Should you use LinkedIn Live as part of a comms strategy?

These days all major social media platforms give the option to do live video, and LinkedIn is no different. I’ve been co-hosting a monthly LinkedIn Live event with Ayo Abbas and Emma Drake since November, and it’s been a huge learning curve.

Screen shot from our LinkedIn Live showing Ayo Abbas and me side by side at the top of the screen and Emma Drake at the bottom in the middle of the screen. We are all wearing headphones
Screenshot from It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn live episode on…LinkedIn Live

So in the April episode of our It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live, we decided to talk about what we’ve learned from using the platform and whether it was good for business.

Here are some key points. Scroll down to watch the full episode, which includes audience questions.

What do you need to know about LinkedIn Live?

Me: At the moment, you need to use an external provider to do the broadcast. We use StreamYard, but LinkedIn is developing its own in-house platform to do live events, which is being beta-tested.

When using an external platform, you can customise it, add a banner, put questions on screen, add your branding and make it look quite slick.

We didn’t do everything to start with; we kept it quite simple and added new features as we’ve gone along. It’s a bit of a learning process.

We didn’t know what to expect for our first broadcast, and people started submitting questions, so we adapted the next one by adding a Q&A. We were surprised by the engagement with the actual event.

A LinkedIn Live is not just a live event, the recording stays on your LinkedIn event page, and people can go back and rewatch it. You do create something that has longevity.

Emma: The platform is glitchy, and we’ve had a few problems that we’ve had to work through. So things like you can’t go in and change certain details once you’ve set up an event. I set up one for midnight instead of midday, but we got around it.

If you’re not used to doing lives, it takes a bit of getting used to. We’ve had tech fails, wardrobe fails, doorbells ringing, dogs barking, all the things you might expect, so that’s just worth considering.

But it is slightly more informal, in that sense, you are not in a studio, but it gives the impression of being in a studio.

Ayo: We’ve had to be adaptable and think on the hoof. Stacey almost got locked out, and one time we were talking, but we weren’t actually live because LinkedIn wasn’t talking to StreamYard.

But that’s part of the excitement of doing lives. If that’s not your thing, maybe this isn’t for you, but it would be the same if you did a webinar.

Because you have to use a third-party platform at the moment, you can also stream straight into YouTube, Twitter or Twitch. And we’re talking about downloading the audio and turning it into a podcast. So it’s versatile in terms of the content you can create.

Banner from It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live promo

Is using LinkedIn Live good for business?

Ayo: Yes, it is, mainly because video is the future. Our lives are a good way to reach a wider audience.

It shows you as a speaker, and people get to know you, and you make more connections. Going live means that I’m talking to Stacey’s network and Emma’s network.

And I’ve won pieces of the work off the back of it.

However, we can’t always gauge who’s watching live because the data isn’t there. This is why we ask you [the audience] to comment then we can see your names.

If I was doing an online event elsewhere, I would be able to find out that detail.

Emma: I would always advocate having more than one way for people to see and engage with you and listen to your content.

This is my way of using video, and it complements my LinkedIn posts, other parts of my content strategy and my weekly podcast. It’s been a really good addition to my business, as well as learning it as a platform to use with clients.

I usually see a spike in downloads of the podcast after I do It’s a B2B Comms Thing live events; this tells me that my content is working together.

Plus, I get to reuse topics across both shows, so the audience gets another bite of the cherry, and I get another bite of the cherry. We all repurpose the content.

From the show, we get audio, video, snippets, graphics etc. I could use Stacey’s content, she can use mine. From just 15 minutes [of live video], it’s amazing how much content we get.

Have a go at it, but it’s got to fit with your content plan.

Me: The content angle is a really strong one. It’s a hero piece of content that you can repurpose, and that content is all increasing your visibility.

And not many people are doing it. I did a poll this morning about how people were using LinkedIn Live: Whether they’d watched, whether they have taken part, whether people knew what it was. And there were a couple of people that didn’t know what LinkedIn Live was.

So it’s new territory, which means there’s an opportunity to stand out because not many people are doing it.

Also, because LinkedIn is launching its own in-house Live platform, at some point, it’s going to be pushing it. Start using it now, practice and get used to it, so you are ready.

And, I have got work out of it, people have contacted me off the back of something I’ve talked about on Live. So it’s good for business, although probably not for everybody if you’re terrified about being on video.

How does LinkedIn Live compare to a webinar or another live online platform?

Ayo: The other lives I’ve done are on Instagram, which tend to feel a bit slicker, but you can’t stream into other platforms. There are tech failures now and then and weird glitches, but you get that on Instagram and on every platform.

But there have to be better ways of promoting [LinkedIn Live]. When we promote these lives, it’s basically classed as a share, so you don’t get very much traction on the posts.

We found lots of workarounds, but I think on Instagram, it works better as they want to promote lives, so it’s easier to promote them.

With LinkedIn Live, you can’t download your guest list/attendee list, and that’s what you would expect to do if you’re hosting your own webinar There are a few things like that.

LinkedIn wants to keep you within LinkedIn and not doing what the other platforms are doing, so you have to weigh that based on what you’re after.

Emma: If you want to do all the things we said, if you want to hero piece of content, if you want to repurpose content, you can make it work as part of the other bits of a content strategy.

But there are some really fundamental things you can’t do that you’ve pointed out, Ayo, and I think that’s worth bearing in mind.

I don’t do lives anywhere else, I’ve dabbled on my Facebook page but not consistently as I do here. But I think LinkedIn Live has an intimate feel to it, compared to something like Zoom, which feels more formal in some ways.

If you go to a webinar, it’s structured, you’ve got your presentation, it feels more like you’re in a studio, more formal.

But you get all the bells and whistles quite easily; for example, the branding is not difficult to do once you know what you’re doing.

Me: The advantage of doing a LinkedIn Live over a webinar is you might have a ready-made audience if you’ve built up a good list of connections and a good network.

However, if you’re doing a webinar using external platforms, you’re probably going to have more whiz-bang features. For example, I think on Zoom, you can get a Sli.do plugin, which allows that extra level of engagement.

Whether those sorts of features will be introduced when LinkedIn launches its own platform, I don’t know.

The other advantage is you can do short and sweet LinkedIn lives. If you’re doing a full webinar, there is a compulsion to do 45-minutes or an hour, whereas with LinkedIn live, you can do something a bit more casual. I think it’s a minimum of 15 minutes. You can also do a solo lives.

It’s roundabouts and swings. But coming back to Ayo’s point about promoting these lives on LinkedIn, they make it really hard considering it’s something they want people to do, which we have found really frustrating.

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Have you watched or taken part in a LinkedIn Live? Is it something you’ve tried on a different social platform? Let me know in the comments.

To watch the full conversation, including the audience questions, click here to head over to the event page on LinkedIn.

Or watch here on our YouTube channel:

Found this interesting or useful? Check out the posts about some of our other It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn lives:

How to get comms value out of trade shows

Repurposing: How to make the most of your content

How to make social media work for B2B in 2022

On the back of our Live about repurposing, I also wrote about how I got 9 pieces of content from a LinkedIn Live.

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