Fitness professionals are finding creative ways to stay engaged with their communities, turning this time into an opportunity to bring people together via free live-streaming workouts. Facebook Live and Zoom are quickly becoming the virtual boutique studios we’re all missing right now, especially while social-distanced humans are searching for ways they can still connect through fitness.
Zoom VS Facebook Live
Whether or not you have a corporate policy regarding which platform you should use, it’s important to note the differences between Zoom and Facebook Live.
With Zoom, classes are also live on ClubReady to create a sense of “normalcy” to physically sign up for classes.
Jared Montz and his wife, Lauren Montz, are multi-unit Pure Barre franchisees based in Las Vegas utilizing Zoom for their live-streaming needs. Lauren Montz notes, “By signing up for classes we are also now able to add the links to Zoom directly in their booking emails. We are currently using the $15 Pro version of Zoom for max 100 participants. All ranges of ages and technology “savvy” or not-so-savvy members are logging on and accessing with no issues.” Lauren also notes that recording on a tablet versus a phone produces a higher quality stream.
On the other hand, Facebook Live allows viewers to react to individual parts of the video, generating an impressive amount of engagement data in real-time. While setting up and viewing Facebook live-streams could not be easier for both instructors and views, it’s important to set your instructors up for success by providing them with a step-by-step instruction guide. Advise your instructors to hop on 5-10 minutes before their scheduled class in order to troubleshoot any last-minute issues. For archival purposes, advise them to include a detailed video title/description, including their name, level of difficulty, body focus (if applicable) equipment needed, and duration time. If they are using their phones, remind them to block any calls/notifications as it will disrupt the feed.
In addition, providing your viewers with a comprehensive way of finding the live stream videos in the group discussion feed will prevent issues down the line.
Checklist For Instructors: Ready, Set. Go LIVE!
● Enthusiastic opening! As you go live, remind viewers of who you are the class they are taking/equipment needed. Ask them to invite their friends to virtually hop on with you! Remind them that if they have a friend from class that they are not sure is a member of this group yet, ask them to send them an invite. Generate a sense of FOMO.
● Thank you. This is the first thing you want your participants to hear. Thank them for their time, flexibility, and patience during such a transformative and uncertain time.
● Reassure Participants. Give them confidence that this is a great way to stay connected, motivated and in-the-know.
● Have FUN! This is critical. In unsure times people need a little humor or fun or something to just break up the information overload. Start with an ice breaker or personal welcome.
● Encourage participation. As you would in an in-person class, give shoutouts to people who have joined!
● Stay in control. Virtual meetings and events can get off track if you do not moderate effectively. Be sure you stay in control of your class and bring it back on track if it begins to go off-topic.
●Strong Ending. You want to empower your members just as you would normally. End your class the same way you would with in-person classes, whether that’s with an inspirational quote or clapping!
Whether You Use Zoom or Facebook Live- Enthusiasm is KEY!
Outside of Pure Barre, Jared Montz is/has been involved in soccer and tech. He’s been producing videos on Youtube since 2007 with his Online Soccer Academy (OSA). Given his years of experience with producing quality video content to his viewers, Jared compiled a list of questions to ask yourself (or your instructors) as we transition to live-streaming workouts. His #1 takeaway? “The camera removes 20% of enthusiasm. You gotta bring EXTRA energy and passion.”
Instructor Debrief Questions
At the end of your Livestream ask yourself:
●Did I smile more than usual?
●Did I bring more energy than normal to rock out like I was teaching a class of 250 members?
●Did I give shout outs and call members by name?
●Did I have fun?
Other Recording Tips
Lighting is key. You will probably be using a webcam/your phone and that is great. But be sure the participants can see you and do not position yourself under an overhead light. It creates shadows under your eyes, nose, and chin.
Avoid “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario. Virtual meetings are notoriously more difficult to manage those in person, especially in Zoom. Make sure only one person is facilitating the virtual workout and has a clear and defined objective going in with set timelines to keep it all on track.
Be bold and authentic. Just like in person, people can pick up on you not being authentic. Don’t be afraid to address any questions or issues and if you can’t give an answer right away, be sure to let them know you will get them and answer on a specific day by a specific time!