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Live video marketing offers a dynamic way to engage with your customers. Unless you screw it up PHOTO: Monik Markus

As live video changes the course of content marketing, an increasing number of brands are getting in front of the camera to interact with their audiences and show off previously unseen dimensions of their organizations.  

But some brands are struggling to make the transition from pre-recorded video to live streaming. And in the process, many of those companies are making some rudimentary — and avoidable — mistakes. 

Adjusting to Live Video Marketing

Live video strikes a note that no other form of marketing can. It’s accessible, personal, interactive and evokes a unique sense of urgency. The challenge for marketers is to approach their live streams in ways that play to those strengths. 

Moving beyond the basics — like delivering good sound quality and having a strong internet connection — here are seven common live streaming pitfalls to avoid:

1. Scripting the Entire Stream

Live audiences want authentic and off-the-cuff dialogue from whomever they see on screen. This free-roaming authenticity is part of what makes live video so enticing, but sticking to a highly detailed script flies in the face of that authenticity. 

The solution isn’t to go live without a plan however, but to use bullet points instead of paragraphs to enhance the organic feel of your stream. 

2. Overproduction

There can be a lot of benefit to deploying professional audio, lighting and camera equipment, but I’m a big believer that a smartphone is all you really need to go live. After all, you’re broadcasting a live stream, not producing a Hollywood movie. 

Live video audiences know that, too, and it gives them a strong tolerance for imperfection. Once again, it’s the raw, somewhat flawed insight into a brand that live video gives that makes it so effective. 

In fact, all overproduction does is gloss over the valuable authenticity you’ve worked so hard to achieve. 

3. Waiting for Viewers to Arrive

Unless your audience is colossal, your live stream will have very few — if any — viewers during the first few minutes, which means that many live streamers have developed the bad habit of waiting around for more viewers to arrive.

On the face of it, that can seem like a reasonable move, but for the viewers who have taken the trouble to tune in on time, those awkward first moments will be deadly dull and hardly much of a reward for your core audience of devoted fans. 

The way around the timing dilemma is to remember that most platforms allow viewers to watch your stream like a normal video after the live streaming ends. That means there’s no reason to compound the awkwardness of all that waiting around by making it part of your permanent video record.  

4. Not Engaging With Commenters

Facebook users comment 10 times more on live videos than they do on regular videos, so you need to be prepared for some interaction. 

Unless you’re dedicating the end of your stream to a Q&A, be sure to respond to comments as they roll in so that your viewers feel noticed and valued. This instant engagement also enhances the experience for viewers who are watching idly, and may even encourage them to ask a question themselves.

5. Not Giving Viewers an Incentive to Stay

Video consumers like to skip through videos to get to the juicy bits. This isn’t possible with a live stream, so the battle to retain viewers until the end becomes that much harder. 

So give your viewers an incentive to stay tuned in. One strategy is to tell your viewers before and throughout your stream that a giveaway will take place at the end of your stream but that the only way to win is to stay tuned in. 

6. Streaming Too Often and Too Long 

To keep the concept of live streaming fresh and exciting for your audience, make your live videos a periodic treat, not an everyday occurrence. 

What’s more, be sure to cap the length of your live videos to keep them interesting. The ideal length will vary from audience to audience, so be sure to experiment, and ask your viewers about their preferences. 

7. Not Repurposing Your Content

Live video is a fantastic way to engage with your audience in real time, but the show doesn’t have to end there. Once your video stream is over, edit segments to populate your YouTube, Instagram and Anchor feeds, or upload your stream’s audio as a podcast episode. 

Not only will your audience who didn’t get a chance to tune in live appreciate that you’ve reposted the content, your live viewers will often want to re-watch the stream as well.

Make Your Live Streaming Count

Most brands see live video as unchartered territory where embarrassment lurks and mistakes can be made all too easily. Other organizations have embraced live video with gusto, but in their haste, have neglected to pay proper attention to their engagement strategies. 

Both camps — and the audiences who watch their efforts — can benefit from the live video tips above to make every content stream count and every viewing moment more productive and enjoyable.