Livestreaming for Governments: How to Reach Your Community

Livestreaming has become a valuable tool for governments to increase civic engagement. Governments of all sizes have taken to streaming city council meetings as a way to communicate their message to their community. Several cities such as the City of New York have passed bylaws that require local governments to start streaming city council meetings. By livestreaming, governments are demonstrating transparency and accountability; it also provides real-time and accurate information to citizens quickly and efficiently.

Why You Need to Stream Your City Council and Government Meetings Online

Mobile + Digital Is The New Normal

According to a Nielsen Company audience report, the average American spends over 10 hours a day online. Technology has become an everyday part of our lives. Gone are the days where someone will physically make a complaint at city hall. They’re more likely to voice their concerns over phone, in a tweet, or an email. When constituents want to look up community events for the month, they are also more likely to look online. Streaming press conferences, town halls, and government meetings online gives governments and city councils a real opportunity to meet their constituents where they are.

Constituents May Not Be Physically Present

While constituents may want to attend every meeting, the reality is that they can’t always be physically present. You might be located far away, transportation might be a challenge, people may be on vacation. Give constituents the flexibility to fit your meeting into their day – whether by livestream or on-demand – and be rewarded with a more engaged audience as a result. Give constituents the option to watch the livestream at a time that suits them, from the comforts of their home, and they will very likely get more out of it and tune in more often.

How Local Governments Are Using Live Video

Many municipalities and governments are addressing these challenges and providing their residents with more ways to observe and engage by streaming city council meetings.

In 2014, New York City passed legislation requiring all community boards to livestream their board meetings.

The city of Austin, Texas streams 3,100 video clips to its residents each month.

Many others in Arizona, North Carolina, Chicago, and Los Angeles are also streaming city council meetings several times a week on average.

6,959,622 viewers watched 241 politically-focused streams on Livestream from November 2016-17, leaving 5,355 comments.

48,284 viewers watched the US Department of the Interior’s Livestream in 2017.

Over 112,000 views have been generated by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s Livestream account of more than 8,000 followers, as of February 2018.

388 government organizations across 70 countries used Livestream to broadcast 10,597 events in 2017.

2 million live concurrent viewers and 3 million live watch hours were generated across 6 news networks that used YouTube to livestream the first 2016 US presidential debate. (Source:TechCrunch)

80% of audiences would rather watch live video than read a blog. (Source: Livestream and New York Magazine “Win a Free Mevo” Survey)

82% of viewers prefer live video to social posts. (Source: Livestream and New York Magazine “Win a Free Mevo” Survey)

78% of people watch videos online every week. (Source: HubSpot)

67% of viewers say quality is the most important factor when watching a livestream broadcast. (Source: Livestream and New York Magazine “Win a Free Mevo” Survey)

100m hours of Facebook videos are watched every day. (Source:Recode)

A livestream of a Chicago City Council meeting.

5 Things You Need to Consider for Your Government Livestream

Smarsh’s “Facebook Live: Best Practices” shares a few best practices to make livestreaming for your city council or government a success.

#1 What Is the Purpose of Your Livestream?

As with any strategy, your livestream should be built on a goal or purpose. Some considerations: Who is your target audience? What information do you wish to communicate? That purpose may evolve as your livestreaming efforts expand, but it’s important to bear in mind what the main focus of each livestream is, who you aim to reach, and how success will be measured.

#2 Announce and Promote Regular Broadcasts

“LIVE” doesn’t mean “by surprise,” says Smarsh, an archiving platform. Announce, promote and share upcoming livestreams through your social media accounts and remember to direct them to the channel or platform you’re broadcasting from. Smarsh recommends regular scheduled broadcasts, such as a weekly or monthly community wrap-up, to build a consistent following over time.

#3 Train Your Spokesperson for Branding and Consistency

Do not underestimate the importance of training your live video representatives to ensure messaging of your organization is consistent across the board. Consistency and emphasis will help reinforce your livestream “as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source of quality information in the community,” says Smarsh.

The City of Chicago livestreams its Police Academy Welcome.

#4 Repeat Key Information

When livestreaming during an emergency, it’s worth noting that viewers are more likely to retain key information when they are repeated. Smash recommends repeating key details such as phone numbers, websites, names and locations at least three times during an emergency. They should also be shared on social media channels and your website.

#5 Drive Your Audience to Social

Whether it’s a livestream or on-demand video, make a habit of sharing or forwarding the content on social media platforms and encourage your viewers to do the same. “This built-in audience is essential to helping you spread the word to your entire community,” says Smarsh.

What Governments Are Saying About Live Video

“Livestreaming board meetings is an efficient and inclusive way to encourage more citizen involvement in the county government process.” – John Barkley, County Administrator, Greene County, VA

“Livestream has been tremendous in facilitating the Chicago Mayor’s Office’s ability to connect with residents. Chicagoans can just go to the City’s website from any device and view the mayor’s events live in real time.” – Ankur Thakkar, City of Chicago Office of the Mayor

“2.9b people are online. If you can’t use video to get to them, you’re irrelevant.” – Dana Berchman, Chief Digital Officer of Gilbert, AZ

Looking to livestream your next council meeting? Find a platform plan that suits your needs and budget.

Why a Live Video Strategy is a Must-Have for Marketers [2020 Update]

Live streaming for marketers is no longer a novelty – live video is changing the way brands interact with their audiences. A live video strategy engages viewers in immediate and authentic ways that other social media formats cannot. And marketers are paying attention, with 28% investing more in live streaming.

Customers expect live video at every step of the consideration process. To meet this growing demand, savvy brands are finding new ways to use tools like Vimeo, LinkedIn Live, Facebook Live, and Periscope in their marketing stack.

“If you don’t livestream your show you’re missing out on a huge opportunity that your competitors are going to pick up on.” – Digital Manager, Carolina Herrera

91 million subscribers will utilize live streaming by 2024.

47% of viewers are live streaming more than a year ago.

Live streaming topped 1.1 billion hours in 2019.

80% of audiences would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog.

82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.

62% of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of a brand that publishes poor-quality video.

Enjoyment of video increased sales intent by 97% and brand association by 139%.

Video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80% or more.

After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online.

Video in an email leads to 200-300% increase in click-through rate.

39% of executives call a vendor after viewing a video.

59% of executives would rather watch a video than read text.

73% of B2B businesses using live video report positive results to their ROI.

Livestreaming has the power to expand the viewership of an event attended by hundreds into the millions, to connect global offices, and to reach audiences of unprecedented scale for product launches, fashion shows, or exclusive fan releases.

There are more options for livestreaming than ever before, and understanding the equipment and up-front costs can be overwhelming.

Ready to explore a live video strategy for your brand?

We created The Ultimate Guide to Live Streaming Events because we know that while events and livestreaming may be essential to your marketing strategy, that doesn’t mean they’re easy. Nearly everything about event planning and live video is difficult – especially if you’re doing it for the first time. We want to provide you with the tools and information you need to make your event and livestream a success.


DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

In this guide you will learn:

  • Statistics and data on how the live event and video industry is growing and driving ROI.
  • Event planning best practices and tips from professional large-scale event producers and marketers.
  • Step-by-step instructions and tools for going live from our production team.
  • How nine organizations use Vimeo’s live streaming tech to expand the reach of their audience and increase live event ROI.
  • All the technical terminology and lingo you need to understand live video production.