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How to Livestream Events Online For Free

From interactive murder mysteries and cookery classes to informative webinars and roundtables, the sky is the limit when it comes to the types of events you can livestream. While pre-recording can be tempting, there are lots of advantages to livestreaming. The main one is that you can interact with your audience and foster a real feeling of community. Another big advantage is that a lot of platforms allow livestreaming for free – so you don’t have to pay to stream your content to audiences across the globe.

To make things easier, we’ve put together this guide on how to livestream events online without paying a penny.

YouTube Live

YouTube is one of the world’s most popular video-sharing platforms. As well as giving you a space to share videos – one of the most effective tools for event marketers – it can also be used to livestream events online.

YouTube Live supports time-shifting, so even if someone tunes in halfway through, they can watch your entire stream from the beginning. And if you create your event in advance, YouTube generates a URL that you can use to promote it. Finally, your livestream is automatically saved to your profile once it finishes, so people can enjoy your content long after it ends.

Due to its size and reach, YouTube is ideal if you want to broadcast to a global audience. It’s a fairly barrier-free platform, both for viewers and streamers, and can be used for all sorts of events, from news broadcasts and exercise classes to massive music performances.

How to livestream on YouTube

  • Step 1: To start, you need to have a verified account that’s in “Good Standing” – an attribute which you can check under the “Status and Features” section of your channel. You also need to enable live events, which you can do on the same page.
  • Step 2: Navigate to “Live Events” in Video Manager and select “Create Live Event.” On the “Info and Settings” page, complete your basic information e.g. your event’s name, description, time, date, and security level. “Public” makes it available to everyone, while “Private” means people need a link to join.
  • Step 3: Head into the advanced settings to enable live chat – you will be able to moderate comments as they come in – and choose your event’s categories. You can also use the advanced settings to choose your recording preferences. Remember, once your broadcast is over, it will automatically post to your channel.
  • Step 4: Click the “Create Event” button. The event will appear in the “Live Events” section of your video manager.
  • Step 5: Go live. When the time and date of your event arrives, hit the “Start Broadcast” button.

Facebook Live

With billions of active users, it’s safe to say a lot of people are on Facebook. The social networking giant has a few different options when it comes to streaming. As well as the ability to spontaneously stream from your mobile, you can also schedule streams to be broadcast from a business page, group, or dedicated event listing. (Livestreaming to your page gives you extra features such as the ability to cross-post, access detailed insights in Creator Studio, and restrict your stream based on demographics like age or location.)

A major benefit of Facebook Live is that it’s easy to set up a collaborative livestream with another user – great for holding a Q&A session, for example. One drawback is that non-Facebook users may not be able to access your stream.

How to livestream on Facebook

  • Step 1: Head to the Facebook Live Producer microsite and choose your streaming method. Pick between whether you want to use a stream key, paired encoder, or your in-built camera. (The latter is the easiest option.)
  • Step 2: Select “Schedule Live Video Event” and enter the date, time, and description of your event. Then, choose where you want to advertise it from the dropdown. You can post on your personal timeline, a page you manage, or a group.
  • Step 3: Choose your settings. There are some useful options to take note of. For example, auto-generated captions are great for accessibility and allowing viewers to rewind is ideal if they miss an important point.
  • Step 4: Click “Schedule” next to the “Go Live” button.
  • Step 5: Verify your stream 20 minutes before you’re due to broadcast. You need to be present for the stream 10 minutes before it begins, or it’ll automatically cancel.

Instagram Live

Instagram is a hugely popular photo-sharing platform. One of the benefits of using an Instagram livestream is that everyone who follows you gets a push notification when you start. And when you’re live, your profile gets moved to the front of the Stories queue. Finally, your live video will be available for 24 hours after your stream ends via your Stories.

A lot of people use Instagram on mobile, so it’s best for reaching people who are on the go and for content that users can dip in and out of. For example, it’s ideal for makeup tutorials and artists showing off their process. More structured events with limited numbers, such as wine tasting sessions, are less likely to work here.

Like Facebook, Instagram gives you the option to co-host your stream over a split screen. This makes it another excellent option for Q&A sessions, interviews, and informal chats. Remember, all of your followers get a notification, so the content needs to be snackable, engaging, and relevant to anyone who clicks out of curiosity.

How to livestream on Instagram

  • Step 1: Advertise. Let everyone know when you’re planning to go live on Instagram by mentioning it on your grid, in your stories, and cross-posting on your other social media sites.
  • Step 2: Check your settings. Click the gear icon in the top left, and click “Story Controls.” Make sure replies can be seen by “Everyone” if you want to have audience interaction during your stream. Choose “Allow Sharing” to let people share your stream with their friends, and hit the toggle to share your livestream to your Facebook page.
  • Step 3: Open Instagram Stories, either by swiping right on the homepage or tapping the “Your Story” icon on the top-left of your feed.
  • Step 4: Use the sliding menu at the bottom of the screen and choose “Live.”

Twitch

Originally designed for gamers, Twitch is now home to a diverse range of content creators. It’s mainly used for building communities, so it’s a great platform to consider if you’re planning to go live regularly and want to share a streamable hobby – for example, playing music, cooking, or chatting about your passions in a talk show format.

How to livestream on Twitch

  • Step 1: Decide on your method. For in-depth customisation options, use streaming software like Twitch Studio or Streamlabs OBS. Alternatively, you can use Lightstream Studio if you don’t want to install additional software.
  • Step 2: Customise your stream by setting a title, a notification to let your audience know you’re live, and a category so you show up on the right part of the platform.
  • Step 3: Connect your software to Twitch or select “Start Streaming” from the Lightstream website to go live.

Zoom

Zoom has become a popular tool for online meetings as well as livestreams. It’s collaborative, and guests have space to show their face via webcam and chat – although the host can mute anyone that they want to. The free version of Zoom allows group meetings up to 40 minutes long, and with up to 100 participants. As a result, Zoom livestreaming is best for short, small-scale events.

Ticket tiers are an option with Zoom, as events can simultaneously be streamed live on platforms like YouTube and Facebook. VIPs could be given access to the meeting itself where they can ask questions in real time, while everyone else can watch on the secondary platform. Zoom can also be integrated with your Eventbrite event, automatically sending a link to your attendees.

How to livestream on Zoom

  • Step 1: Install the Zoom app on your computer or phone.
  • Step 2: Open Zoom, and click on the “Schedule” button.
  • Step 3: Enter your meeting settings, including the date and time, the time zone, and whether it’s recurring. You can have Zoom generate an automatic ID for your meeting or create a personal meeting ID.
  • Step 4: Choose your security settings. Do you want to enable a waiting room for people to mingle before the broadcast starts? If you’re selling tickets, it’s best to set a passcode and limit the meeting to only signed-in users. Once you’ve tweaked the settings, click “Save.”
  • Step 5: If you want to stream the meeting to Facebook, Workplace by Facebook, YouTube, or a custom livestreaming service, you’ll need to sign into the Zoom web portal and access your account settings. Under “In Meeting (Advanced),” click the toggle next to “Allow Livestreaming the Meetings” and select which services you want to stream to.
  • Step 6: When it’s time to go live, sign into Zoom and click “Meetings.” Under the “Upcoming” tab, choose your event and click “Start.”

Livestream your event

Finding the best livestreaming platform for your specific event may be a case of trial and error. But no matter which option you pick, the above steps will help to ensure a smooth stream that satisfies attendees. For even more of a hassle-free experience, use our live online events checklist.

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