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Live video is booming right now, whether it is Instagram Live, Facebook Live, or Zoom. Live broadcasting was gaining traction even before the coronavirus outbreak pushed us all towards a more virtual manner of doing business.
That’s because consumers were spending almost 83 minutes per day consuming digital video in 2018, and that number grew to 92 minutes by 2020. So if you’re wondering whether you should experiment with live streaming for your business, the answer is yes.
But before you go live, you’ll want to make sure you are aware of some basic best practices for live streaming, especially since you’ll be representing your business or brand.
In this article, we’ll go over the basics of live streaming for your business, show you how to get started, and give you some best practices to consider when going live.
The Best Place To Go Live?
The short answer is that the best place to go live is where you’ll have an audience. Determining the best social media platform for your business involves thinking about your target customer and what platforms they use.
For example, if you sell quality custom gun safes, you need to find a platform where people interested in ammunition are present or those who are associated with some kind of security service.
For your first few live streams, start on the social platform where you have the most followers. That way, you’ll have the easiest time building an audience and getting feedback to improve future streams.
For now, here is a basic overview of the top places to live stream:
- Facebook Live – Facebook is the most popular social media platform and as such, is a great place to get started with live streaming.
- Instagram Live – Instagram’s Live feature is increasingly popular, and the app prioritizes live streaming content more prominently than Facebook. If you have a large Instagram following, Instagram Live is a great way to engage with them, especially on a mobile device.
- Twitch – Twitch is the leading live streaming platform for video gamers and is incredibly popular. If you are looking to reach gamers, Twitch is the best platform to use.
- YouTube Live – Just like with regular YouTube videos, a YouTube Live broadcast offers the additional benefit of being searchable on YouTube, which also means it’s searchable on Google. YouTube Live is a good option if you’re hoping to reach new customers that aren’t already following you.
- Periscope – Wondering why there isn’t a “Twitter Live” option on this list? That’s because Twitter’s answer to the live streaming phenomenon is Periscope. Twitter acquired Periscope in 2015 and has since made Periscope streams easily shareable on Twitter, increasing their likelihood of potentially going viral, sometimes even while they are still alive.
How To Live Stream
Essentially, the streaming setup workflow comes down to connecting your sources to the encoder, setting up your scenes (layouts) for switching, configuring a few encoder plus streaming destination settings, and establishing a connection between the encoder and the streaming destination.
Naturally, streaming destination and encoder user interfaces will differ from case to case, but the basic workflow remains the same.
In the example below, we chose to show the Pearl-2 UI for the encoder and YouTube UI for the streaming destination.
Step 1. Connect Your Audio And Video Sources To The Encoder.
Make sure everything has power. Whenever possible, use AC power instead of battery power, for all and any device, especially a camera. Placing your wholesale ptz camera on a tripod is always a good idea. Use a capture card if you are using your computer with encoding software.
Step 2. Configure The Encoder
If you plan to switch between a number of sources, go ahead and prepare your layouts (scenes). Then, configure the most important streaming settings: resolution, frame rate, and bitrate.
If you are unsure, start with 1280×720 resolution, 30 fps frame rate, and automatic or 3000 Kbps bitrate. Everything else can pretty much be left at default.
Step 3. Configure Streaming Destination Settings
Log in to your live streaming platform (i.e., streaming destination, or CDN) and set up a new live streaming event. Fill out your stream description, configure privacy settings, etc.
Step 4. Copy And Paste Url And Stream Key From Cdn Into Encoder
This is what actually ties your encoder and your streaming platform together. In order to know where to get video data, the CDN needs to verify and connect with the encoder, while the encoder needs to know where to send the data. This is done using a special password shared between the two, called a stream name (or sometimes stream key).
The stream name/key is provided by the streaming platform (CDN). Keep this key safe, as those who know it may be able to stream to your account.
Step 5. Click “Start Streaming” On The Encoder To Go Live
Once you press “start streaming” somewhere in the encoder UI, your CDN preview window should tell you that it is receiving a signal from the encoder. There is generally a lag of 10-30 seconds between the encoder and the live stream on the CDN.
Control live switching from the encoder UI. Remember that you need to stop your stream also in the encoder UI.
Live streaming is a very broad topic, and each streaming case is different. If we talk about live streaming performed by medical device injection molding companies, it is going to be completely different. This is due to the nature of the industry. An injection molding company might perform a live stream to deliver a knowledgeable session or to reach bulk plastic suppliers.
On the other hand, the case is entirely different for a blogger or influencer.
This post was intended to be a very general look at how to go live. We do, however, hope we were able to provide some clarity about the fundamentals of going live and how to start live streaming. Understanding these basics along with some practice will help make your live streams outstanding.