Live Streaming is undoubtedly a great way for any creator to engage their community and grow their business. But many creators are struggling to gain more exposure and increase their reach.and is a must-have for anyone starting to livestream in 2023.
With simulcasting, meaning the practice of broadcasting your live content on multiple platforms at the same time, you can easily reach larger audiences and build your brand. But simulcasting can seem daunting for creators for a number of reasons.
In this blog post, we are going to talk about what simulcasting is, and how you can leverage simulcasting to maximize your reach. We will cover the best FREE live streaming tools, platforms you should simulcast to, and best practices for simulcasting. Let's get started!
What is simulcasting?
Simulcasting meaning can differ depending on who you ask. But as a combination of the words simultaneous and broadcast, most creators and industry leaders describe it as the process of broadcasting a live video to multiple destinations at the same time. You may use it interchangeably with "multistreaming".
With simulcasting, you create a single live content and stream to many destinations at once, such as YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, your own website, and other platforms. While the destinations you can stream to depend on the tool you use (we will cover the best FREE simulcasting tools in just a bit), in general simulcasting means you can achieve the maximum exposure with the least work. These benefits, combined with the availability of simulcasting through tools like Opus, make it a must-have for anyone looking to start livestreaming in 2023.
How does simulcasting work?
As you will see, simulcasting meanings have evolved drastically over time. The concept of simulcasting originated from the television and radio industry. To simulcast, you needed to first capture the video and audio signal, encode them into specific format (for example H.264 or HEVC for video, and MP2 or AAC for audio), add any necessary metadata (program information, closed captions, et cetera), broadcast the program on its primary channel, transmit a copy of the program to one or more secondary channels or frequencies, and synchronize them with the primary broadcast so that they all started and ended at the same time. Pretty complicated!
Thankfully, in the internet age, simulcasting's meaning has changed for the better. With the advent of online live streaming destinations like YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok, people have more platforms to simulcast to. However, destinations like YouTube and Facebook do not natively allow you to send your stream directly to other platforms, as they want you to stream to their platform exclusively. If you want to, say, stream a live Facebook video to YouTube, you need to use an encoder, which is error-prone and bandwidth-draining.
Luckily, there are already some live streaming tools that have simplified and democratized the whole simulcasting process. A live streaming software like Opus makes it easy for creators like you to simulcast to multiple destinations in just a few clicks.
The benefits of simulcasting
Now that you understand simulcasting's meaning, let's go over the benefits.
- Expand your reach
Simulcasting is the ideal way to reach audiences around the world. Many simulcasting services make it simple for you to connect with new viewers from various platforms, and garner more viewership.
- Meet your audience where you are
"Know your audience" is a tenet of Live Streaming 101, and that includes knowing what platforms your audience watches live shows. Simulcasting live to various platforms makes it super easy for you to connect to all your fans on different platforms at once. It reduces the friction and switching costs your audience needs to take to go to a new platform and makes it easy for them to enjoy a great show on their preferred platforms. Whether it's YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Twitch, TikTok, or elsewhere, your viewers are more likely to tune in if you stream your live shows directly to them.
- Diversify your income
Monetization is all about scalability - doing the least amount of work to reap the most amount of benefits. And for live streaming, simulcasting is one of the surest ways for you to 10x your income. Different platforms have different ways of monetization, including sponsorship, advertising, tipping, subscriptions, etc. When you multistream to different platforms, you not only utilize a plethora of monetization methods, it's also great for your brand exposure, which in turn may bring more collaboration opportunities for you.
Another benefit is that simulcasting means you are able to see which platform brings you the most monetization opportunity, so that you can focus more on that platform and work smart, not just hard.
- Take advantage of each platform
Different platforms have different features, demographics, and advantages. For instance, on YouTube you may get a lots of tips from super chat; while on LinkedIn it's better to build your own business; and on TikTok you can reach out to younger audiences. When you stream to different platforms, you leverage their advantages to help you grow faster.
- Gain efficiency with less time and effort
Simulcasting means you can "work smart, not just work hard." With simulcasting, you avoid streaming the same content multiple times on different platforms. You can use the time saved from this process to repurpose your live streams to other forms of content, like blogs, podcasts, and short videos, and upload them to more platforms to gain more exposure.
- Everyone is doing it!
Forgive me for playing the FOMO card. But the fact that every creator who is serious about leveraging live streaming is simulcasting is a tale-tell sign that simulcasting brings a lot of benefits. Don't miss out!
- Capture precise insights into your audience
Simulcasting means that you can easily understand your audiences' appetites on different platforms. Content that is loved by audiences on one platform might not perform well on another. When you simulcast to different social media platforms, you will gain a better picture of what your audiences like. For instance, you might find that your LinkedIn audiences like Q&A sessions better, while on YouTube, live commentary has more engagement. Such valuable insights can help you better adjust your content strategies for each platform, and make your show perform better.
The best FREE software to start simulcasting
Choosing the right tools to simulcast with can help you achieve more with less work.
For hardware tools, you will need proper microphones, lighting, and especially cameras. You can have a look at our ultimate guide for Best Cameras for Live Streaming to level up your live streaming.
As for software, here are the best FREE simulcasting tools to maximize your reach:
Opus is a web-based simulcasting software that is both powerful and easy to use. With just a few clicks, you can multistream to many platforms, including but not limited to YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Twitch, TikTok, and Instagram.
Using Opus to simulcast has many benefits, including:
- Simulcast your live shows to unlimited platforms at once directly from your browser
- Read all your audiences' comments from each platform directly inside the studio, and bring comments onscreen to engage your audiences
- Engage with your audiences like never before with our innovative AI-powered audience engagement tools like Magic Polls, Magic Memes, Emoji Rain, and Video Comments
- Customize your show and make it more on-brand, with all kinds of overlays that you can resize and reposition however you like
OBS is a free and open-source live streaming software that you can use to multistream to Twitch, YouTube, and other platforms. It's easy to install, has powerful features for you to design a high-quality studio, and can be integrated with a lot of custom plugins.
However, OBS is not easy to use, and the steep learning curve makes what should've been an enjoyable process very frustrating and cumbersome. If you need to use OBS, you can consider integrating OBS with Opus. The process is super easy, and you can enjoy the best of both worlds - the powerfulness of OBS, and ease of use of Opus.
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Top platforms you should simulcast to
There are many platforms where you can simulcast and reach larger audiences. Here is a list of top platforms that you should simulcast to, to get the biggest bang for your buck:
YouTube is the largest video platform, as well as the second-largest search engine in the world. With approximately 122 million users enjoying YouTube videos every single day, YouTube easily tops the list of best live streaming platforms. Here are some great benefits of live streaming on YouTube:
You can always find your audience no matter your niche
You can easily increase your reach on YouTube
YouTube has lowered the threshold for monetization, which means that every creator now has a chance to earn more with super chats, merch, etc.
Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms, and chances are that many of your community are on Facebook. You can use Facebook to broadcast Q&A, guest chat, or other virtual events. Many small business owners use Facebook Live to connect with their existing customers, attract new customers, and grow their businesses
LinkedIn Live is all the rage now. LinkedIn reports that live streams, on average, get 7 times more reactions and 24 times more comments than regular posts.
Aside from high engagement, going live on LinkedIn can also boost your professional credibility. What makes LinkedIn unique is its professional context. Streaming on your own or your company's page can showcase your expertise, humanize your brand, and help you nurture existing relationships and build new ones. LinkedIn Live is especially valuable for B2B marketers who want to get more quality leads and scale their business.
TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform over the past few years and the number one platform for easily gaining fans in the shortest period of time.
Compared with other platforms, TikTok gives creators a bigger platform to engage with younger audiences and monetize. You can easily go live on TikTok using Opus by following this step-by-step guide on going live on TikTok. If you want to get a TikTok stream key, read this detailed article on how to get your stream key and go live to TikTok from your PC.
However chaotic Twitter has become after Elon Musk became the CEO, Twitter is still one of the top platforms for people to see what’s happening in the world. Going live on Twitter gives you an additional source for new audiences. And if you are a social event commentator or Web 3 professional, you need to leverage Twitter, as you are more likely to attract audiences who are interested in your content.
Tips for running a successful simulcast
- Choose as many suitable platforms as possible
The magic of "Less is More" does not apply to simulcasting, meaning you should try to multistream to as many suitable online platforms as possible. Your potential audiences use various platforms, so the more places you can simulcast to, the more likely that you will be seen and watched.
However, do remember that quality also matters. While you are able to stream to as many platforms as you like, your time and efforts are limited. You need to choose platforms that are most suitable for your goals. And you should always start with platforms where you already have a decent number of followers.
- Choose the best affordable simulcasting software
Just like a workman must first sharpen his tools before cutting the wood, you need to choose the right tool for simulcasting. Opus is one of the best web-based simulcasting software for you to easily multicast your content to various platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, or your website. We've got you covered with simulcasting, so that you can focus what you are most passionate about.
- Promote your live streams in advance
Promoting your show is crucial for you to get the most viewers. You need to let your audience know in advance where you are going live, and what you will be talking about. You can create some countdown posts as teasers and make your audiences engage with you even before the start of the show. Sending two posts - one a week ahead of the event, and the other 2-3 days ahead of the event - is a good cadence to promote your show.
Another secret for successful promotion is that you need to tailor your promotional posts to each platform. It's likely that you have different demographics on different platforms, so speaking to them in the language that they are most familiar with is crucial for you to attract as many people for your show as possible.
- Practice makes perfect
No matter how many times you've successfully simulcasted, you should do testing as much as possible to ensure that everything goes smoothly. We suggest you do at least one test run before your live show to see if there are any issues on each platform.
- Monitor your simulcasts during your live show
Even though you have done a bazillion test runs and have never run into any issues, there is still a chance that something could go wrong as you go live. It's great if you can have a producer who can constantly monitor the video and audio quality of each platform, but not everyone has such luxury. Simulcasting software like Opus makes it easy for you to monitor your live streams in real-time, as you can easily access all the platforms you simulcast to and make sure no issue is overlooked.
- Remember to read audience comments on different platforms
You may receive a lot of comments on different platforms when simulcasting, and it can be a pain to open dozens of tabs and monitor all comments on each platform. Tools like Opus automatically collect all your comments from different streaming platforms and show them on your studio, so that you can receive and read all your comments on one central platform. With Opus, your audience can also send TikTok-like video comments, and make your show stand out more.
Using simulcasting to maximize your livestream reach
Simulcasting means growth, convenience, and wider reach no matter your niche. And it is an indispensable part of live streaming for creators who want to turn their talents into income. You are missing a huge opportunity if you haven't jumped on the bandwagon!
Tools like Opus help you simulcast your live streams to all destinations your audiences might be watching in a breeze. It's time to level up your live streaming with simulcasting!
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About the Author
Rebecca Xu is the Product Marketing Manager at Opus, and a professional simultaneous interpreter. She is a story teller, food lover, globe trotter, and sarcasm connoisseur. She loves learning new things through reading, traveling, and exploring. Most of the time, you can find her either in an ice-cream shop, or on her way to an ice-cream shop.