This week LinkedIn announced the launch of its new live video feature, LinkedIn Live. It’s currently being rolled out in the US as an invitation-only beta, with plans to launch globally further down the line.
Pete Davies, director of project management at LinkedIn, told TechCrunch that live video has been the most requested feature on LinkedIn, and the decision to expand its current video offering comes as it has proved a strong engine for engagement and revenue growth.
But how should we use LinkedIn Live and what steps can we take to make it work hard for us and maximise results?
Keep it social
Forget everything you know about video: live plays by its own rules. A live video has to be a responsive, two-way conversation with your audience. It gives you a chance to respond in real time to what your audience is enjoying – for example, if during a Q&A session one particular question really engages your audience, LinkedIn Live presents an opportunity to capitalise on that piece of content and feature the question for longer than planned, or return to it for a second time.
The learnings and insights we can gain from this direct two-way conversation is high-value, and can teach you more about an audience, a product or a topic. And it’s important that when we’re live we don’t just let the volume or engagement guide our content – the sentiment is really what should lead the way and will direct us to the most valuable learnings.
Plan your content
One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make with live video is assuming that it doesn’t need planning. However, when you’re live you must keep the audience constantly engaged, which requires content preparation. Anything from bad sound to pauses in activity can make an audience swipe along to the next video. A roughly shot video is fine for a high school student at a gig but, for your business/brand to retain authority, having a strong visual plan is important. This is not to say that you can’t get great quality on a phone – but you do need someone who understands video behind the camera.
Promote when you are going live
The biggest pull with live, whether it’s on television, social platforms or radio, is that it’s happening now. This creates an element of FOMO (fear of missing out) which is key to hooking in and holding on to an audience. Although live video often has algorithm advantages on social platforms, it is worth treating your live video like an event. Making sure you share an advance time and date with your audience means they can commit their time, which also means you have a higher level of investment from your audience when they join you.
Entertainment is still import
Nobody finds meetings thrilling, so it's important you don't make your live video feel like one. The way you package your content is important: if you focus on entertainment it will make all the difference. Even the dullest topic can come alive with the right video team and on-screen characters. A great consideration is using a trained live video presenter. A presenter can save you from any unplanned events and they know how to avoid moments that would get edited out in a normal video.
Part of keeping a live video entertaining is remembering that your audience may not have been with you from the start. Unlike traditional video, it’s best to keep reintroducing the topic you are covering, and the people on screen.
Duration is key
Historically social video has been more successful when it is bitesize. Well, forget that! Live is optimum with a longer duration. This gives enough time for people to find your video, as new people join and engage this can also push your video up in the algorithm to expand reach.
LinkedIn Live is an exciting opportunity for businesses and peers to connect like never before, so remember to have fun with it. Live video will encourage more engagement – forget the chatbots we are all sick of in our inboxes; this is humans connecting one to one. As with all new features on social platforms, it will be the first to use it who will truly reap the benefits of LinkedIn Live.
This piece was co-authored by Live & Wired co-founders Sian Hainsworth and Sophie Kostrowski