How to Use Youtube Live to Boost Community Engagement: A Step-by-Step Guide

While video is one of the most powerful (and popular) forms of communication, Youtube Live takes the power of video and kicks it up a notch. When you live stream on Youtube, you take static online video and transform it into an interactive and engaging experience—something that connects people and fosters human interaction across miles and cultures and time zones. 

As with most digital platforms, however, there are a few things worth knowing before you open up the Youtube Live floodgates. To create a successful live streaming experience on Youtube, and boost community engagement, read on for tips, tricks, and more! This brief but useful step-by-step guide to using Youtube Live in your Mobilize community will help you create the live stream you’ve been dreaming of, as well as retain and engage your community members. 

Enjoy!

How to Use Youtube Live & Create Successful Streaming in Your Community

New to Youtube Live? After you create your Youtube channel, setting up Youtube Live is as easy as a click of a button. Seriously!

Create and Verify Your Youtube Channel:

Before you can get started, you’ll need to create and verify your Youtube channel. Once you do, activating your YouTube Live stream account may then take up to 24 hours. Note: Youtube Live in Mobilize is only available on desktop. 

You can even create a Youtube account and verify right now (it’s simple, promise).

Before you go Live with Youtube…

Decide how you want to record your live stream event.  

While the easiest, most convenient option is to use the camera on your computer, you can also lose image quality this way. In order to achieve the best image quality for your live stream, you might want to consider streaming software, also known as an encoder. With an encoder, you can stream like a professional. 
Not sure which streaming software to use? Learn more about the best encoders for live streaming here.

How to Prepare for Youtube Live

Why is preparation the most important step in live streaming? There is no turning back once you go live! You can’t edit or redo a live video, so it’s important to be prepared and make sure you and your team practice beforehand. We suggest doing a mock live stream with one of your team members to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Having a goal in mind and agenda is also important when preparing to go live on Youtube. What do you hope to get out of the live stream and what is its purpose? If you’re hosting a live AMA session you’ll want to clearly communicate that to members. Writing a brief and having common questions on hand can also come in handy. 

Promote:  

If you want people to attend your Youtube live session or event, you’ll need to promote it! Of course, you’ll want to promote it in your community, but you might also want to use the live event as a way to recruit new members. Posting social ads and sponsoring posts are great ways to drive potential new members towards your community and create a well-attended Youtube live stream experience.

Prepare a Proper Background for Your Live Streaming Events

We’ve seen some interesting backgrounds on Zoom this past year. Some resembled spaceships, bookshelves, and relaxing oceanside vistas, while others just looked like someone forgot their camera was on. Before you go live, always check to see what is lingering behind you on the screen. Remember, you cannot edit or re-do a Youtube Live video—follow these pre-flight guidelines before takeoff.  

  1. Video Check: Do a test run right before you go live. Make sure you’re in the frame and your background is free from anything distracting, inappropriate or private. 
  2. Lighting & Audio: When doing a video check, it’s also wise to check your audio. While you’re at it, you might as well check the lighting too. Make sure you are well lit and try to avoid shadows. 
  3. Go Live in the Community: Always test the user experience in Mobilize before going live. Can you see and hear yourself on the platform? Does the live link work? Bringing in a colleague or team member to help test is always a good idea.  
  4. Internet Connection: A bad WiFi connection can happen to ANYONE. Sometimes it’s out of your control, but it’s best to test your connection prior to going live. 
  5. Notifications: Turn OFF all notifications. Text messages from Mom, emails, slack notifications, or anything that could pop up on your screen. Your audience will see it. 
  6. Water: Don’t forget that ice cold cup of water in case of a sudden cough attack. 

Youtube Privacy Settings: 

Youtube offers 3 different privacy settings for live streaming. Here’s an in depth overview from Google the great.  

Public Youtube Setting: 

Anyone at YouTube can see public videos. They can also be shared with anyone using YouTube. They’re posted on your channel when you upload them, and show up in search results and related video lists. 

Private Youtube Setting: 

Private Youtube videos and playlists can only be seen by you and whomever you choose. Your private videos won’t appear in the videos tab of your Youtube channel homepage. They also won’t show up in YouTube’s search results. YouTube systems and human reviewers, however, may review private videos for ad suitability, copyright, and other abuse prevention mechanisms.

Learn how to share a private video on Youtube.

Unlisted Youtube Videos: 

While unlisted Youtube videos and playlists can be seen and shared by anyone with the link, they will not appear in the videos tab of your channel homepage. They also won’t show up in YouTube’s search results unless someone adds your unlisted video to a public playlist.

You can share an unlisted video’s URL. Those with whom you share the video don’t need a Google Account to see the video. Anyone with the link can also reshare it.

For the most part, here at Mobilize we use the unlisted setting for community-only events and the public setting when we want to reach a larger audience or share the live stream more broadly.

When it Comes to Youtube Live Streaming, Timing is everything

We all know the saying, but it’s true—timing truly is everything (with most everything). 

Do you know when your members are most active in your community? It’s easy to guess, but if you really want to pinpoint the time and day you’ll need a BI tool like Mobilize Data Studio. Not ready for advanced community analytics? Here are a few other ways to determine when you should go live in your community: 

  • Monitor posts over a period of time to determine what days of the week get the most activity. 
  • Poll your community! Provide a few options and let them decide. 
  • Consider time zones. If you run a global community make sure you go live at a time when most could attend. 
  • Make it a series. Plan a series of live events in the community so members can plan for the events ahead of time. 

How to Live Stream in Mobilize:

While live streaming in Mobilize is easy, there are a few things you’ll want to consider as the individual or organization doing the streaming. Fortunately, if you follow this quick live streaming guide you should be free and clear from any surprises. 

  1. Create a new discussion post and drop the live link in the description box. The video will populate and you will see a thumbnail for the live stream. 
  2. If you are doing a live AMA or Q&A event, you’ll want to keep two tabs open during the stream. One with YouTube Live and the other with your Mobilize community so you can monitor comments. 
  3. Make sure to mute your Mobilize audio or you’ll experience not so pleasant feedback. *Note that there is some lag time from Youtube to Mobilize with video and sound. 
  4. Test beforehand! Always test the user experience to ensure a successful event!
  5.  Prepare members! In order for a member to participate in the live stream Q&A, as well as comment and hear audio, they will need to access the live stream through the post.
  6. Take a deep breath, go live, and enjoy the interactive experience that is Youtube Live streaming with all your darling community members, new and old!

And that’s a wrap for our quick but useful guide to Youtube Live and live streaming on Mobilize. We hope you’ve learned a few things you didn’t know (or weren’t entirely sure of) about how to use Youtube Live, and now feel confident to take on the world by live-streaming storm. We look forward to checking out all the different live stream events you come up with and how they help your community grow—see you out there!

Work with experts who build successful communities

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Whether you’re just getting started or are looking to improve outcomes with your existing community — we have strategies and industry-tailored programs to help you get things done. Schedule a demo for a personalized walk-through of our technology and learn about our expert-led strategy services.