Social media is intertwined in our daily lives, both personally and professionally. So much so that you are accustomed to notifications about your friends’ birthdays, about new comments on your posts, and even that “Mark Smith is live now” on Facebook. You’ve likely seen your friends livestream concerts, sports games, women's marches, even the occasional gender reveal party. You’ve likely seen it all amongst your friends, but the question remains… is livestreaming meant for businesses?
The answer is a resounding yes. Live broadcasts are useful for businesses of all types for a multitude of purposes. For example, fitness instructors can host online training classes, companies can announce new features or products to their customers, and IT teams can train their employees how to use new products. And as a result, numerous companies are starting to use live broadcasts to reach audiences that were not previously easily accessible.
That said, using social media to broadcast to hundreds (or even thousands) of people can be frightening. It sort of makes you feel like you’re in the new Broadway musical and just forgot all your lines. Not to worry… read on for some useful tips and tricks I’ve picked up from assisting customers with BlueJeans streaming to Facebook Live.
Set It Up
First and most importantly, make sure your BlueJeans account is configured for Facebook Live, or for Workplace by Facebook if you are broadcasting to your internal team. An administrator can check which feature you have enabled in the Admin Panel under Manage Users. The features for Facebook/Workplace are under Third Party Integrations, and look like this:
You will want to make sure to only have one integration selected, as Workplace will be the default if both are selected. Next, make sure that you have allowed pop-ups on your browser to allow the Facebook Live prompts to appear. You can view the steps here.
Once the settings have been configured correctly, any user can initiate the broadcast from the BlueJeans application by clicking Apps, then clicking "Start" for either Facebook or Workplace.
You’ll notice that this screen appears, which will allow you to preview your surroundings and write a title and description. Once you're done, you just need to hit that final “Go Live” button to stream to your audience.
While the examples shown above are using BlueJeans Meetings, you have the ability to broadcast live using either BlueJeans Events or BlueJeans Meetings. We typically suggest using Meetings for small groups of streamers, maybe a podcaster that wants to incorporate video or small businesses trying to reach more of their customer base by social media. On the other hand, Events is great for large, webinar style meetings (or conferences) where you can engage a large scale audience both in the live event itself and on social media. With either option, companies can use Workplace to broadcast presentations or townhalls so that employees worldwide can watch live on the platform.
Test, Test, Test
Broadcasting to a live audience is always nerve-wracking, and even more so if you’re not entirely confident in what you’re doing. I always recommend that first-time broadcasters test their connection (and their presentation) prior to the main broadcast.
The best way to do this is to create a Facebook Group specifically for testing. By only inviting certain people to the group, you can use it to test camera placement, lighting, and audio. This test page will also allow you to test with your guests (if hosting an interview or something similar) prior to the main event, and will allow you to see how layouts appear in either Facebook or Workplace.
Unlike the Facebook Live features that Facebook itself provides, BlueJeans gives users the opportunity to broadcast multiple users, which is great for interview-style conversations. In our experience, the majority of broadcasts are with two people: the main speaker and the featured guest, but they can have as many as you wish. BlueJeans offers three layout options to choose from. Note that you will need to set your preferred layout in your profile meeting settings before starting the broadcast.
In the "Active Speakers" mode, only the speaker is shown, whereas the other two show all participants.
My personal favorite layout is the constant presence layout, as it puts both speakers in equal side-by-side boxes like news interviews. As you add more speakers, the boxes rearrange so everyone can be seen at equal size.
Since BlueJeans also allows users to share their screen with the audience, preferred layouts may change depending upon whether or not users are taking advantage of that feature. I always recommend that users test each layout to see which works best for you. After all, what works for your first broadcast may not be the best option for your seventh.
Make Sure Audio is Crisp
Crisp and clear audio is important so your viewers can hear what you are saying. BlueJeans allows you to easily check that your audio is coming through in the application settings.
As you speak, you should be able to see the levels rise on the microphone and ensure that you can hear others as they speak. Using this screen, you also have the option to play test sound to test that audio is working as expected. We recommend testing using the BlueJeans live demo room if you need help, which you can access 24 hours a day.
Engage Your Audience
Once you’ve ensured that all the settings are correct, the only thing left to do is go live to speak (and engage!) with your audience. There are a ton of different ways you can engage your audience while you are going live, and I recommend doing as many as you can in order to keep people interested in what you have to say.
One method I have seen work well is when streamers invite the audience to join the meeting and go live with them. You can post the BlueJeans meeting link in emails and posts prior to the event, and then have audience members interact live. Another example is to change your name in the participant roster to a specific website, which is useful when advertising a product or service.
If you are using the Events platform to broadcast to Workplace/Facebook, you can use the event polling feature to create polls for users in and out of the event to answer. The polls create an external link that you can place into the comments field in Workplace or Facebook.
Pro Tip: Have your phone on and watching the live broadcast to keep track of comments and likes as they come in. This will allow you to keep an eye on what your audience is saying and ensure that you answer the questions they have as you’re live, rather than after the broadcast is over.
And Have Fun!
No matter what happens during your live broadcast, the important thing to remember is to have a great time. Laugh, smile, make jokes, and draw your audience in. Live video gives you a unique opportunity to connect with your employees, customers, and potential customers. If you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, I really recommend trying it out! Our BlueJeans Support Team is always here to help you make your broadcast successful. Contact us to get started on your first event, or join our Facebook Live Facebook Group to see how others are using the platform.