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At this time of year, my family has a tradition to run through every Christmas movie in our collection.  We watch them one by one, repeated on demand until everyone can recite each by heart.  One story catches me off-guard every year. The Prime Minister of Britain has the courage to stand-up to the naysayers, take a risk and be vulnerable.  He bucks tradition and his audience loves him for it.  I enjoy this story as it is counter-intuitive.  Being vulnerable to many is a sign of weakness. Yet, in the Prime Minister’s vulnerability, his authenticity shines through and the world applauds him (keep reading to find out the movie).  We can use this approach in event marketing knowing that as a brand you can be vulnerable and still win.  Social media live streaming is the tool that can enable this.

If you adopt live streaming and show your audience that you are human, you will connect like never before.  Your live streaming event will easily top previous and bring in ten times the amount of traffic.  The future of marketing belongs to brands that embrace conversation, being human and letting go.  Who plan rather than produce. Who story-tell rather than market.  Who connect and are human.

Easier Said Than Done

If you are not familiar with social media live streaming technology, it can seem daunting to set it up for your next event.  If done correctly, your social reach will increase, you will connect with a broader audience and you will grab the attention of journalists and PR agencies.  All of these make promoting your event that much easier.

Social Media Word Cloud

You may be wondering, what parts of my event should I live stream? This is difficult to answer but there are several types now, with more sure to pop up in the future.


When it comes to live streaming, Apple’s Keynotes are invariably the ones that come to mind. These keynotes are a huge marketing success so much so that they have become the de-facto standard in the technology industry.  They do however come with some risks that you need to be aware of. The key to their success is how genuine and unwavering Apple is with their brand.  They show their vulnerability and the marketplace loves them for it.

Star Q&A’s and Conversations with the Audience

The interview with Tony Robbins on Blab is a popular example of a question and answer session that went viral.  Although Blab has been since shut down, the social media universe still talks about this event.  The engagement was through the roof and it has made a lasting impression on the audience.

Influencer Video Blogging (Vlogging)

Before the 2016 Super Bowl, Daniel Newman and Brian Fanzo teamed up with SAP to offer 25 hours of video chatting spread across 4 days.  Each video blog focused on a different SAP partner telling its story. This event was a breakthrough and you can see the level of social reach and engagement it achieved using #SB50Disrupt.  The top tweet: “#SB50disrupt – great example of a large B2B enterprise trying something new with social and succeeding.” @TNatzke

Special Announcements

Live streaming special announcements is perhaps the most commonplace of all event types.  Familiar brands such as General Motors have used it to unveil their Chevy Volt EV on Facebook Live or Alfa Romeo’s unveiling of the Giulia at the 2015 LA Auto Show on


Tough Mudder endurance events are well-known for the pain they put the participants through.  At the Merrel Michigan Training Event, Kyle Railton took to a Facebook live stream to show the audience a behind-the-scenes tour of what the participants actually go through.  The show captivated the audience. Coincidently, Kyle used many strategies to cross-promote his events on other social media platforms.

Online Event with Onsite Presence

The live streaming of Lindsey Lohan’s Mean Girls plus accompanying Q&A at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a great example of an event that encompasses several of the event types above.  It was very engaging for all who attended, audience, stars, hosts and influencers alike.  An event such as this requires considerable online and onsite coordination.  This makes it a logistics nightmare and a platform like Synaptop’s is a massive time saver.

Best Tool for the Job

There are many platforms out there that can be used for live streaming, each with their pros and cons.  This table summarizes the differences at a high-level:

Social Media Live Streaming Comparison

Now once you have selected the platform that is the best fit for your event, you will need to use a few tactics to extend your reach.  Notifications, either through SMS or email are vital and if they are well-timed will bring your audience into the event.  Retargeting ads such as those offered by Facebook are also useful. They target people who have visited your site’s landing page about your upcoming event.  Finally, if you have arranged for popular hosts, speakers or influencers to take part in the event, get them to spread the word. Most influencers will gladly post event material to their social media accounts.  This will extend your reach further.

Lastly, measuring the effectiveness of your social media live streaming efforts can be difficult.  Many times the focus is on likes, shares, retweets, or viewers.  These metrics are often misleading and should not be the primary focus of your analytics efforts.  Instead, the focus needs to be on ROI through driving conversions on your main landing page or increasing CPM or CPC levels.  To do this, instrument all aspects of the event with proper referral URLs and use a tool such as Google Analytics to measure effectiveness.

Your Next Viral Event

If you are looking to produce a show-stopping event, one that is memorable and engaging, use social media live streaming.  There are great tools available from SynaptopPeriscopeFacebook and Youtube which can increase your event traffic. Regardless of the tool you choose, the key to a successful live stream event is to be vulnerable and show your brand’s authenticity.  Hiding behind a corporate veil will not lead to the results you are looking for.  However, if you follow the proven social media live streaming recipe, you will easily outdo your previous events and will have an event that your audience will be talking about for years.

P.S. You may be wondering the name of the movie I mentioned.  It is Love Actually.

Watch #EventIcons - Live Question & Answer With #EventProfs

Bradford Stimpson

Author Bradford Stimpson

Technology enthusiast, workaholic and wanna-be triathlete who has been managing technical teams for 15 years. Brad is the Chief Technology Officer of Synaptop, working towards his PhD in Software Engineering and an active volunteer in Toronto’s technology community. On the weekends, he takes the form of a hibernating bear; when Brad isn’t working, you can find him playing tea party with his two daughters and/or taking in a film or two with his wife. He is well-known for his love of coffee, consuming excessive amounts of the stuff in any form he can get. Buy him a coffee and he will charm you with all his exaggerated opinions on how the world works.

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