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Video marketing is big right now, and it’s only going to get bigger. Projections estimate that by 2019, video will account for 80 percent of all internet traffic, and savvy marketers everywhere are singing the praises of livestreaming as a way for brands to take advantage of this trend.
Despite video content’s ability to reach consumers, many businesses are reluctant to use livestreaming as part of their content marketing strategy.
Shunning the marketing potential of livestreaming could be a big mistake for your business, and if you don’t consider it a vital weapon in your content marketing arsenal, then you’ll get left behind as the tidal wave of video popularity sweeps the startup world.
The good news is that livestreaming is a very accessible form of marketing (even for those on a shoestring budget) and you don’t have to be a tech wizard to get started. The following advice from marketing and video content experts will give you insights into the power of livestreaming for developing your brand and how to use it for maximum impact.
Why your startup needs to use livestreaming
Trevor Young, principal consultant and founding partner of content-driven public communications firm, Zoetic, believes that livestreaming allows businesses to stand out from the crowd and gain their audience’s trust.
“The online world is only going to get noisier as more and more businesses start publishing content to their owned and social media channels. A lot of what we see currently – and will definitely see in the future – is bland ‘me-too’ content.
“Video livestreaming can help businesses differentiate their brands because it tends to be less structured and a little more authentic than other forms of content that’s edited within an inch of its life. Authenticity builds trust, and trust is in short supply these days, according to Edelman Trust Barometer research.
“The audience has shown an appetite for livestreaming, so this presents an opportunity for businesses,” Young said.
Scott Gorman, founder and director of Mediahouse, has extensive experience in the video industry and said that livestreaming lets brands show off their personality and forge stronger connections with their audience.
“The evolution of content marketing is upon us, and so is the realization that we need to address those audiences out there who are time poor, and video is the most efficient way to get your message out there.
“Livestreaming should be part of your overall marketing mix – it’s a great way right now to be able to start connecting with your audience and start building your relationship with them. It’s very transparent, and it’s a great way to be able to expose the personality behind the brand and the people who are running it,” Gorman said.
Considerations for maximizing engagement with your audience
The benefits of livestreaming are clear, but how do you go about making the most of it to get people’s attention?
Gorman advises that associated interactive activities will enhance the audience’s experience and promote engagement.
“The video player is the hero of the page, but there should be other interactive components around that player that complement the video stream – things like polls, feedback forms, multiple choice quizzes.
“Content marketing and social media work really well with livestreaming, and they complement each other. The feedback that you get from social media channels can drive changes and improvements in what you’re doing with your livestreaming,” Gorman said.
Young emphasizes the importance of giving your audience plenty of notice of your regular livestreaming activities and keeping it real.
“Promote in advance: let people know when you’re going to go live well in advance, or better still, show up at the same time every week. And promote via all your social channels. This is if you’re doing a regular riff or interview series.
“But sometimes, and I’ve seen this often, the streaming content that does really well is the impromptu stuff that takes the audience behind the velvet rope of your business. Again, give people a dose of reality; show your people, let a bit of personality shine through – this is what will differentiate your brand from that of your competitors,” Young said.
Types of content that work best with livestreaming
The decision about what to include in your livestreams will depend on the nature of your individual business and who you’re trying to engage with. Young provides some examples to get you thinking about what might work for your business.
“You might have an accountant on Facebook Live updating her clients on some new tax legislation. Now, that might bore the pants off some people, but if the accountant’s clients are interested in such matters, then her opinion will probably be enough to capture their attention. So, I’d say adding commentary around trends, topical issues and news.
“Simple how-to live video streams can work in some industries. Taking people behind the scenes can also work a treat. For example, a fashion house might do an impromptu showing of some new garments that have just come in – we all love a sneak peek! And sometimes the little quirky things that go on in the office can be interesting to people – a new coffee machine in action, singing happy birthday to a team member. It never ceases to amaze me what people find interesting,” Young said.
Young also gives an example of how he is using livestreaming to get more bang for his buck out of other forms of content.
“My business partner and I recently started livestreaming the recording of our podcast, PR Leads. We’ve since started to make it a regular thing. It doesn’t take us any extra effort but gives us content for Facebook, as well as YouTube (we download the video and upload to YouTube), plus on our blog. Otherwise, our conversation is just a podcast. This means attracting a broader audience for our efforts,” Young said.
Any sort of major event your business is hosting is also a perfect opportunity to capitalize on the ability of livestream videos to reach people anywhere in the world. Gorman, who specializes in event webcasts, has seen the power of livestreaming to grow an audience.
“I have been doing livestreaming for a small business leadership conference for the last five years, and they have gone from an audience of 20 to several thousand over that time,” Gorman said.
Where to start
One of the great things about livestreaming is that it’s a very accessible avenue of marketing, even for those on a shoestring budget. You can accomplish amazing things with nothing more than a smartphone.
“Start off small. You don’t have to have the most amazing production values to be able to do livestreaming, but you have to have some basic understanding of how to do it and have good audio and OK picture. You can use your phone, as long as you’ve got good audio then people are pretty forgiving,” Gorman said.
Young suggests that part of the beauty of livestreaming is that it doesn’t have to be complicated to get good results. In fact, keeping it straightforward lends itself to more authentic communication.
“I think the whole thing with video livestreaming is to keep it simple – don’t over-think it; experiment a bit. It’s not the end of the world if things don’t go right. I mean, internet connectivity can often be a pain, but I think people are used to tech glitches. And here’s the thing: because people are generally afraid of ‘going live,’ that means the space is less cluttered than, say, straight blogging,” Young said.
Lights, smartphone, action
Now you know how easy it is to use livestreaming to give your brand a boost, why not start planning your next (or first) streaming session? Give your audience a glimpse into who you really are and what you’re all about, and they’ll reward you with their trust.