Could the #AppleLive debacle happen to you?

Posted by Jessica Dove on September 10, 2014


We all saw (or maybe we didn't) Apple's live stream yesterday, and it got us thinking about the importance of planning and executing a live event. And thanks to this from the folks at HubSpot, we can all read why.


Live streams are a great tool, as they have the ability to put people from all over the world in the same location, and are fairly inexpensive. And, as The Wire shows us, they can be used for a variety of topics. But, the reality is that sometimes things don’t play out the way they were designed. And if a company like Apple can have difficulties, then it’s clear that it could happen to anyone. It’s critical for brands to see the importance of planning, and to strive for technical excellence.

“Technology is our best friend, until it fails,” said Gina Miller, Sr. Director, Mitchell Communications Group. “But knowing how to handle that failure can make all the difference between a successful event and a nightmare.”

So, how can you ensure that a live stream goes smoothly? Here are a few tips:

  • Know your system. What are the capabilities of the software?
  • Know the weak spots in your software. Nothing is perfect and all software has issues, but if you’re aware of the issues you can plan ahead.
  • Do your presenters know how to work the technology? Make sure they are comfortable in the setting.
  • Know your audience and if the platform you’re using is the best for them.
  • Don’t let your live event be your first run. Just because you’ve done it before doesn’t mean you don’t need to practice. Don’t make assumptions that things will work the way they always have.
  • Will the system or venue change the integrity of your content? Even something as simple as a light close to the stage can throw off the appearance of your content.

Now, you've taken all these steps, but what happens if something does go terribly wrong?

First, make sure that you have a technology expert onsite that is familiar with the system to immediately assist with any glitches. Taking that a step further, make sure you understand the support that your streaming company offers. Having them on hand during your live stream can prove to be very beneficial in a time of crisis.

Second, listen to your audience. Monitor social feeds and online chatter to see what your audience is saying about your event. We make it a point to keep our finger on the pulse by identifying keywords and topics ahead of time to be ready to listen and respond when the moment strikes. You may not realize something is an issue until you see it broadcast to the world via social media. Address the issues immediately and communicate with your audience in the spaces where they are.

So, do your prep work, get the right people involved, have a plan in place to handle glitches, and listen to what your audience has to say, and you’re sure to pull off a successful live stream.


Topics: Digital and Social, Digital