How to Use Live Video to Bring Your Event to the World

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Live-streaming panel discussions or keynote addresses during an event is beyond a trend -- it’s a essentially a must-have for conferences, summits and meetings. Organizations have helped people virtually attend events for years, and from news van satellites to smartphone streaming, the technology making this happen is only getting better and easier.

Today, you can go beyond the back-of-the-room camera and dabble with virtual ticket sales, real-time tours of the exhibit halls, live interviews with top attendees or speakers and more. Below are some tips for taking your event live video efforts to the next level, plus a comprehensive overview of live-streaming tools to help you make the smart choice for your event.

Related: How to Thrive in the Live-Streaming Revolution

Tips for your event live stream:

1. Capture data.

For access to the stream, create a social or email sign-in. You can easily embed the video player onto your website, but consider putting up a wall that collects email addresses or social handles -- whichever is more valuable to you. This data is your capital!

2. Promote the stream far in advance.

Take to social, blast the announcement in a newsletter and have the individuals you’re featuring share in advance. Taking a note from the first point, consider building a landing page for RSVP’s in advance, and ask for an email address so you can remind the respondee the day of the live-stream to join.

3. Let your audience participate. 

Ask your users or audience to submit questions they want the panelists to answer in advance. Give this information to the moderator before-hand too -- this can help them craft questions and take the discussion in a direction your target audience is curious about.

4. Partner with a media outlet. 

Entrepreneur Magazine has four million followers on Facebook and well over two million on Twitter. Imagine sourcing a relevant outlet or journalist with a big social following to be the moderator, and get their fan base engaged in the discussion.

5. Go interactive.

Today, there are a multitude of ways to make your live stream interactive. Whether it’s overlaying a Twitter feed that pulls from relevant hashtags or going with a service that has an actual comment feed built into the video interface, you can make viewers part of the discussion.

Related: What Do Your Customers Really Want? Use Live Streaming to Find Out Faster Than Ever Before.

6. Partners and platforms to elevate your event live-streaming needs

Livestream: Pulling off a high end live stream like the ones you see at the Oscars or on TED is not easy. If you’re at that level, you want to turn to Livestream -- they’re like the granddaddy of live-stream event video coverage. 

They come with a number of services and expertise for a high quality production such as hardware and software, switchboards, backend tracking and analytics and can help pull it all together on a website. Bonus tip: Livestream also appeals to consumers -- they have a page that features their live streams which can let new people discover your event.

Having worked with organizations like Tesla, American Idol and the New York Times -- these guys are on top of live-stream production. However, depending on where you’re based, there are often local production companies that offer live-streaming solutions. When planning, ask your venue for a list of video production vendors that specialize in live-stream video -- and make sure to get references!

Georama: When you want an HD broadcast but need full mobility, Georama is a solid service to turn to. Georama enables live video tours that are useful for event planners and organizations. The company is all about mobility and provide the software and hardware for venues and planners to conduct live tours of venues and event happenings.

Before the curtain goes up, venues use Georama to broadcast live site tours to planners who can’t make it to the physical site tour. (And, as a recent study by Social Tables has noted, the site visit is a critical part to the planning process.)

Georama comes in handy for large events, as it allows an organization to broadcast live tours of exhibit halls, conduct interviews at booths and more to people who want to be there but can’t (imagine inviting people to explore an event like CES on their lunch break). Embed a tour on a landing page and use tips from this introduction to capture data on virtual visitors!

Skype and Google Hangouts: There are times when that dream-speaker of yours just can’t make it to the event for a keynote or panel discussion. Whether they’re busy or in *political exile, the perfect work-around is inviting them to speak via Skype or a Google Hangout. *This is how Edward Snowden was able to speak at SXSW and Johns Hopkins in the past.

A couple tips to ensure a smooth stream:

  • These broadcasts are often simple to make happen, but connect with the venue’s A/V crew in advance.

  • For high-volume events, consider having a separate router or internet source for the computer you plan to stream from - you don’t want to compete with attendees for Internet connectivity during this broadcast.

Facebook Live: Facebook live is now an option for everyone. They launched last summer for select celebrities, but now anyone can go live via a Facebook “Group” or “Event” -- which is great news for event organizers and planners. When you go live through an Event, people who have RSVP’d can be alerted to hop on and see what’s happening backstage or be treated to a live Q&A session you’re hosting.

While the world has yet to see how planners take grip on Facebook Live one thing is certain, there’s a lot of room for creativity and expression on the platform. Similar to a newsfeed, an audience can comment and give their reactions with the emoji-like responders.

Facebook Live also offers SnapChat-esque features too like filters and the ability to overlay text and finger-drawn scribbles. Fidji Simo, Facebook’s Product Management Director, gave a fun fact in this blog post covering the new platform's features: “We’ve seen that people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.”

Periscope: As a live-blogging platform, Periscope can be utilized to encourage event attendees, journalists and bloggers to share their perspective of what’s going on. If you’re able to catch the ‘scope as a planner, you’ll be able to gauge impressions and engagement (though, the success of that does depend on the broadcaster).

Related: 'I Want My MTV' Is Now 'I Want My MStreamingTVApp'

If you’re employing Influencers to represent your brand or attend your event, encourage them to hop on Periscope and bring their fans to the occasion. The key here is that the user must have a lot of Twitter followers, because Periscope and Twitter go hand-in-hand.