When it comes to your live video audience, you know that quality trumps quantity every time; and a smaller audience that fully engages with your content is always going to be better than a larger number of viewers that don’t really ‘get’ you.
That said, I’m sure we’d all love to attract more viewers to our live streams…
So, how do we go about it?
In this post, I dish the details from my chat with the awesome Rob Balasabas, Brand Evangelist at TubeBuddy. Rob’s a whizz at video marketing, live streaming, and content creation strategy so when he takes the time to share his top tips for getting more viewers tuning into your livestreams, we know we’re going to get straight to the good stuff!
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What You’ll Learn
- [09:50] About Rob’s eye-opening start with live video
- [12:10] Whether Rob still feels nervous when he goes live
- [16:05] How to get more live views when you’re just starting out
- [19:35] How to make the most of the YouTube community tab
- [24:15] What to do when the usual stuff isn’t working
- [28:10] How to go about inviting guests on your show
- [30:50] The common promotional pitfalls you’ll want to avoid
- [33:10] About the best tools for going live
- [34:35] When is the best time to go live?
- [41:25] Why multistreaming can help you find your audience
- [43:45] About Rob’s promotional checklist
- [48:50] Rob’s top tech
An Eye Opening Start
Listen at [9:50]
Rob describes his own first foray as a guest on other people’s live videos as an ‘eye-opener’.
"I realised that this is where brands, entrepreneurs, and influencers are playing; this is where they’re exchanging attention as currency, this is where they’re collaborating. And so I figured I’d need to start investing time and resources into finding out how to get going with video and live streaming if I wanted to expand my reach."
Nerves or Excitement?
Listen at [12:10]
One thing that always impresses me about Rob’s live appearances, whether he’s speaking at a conference or appearing on video, is just how confident he is. But has he always felt so self-assured or did he ever get nervous?
Rob admits that even with so much experience behind him, he still gets nervous every time he goes live. But crucially, he doesn’t see it as a bad thing.
I’d love to get to a point where I don’t feel nervous anymore when I go live, but then maybe that would be the point that I’m doing something that doesn’t really excite me. @rob_balasabasClick To Tweet
"It’s a good energy, I think. I’d love to get to a point where I don’t feel nervous anymore, but then maybe that would be the point that I’m doing something that doesn’t really excite me."
So take heart if you’re letting nerves get in the way of your livestreaming ambitions. And instead of trying to figure out how to banish them, consider how you can convert them into excitement about being in front of the camera.
Getting More Live Viewers When You’re Just Starting Out
Listen at [16:05]
I think one of the worst things about live video, when you’re just starting out, is the great big ‘0’ under the viewer count heading at the top of the screen on Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube.
You feel like you’re talking into a vacuum, like nobody loves you! And while you know that you have to keep recording for your future viewers, you have to dig pretty deep to find the motivation to do so.
So, what’s Rob’s advice if you’re a beginner being haunted by that zero every time you go live?
Firstly, don’t let it put you off.
"It’s something that all content creators and livestreamers are thinking about. Obviously you want to make sure that your time has a return but if you’re just starting then you likely won’t have too many people showing up live. It’s totally fine.
Because when they watch the replay, which they will because actually more people tune in to replays, they’ll learn what to expect, they’ll know you show up every week, and you’ll eventually become like their favourite show they always tune in to watch."
With consistency being vital to growing your numbers in the early days, Rob strongly recommends scheduling your livestreams in order to get a shareable link.
Scheduling your live streams allows you to promote the livestream ahead of time; you can then share it on social media, you can send it to your email list, your community, your Patreon… @rob_balasabasClick To Tweet
"That really allows you to promote the livestream ahead of time; you can then share it on social media, you can send it to your email list, your community, your Patreon…"
Make the Most of the YouTube Community Tab (if You Can)
Listen at [19:35]
Once you’ve gained a substantial number of followers, opportunities for promoting your videos to a wider audience really open up.
Take, for example, the YouTube community tab. Available to channels with 1000 or more subscribers, Rob describes it as being similar to a Facebook feed.
"You can do polls, share images or GIFS, and you can post clickable links too.
One thing that YouTube creators commonly do is share videos directly because it’s so easy to do when you have the community tab option. It’s a really good way to share upcoming events like your own videos or other shows where you’re appearing as a guest."
If you don’t yet have 1000 subscribers, don’t panic. You WILL get there eventually and there are plenty of motivational milestones along the way where new features open up as you grow your subscriber numbers.
What to Do When the Usual Stuff Isn’t Working
Listen at [24:15]
What if you’re doing everything right, you have a decent number of page followers or connections, you go live regularly, you schedule and promote in advance, and you still have nothing but crickets when you hit record?
Rob has a few awesome tips for you to try:
This first is to stop obsessing about the numbers. Other factors, like replay viewers, for instance, are just as important.
Beyond that, once again, it’s all about consistency and letting your audience know that you’re going to show up every week on the same day at the same time.
And don’t restrict your audience to potential customers, use the people in your community, your colleagues and others in your industry to encourage you and to show up and support you when you go live.
But above all, don’t give up.
Inviting Guests Onto Your Show
Listen at [28:10]
If you’re doing a solo show and you’re finding it a bit of a struggle, there’s no need to keep plugging away on your own.
"Think about collaborations and having guests join you. That allows you to have a very organic conversation, it can be more engaging; sometimes it’s just nicer to watch. You get to learn from two people rather than just one.
In terms of promotion, hopefully your guest is willing to share your show with their audience and their network and that allows their audience to join you. And most likely, if you’re in the same industry, their audience will be full of people you want to connect with."
Rob’s keen to point out that you shouldn’t overly worry about your potential guests seeing you as competition, in most industries that’s not really how people feel these days. When it comes to potential clients and customers, “there’s a big enough ocean“, and their perfect customer might not be your perfect customer anyway.
So don’t let that put you off sending out those guest invites!
The Common Promotional Pitfalls You’ll Want to Avoid
Listen at [30:50]
"One huge mistake is not having a plan in place, and not providing value."
Robs warns against starting with live video on a whim, just because you see others in your industry doing well with it, or even worse, because you have some free time to fill.
Unless you’re super-interesting and already have a huge, loyal audience on another platform, without a plan, your show just won’t get off the ground. @rob_balasabasClick To Tweet
"You have to make every minute count. Have a plan and bring your audience value by educating them, by teaching them something new, by entertaining or inspiring them, or by sharing a story that might uplift them.
Unless you’re super-interesting and already have a huge, loyal audience on another platform, without a plan, your show just won’t get off the ground."
The Best Tools for Letting People Know When You’re Going Live
Listen at [33:10]
Of course, thanks to your dedication to consistency, your audience will already know exactly when and where they’ll be able to catch your live videos. But it never hurts to make sure you’re using the best promotional tools available to help you promote each one.
Rob’s arsenal includes the obvious tools like social media management tools, tweeting the link, using Facebook messenger bots, emailing your list, and using the YouTube community tab if you have access to it. But he has another idea up his sleeve:
"If it’s something you really want to promote, you may want to create a native video, a pre-recorded promo video to let people know that maybe you’re going to have a special guest on your show, let them know what you’re going to talk about, and where they can tune in.
And give them a link to click for a reminder, that’s the call-to-action, especially on Facebook and YouTube. So make sure you click that reminder button!"
The Million Dollar Question: When Is the Best Time to Go Live?
Listen at [34:35]
I know from my own experience that this is really a case of trial and error but I couldn’t spend all of this time gleaning Rob’s nuggets of wisdom without asking him to weigh in on this too!
So what’s his take?
"You can, of course, look at your analytics. Again, going back to YouTube because that’s the world that I primarily live and play in, if you go into analytics and the reach tab, you’ll see a calendar that tells you when your subscribers are actually consuming content on YouTube.
A lot of people will use this data to determine when they go live."
Rob also reminds us to have a look at our analytics to figure out where in the world your audience is based and to be mindful of different time zones, particularly if you want to hit people first thing in the morning or catch them when they’ve just clocked off for the day.
Play about with it to see what’s working and what isn’t.
"Eventually you’ll come to an understanding of the optimal time to go live."
Of course, there is another school of thought, Rob points out, that suggests your audience can be trained and likens this to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
"If you decide that you just want to go live at noon, your time, you’ll catch an audience that is engaged at noon."
This is a great point, yes, you have to find what works for your analytics, your audience and their different time zones, but you also have to decide what works for you, your other responsibilities and your schedule.
Why Multi-Streaming Can Help You Find Your Audience
Listen at [41:25]
One thing livestreamers can struggle with is knowing exactly where to go live — after all, there are so many options, from Facebook and LinkedIn (and LinkedIn Live if you have it!) to YouTube or Twitter. So how do you choose?
Rob reckons multistreaming is your best option if you’re not sure where your audience can be found. By live streaming to multiple platforms simultaneously, then checking your analytics, you’ll soon see where you get the biggest audience and the best engagement.
When you do this, ‘another thing to pay attention to is the questions, and the quality of the questions.
Because, for example, you may find that the questions coming from your YouTube audience are very complex, that they really understand what you do and how your products and services work. But the questions from your Facebook audience might be more basic questions about your industry. So that also helps you with the content you’re going to create.
In this example, then you might want to create content for your Facebook audience that’s more beginner-focused, top-of-funnel type stuff, whereas on YouTube, you’ll get down to more complex stuff, maybe getting more aggressive with your calls-to-action and your purchase questions.’
Rob’s Promotional Checklist
Listen at [43:45]
With planning playing such a key role in successful live streaming, I’d love to know how Rob factors planning into the promotional stage of the process.
And it won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that he has a checklist he swears by.
He uses Trello to keep every part of the process running smoothly, including creating thumbnails and sending guests links and promotional copy they can use to promote the show.
Not only does this make it easy for guests to share your show it makes it easier for you to remain consistent with your promotion.
Of course, your checklist will evolve over time as you get more experience, make mistakes, figure out how to avoid those mistakes next time around, and gradually get more efficient at every stage of your livestreaming process. As Rob says:
"It’s a living, breathing thing. Every week we’ll add something or remove something.
And the great thing is that, as your business grows, if you decide to take on a VA or a marketer, you already have a process in place that they can just step into."
Rob’s Top Tech
Listen at [48:50]
So, if you’re a beginner livestreamer, absolutely itching to get started after reading Rob’s tips, do you need a tonne of fancy equipment before you can get going?
Not at all, according to Rob. He started out with just his laptop before investing in his Canon M50 DSLR camera but if you do want to upgrade from your laptop camera, he recommends having a look at the Logitech range of cameras as a more affordable option than the Canon.
When it comes to audio, again Rob doesn’t think you need to go all out right at the start with expensive mics but you should, at the very least, invest in a headset to ensure decent quality sound in your videos, rather than relying on your laptop mic picking everything up.
For the promotional side of things, it’s a case of less is more. Rob and his team are huge fans of AgoraPulse and use it for all of their scheduling and use Easil and Canva for creating those all-important promotional thumbnails.
This Episode's Sponsors
This episode is sponsored by Content10X and StreamYard
Watch Episode 79
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Who is Rob Balasabas?
Rob Balasabas is the Brand Evangelist at TubeBuddy.com, and speaks at various conferences, summits, podcasts and live stream interviews.
He creates a lot of content on his own channels, primarily on LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
Rob shares a lot of video marketing & creation strategies, live-streaming tips, as well as tools & software reviews. Basically, videos to help you, the content creator.
When he’s not working, Rob is a husband and a dad. He loves to travel, drink coffee, and explore new places with his family.