How to Crush Your First LinkedIn Live Stream, According to Hootsuite

September 6, 2019

Editor's Note: This post was authored by Christina Newberry, a freelance writer specializing in travel, lifestyle, and digital marketing.

LinkedIn Live is just a few months old, making it a fresh and unexpected way to connect with your professional community and drive engagement. As an early adopter of live streaming on LinkedIn, Hootsuite has learned some key strategies for making the most of this exciting new tool.

Before you can dive in, you’ll need to apply for access. Once you’re approved, follow this 7-step plan to make your first LinkedIn Live engaging, effective, and stress-free. 

1. Choose the right streaming tool

LinkedIn Live broadcasting requires the use of a third-party streaming tool. Hootsuite uses Wirecast, which offers full-featured video production. If you’re just starting out, Switcher Studio is a great, intuitive option for iOS devices and desktop streaming.  

Both of these tools, and all of the others compatible with LinkedIn Live, offer free trials. Before you commit to a paid plan, take your preferred streaming tool for a test-drive to make sure it meets all of your broadcasting needs. 

2. Prepare and test your equipment

Whether you’re using a full video production studio or just your phone, take the time to ensure your equipment is giving you the results you want. Here’s a quick checklist to run through before you start to record:

  • Test your audio. Make sure voices are clear with minimal background noise. An external microphone (even the one in your earbuds) can help. 

  • Check your lighting. Is it too dark? Too bright? Consistent across the frame? Test your lighting with guests in place so you can see the light on their faces. 

  • Find the right camera angle. Make sure you can see all your guests, and that its relatively easy for them to alternate between looking at each other and at the camera. 

  • Test your Internet connection. Spotty wifi can lead to choppy video, or even a lost connection. If you’re unsure about the quality of your wifi, plug into an ethernet connection. 

3. Choose your LinkedIn Live topic and guests

LinkedIn Live videos should feature unique content that speaks directly to your professional network. This is likely different from the content you’re creating for your other social channels.

Here are some subjects that have worked really well for Hootsuite on LinkedIn Live: 

  • Partner announcements

  • Q&A sessions with various Hootsuite teams

  • Interviews with experts from both inside and outside the company

  • Sharing data from Hootsuite research and reports

  • Hiring initiatives

When recruiting new commercial sales executives, Hootsuite gathered existing senior members of the sales team to host a LinkedIn Live video highlighting the benefits of working for the company. 

The live video saw 11 times more engagement than similar LinkedIn posts that did not incorporate live video. 

4. Write and rehearse your talking points

Unlike other types of LinkedIn videos, a live broadcast should always feel like it’s happening in the moment—but it shouldn’t feel like you’re winging it. You don’t want to read line-by-line from a script, but it’s helpful to have a list of talking points to refer to so you can make sure you stay on track. 

Before you go live, run a practice session to make sure you, and any guests you might have, are comfortable and get a sense of how much time you can fill with the talking points you’ve planned. 

5. Promote your LinkedIn Live in advance

If you want people to tune in to your live stream, you have to let them know it’s coming. A few days before your live broadcast, post a teaser message on LinkedIn letting your followers know when to expect your broadcast. 

Tell them what you’ll be talking about, and what’s in it for them if they tune in. Will they get insights from a niche expert? Gain access to new statistics or research?  

Use your other social channels to let all followers know about your live event, too, and make sure your LinkedIn Page itself is up to date. 

6. Write compelling copy to accompany your video

Don’t get so excited about your live stream that you neglect the copy that accompanies it. Include relevant hashtags to help people find your content— especially #LinkedInLive.

End your copy with a strong call to action (CTA) that tells viewers how they can take action on what they’ve just seen in your video. 

In this LinkedIn Live video, Hootsuite’s Senior Manager, Content, interviews Simon Kemp, author of the much-anticipated Digital in 2019 report. 

Despite technical difficulties that caused the video to run in two parts (remember: check your signal!), the video got 13 times more engagement than a regular LinkedIn post, and helped drive traffic to the report thanks to its strong CTA. 

7. Make the most of your time on air

It’s time to go live! Here are some ways to maximize your efforts:

  • Engagement: Hootsuite has seen high levels of quality engagement with LinkedIn Live videos. Since it’s a challenge to deal with comments and questions while speaking live to the camera, it’s a good idea to have a dedicated person keeping an eye on your feed. They can answer some comments directly and pass the best questions on to you so you can answer them live.

  • Branding: Have subtle branded objects in place (Hootsuite sometimes uses an Owly doll or branded mug) or use a small logo watermark.

  • Timing: It may take a few minutes for people to tune into your live stream. Broadcasting for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes will give you the best audience size. Make sure to reintroduce your topic and your guests from time to time so people tuning in late can catch up. 

This LinkedIn Live with Meagan Tanner, Head of Strategic Partnerships for Google My Business across the Americas, ran nearly 30 minutes, allowing plenty of time for people to notice the live stream and join in. 

The result was 19 times more engagement than a standard LinkedIn post. 

Would you also like to see that kind of boost in engagement? Of course you would. Request access to LinkedIn Live and give it a try. For more insights on running your first live stream, read our comprehensive guide: How to Use LinkedIn Live.