You’ve probably seen interactive broadcasting in your Facebook feed recently, those live videos created by friends and streamed directly to your news feed. Maybe you’ve come across Livestream’s Meevo, a $499 video camera built for interactive broadcasting that automatically zooms in on talent and creates the impression of a multi-camera setup from a single device. Perhaps you’ve even tried your hand at livestreaming with a service such as Periscope or YouTube.
But have you considered using interactive broadcasting for your startup? If not, you should. Livestreaming is an enticing new technology for entrepreneurs. It is cheap, requiring no more than a smartphone to get started, and can benefit sales, marketing and customer service.
Companies in China already have made interactive broadcasting a $5 billion business, and startups in the U.S. also can benefit from the trend. Here are five ways you can use livestreaming today.
Having users sign up for your software-as-a-service (SaaS) business on the free tier is relatively easy. Getting them to learn and use the service is another story. Yet, without this adoption, there is no long-term use of your service. Interactive broadcasting can help ease the adoption process through live training sessions.
Currently, many businesses use forums, text-based instructions and little-watched YouTube videos for educating customers. Livestream training serves as a much better approach, because it turns education into an event, and customers can interact with your company directly and get their questions answered in real-time. This draws more attention to your trainings, which yields better service use.
The bar is much higher for marketing in 2018; consumers are wary of traditional marketing approaches, and competition is fierce. Marketing gurus make a fortune peddling the latest trick for standing out, and simple articles, ads and YouTube videos are no longer enough.
Interactive broadcasting can help. Not only are live events a novel way to stand out right now, they also create urgency by making the marketing message an event.
You can drive thought leadership with live events in two ways.
First, you can give potential customers man-on-the-ground access to events, trade shows and other noteworthy public events that customers might not otherwise be able to attend. Second, you can use livestreaming for home-grown events that indirectly drive interest in your products or services. A food manufacturer, for instance, might develop an Iron Chef-style cooking show where contestants compete to use the company’s product.
Because these live broadcasts are interactive, however, unlike cable television, viewers can help influence the outcome of the competition or direct what should be shown at the public event being broadcast.
The Home Shopping Network is successful for a reason; it lets potential buyers look at products more deeply, builds a sense of urgency by offering discounts to those who purchase during the event and gives a forum for asking questions before the sale.
You can do the same through interactive broadcasting, offering up a weekly special and creating a live event around it where viewers can take a look, ask questions, and get the product while it is still on sale. During the process, you can generate social proof by showing that others are buying.
“Interactive broadcasting makes a promotion an instant event,” Tony Zhao, founder of interactive broadcasting firm, Agora.io, said. “People don’t like to miss out, and the live nature of a broadcast encourages participation far beyond what you get with static videos.”
Authenticity matters. Customers, especially millennials, value the real over marketing spin. If your startup feels authentic, you have a much higher chance of gaining customer loyalty and support. One way you can achieve that is with behind-the-scenes access via interactive broadcasting.
The idea is simple: livestream from your startup’s office space showing off the team, the production process or some other area of the business. You can even let viewers interact with employees in Q&A style interviews during these behind-the-scenes tours.
Marketing copy that looks authentic is a good start. But it pales in comparison to actually showing your team live and letting potential customers interact with them. This gives names and faces to your business, which is a great way to show authenticity and improve loyalty.
Every business is now in the media business. The only problem is that churning out quality content on a regular basis is hard. Instead of slaving away at content creation and new ideas, let interactive broadcasting do the job for you.
“Let the viewers bring the content,” Peter Kowalke of content marketing consultancy, EdChief, said. “Define a topic, get behind a camera and engage with viewers. The viewers themselves become the content, and at the same time you can be sure that you’re producing exactly what your audience wants.”
You can then use these viewer-centric shows as the basis for additional content, whether transcribing the best from your shows or getting blog ideas from them.
Interactive broadcasting is a no-brainer for your business. So get beyond YouTube and go live. There’s so much you can do with the technology.