Building Community With Live Video (Jen Cole)

Jen Cole

Do you remember the original reason that you created your first social media account?

Chances are it was to stay connected to the many people in your life, especially those who are far away. It certainly wasn’t to be advertised to or sold to, was it?

Fostering meaningful conversations and relationships via your social media channels can be one of the most solid marketing avenues to invest in because it is your digital frontline. This is where you have direct access to your fans and customer base at all times. When you’re present on these channels and spend time engaging in real time with your audience, it strengthens your connection with them. It’s just like nurturing any other relationship in your life…it takes time, but it always pays off.

And what better way to engage with your fans live, than to do it on live video?

"Well, my brand doesn’t really have anything to talk about on live video…"

Untrue! Your brand, just like any other solid brand out there, has a story to tell and an educational angle for your audience.

Think about this:

What kinds of questions are you constantly being asked by your clients and customers?

What pain points do your audience members experience that you can address and talk them through?

Think about the conversations that you’re already having with people in real life experiences, make a list of these topics, and then you have your content calendar for a live video series!


Once your audience starts to anticipate your live shows, they will begin to invest their time and valuable thoughts with the trust that you will be there to talk them through their experiences with your brand. Naturally, this eventually begins to build trust.

A few years ago when I was a social media consultant, I developed a Facebook Live show that was aired weekly in the back of a local brewery, highlighting a different community leader or small business owner on each episode.

I had three segments:

  1. A segment where we got to know the guest, their background, and the exciting things they had going on;
  2. A segment with silly questions that each guest had to answer, which had been submitted by our devoted community members (thus giving our community some ownership in the show itself);
  3. A segment where we talked about upcoming community events to look forward to.

The show aired nearly 150 episodes over the course of about three years, and before I knew it, people were reaching out to me asking to be on my show instead of the other way around. My community was truly invested and found value in what I was doing, and when an organization was looking for someone to speak about social media marketing, I was often the go-to person. (Which was part of my own business growth strategy!)

Starting a live show isn’t easy, and some might even be intimidated by the idea.

"I don’t like to see/hear myself on camera."

C’mon now…the way you appear on camera is honestly the way you appear in real life. Be confident! People already LOVE YOU, and getting on camera to have an in-real-time conversation with them will strengthen your relationship with them and build their loyalty to your brand even stronger. (You’ll notice I used that word “relationship” again…just saying…)

"I can’t afford all of that expensive equipment."

Ok ok ok. Let me tell you this: On my weekly Facebook Live show, I simply used an iPhone, a small tripod that I bought on Amazon for $14, and a $12 lavalier mic.

The equipment doesn’t bring in the views. YOU do.

Not so intimidating now, is it?

You can come up with a million excuses not to do live video, but I’m telling you that if you just start doing it, you’ll get better and better at it, and your community will get so much value out of these video sessions with you. I promise, it pays off. And you’ll also grow to love it!

Jen Cole @jencoleict
SMM @ Greteman Group
Owner of X-Stand
Podcaster on Making a Marketer
Former Social Media Manager @ smexaminer

Tell Us Below:

Do you use live video to connect with your community? If so, how?

What brands have you seen utilizing live video well?

This made me think about how Wholesome Media can start doing a live IG series. Possibly talking about social media releases and updates? It doesn’t have to be long, but quick and informative? I know there are a lot of things like that out there, but I wonder if we could spin it? Hmmm interesting! Thank you for sparking a thought @jencoleict!


You can DEFINITELY spin it! Put that Wholesome Media twist on anything you do, and it’s automatically different and amazing. I’m so happy this sparked an idea for you, Jeremy. Can’t wait to see where you take it!


Great tips on how to get started! You need a plan - and a good topic, then build an audience. I also use my smartphone and a lavalier mic to record my videos.

Live video can be an amazing community building exercise! Thank @jencoleict !


I’m planning my content strategy for #SMWL22 right now, and I’m actively making a distinction between the stuff I do with my DSLR and lighting kit vs. the stuff I do with my phone and a lavalier mic—they create a different feel, and sometimes that more immediate feeling of a smartphone is what you’re looking for!


Yeah, I definitely agree with that. I still love to use my cellphone on a tripod whenever I’m not using a tool like Streamyard to go live with someone remote. I love the ease of it, and I think people gravitate towards the approachability of the look and feel of it as well. Sometimes when things are overly-polished they can be intimidating for folks.

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Yes! I think sometimes growing the audience is the most intimidating part, because no one really wants to go live and have no one show up. But with proper promotion and consistent streaming, people will start to crave it and keep coming back for more. And I also noticed that replay views accounted for the majority of my overall view count in the past!

I love that Streamyard is easy on a phone, though—I’m an Ecamm/Restream girl but I am hosting a series for #SMWL22 via Streamyard and I found myself with a last-minute invitation to a conference (#SMWNYC) on a day that I was supposed to go live—couldn’t have been easier with Streamyard! Just found a quiet-ish corner with good lighting and hopped right on my phone. :heart:

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I’ve never even tried Streamyard on my phone yet! This is something I DEFINITELY need to try out! Glad you mentioned it here, Christine. :smiley:

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