What’s better than watching a smooth live stream of someone you admire about a topic you care about?
A real-time chat to go with it!
Live chat takes any live stream straight to the next level, because there’s nothing better than an engaged and chatty audience.
And if you’re a Uscreen user, we’ve got some wicked news for you…
Introducing: Live Chat! (Beta)
As a Uscreen user, you can now engage with your live stream audience via a real-time chatbox, which will show up to the right side of your live stream’s video player.
This release also brings you lower latency, reducing the time taken between what happens in real time and what your audience sees on their screens; aka lesser delay.
The live chat feature, which is now in beta, can be turned on or off for each individual live stream you host, so you get to choose when you want to engage with your audience.
You can find the option to enable live chat under the Details tab on the live event you choose. Once your live event starts, you can’t change this setting.
We made moderating the chat really easy! You can do it straight from the storefront as the live event is taking place. You can also assign someone else on your team as the chat admin, so you can focus on your live stream. Here’s what the chat box will look like to chat admins:
The live stream chat admin can:
- Respond to comments and engage back with chatters
- Delete comments he/she deems inappropriate
- Ban chatters from the live chat, and are able to allow them back at any point. Banned chatters will still be able to watch the live stream but will not have access to the chatbox.
- See a list of messages flagged as inappropriate by others in the chat
- See a total count of live stream attendees, which will not be visible to your audience
Your chat admin will also have a crown-shaped badge next to his or her name so they are easily identifiable by everyone in the chat.
The chat feature will only be available for your signed-in users who have access to the live event. If your live event is free for everyone, users won’t see the live chat unless they’re logged in.
To learn more about how to enable live chat and about moderating the chat, visit our help guides here.
Want to start live streaming?
Contact our sales team to enable live streaming for your video streaming service.
What’s the Big Deal Anyway?
Live chats increase engagement in live events. And increased engagement means increased time spent watching, which leads to more successful live streams!
Here’s how you can use live chat to engage your audience during a live stream…
How to Engage Your Audience Using Live Chat:
1. Set Rules and Expectations
For your live chat to be effective and enjoyable for everyone, some ground rules and expectations need to be set.
Without these rules, people will likely use the chat in an unorganized manner that will ruin the fun for everyone. And without setting expectations, people can get upset and frustrated when you don’t answer their questions, which often happens.
We suggest you clearly set your rules and expectations at the beginning of your live session.
Here are a few basic rules we recommend:
- Ask your audience to write their questions into the chat, and let them know that you will get to them during a designated Q&A portion of the session (more on this later in the article).
- Introduce your chat admin and their role in the live stream.
- Ask your audience to flag any inappropriate behavior in the chat, helping the chat admin with moderating
- If you know you have some champions in your audience who are knowledgeable about the topic, you can encourage them to help you out by answering some basic questions in the chat
Now that that’s out of the way…
2. Ask the Right Questions
When planning your live stream, it’s best to prepare a list of questions you can ask your audience, so you don’t have to come up with them during your live session.
It’s especially important to do so because asking the right kind of questions will set the tone for your live. Closed questions work best here, because they will give you a simple “yes”, “no”, one-word, or seamless reply answer.
Some people think they need to get super complicated and sophisticated with their questions, which is actually the worst thing you can do.
With live chat, the simpler the question, the better.
The all-time, best question to ask at the beginning of your live is:
“Where are you logging in from today?”
Everyone loves answering that question!
It’s easy to answer and most people are willing to share that information publicly.
It’s also a huge ice breaker: some people get nervous sending in questions on live chat. So getting them to break the ice with something so simple will warm them up for any other questions and comments later down the line.
Other closed questions you can ask include things like:
- Is this your first time attending one of our lives? Let us know
- Let us know if you’ve heard of this method before
- Where do you like to work out?
- Do you prefer X or Y?
Why is it important to ask closed questions? Because open questions require thought, which cause distraction from the live stream. If you ask your viewer a question that requires them to think too much, or even take too long to type, you’ll lose them as you move on to the next point on your live stream which may make people feel left behind.
Note: Make sure you don’t pause and wait for your viewers to answer you in the chat. Most live streaming platforms have a delay between what the audience is seeing and what is actually happening in real time. So don’t pause and wait for feedback, because there will certainly be dead air. Keep talking as they respond.
3. Include Your Audience
People love feeling included. The more included they feel, the more likely they are to watch your live streams all the way through.
And live chat is the perfect way to make your audience feel like they matter.
One way to make them feel included is by calling out people who make comments or questions that reinforce your point, or who add value to your chat. By doing so, you help spread positivity, and make the person feel validated by you as an expert in your field.
Another easy think you can do is simply ask first timers to write “new” or “#new” in the chat, and follow that by asking others to give them a warm welcome.
If you recognize any familiar usernames in your chat, call them out! Tell them it’s nice to see them again.
Calling audience members out by their names is an additional way to make them feel a part of this live stream, and will significantly increase their chances of staying on longer. If a viewer feels recognized they are more likely to participate.
A really smart way to smoothly work their names in is by thanking them for their comments and support throughout your live stream. So something like:
- “LisaBlue78 thanks!”
- “Mikecat you make a great point there”
- “Shout out to RuffesMan for joining us for the third time!”
Now this one gets increasingly more difficult to do as your live stream audience grows over time, so do it to the best of your abilities.
4. Set Your Agenda
Keep your audience engaged from the very beginning by letting them know what they can expect. By knowing what you’ll be talking about from start to finish, they can decide to stay till the end to listen to a specific point you’re going to talk about.
For example, using phrases like, “we’ll be going over that later in the stream” or “i’m going to share how we do that later in the stream” will give people a reason to keep watching if they want that additional piece of information.
On that note, you want to constantly acknowledge those who are joining your live streams throughout the session by letting them know you see them and by quickly filling them in on what you’re doing at the moment. You can do this maybe once every 15 minutes, depending on how many new people you’re seeing join the live stream throughout.
While it might not seem like a major deal, it’s actually a very effective tactic that helps engage new joiners throughout your stream. It makes them feel valued and part of your community.
5. Answer Questions
Last but most certainly not least: answer questions.
Live streaming is the perfect place to establish yourself as a trusted authority in your niche. And the best way to capitalize on that is to provide keen insights and answers to the questions your viewers leave you in your chat.
Encourage people to ask questions in the chat, and you can choose to answer them as they come in, or leave it for a Q&A portion of the live (we recommend the latter).
Now, let’s talk about setting expectations, again!
You need to specifically let your audience know that you might not get to all their questions in this live session, and give them a way to send you their questions so you can answer them later.
For instance, when you’re about to start your Q&A, you can say something like:
“Hey guys! We’re ready to start answering some questions. We have 15 minutes for Q&As, and I’ll try my best to go through as many of your questions as possible. Just please know that if I don’t get to your question today, I can still answer your them later if you email me your question after this live. I’ll get back to you with answers within a day.”
By setting their expectations, and giving them an option to contact you with any unanswered questions, you ensure that no one feels left out and that they don’t leave the live stream with a bad taste in their mouths.
Until Next Time!
This live chat will be really fun! You’ll be happy to actually feel your viewer’s engagement throughout your live session, and will be able to get live feedback and encouragement. Give it a go!
Do you have a feature you’d like to request for consideration?
The majority of the features we work on developing and updating are those suggested by our users. If you have a feature you’d love to see in Uscreen, make sure you submit this Feature Request form.