Back in August, our Content and Promotions team was tasked with the assignment of creating a live video series that we would air bi-weekly on Facebook Live, YouTube, and our website. We knew going live on Facebook was a great way to re-engage an inactive audience, and we believed that this program could help us really increase consumer engagement, and get the conversation moving on video marketing.
For each episode, we bring in thought leaders, and everyday heroes, who are using video in their business on a regular basis to build and maintain relationships, and in turn close more deals. This live series we created, the BombCast, started out with amazing results and really proved to us early on that this was a project we needed to stick with. But a few episodes in, we noticed a shift in engagement, caught repetition in content, and just believed we could truly do a better job.
Visual Storyteller, Matt Mead, and Content Marketing Manager, Alli Menor, sat down and brainstormed some ideas on how they could improve the results of the broadcast and the final result accounted for an increase in comments, likes, shares, viewers, and even longer watch times! Check out the full interview below to hear how they were able to re-engage their audience, and create a live video series that continues to bring them return on investment with every episode.
1 Create an eye catching environment
This was one of our first hangups. How do you make a simple office meeting look cool? Matt decided to bring in a second camera (logitech), and film the broadcast in our lunchroom instead. The lunchroom has an awesome orange wall, as well as a giant TV that we were able to broadcast the show onto so that our employees could watch as well. After changing locations, we constantly received feedback about how amazing our setup was.
2 Encourage and embrace outside distractions.
The orange wall and giant TV was not the only appealing factor of the lunchroom, the people of BombBomb also made this area seem enticing. The BombCast broadcasts at 12PM MST, right around the time where our cafe sees the most traffic. Before every broadcast, we send out an email to remind our employees that we’re going live, and let them know that they are more than welcome to join us. Sometimes our employees will even jump in with a comment, or say hi to the guest! We love when this happens. It shows our office culture, and makes the BombCast feel less scripted, and more raw.
3 Utilize Zoom to bring in outside guests that are industry thought leaders.
Since none of the BombCast guests were local we had to figure out the most effective way to remotely bring them into the broadcast. We quickly realized that the best option was to use a Zoom meeting to host the interview and then broadcast it to Facebook and YouTube through a site called Joicaster (now known as switchboard live) using a software called WireCast.
4 Find out what your technical barriers are and use outside applications to work through them.
Through trial and error, Matt determined that just one MacBook Pro was not enough manpower to run a show of this caliber. He created a basic configuration that involves two MacBook Pros. One of the MacBook Pros runs the Zoom meeting while the other MacBook Pro runs WireCast. A Magewell USB Capture HDMI Gen 2 device is used to input the Zoom meeting into WireCast from one MacBook to the other. While the BombCast production has evolved in certain areas, such as incorporating alternate camera angles outside of the Zoom meeting, the core production process is still built on the Zoom meeting to WireCast, dual MacBook configuration.
5 Plan your content ahead, but do not script it!
This can seem scary at first, but trust us, scripting your live shows will only hurt your viewers experience. Alli currently keeps an excel spreadsheet of main topics that have been discussed on the broadcast and works with our host and VP of Content Strategy, Jason Sheffield, to choose guests who offer a different perspective than previous guests. Jason then schedules a 30 minute Zoom call with the upcoming guest to hear their stories, see what excites them, and determine the general direction of the show itself. That way, both Jason and the guest are prepared for the topic, but still have the ability to have creative thoughts and ideas that might not have come about with a script itself.
6 Don’t just talk about the generic topics in your industry, get creative!
If we constantly talked about video email, we would run out of original content extremely fast. We’d also lose our audience and their short attention span! We are consistently trying to find guests in different industries using all types of video to keep our content interesting. Facebook Live for example, is not one-to-one video, which is what BombBomb is best known for. It is however a form of video that can help our clients showcase themselves as industry thought leaders, and keep their past and present clients engaged – so to us, this topic is a win / win!
7 Bring in experts on topics you and your audience are interested in, but not as familiar with.
This plays into our last point but involves relying on industry thought leaders to make it a reality. We’re not recommending you go live on a topic you’re not super informed on, but we are suggesting you bring in a professional who you can interview on a topic that will certainly excite your audience. For example, if you’re a real estate agent, interview some local business owners about their business and the neighborhood it’s located in.
8 Engage your audience with free giveaways.
One of our first random live posts helped us launch our brand new referral program. Our Lifecycle and Affiliate Manager, JK Sparks, as well as our Senior VP of Operations (at the time, VP of Customer Success,) Jonathan Bolton, went live to talk about the new program and give away some BombBomb swag throughout the broadcast, The live event was very relaxed and unscripted, but saw amazing engagement just from the free giveaway aspect. Because of this, we have used giveaway’s during our BombCast episodes, to help push our viewers to comment in and ask questions.
9 Re-engage live series fans through promotion and additional comments.
Promoting a live event is not the same as promoting a webinar. You can’t remind fans when you go live, you can’t add it to their calendar, you just have to hope that they are scrolling through social media at the right time or remember the date and time in order to see high viewership. To promote the BombCast, we do a Facebook post a week in advance with a simple image and details – this normally doesn’t perform super well, but it’s beneficial for LinkedIn Business pages that don’t allow videos. We also create a one minute promotional video that we post 24 hours before the BombCast airs, and then boost for a small amount of money. Finally, as Jason is going live, Alli will go into old BombCast episode videos on Facebook and comment the link to the current episode, just to engage previous fans who we know already like our content.
10 Dedicate the last portion of your live series to taking questions directly from your audience.
One of the amazing things about hosting a live event on social media is that you have the option of establishing a real-time conversation with your audience, not just the person being interviewed. We realized that we were treating the live event too much like a live recording and we weren’t fully taking advantage of the opportunities of having a LIVE audience until a couple months in. Now we capitalize on this live conversation. Jason will read the comments as best as he can as they come through, and state commenters names while he’s interviewing each guest. He also continuously reminds viewers to submit questions, so that he can ask and answer them at the end of each show. If possible, we recommend having a second person on your Facebook page answering comments for you, this helps keeps the conversation going so you can mainly focus on your live presentation.
11 Read into those viewer comments to see what your audience is asking about.
Listening to your audience is one of the best ways to find and create valuable content. See what makes your fans tick, and create content that appeals to their interests. In fact, our audience is the reason that we wrote this exact blog post. We consistently noticed that our fans were commenting in and asking about our production on our BombCast, so we decided to take the time and create an entire post about all the lessons we learned while creating the show. This post is also great for us to hold onto, so when we get this same question in the future, we can just share this link as a resource.
12 Continue to repeat the shows topic and purpose throughout the entire broadcast.
Unfortunately with live shows, you will never have your viewers full attention. Some viewers will tune in for 10 mins, some will tune in for 20 seconds, either way, they will be lost without an understanding of the show. Jason is aware if this, so after every other question or so, he likes to remind people who have just tuned in why we are going live and what we talked about. This tactic will help you increase the length of time that your users tune in for.
13 Create a newsroom feel, have an outside Zoom Participant join the broadcast from their mobile device.
This is definitely a pro move and something we’ve had fun with recently. In our other live show, the BombBomb Mail Bag, we read our toughest reviews live on the air, and address their concerns. Most recently, we decided to change up the format of the show, and have Jason utilize his iPhone, Gimbal, and Zoom, to chat with Alli and Ethan as they hosted the show from a more controlled area. Jason jumped onto the customer success floor to showcase the people answering all of your support questions on a regular basis, and hear what they had to say. This was a great tactic for us and something that we will continue to do!