Live video: do's and don'ts


Live streaming allows brands, bloggers, and businesses to tell their stories in real time. Instagram Live and Facebook Live are incredible channels for driving engagement, giving you the ability to record and share videos with in-the-moment experiences. On Facebook alone, live streaming videos are watched three times longer than non-live videos, with 80 percent of audiences preferring live video over other branded content. While broadcasting live can seem intimidating, by utilizing the feature correctly you can cultivate a stronger following and promote your business as an elevated personality and thought-provoking leader. Live streaming allows content creators engaging their audiences to be transparent and provide better accessibility, increasing the chances of your audience relating to your brand. 

Here are our top strategies, suggestions, and dos and don'ts for using Instagram Live or Facebook Live for your photography or blogging business.

Live Video Do’s:

Create a Strategy

Ensure that your Instagram Live or Facebook Live videos are planned beforehand, especially if it’s your first time going live. Treat it like you would with any presentation you're giving to an audience. Have speaking points in front of you and practice! Record yourself on your phone to find out how long you’re speaking for, how it sounds, and any revisions you need to make. 

Use Urgency to Promote your Live Broadcast

You want to reach as many users as possible, and the best way to do this is to drive viewers to your Live Broadcast. On Instagram, it’s equally beneficial to end up on the Explore page. The more viewers you get, the higher the chance of being featured on the Explore page as it’s measured as engaging, attention-grabbing content.

Offering limited-time only promotions, information, learning sessions or events is a fantastic way to drive engagement and viewers to your live broadcast. Use Instagram Stories to pre-promote your content, and advise your audience of the time you plan on going live. 

Showcase new features of your business on Instagram or Facebook Live

Part of the reason this is so successful is because of that lovely notion of urgency we discussed. Leading up to a big announcement through live video makes your audience feel like they need to stay for the entire video so they don’t miss out. Do this when you are announcing a new collaboration, promoting a new product, or launching a new entity in your business. 

Broadcast when your audience is online

Use Facebook, Instagram and Google Analytics to ensure you are going live at the optimal time. The last thing you want to do is launch your video, and realize that your entire audience is asleep or at work.

Be Flexible

You get to choose what your broadcast is about and change the content as much as you’d like. Whether you're hosting an educational workshop, or a sales pitch/promotion- the opportunities are endless. 

Have videos that are long enough

Broadcasting a live video should always be long enough so that you can make sure your audience not only tunes in but spreads the word! You want to engage your audience enough that they want to share the experience with friends on other social platforms, encouraging them to join in. Successful live videos should aim to be 5 minutes or longer.

Make sure your technology works!

Ensure you have a strong Wifi signal before you begin your broadcast. When you have a weaker single, there’s a higher chance of you cutting out and losing your audience. Ensure you have your film equipment (if necessary) setup, and spring for a tripod to account for a longer period of recording time. 

Optimize the space you're shooting in

Making sure you have sufficient natural light or lighting setup that’s located in a spot that will highlight you while you speak. Fun tip? Facebook Live does have filters available for their live videos! 

Leave some breathing room

While having notes and suggested speaking points is a great way for you to feel prepared before you go on camera, make sure you leave room for spontaneous moments too. People are forgiving in live video, and it brings a sense of reality to you as a person. 

Ensure your responding to your audience during the broadcast

Whether or not you are hosting a Q and A, or just an organic announcement- when your audience interacts with you, interact back! Respond to comments and viewers inputs to relate to your audience even better. 

Replay and Save your Instagram Live Videos

Instagram Live videos can now be replayed or shared/ saved onto your story after the broadcast is over. It’s key to do this, as sometimes users tune in late, or miss your live broadcast notification. This allows you to have a greater reach with your live content. 

Analyze the results!

Both Facebook and Instagram provide live video metrics and analytics so you can evaluate the demographics of who tuned in. You can analyze the average amount of time your audience was listening, how many people you reached, how many views happened, the number of unique viewers, as well as comments, likes, and shares. Record what worked so you can improve on your next live video. 

Live Video Don'ts:

Neglect to set up tech appropriately

Sound quality and technology quality is an important aspect of the live video, and should always be as clear and professional as possible. Test your sound optimization in loud environments prior to going live, just in case. If you do video often, it’s worth it to invest in a proper microphone for better sound quality. 

Don’t host your Live Video on more than one channel

Although you can live stream on Facebook and Instagram at the same time, we suggest not to. Pick the one where you have the largest audience, and push your audience from other networks to that channel to watch the live session. That way, you engage your whole audience to tune in while keeping the numbers all on one channel. 

Don’t copy your competition

Be unique, because your business and brand are unique. Don’t follow a guideline set by another brand, blogger, photographer or business. Create your own video around your brand identity and maintain your authenticity. 

Try not to use graphics or pre-taped footage only, with no live elements to the session

People are joining the live video to see you in person. Not to see something you’ve created and uploaded in live time. Keep live video to what it is- live video!

Don’t ignore your audience

People are visiting your live video to learn from you and interact with you, so make sure you interact with them. Return the comments, ask them questions, and encourage interaction across your audience. 

Don’t stray away from your topic or theme

If you’ve promised to show them a how-to on editing milky way photographs, don’t start showing them how to edit sunsets. Keep your audience engaged with a quick, easy topic that attracts them. Save the additional theme for another session! 

And finally, our most important tip- have fun with it! Don’t expect the world out of hosting your first Instagram Live or Facebook Live video. Engage with your audience in an authentic, meaningful way and share content you know they want to see. As photographers and videographers, you have a world of opportunity to create content that’s exclusive to an audience of creatives who are genuinely interested in learning from you- that’s why they follow you in the first place! Mistakes are okay, and in live video- they make you seem relatable and genuine which can be an even better positioning for your brand, blog or business. 

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