy, not every tool for projecting that real-time video will always fit the bill. Consider the type of event you're organizing. The informal nature of a Network or Celebrate event jells well with traditional social livestreaming tools like Facebook Live and Instagram Live, as another piece from Small Business Trends emphasizes. For a more business-oriented Decide, Propose or Educate meeting with a renowned keynote speaker and learning agenda, purchasing a higher-quality streaming service (like IBM Cloud Video Streaming Manager or Bambuser) will be your best bet. 

Skip the Script (but Have a General Plan) 

Yes, you do want your livestream event to be top-quality and come off sans a hitch. But if you want to keep your audience streaming, you'll need to account for some (planned) impromptu dialogue.

An article from Search Engine Journal suggests that event organizers compare a live event to throwing a party. You obviously want your event to be structured and organized, but sticking to a script will come off as inauthentic. Whether it's an off-agenda performance or a surprise Q&A session with online viewers or attendees in the room, always allow for an element of spontaneity. 

Keep It Short 'n' Sweet

You certainly want to tell a complete story and engage viewers, but as an Inc. article suggests, time is of the essence when livestreaming your event. Keep things short, sweet and contained within a time limit-especially given that some studies cite 8.25 seconds as the average attention span! 

Engage in Real Time

In the same vein of grasping and retaining your viewers' attention spans, try to engage as much as possible. Try posing questions for viewers (even something as simple as where everyone is from) to help establish a mutual connection and emphasize the experiential factor.