Live streaming is huge. Whether you're a photographer, model, or want to promote business of any kind, you need to get into it. It's a quick way to reach out to your fans and followers, and it gives them a realtime look into what you're doing. Live streaming has been mostly for gamers over the past years, but it's really moving on from that, as evident with companies like Periscope and Facebook making it a front-running feature. Here at Spectacle we go live at least once a week on one platform or another, but it really was a task getting to that point. Here's some tips on how to go about getting into live streaming, and some workarounds for problems we ran into.
1. Pick a Service You'll Actually Use
There's a ton of live streaming services available, but it's really important that you pick the one that you're actually going to have the discipline to use constantly. Twitch Creative is one of the most versatile sites you can livestream from, but it's also a total pain to learn how to use and the setup is annoying. Facebook live isn't as versatile, but you can pick up your phone right now and start streaming within two seconds. Here, we chose to roll out our streaming on Facebook. We already had a network built, we could easily tag each other to get the word out to everyone's friends, and we all had the ability to stream wherever we individually were. Only after we were streaming on Facebook consistently is when we started doing live streams on Twitch Creative, mostly whenever we're in studio or doing post work. If you're a tech nerd and love the idea of learning how to use third party capture software from a laptop or desktop, Twitch Creative is for you. If you're just looking to get yourself out there quickly to get into the groove of things and don't like using computers, Facebook Live or Periscope is going to be your friend.
2. Just DOOO It
Hit that "Go Live" button. Nobody cares about whatever you're worried about. Background not straightened up enough? Nobody cares. Are you having a less than ideal hair day? Nobody cares. There's a million reasons not to go live that hold people back from just getting over it and pushing out content. Even if you don't really know how live streaming works, go live and figure it out. We STILL have sound issues and shaky camera syndrome from time to time, but we power through the issues and avoid them next time.
3. Be Comfortable With No Audience
When you first start streaming you're audience will be small to non-existent. That's ok! Live streaming is all about the long game. It's an endurance test to see who can keep creating live content when nobody is watching. I would say "Have faith, your audience will come.", but you shouldn't even be thinking about your audience. Just look at it like you're making content for your business, and no one will ever see it. If you can get in that mindset and be happy with it, it's nothing but a nice surprise when your viewership starts to grow. In the meantime, own that dead air.
4. Silence Isn't Good
While you don't always have to be talking, always have some sort of noise going on. People talking and/or music will do, as long as your stream isn't just silence while you work. Silent streams are boring, and people will click away if there's no noise.
5. Equipment Doesn't Matter
You don't need the newest web cam that costs $145683.00 to start streaming. You don't need to go full-on green screen while sitting on an elaborate throne to get it all started. The only thing you need to get into the game is a current smartphone or any new-ish web cam, even if it's a $50 one. Just start streaming, and if you can be disciplined enough to keep at it THEN start looking at upping the quality of your videos. You not streaming because you don't have the best equipment is just another excuse, so don't fall into that trap.
6. Streaming Isn't About Money
"Once I start streaming and get a bunch of followers, I'll start getting paid by Twitch, Youtube, and my viewers!" Lol if you're seriously counting on making any money off of streaming, you're going to have a real hard time. The majority of streamers do it for the awareness, not the cash. Now, of course there's people out there who make a ton of money off of streaming, but those people are few and far between. The ones who have become that successful at streaming, and are now making a living off of it, have been at it for years, and they are obsessed with daily content creation. They have been consistently disciplined to stream on a constant basis for years, and didn't let the down times affect what they produce. If that ends up being you, that's awesome! But in the beginning don't conjure up visions of your paypal account being fed thousands of dollars a day, or even think streaming will pay for any streaming equipment you've purchased, because those are unrealistic expectation for the average streamer. Streaming is about reaching your fans, gaining new viewers, letting everyone know you're active, and building a foundation for whatever it is that you do.
7. Wi-Fi Is Key
The only thing that you absolutely need to have before you start streaming is fast wi-fi. If you're still running DSL internet or some low download/upload speed in your shop, you need to upgrade. A choppy stream is a useless stream, and your viewers will drop like flies if you're cutting in and out. Even if you're streaming from your phone, switch your phone to wi-fi. Streaming eats cellular data like a pirate chugs rum, so wi-fi is crucial unless you want your cell bill to hit $342.73 in a single month.........like mine did. If you won't get fast wi-fi and you don't want your cellphone bill to skyrocket, live streaming may not be for you. High speed wi-fi is everything in this game.
8. Be Yourself
Don't be all fake when you livestream. Be yourself, or it won't be natural to the people. If people think you're just shamelessly plugging your business to them they won't tune back in next time. Speak like you usually do, chances are the people watching know you're not from the British countryside. People get real weird when they get on camera and it's a big turnoff for viewers, so stay calm and do your best to keep it real. And remember: someone will always complain. One minute someone will be telling you you're swearing too much, and the next minute someone will tell you you're not swearing enough. Whoever you are, stick to that, and if people don't like it they can go kill themselves.