Integrating Social Media into your Livestreaming Events

Engagement is what sets great live events apart from merely good ones. You can have the most interesting content in the world to share, but if your audience can’t get involved and provide input and feedback, you may as well have just made a video. With over 1.5 billion people around the world using social media platforms, they’re the natural choice for getting audiences at home or at work to engage with your livestreamed event. But as many event organisers have discovered, integrating social media into your livestreaming events needs planning and persistence. Here are our top tips for social integration that really gets results:

BEFORE THE LIVE STREAM

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Get the conversation started early. You should be promoting at least six weeks prior to the event across every available communication channel. Following up one month, one week, one day and one hour before it goes live. This is something we see clients fail to do time after time. Starting and nurturing conversation on social media in the run-up to the event will increase engagement provide a significant boost to attendance.
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Get the speakers involved. Are the host & speakers respected thought leaders in their field?  Then they’re probably going to be pretty well connected on social and have lots of followers. Getting them involved in your social conversation should be a part of the overall strategy. It also helps bring their ideas to life in a personalised and relatable way, adding value the audience.
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Dedicate a team to managing the conversation. For a conversation to bloom, it needs to be nurtured and guided and that requires a dedicated team and a clearly defined strategy from the start. Pre-event polling is really easy and helps you make your content relevant. Poll your audience on social media as to what’s important to them and what information they want to see covered on the live stream. If there’s a prevalent topic in the social feedback make sure it’s planned in as a part of the livestream content.

DURING THE LIVE STREAM

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Let attendees see their contributions. When people can see their social contributions on the live stream they’re more motivated to get involved and give their opinion. On-screen feeds, ticker tapes or live reaction polls are the perfect way to visualise the social conversation and make your online audience part of the event.
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Have a strong social Q&A session. Plan for 2 minutes but allow for 20. Treat your online audience as if they were in the room. There should be a member of staff from the social media team designated the online audiences ‘voice’. They’ll address questions put via social media or chat. The online audience should also have a clear channel to follow up these question after the event. For many audience members, the Q&A is the most valuable part of the event. It’s also a good idea to have a couple of pre-prepared questions ready to get things started as nobody likes being the first one to talk!
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Let your audience talk where they’re most comfortable.  There are lots of options alongside social media. Live chat or question submission forms are useful as they can be entirely anonymous. People might want to speak up but not necessarily want to be public about their views.  On the other hand, comments from through social media channels from users with established profiles help reinforce the content. In short, you should do both and pay attention to both channels.
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Don’t just use social to promote the event, shape the event with social input. It’s important that your event and the social conversations related to it don’t feel like separate entities. Cross-promote them and use the content and conversation of one to shape the other. Your live event is a broadcast, but it’s extremely important to listen and react to your audience too.

AFTER THE LIVE STREAM

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Follow up properly. If you didn’t have the chance to address all the questions during the Q&A make sure you do after the show is over.  While the event is still fresh in people’s heads you should let them know when the next event will be. If they enjoyed the content they’ll likely drop it in the calendar making audience generation easier next time. Run a poll to see which content your audience would like to see next time and what they did or didn’t like about the topics covered on the livestream.
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Scheduled programming died long ago.  So on-demand is VERY important. Your content should be online as quickly as possible and when it is you need to let your audience know it’s ready. A large portion of your audience won’t have seen your live stream for any number of good reasons (sick kid, sick cat, dentist appointments for kids then cats, etc). Follow up, and keep plugging the content.
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Sweeten the pot with an incentive to participate. Everyone loves a good competition, and a live event is a perfect opportunity to host one. Incentivise social engagement with giveaways or any other proposition that’s of high value to your audience. But beware: the key here is making sure that you incentivise productive contributions. Simply asking for retweets isn’t going to add a great deal to your conversation.

We hope you found this guide on Integrating Social Media into your Livestreaming Events useful.

If you’re planning a live stream and need some advice (free!) then get in touch.