With the entrance of Facebook into the live streaming space with Facebook Live, live streaming has suddenly become mainstream. Despite the fact that live streaming has been available for years from tools like Periscope, UStream, and Livestream, many brands weren’t taking advantage of the power of live streaming – even if they’d already fully adopted the use of video.
Now that’s beginning to change. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are seeing the power of live streaming: more views, higher engagement, and most of all, higher quality engagement.
Whether you’ve been live streaming for years or you’re a total newbie to the game, there are lots of ways you can amplify your brand reach using this excellent tool.
1. Just do it.
With all due respect to Nike, in this case, we’re not talking about running a marathon or any other feat of athleticism.
Similar to adding video to your marketing strategy, the great thing about live streaming is that you’ll increase your brand reach simply by doing it – as long as you take into account certain considerations.
According to Facebook numbers from earlier this year, Facebook users spend 3 times longer watching live video than pre-recorded video. This bears out in our own experience with clients, too.
Mary Kay, one of the largest American makeup brands, recently engaged Zen Media for video work, both live streaming and pre-recorded. We posted the videos and did the live stream on their Facebook page, which has 56,000 likes.
When we put up a pre-recorded video, it generally gets between 20,000 and 40,000 views. Those are pretty good results for a video. This one, as you can see, got 31,000 views.
However, when we did a live stream of the groundbreaking for their new manufacturing and research facility, they got 77,000 views.
And it’s not just views that skyrocket. It’s reach too: one live stream of a Mary Kay fashion show achieved a reach of 287,000 people, while another pre-recorded video we did had a reach of 122,000.
What this means is that simply by putting out a quality live stream, you’re setting yourself up for success.
2. Embrace spontaneity as well as preparation.
For businesses, making a video is typically something that requires a great deal of preparation. Depending on the type of video, you might need to prepare a full script, a studio, a cast – even less-produced videos tend to require extensive pre-planning.
With live streaming, you’re striking a different balance. While you want to ensure that you’re prepared enough to offer your viewers a quality experience, you also have to make sure you don’t lose the appeal of going live by over-producing.
What does this mean? Well, when it comes to preparation you want to make sure you have a strong, reliable internet connection. You have to make sure the site you’re streaming from is available and tidy. And you should probably have a general idea of what you want to say to your viewers.
On the spontaneity side, you want to give yourself room to pivot or change directions if a great opportunity presents itself. If you’re giving a tour of your test kitchen, for example, and one of your chefs has just completed a new recipe why not do an impromptu interview with him? Live streaming doesn’t have to be polished in order to be effective.
[bctt tweet=”When it comes to #livestreaming, embrace spontaneity as well as preparation.” username=”marketingzen”]
3. Take advantage of the urgency that live streaming creates.
Live streaming creates a sense of urgency and immediacy that’s hard to replicate in the social media world. This gives it a real advantage over uploaded video in that audiences feel they have to tune in right now – not in an hour, or a day, or whenever they think about your brand again.
This means you can connect with viewers on a different level, and capture viewers who may not be interested enough to click on a video, but who don’t want to miss what’s happening live.
4. Host a contest or giveaway.
Contests and giveaways have always been marketing standbys, but they can attract a lot more interest when done via a live stream rather than through other digital means.
While you can do this easily just by having participants post comments on your live stream, you can up your engagement by making the contest about more than just chance. Ask a trivia or industry-related question, for example, or have viewers identify something that you walked past 2 minutes earlier.
Anything that adds an element of fun and skill will help increase your viewers’ enjoyment of your live stream, which will help you keep the viewers you already have as well as gain new ones.
5. Host a Q&A.
Live streams are perfect ways to host Q&A sessions. To increase both the quantity and quality of engagement, choose a topic for the Q&A, rather than inviting questions on anything. This will help direct the session.
Have viewers post their questions, and then do your best to answer as many questions as possible. That’s not to say that you should be giving brief, two-sentence answers to everything, but you don’t want to let just a few participants monopolize the conversation. If someone brings up a question that’s worth a good deal of exploration, consider making it the topic of a separate live stream session.
One of the benefits of live streaming a Q&A is that it gives fans a sense of connectedness with your brand. If you’ve ever participated in a Q&A with a figure whom you admire, you know the feeling: it’s as if you’re talking one-on-one with this person, even if you’re just one of the hundreds of people in the room (or on the live stream, as it may be).
Giving your fans the chance to connect on that personal level is huge, and doing it via live video is one of the most effective ways to do so.
[bctt tweet=”Live Q&As give your fans a chance to connect with your brand on a personal level. #livestreaming” username=”marketingzen”]
6. Live stream an event.
Streaming company events is a tried-and-true way to utilize live streaming well. This is a great idea especially for companies that are new to live streaming, as you don’t have to come up with a topic, set up your location, or recruit people to go on-camera with you. With a planned event, that’s already been taken care of.
One thing to be careful of, however, when streaming an event is that you choose an approach and stick with it. If you’re streaming your marketing director’s keynote at a conference, you’ll want to scout out a good spot and grab a tripod, so that viewers can see and hear clearly.
7. Promote your live stream events before they happen.
There’s no point in going live if no one knows it’s happening. As our CEO and founder, Shama Hyder, says in CIO magazine, it’s vital to promote your live streams to your audience.
Shama hosts her own digital marketing series, Shama TV, live each week, and says viewers like that regularity. That schedule, plus the social media posts that the Zen Media team puts out in advance of each Shama TV episode, are important to growing the show’s audience.
When you’re planning a live stream, spend some time letting people know that you’ll be live at this time, on this day, for this long. If it’s a few days in advance, you can use your email newsletter as well as your social media channels.
Then, a few minutes before you begin your live stream, use all your social media channels to point people toward your stream. You can even do this several times during the stream to capture the most viewers.
8. Take viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour.
Customers today love to see what goes on behind the scenes in your business. Use live streaming to show viewers how your manufacturing process works, how your designers come up with style ideas, or how you conduct testing on new products. Keep your narration short and snappy, and let the process you’re witnessing give your video direction.
9. Interview a thought leader.
Interviews with thought leaders or prominent personalities do extremely well on live streaming. Just like live Q&As, live interviews offer viewers a sense of intimacy and connectedness with the person being interviewed. To expand on this benefit, you can take questions from viewers, too.
10. Repurpose your live videos.
Going live doesn’t mean that your video’s life is over once you hit the stop button. As you can read about in our previous post on Facebook Live, live streams not only get more viewers while they’re actually live – they also achieve greater reach after the “live” part is finished. More people tend to watch videos that were recorded live than ones that weren’t.
This means that you can repurpose your live videos the same way you would any other video. Insert clips into your blog posts, post excerpts on your social media channels, embed the video in your newsletter…there are all kinds of possibilities.
Live streaming offers huge potential for businesses both big and small. To see how we’re using live streaming, check out Shama TV, and tune in to Shama’s Facebook Live stream every Friday.