Technology has taken over the art of communication. The first television was invented in 1927; today, it’s possible to watch a live event on a palm-sized device using the internet. In a study done by Livestream, 81 percent of audiences watched more live videos in 2016 than in 2015. Additionally, more than 80 percent of respondents now prefer live videos over blog content and social media posts.
You no longer need a fancy satellite and heavy television set in order to watch a live event on the other side of the world. With live-streaming being so accessible, anyone with access to a mobile device and the internet can go to YouTube, Facebook, or a number of other sites and enjoy a live video. This technological advancement enables companies to reach a huge audience base around the world, improve exposure, and boost sales. In this article we’ll cover why you should use live-streaming, and when and how you should use it.
It Encourages Trust and Transparency
People prefer to buy from brands they trust. Customers generally associate trustworthiness with quality and excellent service. One way to build trust with your audience is by creating a live video to showcase company transparency.
A stellar example of using video to portray transparency is Patagonia and its “Footprint Chronicles" project. In this video series, they showcase each step of the supply chain process. If any part of the manufacturing process needs to or could improve, Patagonia openly admits to it directly and invites feedback and ideas from customers.
Your company can follow Patagonia’s example. Use live-streaming to show candid moments and processes, or other ways you can magnify your company’s transparency to audiences outside of your consumer base. When you share your stream on social media, your posts could earn positive comments or a lot of likes, both of which further the impression of a trustworthy brand.
It is Cost Effective
One of the best aspects about live-streaming is that it’s cost effective. Before it was invented, most businesses relied on television and broadcasting to showcase live reports or videos. This was, of course, costly: Estimates for a one-minute commercial aired on television in Los Angeles, for example, is roughly $17,000.
Today, any business with a strong internet, a high-definition camera, and a social media account can broadcast live. Many popular sites, like YouTube and Facebook, allow users to broadcast live for free, though there will likely be advertisements. For companies wanting a more professional investment in live-streaming, services run a few hundred dollars per month depending on the level of service.
It Encourages Engagement
Because of social media, it’s easy for companies to get feedback from customers and fans through likes, favorites, and comments, especially on your live-streaming video. Facebook reported that “people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.” Dunkin Donuts saw massive success with its first live video on Facebook: “It generated nearly 40,000 views and more than 5,000 interactions on social media.”
It Can be Shared Easily
Recent data gives estimates of 1.65 billion active social media users worldwide. About 95 percent of active social media users ages 18 to 34 follow a brand with a social media account. With live-streaming, you can reach out to and engage your customers. Take Buzzfeed for example: This website actively makes use of Facebook Live to promote its news.
Social media makes up a majority of digital marketing campaigns, especially because it allows for easy sharing. It’s all about quick, repeated exposure to both your audience and people who are similar to the members of your primary audience. Facebook helps live videos see more exposure by showing when a user’s friend reacts to or makes a comment on a stream, as well as by suggesting live-streams. Furthermore, once the live-stream has concluded, the broadcaster can save the video and post it to their Facebook page.
One company hosted a small live-streamed event: Twenty people watched. Then they posted the video to their page and asked viewers to share the video, and 16 did. Thanks to the shares, “the live stream had a total reach of over 3,000 people and over 800 views.” Use the sharing options on social media, ask your followers to share, and you can use your live-stream to help expand your audience.
It is Entertaining for Viewers
There’s something about a live-stream that people enjoy. It makes them feel like they are in the middle of the action and part of an active, engaged audience. From exotic animals giving birth to sports events, concerts, interviews, and special events, live-streaming allows your viewers to feel like they’re in on the action. Viewers can feel a sense of camaraderie, especially in the comments section, and get in on the action with contests, polls, and when their comments and questions are acknowledged by the presenters.
One of the best ways to use live-streaming is to help solve customer concerns. SocialMediaToday recommends making appointments with customers and walking them through a process or demonstrating a product or service. You can also beta test new offerings live to a pre-selected group of customers, who can give your reps immediate feedback. Using live video for customer service makes your customers’ lives easier and can also give them a good impression of your brand. The more personal the interactions your customer service representatives have with the people they serve, the better.
Updates, Announcements, or Demonstrations
If you want to introduce a new product or announce breaking news about your company’s future, there is no better way than doing it via live-stream. This encourages real time engagement with customers and future prospects. Give regular customers or subscribers exclusive access to live-streamed videos of your event before the general public in order to solidify the connection and demonstrate appreciation, as well as adding incentive for viewers to tune in. Furthermore, live-streaming is great when you can give demonstrations of your products and services. For example, demoing a product allows the audience a quick and visual understanding of how to properly use it, having viewers respond gets their questions answered instantly.
The most common type of live streaming is during events. Show your viewers what is happening and give them a preview of the topics that are being covered. A common practice for conferences is to record speakers, presentations, or anything of relevance to the audience. Combine this with live-streaming and connect the video to social media so viewers feel like they are there in person.
Concerts are another event that practices live-streaming. Coachella, for example, allows you to feel like you are in the middle of the action. Live-streaming helps your brand get exposure without sounding like an advertisement, which is more likely to earn engagement and shares from your viewers.
Behind the Scenes
What’s it like to work for your company? How is your product made? What’s your process for designing packaging for a new product? Live-streaming works as a great introduction to the behind-the-scenes action at your company. This type of video enhances your brand’s trust and transparency with customers.
The Grammy Awards hosted a behind-the-scenes stream to massive success: It lasted nine hours and reached 7 million view sessions. For an event this large, it took 100 people to make the live-stream happen. However, it’s important to ensure your live video doesn’t introduce your viewers to any company secrets or compromise your relationship with vendors. A professional football player used Facebook Live to share his team’s excitement after a victory, only to incur a fine after finding out he’d violated the NFL’s social media policy.
Always Have a Plan—And Back-Up Plans
As a part of your marketing plan, create a strategy for your live-streaming campaign. It should feel impromptu: The less staged a video, the more appealing for the viewers. When you film, keep everything natural. It also pays to be flexible with your plans. Spontaneity is a big factor when live-streaming, so if an unexpected event occurs, welcome it! Doing so humanizes your brand and makes you more relatable.
Connect with Influencers
Live-streaming better connects viewers to the influencers or personalities who represent the brand. Tough Mudder, a company that promotes sports and extreme races, live-streamed a training event with fitness expert Coach T. Mud. Those who knew about Coach T. Mud were able to connect with him and feel like an active participant. Additionally, introducing a larger audience to Coach T. Mud was a great way to get people to participate in a race because it featured an actual personality to embody the brand.
Live-streaming is one of the best ways to reach your target audience, as well as engage with additional people who only recently discovered your company. Through these interactive videos, it’s possible for you to break the barrier between your brand and its customers by allowing them to have an avenue where they can see a more human side to your business. When you create your marketing plan, be sure to consider using live-streaming as one of your strategies.