Best Practices for Social Media Live Events

While we have stepped into the new year of 2021, there is one trend that will not be going away anytime soon: social media live events. Live videos provide a way for an authentic connection to your target audience, and they are especially imperative with the world still battling COVID-19 and as a result, holding fewer in-person events. Live events provide a way for your followers to interact with your brand on a personal level and allow you to reach a larger number of people.  Now, let’s dive into a more in-depth discussion on live options, how to promote them, and how to keep people engaged while watching. 

Best Practices for Social Media Live Events

An Introduction to Live Streaming

While there’s a myriad of platforms one can live stream, there are six major social channels commonly used for live events: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and TikTok.  Below are a few notes on each channels’ live capabilities.

Facebook Live

  • Lives on Facebook remain on your page or profile for viewers who missed the live event to view.
  • Videos may show up on a user’s news feed during and after the social media live event. The platform has also revised its algorithm to show more lives in real-time.
  • Your followers may also get a notification when your event goes live, promoting a larger reach.
  • Facebook Live videos receive 3X higher engagement than ones no longer live.
  • Facebook Live videos receive 5X more engagement than traditional image posts.
  • Facebook provides metrics for your live videos such as peak live viewers, total views, average watch time, people reached, and audience demographics.


Facebook Live Example

Instagram Live

  • Instagram Live can boost your discoverability on the app: each time you go live “your followers receive an in-app notification, and your Live will be bumped to the front of their Instagram Stories feed.”
  • Your followers also automatically receive a push notification letting them know you are going live with your event and increasing your visibility.
  • Lives stay on your Instagram Stories for 24 hours, allowing your content to be viewed by a larger number of followers and potentially leading to higher view counts.
  • These live videos can be viewed on desktop as well as be saved to your IGTV so that it’s available to your audience after the 24-hour period.
  • As with some other platforms, you can automatically hide offensive comments and manually filter comments that contain specific words or phrases.


Twitter Live

  • Twitter live video is powered by Periscope.
  • On the platform, you can create a description of the Live that will also show as a Tweet.
  • Live videos on Twitter will then automatically be posted as a Tweet once you go live, where followers can then comment and send hearts during the event.
  • You can discover and watch live videos from your Home timeline, notifications, search, and trends.


YouTube Live

  • YouTube live streams are found in the Live section on the left-hand side of the homepage.
  • Users most likely to see your live video on their homepage are those who have recently watched your videos, those who have watched similar videos, and those who are channel subscribers.
  • There are two main styles of live streams: simple and customized.
    • A simple live stream is conducted via webcam (or if you have more than 1,000 subscribers, you can go live through your smartphone).
    • A customized live stream is defined through the use of an encoder—”a piece of software that allows you to share your screen and use multiple cameras and microphones”.


LinkedIn Live

  • LinkedIn Lives are being piloted by the platform. However, members, organizations, and pages can apply for the capability.
  • LinkedIn also gives the option for users to facilitate a LinkedIn Event – a private event only attendees can view streamed directly to them in real-time.
  • On average, LinkedIn Live videos get 7X more reactions and 24X more comments than traditional video produced by the same broadcasters.
  • Beyond engagement and awareness metrics, LinkedIn also provides Audience Firmographics which include top pages, job titles, and locations that viewed the event – a metric system unique to the platform.


TikTok Live

  • TikTok followed other social channel trends and launched their live feature in 2019.
  • TikTok Live is a great tool if your brand’s goal is to reach millennials and Gen Zers – TikTok has 800 million active users, the majority in those two demographics.
  • Users are required to have a minimum of 1,000 followers on the platform in order to leverage live streaming capabilities.


Promoting Your Social Media Live Events

You can promote your live pre- or post-event. You want to be able to hype up your event as well as give your followers ample time to prepare and get the word out by sharing your promotions. And since most lives are now available to watch more than 24 hours after the event has ended, you want to provide ways to store the video, repurpose it, and make it easily accessible to fans in the future. Here are a few ways you can promote your social media live event:

  • Consider how you normally reach your followers: traditional posts, stories, and tweets. Use these posts to provide details of your event and encourage fans to leave questions in the comments to further engage with them.
  • Do you have an email subscriber list? Send an email! Email’s open rate across industries is 22.86% and has a click-through-rate of 3.71%.
  • Countdown Stickers: Instagram Stories feature a countdown sticker which can detail the time and date of your live. Bonus: When followers tap the sticker, they can choose to be reminded when the countdown ends!
  • Provide exclusive content. This may include teasers to build hype or behind-the-scenes access to your venue, speakers, etc..
  • Create a branded hashtag. Keep it short and sweet so followers can easily remember it and find related content.
  • Create an event page on Facebook showcasing the details of your event.
  • Boost your post and run an ad campaign similar to your other Facebook videos and posts after the event.
  • Utilize audience and geo-targeting features to get your recorded live video in front of a larger but still relevant audience.


Instagram Live Announcement Example

Keeping Your Followers Engaged

After promoting your social media live event, you will want to keep your viewers engaged. When your followers are engaged, they’re more likely to be interactive during the event as well as more likely to talk about it and share content from it afterward. This comes from providing value to your followers and encouraging participation throughout the event. So how do you run a live that’s engaging and valuable?

  • Encourage followers to ask questions! This gives you the opportunity to answer them live.
  • On the other hand, ask questions to your followers and let them reply in the comments, facilitating conversation.
  • Include captions in your live videos for those watching without sound or as a way for people who joined late to catch up on what they’d missed.
  • Integrate visual aids that are unique and on-brand.
  • Broadcast your live for at least 10 minutes.  This gives people more time to join the live and share it with their friends.
  • Have a clear content plan. When planning your event, organize it to have “an introduction, focal point, and conclusion”. Think about what specific messages and ideas you want to cover during the live and know your objectives. This allows you to plan your content around achieving these goals.
  • Once you’ve outlined your objectives, consider your options on the design and atmosphere:
    • Fun and enjoyable: Happy Hour with BYOB, Q&A with Special Guests, etc..
    • Consistent and reliable: an ongoing series (daily, weekly, or monthly) that keeps followers excited for the next one.
  • Finally, end your live with a call to action.  Whether it be a call to subscribe, purchase a product, or view a website, give viewers a realistic action that helps your event achieve its goal.


Facebook Live Example

Why You Should Use Live

Now that we’ve covered the basics of social media live events and how to run them, why should you use platforms’ live capabilities? Wordstream offers four convincing reasons that we at Ignite Social Media agree with:

  1. To Connect with Your Audience in the Most Genuine, Human Way Possible
  2. To Answer Audience Questions in Real Time
  3. To Showcase an Event to People Who Couldn’t Attend in Real Life
  4. To Show Off Your Company Culture


82% of adults prefer live videos over social media posts. Give your followers something most similar to face-to-face interaction as possible. Encourage them to become brand advocates by giving them all access to your events. Finally, keep them engaged and coming back by providing an experience authentic to your brand and purpose.

Keep yourself up-to-date on the latest live streaming capabilities as well as what’s new and trending in the world of social media marketing by subscribing to our bi-weekly e-newsletter, Social You Should Know, below.

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