Conference Live Streaming

Posting pictures after an event can engage your attendees once they return home, but what about engaging a larger audience—both present and remote—during your event? Here are some sites/apps that make it easier than ever to broadcast events, like major announcements, keynotes, breakout sessions, and panel discussions.

Periscope (Twitter)

Periscope LogoIf you’re on Twitter then you might have seen or heard of Periscope, an app that connects with Twitter to broadcast live video from from a smartphone, GoPro, or even a drone. Named the Apple App Store’s Best App of 2015, Periscope reinvigorated social platforms to focus on live content and even classify it higher in their algorithms. According to their website, Periscope is “the closest thing to teleportation” available.

Audience feedback can be sent to the content creator in real time via comments and heart images, which disappear after a few moments after appearing in the lower, right-hand corner of the video. Moderation of chat spam and abuse is managed by the audience watching each broadcast. Videos can either be saved indefinitely (now the default) or automatically deleted 24 hours hours after broadcast.

How to use Periscope for a speaker session:

  • Send out a tweet letting people know that you are broadcasting live. (Be sure to use the conference/session topic or location in the title of your broadcast).
  • Respond to in-app audience questions as they are asked, or write them down and have the speaker answer them at the end of the session.

Facebook Live

facebook-live-logo-vector-download-400x400Leave it to Facebook to quickly adopt a social trend and work incredibly hard to outdo other platforms. With Facebook Live, you can broadcast from your phone and your friends can comment and react using Facebook Reactions that slide across your video. Once you go live on Facebook, the platform’s algorithm places your video at the top of your friends’ news feeds, which can be huge for your live content and page. Once you end your live streaming session the video will be available for playback on the profile page of the account you used to film. You can even “boost” the video after it has been posted to increase views, likes, and comments.

How to get the most out of Facebook Live:

  • Thank users as they join and try to answer as many comments as possible.
  • Include as many social-media influencers into your stream as possible (with interviews, Q&A with live viewers, networking session footage, etc.) and tag them.
  • Use your conference hashtag in the title of the broadcast.
  • Keep it shorter. Facebook prioritizes live video higher in their news-feed algorithm, so unlike Periscope, many of your viewers probably were not expecting to see your content when they signed on. Keep it short to keep their attention.

Youtube Connect (Google)

YouTubeYouTube has been the internet’s video giant for years. Owned by Google, it makes sense for them to get in on all the live-broadcasting action. Live broadcasting is definitely not new on YouTube (it’s been available to certain users since 2011), but Google has been working to build out increased live streaming functionality for its app to compete with Periscope and others. This app update has not yet been released, but many are counting on it to up the ante for other live streaming apps.

How to increase engagement using YouTube:

  • Classify your videos into public playlists per conference/event.
  • You can record for longer periods of time on YouTube and still maintain viewership (unlike Facebook).
  • Embed the video into your own website.

We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to live-streaming products, focusing on the ones we think will get you the highest engagement for your time and energy. There are plenty of other apps out there, though, many of which might be a better fit. Leave a comment and share with us if you use something else that has brought you great results or have additional questions about live streaming.

Think Like Your Attendees

Dave Lutz, over at the Midcourse Corrections blog, lays out six really good ways to improve your conference committee. Here at ProposalSpace, we always try to see things through the eyes of our users, so we especially liked his recommendation to “Walk in the attendee’s shoes”:

Many conference committees evaluate potential sessions and speakers using more information than the attendees will see. Attendees make the decision to attend based on session title, session description, and learning objectives. Embrace a blind review process. It will help eliminate personal agendas and challenge the committee to evaluate the program as a paying attendee would.

Live Streaming via YouTube

YouTube has announced a new feature (not available to everyone yet) that allows events to stream proceedings live:

http://sites.google.com/site/ytpartnercommunications/Announcements/youtubelive

It looks like YouTube is planning on rolling out the new feature throughout 2011. We’re not exactly sure how it works, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on!

Strategies for New & Return Attendees

Jeff Hurt recently posted something on Velvet Chainsaw’s Midcourse Correction blog that caught our attention. Basically, he points out how past attendees and prospective attendees employ different criteria when deciding whether to attend your conference and recommends unique marketing strategies for the two groups.

Past attendees are already biased in your favor (assuming they found your event valuable). They know what your conference is all about. You just need to remind them of the experience and demonstrate how the next conference can build on it.

Prospective attendees, on the other hand, are typically biased against you. They need to know why your event is different from other conferences competing for their time and money. Your challenge with them is trust. And who better to build trust than past attendees? Make your previous attendees your “salespeople” by giving them the tools they need to promote your event and ways for prospective attendees to connect with them.

Something similar could be said of presenters. You have two audiences—past presenters and prospective presenters—with distinct sets of needs. Your communications strategy should reflect those needs.

Past presenters already understand the value of presenting at your conference. You don’t need to sell them on the benefits. They are more concerned with the process. Make it clear to them that the process will be as easy—or easier—than the last time.

Prospective presenters don’t care so much about the process. They don’t have a point of reference, so it’s all new to them. For them, your focus should be on the benefits of presenting.

You already understand that attendees and presenters have different needs and tailor your marketing and communications strategies accordingly. So why not do the same for loyal and prospective participants? Their needs may overlap, but they are not identical. As Jeff puts it, “Segmented marketing strategies work.”

Tips for Effective Conference Proposals  

We just came across some excellent advice from Alessandro Angelini for how to create and present the best possible paper for an educational conference, including how to:

  • Find a suitable conference
  • Write a strong abstract
  • Write the paper
  • Prepare the presentation
  • Present the paper

You can find it at http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2010/11/03/angelini

Why Your Conference Needs an Official Twitter #Hashtag  

Attendees are going to tweet about your conference. You can either let them self-organize (bad idea) or you can help them in their efforts simply by creating and promoting an official hashtag (great idea).

Creating a conference hashtag is super simple. (So simple, in fact, you might want to take it a step further and create hashtags for individual sessions.) The best part? Hashtags are free and can be created without ever having to log in to—or even have—a Twitter account.

Attendees will benefit from an official hashtag by:

  • Having an easy way to collect and organize notes. (See our post about TweetNotes for a tool that makes organizing conference tweets even easier.)
  • Having access to everyone’s tweets in one convenient location.
  • Continuing discussions after the conference (or session).
  • Being able to report problems in real time.
  • Receiving conference announcements in real time.
  • Receiving promotions or other announcements from exhibitors in real time.

Creating an official hashtag is a big help for your attendees, but to get the most out of it, you also need to promote it. So be sure to place it on the conference website, on signage at the venue, and on slides before presentations. Your attendees will thank you.

Tweet Archive  

For anyone who wants to capture and archive tweets from a conference, you might want to check out TweetNotes.

What makes the app so special? For one thing, it’s free. It also lets you:

  • Add context by incorporating content, like slides and handouts.
  • Organize multiple sessions under one meeting space.
  • Visualize participants.
  • Embed in blogs, Web sites, etc.
  • Archive activity for future reference.

The developers say they’re planning a lot more features, including additional collaboration tools. We’re not sure how they plan to monetize it, so it might not be the best option for mission-critical applications, but definitely worth looking into.

*Edit 7/26/15: It appears TweetNotes is no longer online. If this is either not the case or you wish to share other applications to assist with organizing, engaging, or managing twitter, than please feel free to use the comments section.