The holiday season is upon us, and Live-streaming has been blossoming. As more social media networks push live features, more and more brands realize the power of connecting directly with their audience, making going live on TikTok a priority in their social media strategy.
In just one week, Pinterest and Instagram announced their themed holiday series (including the birth of Pinterest TV and Instagram pushing its Live shopping integration). TikTok was way ahead of the trend as at the end of last year, Walmart hosted a couple of LIVE shopping events as a pilot partner on the feature.
The Live trend has exploded in lockdown, and most marketers feared it would be long gone with the “new normal.” Yet, through consistency and innovation, users and platforms alike have kept the trend going—and it only seems to be strengthening at the moment. Rumor has it that it will become one of the most sought after features in 2022 and beyond.
Live content allows fans to connect with users, get tipped (or receive gifts, in the case of TikTok) and even accept donations. With 1 billion active users, TikTok has an enormous reach and community, especially among Millennials and Gen Z. One of the most popular hashtags and trends of TikTok is all about peer reviews.
The hashtag tiktokmademebuyit has over three billion views as users share their must-have Amazon products—that is, the affordable or life-changing products you can shop from the online retailer. TikTok responded by amplifying its Shopping offering with Live events
TikTok then came back with a boost in live-streaming specifically targeted towards shopping experiences for brands, while creators use Live videos to connect deeper with their followers.
Regardless of the strategy you are looking to follow, going live on TikTok proves to have a series of unprecedented benefits.
What you need to know about going Live on TikTok
Going Live allows you to connect directly with your audience, show off your skills, answer pressing questions, or deepen your relationship with your audiences. Yet, not everyone can currently go live on TikTok.
If you’re new to TikTok, going live may not be available to you. It’s a capability you can unlock after you fulfil several conditions, which you can find below (straight from the Creator portal):
- You should be at least 16 years old.
- If you want to receive “gifts” during a live broadcast, you should be above 18 years of age. Gifts are virtual offerings from your followers that you can convert into real cash (yet the rate is not that favorable).
- You should have a minimum of 1,000 followers (allegedly, this number is different for different countries, but there is no official statement from TikTok on the matter).
When accessing the Live button on your profile, you can explore users currently broadcasting and a leaderboard with top users for the week.
This leaderboard is updated cyclically and spotlight some of the most popular users from the past week (not the actual Live broadcast). Unfortunately, you cannot watch previous broadcasts on TikTok.
As the platform capitalizes on this format, it has also implemented categories, helping users filter through live content they love based on topics such as music, gaming and much more.
The not-endorsed way to go Live without 1,000 followers
As mentioned, the restrictions on follower count vary depending on the countries—but TikTok’s official positioning is clear: you need 1,000 followers.
Yet, there have been rumors of a workaround. It is a non-TikTok-approved solution, and honestly, I would not endorse you going down that road.
The procedure requires you to go against the community guidelines (which specify only accounts with 1,000 followers or more can currently start a Live), write a report and request TikTok support to Enable Live for your account.
You have three chances with this: your request can get ignored, approved, or you can get into serious trouble with the platform. Is it worth it? In my opinion, focusing on growing your account to 1,000 followers also showcases you have an engaged audience around you, which will benefit when you can eventually go live by having loyal fans tuning in and engaging with you.
Step-by-step: go Live on TikTok
To go Live on TikTok, tap the “create” icon to access the Live screen. Swipe to Live in the navigation, pick an image as a cover, and write a title for your stream. Choose your title carefully—short and sweet it best (I recommend 2-3 words).
Once you’re ready, press Go Live to start your stream.
[caption: credit: TikTok]
Once you’re Live, you can tap the three dots to change a variety of settings. You can flip the camera, add effects, filter comments, and add up to 20 moderators.
If you want to add a co-host, select the option “Add co-host” or “Add guests” from the bottom of your screen. After a broadcast has ended, there is no way for you to show the replay on your profile—at least not yet.
Live is an excellent opportunity for creators to get support from their fans. The gifting feature (available for users 18+) allows followers to support their favorite creators by sending them virtual gifts while hosting a Live video. You can exchange gifts for funds, but currently, the exchange rate is not particularly remarkable.
How to schedule a TikTok Live event
Let your followers know you’ve got an upcoming broadcast with TikTok’s events feature.
Tap the calendar icon in the top right corner of your TikTok profile.
Create an event with a name, start time, date, description, and duration. When your event is ready, you can share the link via in-app messaging or link it in a video.
You can record a promo video by tapping “+” under Related videos on your events page. Record your video, add an events link, hit Done, and then Post.
Need more help with promoting your Live? You can now use a Live Countdown sticker. Record a video, pull up the sticker panel and customize the Countdown sticker with the date and time of your event. Viewers can opt-in for a reminder when you go Live on TikTok.
TikTok Live best practices
There are a few things you should be keeping in mind when going live. The Creator Portal offers some critical tips for TikTokkers, which we summarized in a few areas for you to plan out.
Even if Live videos should be spontaneous, it does not mean you should not plan for them to be a success for you and your audience
Optimize your setup
Raw and unfiltered is crucial, as long as it is not to the detriment of the experience for your audience. Sounds obvious, but make sure your internet connection is working, your sound is clear, and you have good lighting for the Live. Invest in a tripod and ring light that allows your phone to stay steady in position, provides clear light, and an overall smooth experience.
Plan your Live based on your audience
Get to know when your audience is online and plan accordingly. Look at your analytics to learn when your audience is not active on the platform. Your ultimate goal is to appear on TikTok’s “For You” page—to do this, your audience should be online and scrolling.
Keep your Live short and sweet. TikTok recommends a maximum of 30 minutes (even if you can go Live for up to 60 minutes). Anything between 10-20 minutes is also a great time window.
To maximize your chances of being seen, post a TikTok right before your Livestream. TikTok announces you are Live on your existing videos by spacing a special icon whilst you are broadcasting—this way, you are ensuring your audience will be notified you are going Live.
Become an expert moderator
A Live broadcast allows you to interact with your audience in real-time, which means you need to think about their experience and how you can map it out effectively for them. Is there a simple structure you’ll follow? How can you introduce the broadcast to them effectively? As interaction is essential, make sure you monitor the chat and respond to comments, questions, or requests. If you need further help, do not be afraid to enlist moderators to help filter comments, mute viewers from commenting, and block someone from a Livestream.
Review your efforts
Take some time to look at your analytics to learn how to plan your Live videos best. You can access a recap of your Live videos with exact dates, along with the total number of views, new followers, the total time spent on videos, and a top viewer count.
Make sure you review these numbers before planning your following broadcast to adjust accordingly.
TikTok Lives that build community
You may be hosting a series, having a conversation with your audience, sharing a tutorial or recommending products. Regardless of the format, Live videos give a face to your brand.
Whether you are going Live on your own or collaborating with fellow creators on the platform, start mapping your strategy.
TikTok Live is a powerful tool to grow your audience and connect with them by giving them a better understanding of your brand will help you grow your influence tenfold.
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[Header image by Ivan Samkov from Pexels]