How to Experiment with Livestreaming: 4 Key Learnings

At Spredfast, even before experimenting with our own livestream efforts as a marketing team, we explored what top brands do to engage their fans. Check out our post or The Smart Social Report Volume 4, where we discuss livestream trends and takeaways. Here’s a quick recap of those six livestream learnings:

Test, Test, Test | It’s less about how often and more about what value you provide your viewers.

Think through your goals | Make livestreaming a seamless part of your content strategy.

Maximize the moment | Consider capturing other angles for multi-platform broadcasting.

Engage! | Interact with your audience while you’re live. Have a dedicated social moderator.

Plan ahead | Test Wifi, prep materials, and run through the show with talent and guests.

Embrace the moment | Have someone monitoring who is calm under pressure, but also prepared to react.

Okay—now that we’re on the same page, let’s get back to the initial experiments we’ve performed at Spredfast over the past couple of months. Within that time we have tested four scenarios on two platforms. And—bonus—we're prepared to share our secrets with you.

Platforms Tested - Facebook Live + Periscope

First, let’s discuss the platforms we tested: We choose Facebook Live + Periscope for the following reasons:

  • They are home to some of our largest social audiences.
  • Both companies notify your followers when you go live due to their algorithms, which prioritize livestreaming.
  • When it comes to interacting with your audience, Periscope engages users through a live chat feature, while Facebook uses the familiar comment section.

Tip: If you use Periscope, we suggest you have someone taking down or monitoring your audience questions, for they disappear shortly after appearing on-screen.

Scenarios tested: Post-Webinar, Live Event, Franchise Content, Customer Showcase

1| Post-WebinarPiggyback — Webinars can be expensive productions. So, once you have a qualified audience, you should take full advantage of the opportunity to bring them to your social channels. Livestream makes it possible to keep the conversation going while extending the engagement to your social pages — possibly gaining a few new followers along the way. So, following our A Social TV Playbook webinar featuring FOX News, the NBA and Twitter, we livestreamed a conversation with Sam Farber, Director of Digital Media for the NBA, from the NBA Offices in New York. In this livestream, we discussed how the NBA engages fans during the biggest event of the year: the playoffs. The livestream produced almost as many live viewers as webinar attendees.

  • 319 live viewers - 20% watched from Periscope; 80% watched from Twitter

  • 21 replay viewers in the first hour

  • 2,954 hearts (comparable to likes)

We heard from customer partners and sales that some customers were really excited to see livestream, but did not plan on attending the webinar. Takeaway: It’s important to provide content in different formats and make the message more accessible. So piggyback on your webinars and lead your captivated and qualified audience to your social channels for an even deeper dive into relevant topics.

2| Live EventsAdd social value to your events — Takeaway: Live Events can be a great way to reach people outside of an event and help to satiate or increase FOMO. But some advice that we have taken away is to remember that the audience on social is as important as the audience at your event. Make sure to face them, engage with them, and design content ideas with them in mind. Otherwise, you will most definitely lose their attention. If you do it right and make the experience uniquely social, you may even get attendees of your event to tune in post-event. For our London Summit, we decided to pick one engaging session to broadcast instead of livestreaming the entire event. We did this for two reasons. One, it was a more targeted piece of content and two, broadcasting an entire event for free could potentially alienate attendees paying for the sessions. Being focused was smart, but we failed to realize that social should not be treated as an afterthought. The experience on social must be unique and directed at your social audience. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter in October to see what we try next.

3| Franchise Content — Do you have franchise content that you can showcase through a livestream? At Spredfast, we report on the latest tips and trends for social marketers each quarter in our Smart Social Report. When our audience hears Smart Social, they know it’s Spredfast bringing relevant tips and trends on what’s happening in social. And so, we looked to build off that audience with our weekly live reports on trends popping up on social. In our broadcast, we use our product to deliver the social insights. We began last month with a series called, Smart Social Report Live. So far, we’ve received four thousand views average per livestream. Takeaway: Not only is franchise content familiar to your audience and on track with your brand, but it also provides your sales teams with content they can share to engage prospective customers.

4| Customer ShowcaseTake your audience behind-the-scenes — We went live with the Boston Celtics and Bruins marketing directors to discuss how they engage their fans for the first big event of the off-season, the draft. I spoke with Kara Hutchinson, Director of Marketing for the Celtics, and Jenna Camann, Director of Digital and Creative Services for the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. They talked about how they each prep for their respective drafts, ensuring that they are putting out the best content on their channels in order to achieve high levels of fan engagement with their team–you can watch the entire interview on Spredfast’s Facebook page. While both Kara and Jenna offer advice that is sports-specific, social media managers and marketing teams from all types of companies can find great takeaways for prepping and managing their own live, high-profile events throughout the year. Takeaway: Customer livestreams provide your brand with an opportunity to showcase your customer and the relationship you have with them, as well as offer your brand’s audience a behind the scenes look at how customers use your product to achieve their goals. Pro tip: Include your customer in the livestream promotion effort to reach an even larger audience when you go live. The Celtics helped promote our livestream with their Director of Marketing, and it resulted in us reaching over 1,600 views, 108 Reactions, and 15 Shares.

Overall, we’ve seen really high viewership from all of our livestream efforts and are looking forward to honing in on the most successful experiments to seriously boost engagement on our social channels. So, let’s turn our sights forward to where our experiments may lead. Here are a few possibilities for some future experiments with livestream at Spredfast:

  • (1) Breaking Social News — Seeing success with our franchise content, the Smart Social Report Live, we may go deeper by using real-time breaking social trends as they are on the upswing.
  • (2) Product launch — As we launch new products, we may see if we can find a unique way to showcase them through livestream demonstrations.
  • (3) Training — At Summit 2015 we offered a Tinker Track, an opportunity for our support team to meet customers in person and get hands-on with our product. With livestream, we can extend this in-person event to social and give our customers the ability to actually influence our product roadmap, telling us what they love and what they would love to have.
  • (4) Behind-the-scenes customer edition — We would livestream our customers during their biggest social events.
  • (5) And, it would be fun to livestream the welcoming in of new hires into the Spredfast family.

Livestream is a fantastic way to engage your social audience, customers, and potential clients with the content that matters to them most, so here at Spredfast we’ll keep experimenting and reporting on what we learn. For an industry dive into livestream trends and tips see our Smart Social Report Volume Four.

Jared Kinsler's picture

Jared Kinsler

Jared Kinsler is our Creative Marketing Strategist, supporting new content creation for Spredfast. He focuses on making sure the things we share are worth your time. He is a writer by day, composer by night, and Floridian by birth. Follow his visual life @kinsljar on Instagram.