You may have seen your favourite artists, public figures and friends go live on social media over the past few months. Here at Voice, we have been running a series of artists interviews each week on Instagram. We would love to share a few things we’ve learnt over the past months so you can go live and interview an artist too!
We’ve compiled a list of things to keep in mind if you decide to hold a live interview. If you’re wondering which social media channel to choose (we prefer Instagram!) and the technicalities behind each platform, check out this how-to guide about social media platforms.
Select your setting
If you decide to use Instagram as your live streaming interview platform, you’ll be able to keep the interview on your profile for as long as you choose. You’ll want to select the right background and setting for the interview so it looks professional, clear and does not distract your viewers.
Find somewhere in your house where you can face a light source or window when conducting the interview. It would also be helpful to have a plain background, perhaps with one or two features. For example, you could place a chair in front of a window, rest your phone on the windowsill, and hang fairy lights in the background for soft interest.
Find a place where you can hold an interview undisturbed. If you live close to a busy road, consider closing the windows to reduce traffic noise. Choose a room in your house where you know you won’t be interrupted.
Before the live interview, ask a friend to test your audio quality by running a quick live stream with them to ensure your microphone is working and that you can receive audio. You could use this test-run to announce to your audience what time you’ll be live, and who you will be interviewing. Remember to turn your phone notifications to silent so your phone doesn’t vibrate and ring during the interview as this can disrupt the audio.
Communicate with the artist
A vital part of your live interview is, of course, the person you’re interviewing! Although you might be a pro at going live on social media, bear in mind that for many, this interview could be their first live stream. Offering to call and run through the process, or emailing them with a step-by-step guide will be very helpful for newbies.
Around 10 minutes before you’re due to start the live stream, message their social media account to double-check they’re ready to go.
What’s the plan?
During a live interview, there can be a lot to remember. You’ll have to listen attentively to your interviewee and maintain an interesting conversation while keeping an eye on the comments section so you don’t miss out on any viewer interactions.
Plan your live interview beforehand so you’re as relaxed and confident as possible. If you expect the interview to last 20 minutes, tell this to the artist so they are aware of any time constraints.
Similarly, when you’re compiling a list of questions for the artist, bear in mind that you might also be asking questions from viewers. Always have a couple of extra questions on hand in case interviewees answer more succinctly than you were expecting.
Keep it lively
And, action! Now that you’re live with your interviewee, it’s vital to keep engaging both with your viewers and the artist.
Maintain a lively tone-of-voice throughout the interview to make viewers feel welcome and encourage them to interact through comments and reactions. This will also help keep your content evergreen after the event when the video is posted on your profile.
Don’t be afraid to chat with your viewers whilst waiting for the interviewee to join the live stream. Once you’re engaged in the interview, you can keep to a more conversational tone rather than a formal Q+A style. The more comfortable your viewers feel, the more likely they are to interact with your live stream.
Remind your viewers
Due to the nature of social media live streams, not all your viewers will join right at the beginning. Viewers will trickle in throughout the stream; some nearer the beginning, and some close to the end. Your aim is to make each viewer welcome; introduce the discussion topic, and give frequent reminders of who you’re talking to and why during the stream.
Between each question, you could remind your readers that today you’re chatting with, as an example, performance poet Jess Green. In a couple of sentences, explain Jess Green’s recent project and encourage your readers to type any questions they want to ask Jess in the comments.
To stimulate discussion in the comments, you should prioritise any viewer questions over your own questions. This way, viewers feel valued and are more likely to interact more with your live streams.
Where to go next
Now you’ve reached the end of your live stream, ask the artist to direct viewers to where they can find more of their content. To end the live interview, share the artist’s website or social media channels, and direct the viewers to any additional content you are planning with the artist.
Good job! You’ve just completed your first live interview and I’m sure it was a roaring success. Although it can feel strange talking into a screen and seeing your followers join in dribs and drabs, after one or two live streams, you will feel completely comfortable.
You can tune into our live interviews series, Instaviews, each Friday at 1 pm. Find our Artist Workshops with Voice series to keep upskilling your creative career and follow us on Instagram to make sure you don’t miss out on any content.