Playing live gigs is perhaps the best way to get in front of your fans and interact with them. Why? Because you are delivering an experience. It’s an experience they won’t find anywhere else, and only you can provide.
You need to deliver a great experience if you want them to come back. And if you’ve done your job well, they’ll keep coming back – for more shows, more records, more merch, more support for what you do.
We won’t go into too much detail here about why you need to be doing more live performances online, but suffice it to say that you should be. Your fans expect to engage with you online, especially fans that aren’t able to see you play live on a regular basis. Most online interaction is confined to short text messages or cleverly crafted banter. Your loyal fans want more than just that – they want to see you perform. Not only can you reach your fans with new tools like live online performances, but you can also add more money to your bank account by selling tickets for live online events.
5 steps for engaging your virtual audience
If you’ve been performing for very long, you probably know how to engage an audience from the stage. Those skills translate well to the “virtual stage”, but there are a few crucial things you’ll want to incorporate into your online gigs so that you keep the audience coming back for more. So let’s get started.
Before we get to the #1 rule for putting on a successful online event, we’ll start with the basics.
5. Be prepared. Just like a normal live event, show up early and do a sound check. Get your audio mix dialed in, set your camera in a good position, and make sure your lighting is adjusted for the ideal viewing experience online (more on that below).
4. Test your internet connection. You’d be surprised how often this step is overlooked. Also, make sure there isn’t heavy internet traffic on the network you’re broadcasting from. The more people you have accessing the same network you’re using to broadcast, the more likely there will be a slowdown in internet speed and performance. Make sure you have enough bandwidth to stream a high quality show. You can use your favorite network speed analyzer or try: www.gigee.me/speedtest
3. Camera placement is crucial. Be sure to place the camera, or multiple cameras, in a good location. With a virtual show, your audience can only see what the camera can see. Position the primary camera so it provides a nice “front row view” of the stage. This provides the perspective of being in the best seat in the house for everyone tuning into your event. If you use multiple cameras, consider the use of wide shots of the performance space, close ups of the performer(s) on stage, and unique vantage points that will include the audience in your performance.
2. Light it right. Lighting and backdrops can be used to set the mood of the performance space. Different light colors and combinations can evoke different feelings about the room and the type of performance you are doing. If you’re looking for a calm, mellow vibe, try using blue, purple, or green tones. Or use orange and yellow colors for a more energetic space. Experiment with your lighting and backdrop to bring the audience into the space you wish to create for them.
1. The #1 rule for engaging your live online audience: remember your fans throughout the show.
Communicate with your audience before the event starts. Most online event platforms allow you to live chat with the viewers via instant text messaging on the screen. Consider taking requests or typing some quick personal greetings to anyone showing up to the event early. Or maybe you want to do an interview with band members or other special guests before the show starts. This type of interaction can help you seem more in touch with the online audience and will set the stage for capturing their attention for the rest of the live performance.
Have someone monitor the chat session while you’re performing. There may be interesting banter happening between fans, or maybe you want to do a shout-out to someone live, on camera. This always livens up the chat room and is a sure-fire way to keep the audience engaged. When fans see and hear you respond to their questions or comments live, it greatly enhances the personal involvement in the event – for everyone. This will make a lasting impression on your audience, and they’ll be back for more!
Bonus tip: do a post-gig Question & Answer session with your fans. You might even want to treat this like a “backstage pass” and allow exclusive ticket holders to attend the special event after the show. This may even be part of your online encore where you perform a new song for the first time or take special requests.
Whether you’re doing a special online-only event, or adding a live broadcast to another live gig, use the simple steps listed here to be a great host, and tap into the huge potential of live online concerts. You and your fans just might get hooked!
James Wasem is an audio/video engineer and drummer, as well as a co-founder and technical director at Gigee.me. Gigee provides an easy-to-use online platform where artists can broadcast their own live ticketed events, and make 80% of all ticket sales. Learn more at www.Gigee.me and start broadcasting your live events for your fans around the world. You can reach James directly by email.