Let's Go Live! (Or Not)

Article 4 min
So you want to go live. Unlike the costly, lengthy process of live television, streaming on the internet is cheaper, easier and, if done right, just as good at facilitating engagement. However, don't be blinded by its ease of access⁠—not everything should be livestreamed.

Just like a live television broadcast, live streaming is the practice of broadcasting across the internet in real time, usually through a social media platform like YouTube, Facebook Live, Instagram, Twitch, Vimeo, etc.

The benefits of streaming:

  • You have the ability to flatten communications and speak directly to your audience about an issue or subject that is important to them.
  • You can capitalize on interest for something happening in the moment.
  • You'll get instant feedback regarding the audience you're attracting and the value of investing your resources into streaming.
  • You'll create a sense of transparency; unlike a video, nothing gets edited out.
  • You can keep the production value simple.
  • You'll skip the algorithm and push your content to the top of the page (McLachlan, 2020).

Should I Go Live?

Social media and smartphones make live events more accessible than ever, so it's tempting to stream anything and everything. However, many events broadcast with the best of intentions fall flat.

Before tapping the "live" button, carefully assess if the event is:

  • able to be live streamed without interruption. (WiFi, cell signal, bandwidth, etc.)
  • unique, such as an event featuring a notable or impactful VIP guest.
  • happening in the moment which benefits from the anticipation that livestreams give.
  • one that invites two-way communication with the viewers.
  • permissible for broadcast, so there are no security concerns.

Streams that hit all five of these characteristics draw the largest audience, generate the most engagement and leave a lasting impression.

Consider setting up a regularly scheduled live event such as coffee chats or training events like DINFOS Live. Other well-received live streaming events include town halls or interviews with special guests that answer viewer-submitted questions.

What Doesn’t Warrant Going Live?

Routine events that run long and involve a lot of repetition are not good choices for live streaming. Promotions, award ceremonies and change of command are not worth the high bandwidth and low engagement. Highlight videos will retain and magnify all those smaller moments without becoming dull.

It's better to save social media live streaming for truly significant, attention-grabbing moments.

Certain events don't warrant going live on social media as they do not appeal to digital stakeholders; however, they may appeal greatly to your internal stakeholders. We recommend going live via Zoom, Google Meet or another privately shareable link for those sorts of ceremonies.

Set Up Your Stream for Success

If you decide your program is fit for a livestream, it's time to set things up properly. Before you go live, explore each of these steps related to the tone, host, setting, platform and promotion to gain and sustain an audience eager for more.

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5 Key Steps Before You Stream

Step 1Tone

To get a sense of the livestream's context and setup, nail down a tone. For guidance, define your streaming goals.

  • Why are you live streaming?
  • Who are your stakeholders?
  • What is the value you provide to your stakeholders?
  • What does a successful livestream mean for you?

Think about if the answers to these questions direct the tone to something formal, informal or a mix of both. Express this tone through choices of a host and setting.

Step 2Host

A host has to carry a lot of energy with an audience that lives almost entirely behind a screen. Depending on the formality of the event, decide if the host should appear in uniform (such as for an interview with a special guest) or out of uniform (for an after-hours, more transparent conversation with a smaller audience).

The host's clothing and general demeanor will also depend on the streaming setting.

Step 3Setting

You can set up a livestream in virtually any physical location. Consider lighting and sound limitation factors (LIMFACS). If you can have a live event professionally produced, you can save a lot of heartache. Match the setting to the host and general tone.

Note that, depending on the event, the setting and host don't necessarily need to both be formal or informal. For coffee talks, it's common practice to dress in uniform, but set the stream in the host's living room to undercut some of the formality.

Ensure all participants are checked for uniform issues. Your audience will notice it and call you out on it. All distractions can take away from the overall intent of the broadcast.

Step 4Platform

Your platform choice depends on your audience because they all cater to different demographics and niches. Each platform has its benefits and limitations to consider as well (Bybyk, 2021).

  • YouTube is good for high-quality streams that draw large audiences.
  • Facebook has lower quality but is simpler to operate and can build upon a large existing audience.
  • Instagram is simple to use to add live content to your brand's Instagram account.
  • Vimeo has a suite of live streaming tools for videos and events.
  • LinkedIn requires broadcast approval from LinkedIn and, comparatively, attracts a more specific age range than, say, YouTube (Bybyk, 2021).
  • Zoom/Google Meet/Teams for those events that aren't ideal for social media but the command desires to make available to families or those remote participants.

Step 5Promote

Without promotion, even accounts with a huge following will only grab a fraction of streaming hits. Get the word out! Announce the event in advance, with clear context.

Tip! Having a timely “why now” hook will give your video an urgency that more evergreen content will lack—like a one-night-only event, a seasonal special or an exclusive scoop (McLachlan, 2020).


Bybyk, A. (2021, August 27). Live streaming 101: Tips & checklist. Restream | Blog.

McLachlan, S. (2020, April 22). The ultimate guide to social media live streaming in 2020. Hootsuite.

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