The rise and success of video content is undeniable in today’s digital world. With recent developments in live streaming functionality across social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, it is fast becoming a necessary medium by which to connect with consumers.
Live streaming video is an extremely effective way for businesses to reach their target audiences. It helps to provide an authentic human element to marketing campaigns, boosts customer engagement and enables digital communications to feel more personal and exclusive. It is no wonder that Facebook users spend three times more time viewing live videos than traditional ones.
There are many different types of visual content that benefit from live streaming. These include:
- ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage
- Q&A sessions
- short interviews or ‘meet the team’ segments
- product reviews, unveilings and ‘sneak peeks’
- ‘how to’ or other training sessions
- amusing content/humanising the brand
As you can see, live streaming video is an extremely versatile marketing tool. However, to tap into the benefits of this marketing medium, it needs to be done well.
Preparation is key
Whilst one of the benefits of live streaming is its authentic, seemingly ‘off-the-cuff’ nature, without adequate preparation you’re not going to harness its potential. Live streaming needs to be considered within your overall marketing strategy - with the usual analysis of audience
preferences, as well as understanding your live stream’s relationship to the rest of your marketing communication efforts. Is it a standalone concept or does it work best in conjunction with other aspects of your strategy?
If you’re live streaming an event, the groundwork must be in place to create the hype that will drive viewers to watch. Of course, the timing of your live stream will be key when thinking about your target audience, as well as letting your audience know when to tune in. Don’t forget however that on some platforms your reach can continue to grow with every playback. Remember, continuing to market and share your video afterwards will keep the momentum going.
Streaming live video taps into the human desire to enjoy vicarious experiences. This is why live streaming works so well, particularly for events. But you have to let the viewer feel like they are in the room with you, so plan out the journey you’ll take them on. Show them things they wouldn’t normally get to see in the ways they would normally interact with your business or brand.
Engage with your audience
The biggest strength of live streamed video is its ability to add an authentic and transparent voice to your marketing message. Moving away from more traditional, scripted techniques enables real time responsiveness which makes it possible for viewer-lead content.
Allowing users to comment on live stream videos, and then reacting to them, can lead to greater satisfaction of consumer needs, desires and questions. This in turn can positively impact the way in which prospective customers respond to your business or brand, as well as creating a closer bond with your existing clientele.
Live streamed content can also encourage a feeling of exclusivity, making the audience feel that they have been a part of something that others have not. This is particularly true when streaming events, going behind-the-scenes or providing a ‘sneak peek’ of a new product. You can enhance this impression by offering discounts or deals within a live stream that cannot be obtained elsewhere.
Make it pay
Marketers can use social media live streaming channels to keep their business at the forefront of their followers’ minds. If users have opted in, a notification will alert them to channels that are about to go live, and users will have to act fast as on some platforms, such as Instagram Stories Live, the video will disappear after the broadcast ends.
It is important to keep your audience engaged as today’s consumers have short attention spans and a wide variety of alternative options. Make it clear from the outset of your broadcast what your intentions are for the time they will spend watching you, and what they will get out of it. Limit your time to no longer than 5 minutes as it will be hard to continue to provide engaging content beyond this.
During live streaming, whilst you have caught your audience’s attention, it can be beneficial to give them a call to action - making them aware of promotions, new products or services. Whilst this tactic is not appropriate for every type of live streamed video, in some cases it can be an effective strategy for creating a sense of urgency, driving consumers towards the action that you want to effect.
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