Live broadcast, while relatively new to the internet and small business marketing world, has been enthralling viewers for decades. At its core, today’s modern live streaming is simply the real-time broadcast of audio or video that is viewed across the internet, as opposed to television. Live streaming is a powerful marketing communication medium that allows your small business to engage your audience, garner brand trust and transparency, and turn passive viewers into active audiences. In fact, Facebook studies show that viewers comment 10 times more on live videos than on standard video posts. Additionally, statistics show that 80% would rather watch live video than read a blog post from that same company, and 82% prefer live video over regular social media posts.

Further demonstrating the power of this new medium, we can look at Pickathon, a music festival, which was able to grow online viewership from 11,000 in 2015 to 200,000 in 2016 following a social media campaign focused on livestreaming their events.

Now that we know the benefits of live streaming, how can you utilize this to your advantage?

Tips on How to Use

Most social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram have livestreaming features built in, and there are a variety of websites dedicated solely to creating live video content such as Persicope and Twitch.

To go live, all you really need is a camera or phone and reliable internet – however much more goes into a successful live stream than this. While the attractiveness of live streaming is due to its stripped down, human nature, you are still creating a video production and certain factors need to be considered.

Once you’re live, anything can happen; faulty Wi-Fi, inexperienced talent, or dying batteries. Depending on the content you will be live streaming, it’s not a bad idea to have a full rehearsal ahead of time in order to quell any nerves, and rehearse any important content. Will you speak through your camera’s microphone, or an external one? Can your audience hear you, and see you? Is there sufficient light, or excessive background noise? Will internet traffic be heavier at the time of your live stream, interfering with your signal?

Do a test run. You can practice your live stream by adjusting your viewing settings to Private, and ensure all the moving parts are in order before going live on the day of the event. (Just don’t forget to switch your settings back to Public!)

Another thing to consider is, how will you let your audience know to tune in? On some platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, your followers will receive a notification that you have gone live. On other sites, you will need to manually alert your clientele ahead of time. In either instance, it’s a good idea to spread awareness about an upcoming live stream. Whether it’s via email, social posts or otherwise, hyping up your live stream in advance builds excitement and anticipation, and ensures a present audience. Ask followers what they’d like to see, and let them know they will have the chance to have their voice and their opinions heard.

You can live stream virtually anything your business does, but once your audiences are tuned in, how can you keep them watching? Keep the event entertaining by curating unique content.  Consider going live during a big announcement, or take viewers behind the scenes of something typically off-limits.

Keep Audiences Engaged

When promoting or building a brand on social media, it’s important to keep the “social” aspect in mind, which is what makes these platforms unique and affords you a vast new set of marketing advantages.

Take social media influencers and YouTube celebrities for example. Their enormous popularity may be baffling to some, but the reality is that audiences are attracted to them for their sense of approachability and inclusion. These social media stars speak directly to their audiences, respond to their comments and treat them as friends, as opposed to consumers. They speak “to” and “with” them not “at” them.

Social media users, and consumers in general, want to feel valued, have their voice heard, and be a part of the conversation. Live streaming easily bridges the gap between business and clientele, allowing you to engage with your audience, open up dialogue, and build a sense of familiarity and trust in your brand.

A simple way to foster communication with your viewers is to take questions during the live stream. Encourage them to post questions or comments, and address them on camera. Additional ideas include saying hello to viewers by name, audience polling, prize giveaways, and games. Invite people to provide ideas and opinions about your products or events, let them know you value their contribution. The more you can involve the viewers in the dialogue, the more invested they will be.

Keep the momentum going after live streaming has ended. You can post clips from the broadcast on your business social media pages, thank the viewers for watching, and reply to any comments you may have missed during the live stream.

Have you been convinced? Click here to continue reading our follow-up article for more information.