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How brands can make livestreaming work

The pandemic has accelerated the use of livestreaming across brands. If you're looking to get started, here are some things to keep in mind.

Think it through before you start

Behind every successful livestreaming session is a lot of prep work. First, you’ll need to think through the purpose of the livestream and whether it offers clear value for your consumers. Once you’ve decided to proceed, it is important to plan for both the pre-publicity as well as the operational details of the event in tandem.  

For example, here are some questions you can ask yourself:  

●       Why would people tune in and stay engaged throughout the hour?

●       How do you build hype for the livestream? Which channels can you tap on?

●       Do you have enough clout on your own, or do you need to tap on someone else’s reach to attract more viewers for your livestream? 

●       Do you prefer to work with a partner who can help you from scripting to hosting to video production, or would you rather manage and coordinate various entities yourself? Budget and timeline would also play a factor here.

Decide on the production setup

While it isn’t quite as straightforward as simply setting up your iPhone, the good news is that the setup for a livestream doesn’t require much. You just need a sound proof room (because it’ll be awkward if you accidentally capture your colleague discussing next quarter’s business forecast in the next room). The actual set design can be as simple as a plain backdrop and 2 chairs. You can scale up or down, depending on expectations and level of investment.

While you may wish to experiment with many things during a livestream, you’ll also need to be realistic. Find out if what you have in mind is achievable. For example, if you’re looking to livestream across accounts simultaneously, you’ll need to consider the different camera orientations (i.e. landscape vs portrait).

The right hosts make all the difference

Unlike pre-recorded videos, there is no room for mistakes and no chances for post-production, so be sure to engage experienced hosts who are comfortable on camera and can keep people entertained, and cater for several recces, script reading and rehearsals. 

People are easily distracted and it’s easy to lose your audience, so you’ll need to think of fun ways to keep them engaged enough to stay through or even tune in again. One simple but effective trick is to hold a contest at the beginning of the session and give out the prizes towards the end. Or have a hero segment which you promote heavily but only introduce near the end of your livestream.

You’ll also need to make sure the banter is natural on the livestream and not come across scripted. Hence, you need to give the hosts leeway on what to cover and that’s where OB markers come into play. Trust the hosts to manage deviations and changes. Having room to improvise makes the Live more engaging and fun! 

Stay prepared

While we can stress test all possible scenarios, unexpected things might still crop up during the Live itself. For example, there may be technical issues or hosts going off script, so you’ll need to be able to stomach some level of risk and be prepared to solve problems on the spot. Make sure your host is adaptable and able to fill time or cover up mistakes.

Also, with the COVID regulations constantly changing, it is a must to lay out the contingency plans. Think through all the possible variables and map it out. For example, if the cameraman is down with COVID, can you still proceed? If the host is down with COVID, would you have a back-up host? Do you have a back-up venue in case the original location is no longer available due to COVID? 

Lastly, to run a livestream smoothly, don't forget that it requires a team of people working behind the scenes:

●       Team of moderators replying comments, flagging comments that hosts should pay attention to, etc.

●       If there is a contest going on, someone to consolidate entries, quickly pull out the winning ones to award

●       Time keepers to make sure we are moving along as scheduled

With livestreaming becoming more prominent across various platforms from Instagram to TikTok, more brands will need to start considering jumping on the livestreaming bandwagon.

If you're able to embrace the above mindsets and marry that with the understanding of the technicalities and best practices of livestreams across various platforms, you'll have livestreaming in the bag in no time.

Ready to plan your first livestream or are simply curious to know if it'd work for your brand? Get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

Nana Adam
Account Director

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