Live Stream Your Next Event for Greater Engagement


If you’ve put on an event or conference recently, there’s a good chance someone live streamed it whether you knew or not. The technology has exploded in popularity over the last few years, with everyone from Facebook to Twitter getting in on the action. Now anyone with a smart phone and app is capable of live streaming at the drop of hat.

And while having random audience members publicize your event is generally a good thing, live streaming technology in the hands of the planner or host organization can be an excellent marketing and communications tool. It can enhance the experience of your event, reach an additional audience, and increase feedback and engagement.

Once you start thinking about adding live video, you might be tempted to go for a slick production that showcases your event in the best light possible. But that’s not the live streaming aesthetic, which has a DIY, in-the-moment production value that viewers have come to expect. Plus, the cost is negligible, which is a lot cheaper than hiring a videographer and crew.

Live streaming apps continue to improve, and the list of competitors keeps growing, so you should be able to find one that fits your needs and your audience. Here’s a rundown of some of the more popular options to get you started.

The Twitter-owned app Periscope was launched in 2015 and is compatible with iOS and Android, with live streams viewable from the Periscope website and also via AppleTV. For planners or organizations with a large Twitter following, the app is especially useful since users can tweet a link to their live stream, which is then accessed directly by viewers.

The Apple app of the year for 2015 helped kick-start the video streaming craze, favored by celebrities from Jimmy Fallon to Ellen DeGeneres. To use it simply open the app on your phone, click broadcast, title your subject, and start recording.

It’s only been around since the start of 2016, but Facebook Live has become something of a phenomenon as the video streaming app of the masses. And since so many people are on Facebook, planners can reach a wide audience. Although with so much competing posts in people’s news feeds, as well as curating by Facebook algorithms, your live stream could get lost in the noise.

The good news for technophobes is you don’t need a separate app. Just look for the video icon within Facebook and tap “Go Live.” As with other Facebook status posts, you can choose who views it: the public or just friends. Viewers can also comment in real time during your live broadcast, which is great for engagement.

Instagram is all about showing your followers what you’re up to. Instagram Stories takes this a step further by allowing you to send out a video snapshot, and enhance them with artistic embellishments, emojis, or a message written over the top if you wish. The max length is 10 seconds for each video, and it disappears from your feed after 24 hours, so it’s meant to be fun and ephemeral. Of course, any Instragram content can only be viewed by your followers, so it can be more limiting than other formats.

Snapchat Story is almost exactly the same as the Instagram version, though Snapchat in general tends to skew toward a younger demographic. So it’s less likely attendees over a certain age will use this app. Snapchat Geofilters let you add graphic overlays specific to a city, event, or destination.

There are other options too, such as Hang w/, Stringwire and Livestream. So shop around, discover which app has the best features, and have fun live streaming your next event.

Photo credits:


John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is an award-winning journalist, travel writer and blogger based in San Jose, California. He has covered the meetings and hospitality industry extensively since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @jcax01

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