Have a spare five million years? That’s how long it would take you to watch all the videos shared online each month! According to Cisco and this Hootsuite blog post, video will account for 80 percent of global Internet traffic by 2019. Facebook has reported that people watch more than 100 million hours of video daily on its platform. Over at Periscope, people consumer 110 years’ worth of video every day. Needless to say, video is becoming an increasingly important part of any content plan.

The good news is streaming apps such as Periscope and Facebook Live allow you to easily connect with your audience via video. Back in June, UNC’s social media team shared tips for live streaming with its community of campus communicators. While Facebook Live and Periscope have some unique qualities of their own, a number of best practices apply to both:

Have the right equipment

When preparing to do a live stream, it’s important to make sure you have the right equipment. A strong, steady Wi-Fi connection is crucial. If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, a 4G connection will do. Depending on the length of your live stream, it’s also a good idea to have a tripod to ensure a non-shaky feed.

We have also chosen to invest in microphones for live stream interviews to add a professional polish to our videos, whether we’re talking to a student on campus or interviewing a faculty member about their research.

Build anticipation

If you know you are going to stream live, build up anticipation for the event. When possible, let your audience know ahead of time that you plan a live feed. You’ll be surprised the difference a heads-up can make in terms of your live viewer count.

Have a good description

Before you start streaming in either Facebook Live or Periscope, you have the option to provide a description of what your video will showcase. Take advantage of this opportunity to draw your audience in with a descriptive, engaging summary of what they’ll see.

Put on a good show

Like any story, a good live-stream should capture a cool moment — one that’s filled with action. With both Facebook Live and Periscope, you can switch between the rear- and forward-facing cameras. On Periscope, you even have the ability to doodle on the video, allowing you to literally draw your audience’s attention to specific things on their screen.

Be responsive/interactive

One of the fun things about live streaming is the ability to receive live feedback from your audience. Your audience may ask you questions about the topic at hand, want you to zoom in closer on the subject or turn the orientation of the camera. Whatever they’re asking you to do, be sure you listen and answer or accommodate if possible. This includes the option for either verbal responses or the help of a colleague who can type responses to questions in the comments on the video.

Live streaming is a great way to bring your audience closer to what’s happening on your part of campus. Whether it’s a five-minute pop-up performance or an hour-long presentation, live feeds can be an important cornerstone of your content plan.

Blog post compiled by UNC social media community leader Deseré Cross.

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