Q&A and converse with your audience on livestream

1. Define your goals and target audience for your interactive livestream by considering who you want to interact with and why.

For example: Build brand trust by answering tough questions in your niche Humanize your brand by hosting an Ask Me Anything interview with the owner Learn more about your audience by interacting with them on livestream Increase sales by answering questions about a new launch While most goals benefit from a public livestream, consider limiting access to the livestream through a password or lead generation form if your goal is to nurture or delight a specific pool of leads or customers, like holding a private livestream Q&A for premium members, for example.

2. Plan the livestream by choosing a topic that your target audience wants to know more about, creating an agenda, and choosing a host.

Choose a topic that fits your livestream goals. For example, if you want to introduce a new product, the topic may be a Q&A about the product’s features. If the goal is more general, like increasing brand awareness on Twitter, research topics or guests that will interest your target audience, like an Ask Me Anything livestream with a notable industry leader. Choose a host for your livestream that is comfortable with live video, engaging on camera, relevant to the livestream topic, and knowledgeable on the topic. The host, or interviewed guest if the format is an interview, may be your brand owner, a representative from a specific team in your company, an influencer, or an industry guest. Create an outline with any talking points you need to cover, like a guest introduction or product features, and notes on any questions you expect to be asked during the stream. The audience will guide some of the livestream.

3. Promote your livestream to the social channels your target audience uses, like Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as your email list, asking your audience to start thinking of questions on the topic.

Try to promote the livestream about a week in advance, a few days before, and then again on the day of. Introduce the topic and host and ask the audience to start thinking of questions or to submit them ahead of time to a specific place, like in the post’s comment section or in a question sticker on Instagram Stories. For example, video game designers Beasts of Maravilla Island promoted their livestream on Twitter with an eye-catching graphic that contained the date, time, purpose of the stream, tagged special guests, and asked the audience to submit questions in the comments before the stream.

4. Choose a livestreaming platform that supports Q&As and audience interaction.

Look for features that improve audience interaction and facilitate discussion, like the ability to choose a specific audience comment or question to pin, add a comment moderator, share a call to action on a lower-third, host polls, and multistream to reach audiences on multiple social media platforms. For example: StreamYard (free option) Vimeo Enterprise Restream

5. Pick a colleague to act as moderator during the stream to help maintain a welcoming environment, guide conversation, and keep the chat on topic. Set ground rules for moderation in advance.

Most livestreaming platforms let you assign a moderator who has control over the chat: Block a commentator if they are harassing anyone in the chat or using offensive language. Remind the chat to stay on topic if there are separate or irrelevant debates taking place. Tell the host about an important question or comment that they missed. Turn on Slow Mode on YouTube livestreams to limit how many comments a person can make in a set amount of time, which helps prevent chat spamming.

6. To give time for late-comers to enter the livestream and to make the audience feel included, spend the first one or two minutes thanking your audience for being there.

Thank several people in the chat by name and encourage them to start thinking of questions about the livestream topic. Include a call to action banner that asks viewers to leave a question in the chat.

7. Engage with your audience after introducing the topic by asking the audience for their thoughts and responding to comments by name.

Follow your outline at the beginning of the livestream to introduce the host, any guests, and the topic. For improved audience interactivity, make sure the host can easily see the chat during the livestream. Some ways to engage with your audience: Read a comment that you think helps guide the conversation or poses an interesting point. Say the person’s name and pin the comment to your screen. Get their opinions by posing a closed question that they can respond with yes or no.  Poll your audience using a premium livestream platform’s tools, or ask them to comment their answer out of specific choices. Ask them to comment #replay if they are watching on the replay.

8. Open the chat to questions and pin the chosen question on the screen so that viewers can follow along.

If you asked the audience to submit questions before the show so that you could prepare answers ahead of time, answer those questions first. Say who asked the question unless they ask to be left anonymous. Choose questions from the chat that you feel comfortable answering. Provide honest and thoughtful answers, to the best of your ability. Have the moderator let you know if you missed a highly upvoted or important question.

9. Tell your audience where they can go to continue the conversation after the livestream and then end the event.

Set a timeframe for the livestream, like one hour for example, to help keep conversation relevant and useful. Provide a call to action at the end of the livestream, like subscribe to your channel. Tell them where they can find more information about the livestream topic, like your FAQ page, on the guest’s Twitter, or your website.

10. Follow up with your audience by sharing highlights from the stream or sending an email.