What used to be the preserve of large scale organizations with expensive equipment, permits, and business licenses is now open to everyone. With nothing but a phone, you have the ability to broadcast live to the world. This presents an unmatched opportunity for those who know how to harness this technology. Those with the right know-how can drive more engagement with streaming with their audience than with any other medium.
LinkedIn also has its own live-streaming platform and it’s unique amongst live streaming platforms for one reason: the audience. As a social media platform for professionals, the demographics of any live stream audience present a golden opportunity for founders & CEOs. What’s more, LinkedIn live streams garner 7x more reactions and 24x more comments on average than native video. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Let’s dive in!
Before we get started, there’s something you need to know. LinkedIn live is NOT open to everybody. You have to apply to use the feature, as you can see in the graphic above, and then be approved. At first glance, this may seem overly restrictive and unfair, when it’s actually the opposite.
By approving only select individuals/businesses to use LinkedIn live, this maintains the integrity of the platform. The professional environment that LinkedIn is renowned for is upheld as only individuals who will produce the right kind of content is allowed to stream. It also allows for any bugs to be worked out of the system with those preapproved users before a (potential) wider rollout at some point in the future. As such, the first thing you need to do is apply for access to LinkedIn live.
Getting ready for application
The first step to opening up live streaming on LinkedIn is the application form. This is the first filter in curating the right kind of live streamer. It takes into account several factors.
The first factor, as stated by the application page, is your content creation history. You need to have a repository of content assigned to your account, and that content needs to be of high quality.
As such, if you’re a new LinkedIn user, define your content strategy and build up that content history first. You can check out the Yenox guide to LinkedIn content here to get started.
The next factor is your audience size and engagement history. Preference will be given to those individuals with a larger, more engaged audience. By identifying and connecting with the right people, and then effectively engaging with them, you’ll tick all the right boxes here. Networking in the right way is essential, and you can read how to do that here.
Once you have a good content creation and engagement history behind you, make sure your account is in “good standing”. This term is a little vague, but it basically means make sure you’re using the platform as intended. Focus on building positive relationships with people, share valuable insights, and generally be a nice person. To see if you’re on the right track, you can always check your social selling index, as a high score here will generally indicate you’re using the platform effectively.
The final consideration, at least according to the application page, is your account security status. Two Factor Authentication is explicitly mentioned, so make sure you have this enabled on your account. You can find this option here. This will prevent any hacks to your account, and any subsequent unauthorized streams.
You’ve been approved. That’s it, right?
Congratulations, you followed all of the above guidelines have been approved to stream. What next? Can you just start streaming?
No. All live streams on LinkedIn are broadcast through leveraging a third-party tool. As such, you need to choose the right broadcasting service. When choosing your live stream service, it’s important to consider how each offering fits into your business model, as well as whether or not it is compatible with LinkedIn live. To make that decision easier, you can check out the list of recommended services here.
Streaming best practices
Before you go live for the first time, there are some best practices that you need to be mindful of.
1. Preparation – make sure you have a good understanding of whatever it is you are going to talk about. Poor preparation makes for poor viewing, so make sure you know your stuff.
2. Authenticity – authenticity is at the heart of social-selling, so be genuine on your stream. Be yourself and you’ll get that much more engagement from your audience.
3. Consistency – whether you’re streaming once a week or once a month, make a schedule and stick to it. With time you’ll build up an audience of engaged viewers who’ll be wanting to tune in. Make that easy for them!
4. Flexibility– life is what happens when you’re making plans. If something unexpected happens whilst you are streaming, roll with it. It’s not the end of the world. Own it and your audience will probably understand.
5. Engagement – this last one is essential: if you want your audience to engage, you need to engage with them as well. Keep an eye on the comments, moderate discussion, and answer questions where appropriate.
These best practices are just the basics. If you’re looking for more in-depth best practices, check out the LinkedIn Live guide page.
Your first broadcast
Now that you’re set up properly, and well versed in live streaming etiquette, all that’s left is to go live for the first time. But what kind of content makes for a good first stream?
For inspiration here, look no further than your existing video content strategy. Anything that makes a good video will make a good live stream, meaning you could share:
· Interviews with industry leaders
· Q&A sessions
· Product demos
This list is not exhaustive, so as stated above, if it makes a good video it will make a good live stream as long as your audience has the opportunity to engage with whatever it is that you’re doing. Live engagement is where live streaming really comes into its own, but that is only possible if the opportunity for engagement exists.
Keeping track of success metrics is important to optimize your future broadcasts to drive more engagement. LinkedIn live is unique amongst live streaming services owing to the metrics you can track.
Along with the standard likes, comments, and shares, you can also measure the characteristics of your audience. LinkedIn live provides data on what occupations your viewers have, their employers, and their location. If you’re targeting a particular niche in a particular area, these metrics will provide an indicator as to how successful you have been in your targeting.
LinkedIn live also allows you to track and measure the lifetime stats of your broadcast as well, including measures for peak viewers, average watch time, and lifetime viewership.
LinkedIn live has the potential to transform your sales pipeline by driving more engagement and allowing you to connect with an even wider audience. If you’re accepted into the beta testing program, be mindful of the streaming best practices. Make sure you give your audience the chance to engage with your broadcast and then keep track of your key success metrics. If you do these things and optimize your strategy as you progress, you’ll unlock more engagement, connect with more prospects, deliver more value, and generate more revenue than ever before.