19 tools and tips for live streaming your business on social media

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Move over youtube, live streaming is the hot new way to growth hack your customer base.

Facebook live and Periscope (also youtube, zoom and blab) have huge potential with a very low bar for entry for any business. All that is really required is a phone and the attitude to actually do it. The space is ripe for the picking and early adopters will become similar to early youtube stars...meaning most started from humble beginning and are now rivalling or bigger than mainstream celebrities.

So what are some useful tool to make things a little easier and more professional:

1) The first must have is a mobile phone with a camera and a good internet connection. Make sure the phone is fully charge because live streaming will really drain the battery. Ensure the camera lens is clean.

2) A tripod or stand for your phone. This will free up your hands and give your 'camera' a steady base.

3) Selfie stick if you are going to be on the move. We would also highly recommend some type of stabilising bracket. While we are promoting a bootstrap start, it is very hard to watching something when it is jumping around all of the place.

4) Remote. This can be really handy for the starts of your streams. You won't have to start your stream with the very common armpit shot.

5) Mic. One of the most important things for your streaming is having good sound. Investing in just a $10 mic of ebay can make the world of difference. Spending $60-$100 will get your something pretty reasonable, which will scale as you improve and grow.

6) Lighting. You have to start somewhere and if that means no lighting then so be it. Just make sure the light source you do have, natural or not, comes from behind the camera so you are eluminated. Going to the next level, you can buy cheap lighting kits for studios or portable from ebay. Also, there are often a few second hand professional lighting kits on gumtree.com.au, ebay, craigslist from film and photography students.

7) Background. Again it is better to do something than nothing and a backdrop of your workstation is just fine and many popular streamers, vloggers do just have that. However, make sure you clean up behind you ;) . Again eBay can provide cheap background screens and frames, including green screens if you want to put your own background in.

8) Battery backup. If you are going to be out in the field or even in the office and you are just using your phone an external battery is a great idea. The last thing you want is building a good sized following only to loose power before you get into the good part of your presentation. Streaming uses a lot of battery power, some older phones will go flat in about 15 minutes. I would only recommend buying a quality battery they can be dangerous and the little extra for a good brand will be worth it in the long run.

9) Notes. Just like when you did a presentation at school you may require some notes to keep the conversation going. A kids chalkboard with notes on butcher paper/whiteboard can be a cheap and easy setup to keep the conversation going.

10) Practice. Practice makes perfect. They rehearse in the big leagues and so should you. There would be very few people who can present something useful completely on the fly. Talking on camera is not natural for most people and the more you practice the better. We suggest presenting your stream on a simple recording and then reviewing it. See where you can improve and repeat until you are happy and then do it.

You will likely have to practice just to be yourself on camera!

11) Assistant. Not just a beer assistant, but having someone who can hold cue cards, make adjustments on the fly and generally keep the wheels on is a great help. Not having an assistant is not an excuse to not stream, but if you can get one I recommend it. Your kids or wife could be great and if it screws up no worries it'll be amusing for all.

12) Assistant 2. If you can have someone answering comments and helping you interact on the fly this can be a great great thing. This can be very handy if you have some technical issues as you can get feedback in real time.

13) Plan. Write a detailed outline of what you want to talk about on your live stream before you start. Have any props ready and practice how you will get and present them on camera in your rehearsals.

Top tip

14) Water. For many of us, the stress of talking live on camera can dry out the mouth. Make sure you have some fluid handy for you to take a sip so you can continue. Even if you think it won't happen do it anyway. The curse of dry mouth can happen at anytime and being live doesn't give you the luxury of stopping.

Note: I prefer some slightly flat Coca-cola.

15) Test your setup on another account other than your business or intended streaming account before you do the real thing.

16) Internet. You must have a good high-speed connection. Since we live on the Gold Coast of Queensland we find high speed can sometimes be more inconsistent at certain times of day. You need to be aware of this while also keeping to your target markets schedule. A good 4G mobile connection will work quite well, but unlikely to be full HD. Though I was able to live stream whale watching some 20+ kilometres offshore on periscope with great results.

17) Make sure you post your live stream event on social media many many times before the event. I would start one week out if it isn't a regular thing or if it is your first time. The send out a reminder a few hours before you go live. If you have built up a Snapchat following let them know or even make it exclusive to them.

18) If possible record the event on a separate camera so you can edit it and add branding and intro to it. Then upload it to youtube etc and share online and social channels. Get as much reach as you can. Cut up the video into highlights and post them to social channels as well.

19) Start on time! We suggest starting the stream a little early and waiting until you build a bit of an audience until you start getting into the meat of it.

Note: Most streams I have watched have had a long lead time before they started. Often users will start watching in the background until you commence.

Share your live streaming videos with us below in the comment section!

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Senior Developer at Mebsites on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Mebsites is an acclaimed Magento and Custom Framework Web Software coding house.
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