Live Streaming on Social Media is only the latest trend in marketing during this lockdown. Sure, going live on Facebook might not be new, but it has seen a resurgence as of late. During a lockdown, there’s little room for content creators to go outside and film new videos or have a photoshoot. This is why businesses and content creators have resorted to living to stream and engage directly with their audience.
Why businesses are live streaming during Covid19?
Over 87% of businesses are using live streaming as a part of their marketing strategy. This can be attributed to the growing popularity of streaming with 80% of people in a survey expressing their preference for live videos over Blogs. And with the Covid-19 crisis, people are demanding more content as they have fewer options for entertainment during a lockdown. Moreover, as the lockdown extends, content creators will face difficulty traveling to new locations for shoots and consequently struggle to create content.
Top live streaming platforms for businesses
Facebook is the most popular platform for businesses. The platform boasts over 2 Billion users and allows businesses to grow audiences with paid ads. It is also one of the best platforms to promote your live videos before they happen. We discuss more this later in this article.
Instagram is a place for passionate foodies, fashionistas, and travelers. The platform is incredibly visual. This is why influencer marketing takes top reign here. Hire an influencer to go live on your page and have a one-to-one interaction with your audience. You can also, bring in members from your audience into the live stream for a more engaging stream.
YouTube is another platform where you can broadcast yourself live for your viewers. While there are certain bells and whistles unique to this platform, overall, it offers the same functionality.
Twitter might have been a little late to the game but it is still an effective platform to reach your audience. Take advantage of the timestamp tool to guide users to juicy bits of your stream when they recap it at a later date.
How businesses are using Live Streaming while in lockdown
There’s no limit to the type of content you can create on your live program. Businesses have been very creative during this lockdown with some using the platform to broadcast live Yoga classes, host talk shows, and more. Here are some starter ideas you can use in your videos.
Stimulate your audience’s newfound interest to learn. While this lockdown lasts, many individuals are using this free time to improve their skills. From aspiring chefs, musicians to artists, many are open to indulge their creative sides with a live tutorial session.
But don’t just be limited to creative pursuits. People are equally driven to acquire job skills. If you have products that require training to use, show people how to use them. Additionally, tell them about hidden features, advanced techniques, and anything that might help them be better at their work.
Are you or someone you might know authority figures in your industry? Then gather a team of experts and discuss an interesting topic for viewers to engage with. The Futur, a design and business coaching school hosts discussion panels weekly with high-profile designers on an almost daily basis. Their topics include how to grow an agency business, become a better designer, and get new clients. Can you think of any topics you might be able to talk about or your customers want to hear from you?
Get closer to your customers by answering questions live. Steaming gives you the opportunity to have customers directly interact with your content and ask questions that they might have had for a long time. A live Q&A session might be both beneficial by clearing customer objections and providing entertaining content at the same time.
How to plan live streams
Going Live on social media requires just as much planning as your regular content. Viewers who tune into your stream expect to get value from your feed. That can be difficult without prior planning. Set up an agenda and a roadmap for where you want to take the session during your stream. This will become increasingly important as your stream stretches to longer periods of time and you are fighting to keep your audience engaged. Without a plan, you might end up losing viewers well before the stream gains momentum.
Set your goals
There are several outcomes you can expect from your live videos. It is important to set these goals before going live because your content will definitely vary based on your desired outcome.
You can plan your live stream around any of the following:
- Make more sales
- Create Brand/Product Awareness
- Address customer concerns & feedback
- Establish Authority & Expertise
- Get sponsorships or affiliates
Research your audience
If you want to create a live stream that your audience will love, learn how to conduct research. Ideally, you should start by looking at your buyer personas (build one, if you don’t have it). This will be your blueprint for finding the right questions to ask.
There are several ways to find out what your audience likes and dislikes. Some ideas to try out could include:
- Conduct a small poll to run ideas by your audience.
- Perform keyword research to see what your audience is searching for.
- See what your competitors are doing and do it better.
Have a content plan
At the end of the day, a live stream is just another piece of content. Plan it like you’d plan any other content. Start with a topic your audience would be interested in. Successful live videos have all the necessary elements such as sub-topics you want to include in the discussion, fun quizzes or interactive games for the audience, guest speakers, and any other relevant material you want to add.
Create a highlight reel
There is a misconception that the shelf life of live content lasts only till the broadcast lasts. This couldn’t be far from wrong. The truth is most people will watch your videos after the live session is over. So, your content marketing efforts are not over just yet.
You can extend the life of your content by creating a highlight reel of the most exciting moments in your stream. Additionally, you can create small snippets of content from the larger video and re-purpose it for other platforms. This acts as both a recap for the people who have seen the broadcast and a teaser for those who haven’t.
Advanced Live Streaming Techniques
Starting a live feed for your business is easy. All you need is a smartphone and you’re ready to go. But, if you want to go one step further and increase the production value, here is how you can get started.
Invest in Quality Equipment
The first thing you need to live stream is a great camera. An iPhone 11 is a great camera for starters but for professional quality, streams require a good video camera. There is a wide range of cameras at different price points. Choose from Consumer, Prosumer, or Professional grade cameras depending on your budget and requirements.
Aside from the camera, you will also be needing a mic setup. Even with high-end Smartphones, the internal mics don’t provide quality sound and can diminish your live streaming quality significantly if there’s considerable background noise or if you stand too far away from the mic.
The last thing you need to complete your setup is a good light setup. Lighting is something that can set up the mood of your stream. For daytime broadcasting, the daylight is sufficient to create a cozy ambiance. However, invest in two to three-ring lights if you’re streaming after the evening.
The 3 point lighting setup is one of the more popular setups used by streamers.
Stream Simultaneously on Multiple Platforms
There are two ways to stream on multiple platforms. You can open your Social media channels simultaneously on your phone or you can use streaming software.
The first option is the simpler of the two. If you’ve gotten used to streaming by directly opening your social media apps, learning new software (which you might need to pay for) might seem a little unappealing at first. But, what you need to consider is that if you’re streaming on two or more platforms, you will also be consuming twice the bandwidth or even more. This might result in lags and a choppy broadcast of your session.
The alternative is a streaming platform like Castr.io, Restream, and Switchboard. In contrast to direct streams, a streaming platform will take your original feed and distribute it to your social media channels on its own servers and take a load off your bandwidth. For a smooth experience and simulcasting, streaming platforms are the way to go.
Hire an operator
Ok, so you’ve got your streaming software. But who’s gonna operate it while you are talking to customers live? Get an operator if you can during the streaming process. While you are conducting your session, allow a skilled operator to manage live chats, comments, and text or branding overlays within the feed.
Show a presentation
Having streaming software comes with the added benefit of switching between cameras and presentations within your stream. This can be especially helpful if you are doing an educational video and want the help of visual aids to guide your viewer.
Promote your live stream
Life would’ve been much easier if you could promote Live Videos with Paid Ads, however, none of the social media platforms has introduced this feature yet. This leaves broadcasters to rely more on organically growing their audience or relying on promoting streams before they go on the air. Businesses can use the following techniques to advertise their live streams and ensure more people show up to view their broadcast.
Create a post
Promote your sessions in advance with a teaser post on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Having a post on your feed in advance will let people know when your live feature starts and allow them to free their schedules if they’re interested to join the stream. Also ensure that you provide a clear outline of what your live stream will look like, so viewers can decide if they want to watch it in the first place.
.Once your posts are ready, you also have the option to media buy with paid ads on Facebook and Instagram. For more detailed strategies check out this guide on Media Buying.
Create an event
Make an event around the live stream. Events allow people to RSVP in advance so you know who’s coming and also let people know if any of their friends are watching as well. Not to forget, Facebook sets automatic reminders for events, so in case viewers forget, they get a gentle nudge to join your stream.
Schedule your post ahead of time
Scheduling your post is another feature that most platforms allow for your broadcasts. Having your live-stream scheduled has the same effect as creating an event. Your users will get reminders at the right time and get invites to join you when you go live.
Offer Disappearing incentives
I’ve mentioned earlier how most people would rather see your live streams after your stream is over. In the age of Netflix and binge-watching, people’s viewing habit is more situated to consuming content at their own pace. For people to tune into your live casts, you need to incentivize them with discounts, coupons, and/or special offers that will last as long as the live stream does.
Get guests and influencers
Multiply your viewership by adding influencers and guests when you go live. Having a guest can add more value to your content and has the potential to draw in your guest’s followers as well. Tag your guests in the stream to let their followers know that your guest is currently live with you. Additionally, you should also request that they share the feed in their social media handles for added exposure.
A few parting words before I Sign-off
Trends come and go but we need to watch out for the ones that could become a practice. In the coming months and probably years, businesses will have to rely on live streaming as a major source of content. Without signs of the Covid-19 cases flattening yet, we can expect the lockdown to carry on for a few more months and a few more for life to get back to normal. During this time, the movement might be restricted and there could be significant shifts in the economy. Given these conditions, Live streaming is the most convenient and cost-effective way to engage customers.