Live video has become a serious comms channel. Here is how you use it yourself.
by Dan Slee
It’s never been easier and it’s never been harder if you are a communications person.
Easy, because of the range of tools available.
Hard, because of the pace of change.
Live video has been around since the 1950s. But until quite recently you’ve needed a TV studio and an army of technicians.
Now? You just need a smartphone and a WiFI signal. But how can you use it? In surprising ways.
History suggests it’s safer to bet on Mark Zuckerberg than bet against him.
loive video: trust the data
Two years ago armed with data we began offering workshops in video skills. This gave people the ability to plan, shoot, edit and post good content. Each channel was different. Three minutes works on YouTube and 21 seconds on Facebook.
The data is again showing the need for comms people to get to know a different type of video… live video.
- People have the ability to watch video on the move. Ofcom say that 72 per cent of adults have a smartphone.
- It reaches people. Facebook Live goes straight to the top of you page and is reaching more people than a generic post.
- And they are watching. Globally, Facebook Live records 60 billion views a day.
- People watch Facebook Live video three times longer than edited video and comment ten times more, Facebook say.
- 92 per cent of people who watch social video will share social video.
- 20 per cent of Facebook users watch live video.
Local media companies are taking live video seriously
Trinity Mirror’s Marc Reeves, West Midlands editor-in-chief, sees video as a vital future part of local newspaper’s strategy.
“Eighteen months ago when we tried a digital first approach in our newsroom we weren’t sure if it would work. It is. It is. It is paying for itself. We are now looking at what the video-first newsroom looks like.”
This is aside from established broadcasters like Channel 4 and the BBC.
When does live video work best?
We have the technology. But when to use it? We’re gradually working out how to use live video.
In a nutshell, live video works when the’s a value being in that particular spot at that particular moment in time is greater than the need for polished story telling.
- A press conference with breaking news. A first-hand account.
- A behind-the-scenes tour. Take a look at somewhere people don't usually see.
- An emergency. An incident breaking that you need to communicate about.
- A protest. Airports in America were flooded with protestors angry at President Trumps travel ban.
- An incident. Daughter of Keith Lamont Scott calmly Facebook Live broadcasted the aftermath of the shooting.
- A bit of risk. The ‘will it, won’t it?’ of Buzzfeed blowing up a watermelon with rubber bands.
How can I use live video?
Twitter and Facebook have done a pile of research and their how to pages give a lot of great tips. Some key points emerge.
- Run a trial first. Test what you are doing if you’ve not run a broadcast from there before.
- Tell people that you’ll be broadcasting. Tell your audience where you’ll be.
- Make sure you have a good WiFi connection. No WiFi, no live broadcast.
- Have an engaging title for the broadcast. Make people want to watch.
- Be human. Be authentic and engaging during the broadcast.
- Reply to comments. Reply to a question as it will build a connection with your audience.
- Be around for up to 30 minutes. It allows people to find you.
- Have a bit of risk. What will be the outcome of the debate? Who will win?
- Make it available to watch again. Facebook Live video Chewbacca Mom was seen by one person at the time and more than 150 million in the next six months.
We're launching a new workshop
Over the past two years we've co-delivered a workshop on ESSENTIAL VIDEO SKILLS FOR COMMS with freelance camerman, filmmaker and academic Steven Davies. We were the first to offer this workshop dedicated to comms people. We've trained more than 500 people across the UK and Ireland. We're now offering a workshop to help you give you the skills.
BIRMINGHAM May 2 Skills You Need for Live Video. For more info and book here.
LEEDS June 20 Skills You Need for Live Video. For more info and book here.
LONDON May 16 Skills You Need for Live Video. For more info and book here,
Dan Slee is co-creator of comms2point0.