Live streaming is everywhere.
If you haven’t heard that marketers are making tens of thousands of dollars using live streaming, then you’re living under a rock. Don’t live under a rock. It’s dark there. And you’ll miss out on all the fun.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all have a stake in the live streaming game. These three are just the tip of the iceberg. Dozens of other platforms are chipping at the market with new players popping up monthly.
Just in case you’re not totally familiar with live streaming, let’s take a step back.
What is live streaming and when did it start?
Live streaming is the transmission of live video and audio coverage over the internet. Although it’s this year’s internet buzz word, live streaming has been around for a couple of decades.
Primarily utilized for events and concerts, live streaming was technologically and financially prohibitive to the casual user. In 2009, early pioneers, Ustream and Livestream made the video format more accessible to the general public through their live streaming mobile apps.
Live streaming didn’t catch on with the masses until Meerkat came onto the scene in February 2015, debuting at SXSW in March.
When Twitter publicly released Periscope in late March 2015, they cut off Meerkat’s access to its social graph. In January 2016, Facebook rolled out live streaming capabilities to U.S. users on iOS devices, and announced that it would be devoting heavy resources to further developing the platform’s live streaming capabilities.
Thus, the live streaming race officially began.
Of course video behemoth YouTube couldn’t sit idly by. In June, YouTube rolled out its live streaming feature to select users, promising a complete rollout later this year.
What’s the attraction?
Now that live streaming is easily accessible on various social platforms where users have loyal communities, marketers have figured out ways in which they can use live video to quickly reach their audience.
Why are they so attracted to live video?
1. It’s a faster way for you to connect with your audience.
2. Live video speeds up the know-like-trust cycle.
3. Live streaming is another form of content creation.
4. It’s a simpler way to incorporate video into your marketing.
5. No editing necessary.
Once you pick up your phone and go live, your audience can engage and interact with you instantaneously. Leave your live video stream up on its respective platform for later viewing, and those people who were unable to watch you live can watch you on the replay.
With platforms like Facebook, Periscope, Snapchat and YouTube, you can even repurpose your video replays to embed on your website or blog.
And you don’t have to stop with repurposing on your blog. There are dozens of other ways that you can repurpose your live stream videos.
6 ways to use live streaming for your business
There are three main areas in the marketing funnel: awareness, evaluation and conversion. You create content for all three areas to get people to know, like and trust you. The end goal is that they become repeat buyers.
Using discovery platforms like blogs, podcast, and social networks help people become aware of you. In the evaluation phase you might use tools like ebooks, product demos or webinars to get your prospect’s email in order to take an extra step with you. To get your audience to convert with you in a bigger way, you may utilize a webinar, event or a higher dollar product or service.
Here are 6 ways to use live streaming in each part of the marketing funnel:
1. Introduce yourself, your brand, and your services to your audience.
Customers want to know the face behind a brand and business. Video helps you to establish closer connection with your potential customer. Live streaming takes it up a notch with its interactivity and immediate engagement. It’s a great opportunity to not only share who you are and what you offer but it also allows your audience to comment and ask you questions.
2. Cross promote your other platforms.
More than likely you have a presence on at least two other social networks. Let people know where else they can find you. People like to consume content in many different forms, so if you create photos, audio and text elsewhere, using live video to cross promote those other platforms is a great way to show your content diversity while also getting your audience to follow you everywhere.
3. Demonstrate your product or service on-camera.
Showing people how they can use your product or service is much better than telling them. It gives them an opportunity to further evaluate you right on the spot. You can answer their questions, overcome their objections and ask them to take the next action all in one place.
4. Poll your audience for feedback and content ideas.
Live streaming is a great way for you to do live surveys. Getting people to respond to surveys can be a headache. They either forget about them or just don’t want to take the time. Ask them questions on an engaging broadcast and your audience will be racing to type in their feedback. You can even use your live videos to ask them what their pain points and challenges are. Let them serve as the direct source of topics for your next live stream or blog post.
5. Point people to your website or a landing page.
No matter what platform you use, you always want to get your audience onto your email list. You can use live streaming to direct your audience to your website or a landing page. Here you can offer them something to download or invite them to a webinar. This is your opportunity to get their email address and get them on your list.
6. Use live streaming to announce an event or a sale.
After your audience has gotten to know you and trust you, you can use live streaming to invite and sell your event. Tell them what to expect and show them how to purchase tickets. If you’re running a sale on a product or want to offer a higher-priced service, use your live videos to promote and pitch to your audience.
Remember that all roads lead back to either a phone number, email or landing page where you can further deepen the relationship with your audience.
Live streaming isn’t for everyone.
For those who want to add video to their marketing strategy, it presents an exciting opportunity.
Live streaming doesn’t have to be time-consuming or scary. Use it as an additional vehicle in your overall marketing strategy to enhance what you already do. For some marketers, live streaming replaces writing blog posts while for others, they use it as inspiration and market research.
If you’re camera shy, don’t worry.
You don’t have to focus the camera on your face. You can focus the camera on what you see instead. Be mindful that it’s harder for your audience to connect with you if they can’t see you. Eventually you’ll get up enough courage to fully embrace live streaming and share more of yourself with your audience.
They’re waiting for you.
What are you waiting for? If you’ve been thinking about adding live streaming to your marketing mix, what’s holding you back? We’d love to know.
Guest Post written by Tawanna Browne Smith, owner of MGTTravel Media, a digital marketing and live streaming consulting company. Tawanna began creating online videos in 2008 for her travel site MomsGuideToTravel(dot)com.
She’s written for popular online publications such as 10Best USA Today, TravelChannel(dot)com, Trip Advisor, and Examiner(dot)com. Tawanna is a recovering actress who feeds her penchant for the stage by making appearances on her local news station in Baltimore, MD and live streaming daily on Periscope, where she’s created over 500 live broadcasts on travel, business and social media. You can find her on Twitter/Periscope @TawannaBSmith.