When new apps and communication platforms are making the previously impossible suddenly commonplace, it’s no surprise that we’re not all that confident in using them to their full potential.
A prime example? Live. Video. Streaming.
Ah, the 3 little words that strike utter fear into the hearts of business owners across the world. Go on, admit it…the idea of being live in front of an unknown audience makes your heart rate step up a couple of notches and your throat go dry just thinking about it.
Yep, mine too.
Yet in the past 3 days have I successfully (I think!) completed 3 live video streams for both of my businesses on both Facebook and Instagram. Oh, and I survived. Unfortunately there’s no magic technique or formula (though a few drinks might help!? Probably not recommended on your business pages…) I just jumped in feet first, and if you’re ever going to try streaming live, that’s what you need to do too.
Tell people you’re going to do it
My first video adventure was on the Facebook page of my yoga studio, Warrior & Wild. We had sent out a feedback survey last month and having got plenty of responses, I felt like some of the comments needing sharing and addressing. I was all set to write them up in a blog post but realised I wished I could just talk about it to everyone – there was way more to say and certain things that I knew wouldn’t come across as well in writing.
It occurred to me that Facebook Live would be a great way to reach my students and even if they couldn’t tune in there and then, they could catch up on the video at a later date.
I'm not quite sure what came over me but before I could change my mind or think about it too much, I’d sent out a Mailchimp to our 500 subscribers to say I’d be Live on Facebook at 7pm on Wednesday. Once you’ve made that promise, you can’t back out…
Easier said than done? The key here is in what you’re talking about. The difference between standing at the front of the room and giving a speech vs being interviewed is that to share a speech, you need to have prepped and rehearsed your talk – with this comes the panic that you might fluff it or forget your words. Alternatively, when you’re interviewed you don’t know what’s coming next so you can just share what is already in your head and it flows without worrying about remembering prompts.
Instead of planning to share tips, tricks or advice, begin by simply about yourself and your business, after all – no one knows those subjects better than you.
Dive Straight In
No pre-recording. No practice runs. This is what stalled me for a long time – if this is something you do to, the following process probably sounds familiar…
Record clips. Fluff it. Record again. Watch it back. Don’t really like it. Try and re-record. Run out of storage on your phone. Accidentally delete the clip that wasn't actually that bad. Go away and think about it. Think some more. Listen to a podcast on video content and think you should really try again. Think about it for so long that Instagram won’t let you share your original clip as a story anymore. Give up completely until the following week. Repeat process.
Instagram actually has a 10 second cap on stories you share that are pre-recorded and it’s this limitation that was the finish push to go live. I originally set out attempting to share the story of my business in a series of these clips, but I spent so long watching the timing and rushing through what I thought I should say that I just gave up in the end. When you choose the live feature you can continuously stream for as long as you like (though maybe someone should’ve shut me up after the first couple of minutes!).
Have Confidence in How You Appear
So while there’s no tests films, it is advisable to open your camera and check what your audience will see. You don’t want to be faffing around with your hair, clothes or lighting half way through the stream – the least number of distractions you might encounter, the better.
If having the confidence to put yourself in front of new and unknown people means you pull all the stops out with your make up, clothes and hair then do it. Honestly, your audience won’t actually care what you look like, but if it's something that will give you a boost, get it sorted from the start.
Stop Making Excuses
I don’t have the right equipment.
I have nothing to say.
It’s too noisy.
It’s too quiet.
People might not like it.
This is you overthinking it and coming up with every tangible excuse you could possibly make up to not do it. If you haven’t heard of her already, I’d definitely recommend looking up Amy Schmittauer from Savvy, Sexy, Social – she’s the queen of video content and has a great YouTube channel with literally hundreds of tutorials on vlogging and other useful things. It was after listening to a Podcast interview with her that I decided I just needed to get the hell on with it.
Thousands of people are sharing video content every second – do you think each one of them is waiting for that perfect environment with all the fancy kit and years of training in public speaking? No. They’re just getting up there and cracking on with it; as with anything in our businesses – if you stopped to wait for the ideal circumstances you’d never get anything done.
Do It Again!
It’s not a box you tick and the requirement to be in front of a camera goes away. Video content is booming and if you’re not getting yourself on that screen, you’re doing your business no favours. Let people know you and your story – we want to connect with the face behind that beautiful website!
In fact, when you’re live through Instagram Stories it’s the fact that the video quite literally does disappear after 24 hours, so you need to be regularly putting yourself in front of your followers with fresh new content – chances are most of them will miss your first video so make sure you give them the opportunity to see you again. As clichéd as it sounds too, practice really does make perfect.
It's time to stop overthinking and start streaming!
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