Social Media Spotlight: Final of a Four-part Series
Some folks aren’t so lucky as to be able to travel to Las Vegas this month for the SHOT Show. You can reach more prospects in real-time and continue to reap the marketing benefits of a video. Leveraging live video to increase market share requires a serious plan of action, though. No one knows this better than Traci Browne.
The author of “The Social Trade Show” has graciously provided us with a series of blog posts that we’ll be posting each week for the next four weeks prior to the 2014 SHOT Show.
I’ll also be giving away the final free copies of Traci’s book this week. The first two exhibitors (and you need to be a SHOT Show exhibitor to qualify) to send me an email (be sure to include your mailing address) requesting a copy will receive one. Ready. Set. Go!
How To Live Stream Your Booth Presentations
You put so much effort into planning your in-booth presentations, why limit who is able to participate? Your biggest potential customers might be sitting back in the office wishing they were at the show. Well, invite them in and turn your presentation into a hybrid event.
Two Different Audiences
It’s not enough to stick a camera in front of your demo area and hit record. That’s not an engaging demo, that’s C-SPAN. You want to deliver an experience to your audience watching from their home or office that keeps them engaged. You do this by enabling your two audiences (the ones sitting in your booth and those who are at their computer) to participate as one.
You need to provide your in-booth audience with a comfortable place to view your presentation. You also need to design your environment, so that everyone can see what is taking place and hear and interact with the speaker.
Your virtual audience is no different. Of course you cannot choose their seating but you can make sure they are comfortable by providing and easy to use viewing platform, a way to interact with the presenter (chat function which is monitored by someone in the booth to relay questions for the speaker), and a camera that that follows the action.
You’ll need a streaming provider. These are the folks who capture your video feed, compress it, and stream it over the Internet to the viewing platform. There are free services available such as Ustream. A low cost option is Livestream. After that there are many different providers in the higher-end range.
You will need a viewing platform. A viewing platform is basically the website that your audience goes to view your presentation and interact with your presenters and other virtual attendees. Ustream and Livestream provide both the live stream and the viewing platform.
You will need an A/V or production provider. These are the people behind the camera and those directing the production. This can be an outside company who specializes in this service or Joe from accounting who videos the Pop Warner games on the weekends.
Fine Tuning With Backgrounds, Lighting, and Speaker Tips
The two most important things you need to make sure are covered are sound and lighting. Run a test over the live stream to make sure your virtual audience can hear the speaker clearly and see everything that is happening. All your efforts will be wasted with a video that is too dark and sound that is garbled.
Beyond that pay attention to the background. The cleaner the backdrop behind your presenters, the better for your virtual audience. They are seeing the presentation as a flat two-dimensional image. So that logo positioned behind the presenter becomes a distracting growth coming out of the side of his head. The seam that is barely noticeable to the face-to-face audience becomes a distracting line projecting from the top of the presenter’s head.
Let your presenter know what color the backdrop will be so they can dress appropriately. If they match the backdrop your virtual audience may be frightened by what appears to be a floating head and hands doing the demo. Also, let them know a white dress becomes washed out on camera and is hard to look at. Navy blue and black suits lose their detail and become blobs. Fine patterns like herringbone and checks produce a wavy effect on camera.
And if you are shooting in HD it is considerate to let your presenter know. They may want to apply a bit of cover-up and dab some powder on oily skin, which is enhanced in high definition. Be sure they understand they have an audience online and remind them to look into the camera every now and again so the virtual audience does not feel ignored Especially when they are taking a question from the virtual audience.
Plain and simple you are going to need a dedicated T1 line in your booth if you want to create a professional, clear broadcast. You cannot depend on the show’s wireless connection to get you through a broadcast. The bandwidth is not intended for uploading video and your live stream could drop in and out.
To create an interactive experience for your online viewers you may want to have a virtual emcee. This person is present at the event and not only introduces your presenters, but also represents your virtual audience as a whole. The virtual emcee becomes the voice of your virtual audience as well as your virtual audience’s eyes and ears in the room.
She is the bridge that connects your virtual audience to the face-to-face event. She’ll be the one taking questions from your virtual audience and relaying them to the speaker. This can be a professional or someone with an outgoing friendly personality from your company. A good virtual emcee is friendly and easygoing and also able to multi-task.
Instructions On How To Use The Platform
Make sure your virtual audience has all the information they need to participate in your live-streamed presentation. They should know what time it starts and when it will end. Also include instructions for the viewing platform including who to contact for technical problems and how to use the chat function. If you are using a Twitter hashtag be sure to let the audience both in your booth and at home know what it so they can participate that way as well.
Include the presenters’ names, titles, bios and contact information. If the platform has the capability you may want to include a graphic called a lower third that runs at the bottom of the viewing window and tells the audience who is speaking at any given moment. Don’t just flash it at the beginning of the presentation. Include it throughout intermittently.
What To Broadcast
An easier question would be what not to broadcast. The world is your oyster; don’t be afraid to try something new. In-booth presentations that can go virtual are (but certainly not limited to):
- Product launches
- Product demos
- Industry education and interviews with thought leaders
- Q&A sessions
I hope you can see an excellent way to get more bang out of your trade show budget is to expand what you are already doing for your face-to-face audience by including the virtual audience.
But this is not something you just tack on at the last minute. This audience must be considered throughout the planning process. Presenters need to be prepped and the environment needs to be designed to accommodate extra equipment while not taking away from your in-person audience.
Author of “The Social Trade Show – Leveraging Social Media and Virtual Events to Connect With Your Customers
Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.