Live streaming has been booming in the entertainment world years now, but for businesses of all sizes, it’s only recently become crucial to learn how to live stream. Let’s talk about why. Many live streaming platforms have tripled their viewership in 2020 alone, while Twitch reported a record-breaking 3 billion hours of live streaming in Q2 of this year. Plus, with more Americans choosing to pay for Internet TV over traditional cable, streaming video is now the preferred viewing method for most consumers.

No matter your industry or business size, there’s a live streaming use case for you. But whether you’re a streaming pro or a live stream newbie, anyone can learn to live stream with just a few tools. If you want to learn to live stream and connect with your audience but you’re not sure where to start, never fear. We’ve put together a live streaming checklist including the gear you’ll need (at any budget), a live streaming business plan, and live streaming tips and tricks straight from the pros.

Live streaming checklist for businesses

Live streaming is a great way to connect with your audience, and can be used by businesses as a way to offer exclusive events, collaborative how-tos, behind-the-scenes looks, and much more.

To make it easy to get started, here’s a quick live streaming checklist reviewing the basics you’ll need to learn how to live stream. We’ll give you step-by-step instructions on:

  • Choosing your live stream gear
  • Reviewing your live streaming options
  • Using social media to live stream
  • Monetizing your live streams
  • Choosing a live streaming platform for your event
  • Inviting your audience
  • Promoting your event
  • Scheduling a run through
  • Creating a live streaming business plan

What equipment do I need to live stream?


Mult-angle image of a mevo start live camera built for live streaming

If you want to learn how to live stream a class, ceremony, production, or other event, you’ll need a few things to ensure your audience has the best experience possible. It’s important to give your viewers a sharp, crisp image, excellent sound quality, fast buffering speeds, and access to watch on their preferred viewing platforms.

Here are our recommendations for live streaming audiovisual equipment for any budget.

Choosing your live stream gear

The beauty of live streaming is the ability to capture moments as they unfold, from a home yoga studio to an on-location shoot. While all live streaming technology may not be the same quality, when you learn to live stream, you can still get great audio and visuals using a smartphone or a high-quality starter camera like the Mevo Start live camera. (Then, when you find your audience, you can start seriously investing in equipment.)

The best free(ish) live streaming gear:

Wait for it… Your smartphone! If you have a recent smartphone, you likely have a 12-megapixel camera ready for action. (Try using the Vimeo Mobile App, where you can shoot and edit live video right from your phone.) To capture the best possible audio, use these tips to enhance your audio capture for live streaming on your phone.

When it comes to lighting, use nature’s best lighting kit: the sun! Don’t forget to be conscious of times, angles, reflections, wall colors, and positioning in the frame. You can also grab an inexpensive light bounce or reflector to better leverage the sun’s rays for your live shot.

The best starter live streaming gear:

The Mevo Start live camera is an all-in-one live streaming camera priced at $399 that has a built in, high-quality microphone, and a WiFi connection. It can live stream to the platform of your choosing, including Vimeo, while recording locally on a micro SD card.

To light your stream, ring lights are a favorite among YouTubers, makeup artists, and influencers for a reason. Neewer’s ring lights range from $40-110 and come in a variety of heights and styles for your more stationary live streaming needs.

The best intermediate live streaming gear:

The Canon XA15 ($1800) and Sony PXW Z90 ($2,800) are handheld camcorders that are more robust options, with Sony at the higher end of the mid-level options. With these cameras, you can use a zoom lens and transmit 4K video directly from the device.

The Rode ProCaster ($229) is designed to capture vocal audio and works well for live streams, with a built-in pop filter for eliminating popping sounds and extraneous noise.

To light things, the GVM 560AS LED 3-panel kit ($297) lights have diffusers and multiple options to soften the light, and work well for interviews or studios, but are easily transportable and lightweight.

Did you know?

80% of consumers would rather watch a live stream from a brand than read a blog.

What software do I need to live stream?

When learning how to live stream, you have a few options for software. You need two things: somewhere you can stream the content from and somewhere your audience can access that stream. There are a few different tiers of options for live streaming, from free social media apps to more robust live streaming software designed for larger audiences and higher quality video streaming.

Whichever you choose, prioritize reliability: viewers have a low tolerance for buffering or an unstable live stream — and after about 90 seconds, most will move on. That’s no good! Here are some platforms to keep in mind:

Reviewing your live streaming options

Think about your business purpose for live streaming. Are you hosting frequent, private events? Will you be publishing entertainment content and want as many eyes as possible across various social networks and streaming locations? Different live streaming solutions are geared towards different business goals. Here’s what to look for when choosing a live streaming platform:

  • Authentication and security: How will your viewers securely access your content? If you will be sharing private information or hosting classes that you don’t want Internet strangers popping in on, you’ll need a platform with added security measures, like password protection.
  • Scalability: Will your platform support the number of streamers you expect as you grow? Does your platform offer multiple tiers of pricing, based on viewing capacity?
  • Customization: If your live streams are for demand generation or designed to help in your marketing, you’ll want your branding and logo on the viewer.
  • Monetization: Does this live streaming platform offer the ability to charge viewers for access to your live streams?
  • Pricing: What features does this live streaming platform offer for the price? Is it a good value?
  • Analytics: Can you review analytics of your videos and audience to optimize your live streams?

Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube Live, and Twitter Live are all free and broadcast directly to the social network of the account. Video streaming options like Vimeo Premium let you live stream to multiple destinations like Facebook Live, Twitch, LinkedIn and more.

Enterprise level live streaming platforms like Vimeo Enterprise include features like monetizing your videos, adding bandwidth, branded apps, and advanced, in-depth analytics.

How much does a streaming setup cost?

The short answer: it depends! You can pull off a live stream with just the phone in your pocket and an internet connection.

For best results though, we’d recommend selecting a live stream dedicated camera and a streaming platform like Vimeo Premium or Enterprise.

Using social media to live stream

Social media live streaming offers access to a targeted, engaged audience. On Facebook, live streamed videos outperform other types of content, getting six times more interactions than non-Live posts.

Create an event ahead of time for scheduled live streamed events and interact with attendees before, during, and after the event. Choose the platform where your audience is the most active, and go Live on that app, or use a service like Vimeo Premium to simulcast your live stream to your customers’ favorite social media platform.

Here’s how to use social media live streaming as part of your live streaming business plan:

  • Facebook Live: On the Facebook mobile or website app, go to the page or profile you want to stream live from. From the post composer, tap “Live”, add a description, and start your Live video!
  • Twitter Live: When writing a tweet, tap the camera icon and select “Live”, choose audio + video or just audio using the microphone icon, add a description, invite guests if desired, and click “Go Live.”
  • LinkedIn Live: For business with professional audiences, request access to LinkedIn Live video streaming, where you can stream live from your LinkedIn page and get seven times more reactions and 24 times more comments than native video posts.
  • YouTube Live: When you’re signed into your account on YouTube, click the camera icon and select “Go Live”. Then you can choose to go live now, or schedule a live stream for a later date.

Monetizing your live streams

This year, many live events have been quickly converted to virtual ones. Conferences have become unique, multi-day virtual experiences, with lots of different content formats, from live streamed sessions with Q&A opportunities to pre-recorded videos available for viewing whenever convenient. Vimeo’s own Streameo event went virtual, with CEO Anjali Sud delivering her keynote address remotely from New York.

So, how can businesses learn how to monetize their live stream events and content? Virtual conferences offer a fairly simple way to monetize. Using a live streaming platform that supports monetization and enables gating for specific event-goers can help you develop a reliable stream of income while increasing value for your viewers.

How popular is live streaming, really?

Between April 2019 and April 2020, the live streaming industry grew by a whopping 99%. Phew!

How do I plan a live streamed event?

In a word: early. In a sentence: the earlier the better. When planning a live streamed event, your marketing and promotion are just as important as your audiovisual (AV) and technical logistics.

Marisa Laureni, owner and director of Romela Events, says, “Start early. Work backwards from your event date, set milestones, and benchmark a timeline. Once you determine the ‘start planning date’ add even more time!”

A 10-year event planning veteran, she also advises newbies to live streamed events. ”For the love of all that is holy, make sure you hire someone that has a lot of experience planning a big event. If you have A/V and visuals at your event, you need someone who has the ability to communicate to the tech team so they know what to do and when.”

Choosing a live streaming platform

First, choose the platform where you’ll be hosting your live streamed event. Here’s are the most important features to consider:

  • How many attendees will you have?
  • Will your event be password protected?
  • Where will your attendees tune in from?
  • Is this a paid or free event?
  • Is the presenter tech savvy? Will they need support during the event? Who is running your event from a tech perspective?
  • How important is streaming quality to the success of your event?

During the planning period, try different platforms, taking advantage of free trials or demos, and host a test run or placeholder event to iron out any complications, especially if you’re using a brand new software.

Inviting your audience

Once you decide on a time and date for your live event, and any other guest hosts, panelists, or speakers, create a landing page for pre registration. If you’ll be charging, give visitors a chance to pay, encouraging sharing throughout the process.

Make sure your pre-registration page includes:

  • The event date
  • The event time
  • How to access the content
  • Any tech requirements for viewers
  • A way to connect with other attendees on social media

Promoting your event

If you’ll be going live using social media, you have a built-in audience for sharing. Streaming to multiple social media platforms opens that audience even more. Gather questions or requests ahead of time using social media and use contests, promotions, and paid advertising to promote your event.

Scheduling a run through

Make sure anyone who will be going live is familiar with the software, fielding questions, and troubleshooting. Provide tech support and backup contacts and make sure everyone involved has all necessary contact information. During the run through, create a communication plan for the day of the event.

Get closer to your people

79% of marketers say live video facilitates a more authentic interaction with an audience.

Developing a live streaming business plan

To start out, keep goals and ROI top of mind. What are the goals of your live streamed videos? Are you attempting to build brand awareness and reach? Do you want to convert more leads into customers? Are you selling live streamed videos as a service like live fitness classes or educational classes?

Think through the production costs and resources you’ll need to pull off your live streams. How will they generate revenue? What’s the ROI?

When thinking about live streaming budget, you’ll need to account for:

  • Audiovisual hardware (cameras, lighting, encoder) and software (like Vimeo Premium)
  • Encoding software or livestream studio
  • Promotion and marketing
  • Technical support

Once you’ve done a few events, you’ll have a sense for scalability. After that, your audience can help you determine when, where, how, and how often you offer live streamed content.

Live streaming tips and tricks

Part of becoming a live streaming pro is being able to think quickly on your feet and roll with the punches in real-time. When using live streaming for business, have your host practice ahead of time and make sure everyone involved is comfortable with your software and tech support.

Experienced live streamers know that higher volumes of streamers add more complexity from a technical standpoint. Anticipate your audience and prepare for the load on whatever network you’re streaming from. Here are some live streaming tips and tricks from the experts.

Before your live stream

Think through the entirety of the live event, from backup plans to follow up — ahead of time. Live streaming experts recommend:

  1. Have an ethernet connection available. WiFi is typically not dependable enough to rely on for live streaming, so if you’re able to, hardwire your Internet connection.
  2. Check your upload speeds and test your Internet connection. For HD video streaming, Vimeo recommends at least 2.2 Mbps.
  3. Host a run through from a technical and content perspective. Make sure speakers have talking points, hosts are comfortable with the technology, and everyone knows who to contact if something goes awry.

Determine a backup plan. Tools like Vimeo Enterprise even include a backup live stream option as a failsafe for large live events.

During your live stream

During the stream, focus on engaging with your audience and providing immediate responses to anyone looking for help getting connected. Identify your tech team ahead of time and provide them the tools they need to support the event.

  1. Communicate with your team and keep an open line of communication throughout.
  2. Monitor your connection and stream.
  3. Keep an eye on social media and engage with your audience. They may be the first to alert you that your stream is lagging or your audio dropped.
  4. Make it interactive and use Q&As, polls, or public chat to facilitate conversations and networking opportunities.

After your live stream

Each live stream provides data and the opportunity to improve for next time. How many views did you get? How long did viewers stay on the live stream? Where did they drop off?

  1. Analyze your data. Try to identify trends in viewers — did a majority of attendees come from the same industry? Region? Age group?
  2. Conduct a technical analysis and review how consistent your speeds were, if there was any lag, and where you may need to boost resources next time.
  3. Debrief on how the event went. Where could you improve next time? What did audience members comment on? What were your successes?

Live streaming is a human-centered way to interact with your audience, and it only takes a few tools and live streaming tips and tricks to get started. Do your research and create a live streaming business plan, and you’ll be on your way to hosting your first live stream. With the right software, you will be empowered to give your network a captivating experience, growing your business organically with incredible live content.