Most social media platforms now have a feature that allows users to publish live videos. In April of this year, I took part in a challenge in order to push my boundaries and get outside my comfort zone. The challenge in April was to go live on Facebook every single day of the month. Most of the time I used my phone, but occasionally I would also use the webcam on my computer. Along the way, I learned a a lot about going live and now I want to share what I learned with you.
Awkward at Start
To be honest it was awkward when I started going live. It feels strange to be speaking on video that people are watching in real time. However, as the month progressed this awkwardness dissipated and I got more and more comfortable with the live feature as time passed.
Authenticity Over Production
The gear you use is not as important as the content of your video. Having top-notch equipment is awesome, but ultimately what people want more than anything is authenticity. I found that the more produced my live videos looked and felt the less they resonated with my audience. Focus on being yourself and the content of the video and not on the production value.
Where to look when filming live was tricky at first. It is natural to want to look into the phone screen, but this doesn't look right to viewers. To them, it looks like you are looking just slightly away from the camera. When filming live look into the lens of whatever device you are using to film.
While video production quality is not important, the quality of the audio is. People want to be able to hear. The most annoying thing about some videos is the poor quality of the audio. When I used a pretty decent mic on my live videos it made a world of difference for the audio quality.
Another thing I learned when filming live videos every day was to keep visual distractions down as much as possible. When filming on an iPhone especially it is easy for your background to get full of distraction or your shot to get shaky. These things make some people nauseous and it makes it hard for everyone to watch your videos for very long.
Think before you go live! Don't write a script, but definitely know roughly what you want to say and where you want to go. Bullet out some talking points and go over them before turning on the live feature.
Addressing Your Audience
Talk to your audience as if they were a single person. Saying things like "hello guys" or "hey internet folks" is hokey and alienating and makes for bad live videos.
If going live is something that you want to do on a regular basis, you should think about creating an area or a little set for you to do this from. This could be as simple as filming your live videos in front of a bookshelf or another personal prop to make your background less boring and more personable. Even something this small will help your audience connect with you more.
If or when someone messages you while you are live (which is something that they can do) be sure to respond to them, but make sure that you finish the thought you were on before responding. It is weird to stop mid-sentence or thought to answer a question.
Enjoy the Process
Finally, the most important thing that I learned during this process was to just relax and have fun with it. Going live is a great way to connect with your audience or build a new audience.