This year we brought an extra element of fun to our Future of Digital Marketing event by broadcasting a talk on Periscope.

However, this was a decision made less than 24 hours before the talk was scheduled to happen. 

Live streaming is a topic we’ve written several posts about, so it felt slightly hypocritical not to give it a go.

Obviously given proper planning time there’d be no opportunity to make mistakes to learn from, and where’s the fun in that?

So at 12pm the day before the event I turned to our editor and casually suggested we live stream a talk. That’s where the first of the lessons begun.

1. Get a tripod

The first step was testing the quality of streaming with the equipment we had, in this case it meant an iPhone 6.

Periscope is available to broadcast via GoPro cameras but sadly we didn’t have one knocking around Econ Towers.

The difference in quality between the phone resting on a table and holding it quickly became apparent.

Due to the angle of the stage, it wasn’t feasible to rest the phone in a static position so the decision was made to get a tripod.

We used a Gorillapod mini stand, which was very adequate. This moves us on to point number two.

2. Latecomers

The tripod was positioned by the stage in the second row of seats.

As the talk begins an empty table in front of us begins to fill, and several people walk in front of the livestream. 

These people were either speakers or paying delegates so naturally there was nothing I could say.

The fault was mine, and the lesson was learned: positioning is key. 

Ensure that your camera is in an area which won’t have traffic passing it, and also plan for any other obstructions which may periodically come into play (such as photographers). 

3. Damn you autocorrect

Because Periscope is currently a smartphone app, the use of pre-written messages becomes a little more complex. 

The last minute nature of our broadcast meant I’d written the intro post five minutes before the stream went live. As I was on an iPhone, this left me at the behest of autocorrect. 

That’s right. I meant to say that our founder was about to opine on the merits of Bots in the future of digital marketing – instead I declared that he was to tell us all about what Boys mean for digital marketing. 

Lesson? Even though with live streaming it seems like everything is happening at breakneck speed, you should take the time to double-check everything.

Also with Periscope you’re unable to edit the titles of your broadcasts, meaning my mishap will live on forever.

4. Promotion

Given that we made the decision to stream a talk less than 24 hours before the broadcast, there wasn’t quite the opportunity to promote it properly.

Under normal circumstances I would have promoted the live stream in the week prior via social and email. 

In the end, with only one tweet promoting the talk we received 361 live viewers, with 95 replay viewers.

On the face of it the numbers seem okay, however with proper promotion the numbers would be much higher.

Periscope isn’t the most shareable of formats, with most of the focus being on live interaction. This means it’s imperative to push people to tune in to the event.

5. Get a partner in crime

Having a second set of eyes on the broadcast can never hurt. If possible, it is the most efficient way of checking quality.

Access to email or a messaging service via a laptop (as you can’t use your phone while the stream is ongoing) is key to raise any issues.

In our case, my editor watched the live stream from a different room in the venue so was able to give it a second pair of eyes.

6. Monitor the live comments

It’s wise to keep an eye on the comments that come in.

They can give you a good insight as to issues with broadcast quality, and also provide feedback for the content provider.

Particularly worthy of note is the distribution of ‘hearts’. 

These are a means for viewers to show their favourite live moments, and indicate which moments are particularly popular.

Hugely useful when it comes to choosing which pieces to edit for distribution from any other filming.

So would I do it again?

Absolutely. Although there were a few hiccups, I’m looking forward to live streaming across several platforms from the Festival of Marketing in October.

Hopefully we'll be able to bring all of you who aren't able to attend closer to the action, and convince you to join us at future events!

Andrew Chrysostom

Published 20 June, 2016 by Andrew Chrysostom

Andrew is a Social Media Executive at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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