Published on October 4th, 2016
In today’s tech-focused world, it can be daunting and confusing every time a new software, platform, or feature is released.
Marketers have to adapt and adjust their plans, figure out if the new item is right for them, and then determine the best way to use it all in a short matter of time.
While many people predicted that video content would surge in 2016, the visually-stimulating method went one step further with live-streaming capabilitiesin platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.
When you hear the statistic “...people spend 3x longer watching live video compared to a video that's pre-recorded,” you really can’t afford to ignore live-streaming video as a marketing opportunity on social media.
With this in mind, below, I discuss 14 ways your business can successfully use live-streaming video to engage with your customers. So, whether you’re using YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Periscope, or even Snapchat Live Stories, you can create a plan that is both useful and fun for your audience.
1) Broadcast Live Events
With time limits lifted, you can now stream events live on multiple channels.
Dunkin Donuts, for example, launched the campaign DD Summer Soundtrack across 8 different social platforms (Spotify, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Vine, Facebook and Periscope) to reach its millennial target audience and promote iced coffee products.
The campaign featured five concerts with various performers streamed in real-time. This way, not only the audience in the five cities could watch the concerts, but also others tuning in from around the world.
2) Conduct an Interview
Tap into the human side of your brand and conduct short, live interviews.
Speaking with employees will provide an inside look to your business and company culture, while interviewing clients offers you another outlet for testimonials or case studies.
You can also impress your audience by bringing on thought leaders to discuss hot topics in your industry.
3) Show How Your Product is Created
Customers typically only see the finished product you offer.
Get them more heavily invested in your product by giving them a peek into the development process! Live stream from start to finish (if you can) what goes into making your product. If your “product” is actually a process, try having members of your team talk people through their process.
4) Host Training Seminars or Courses
While we’re on the subject, can you showcase a “how-to” of a common service at your organization, where you walk users through a step-by-step process? Or could you showcase your expertise through a seminar or course?
Either way, offering to train your users on topics they want to learn is only going to increase your engagement and showcase your expertise.
You can pique interest even more by offering these trainings on a set schedule.
A great example of this is Benefit Cosmetics’ “Tipsy Tricks” every Thursday at 4:15PM, where they show viewers tips and tricks on how to apply makeup.
In addition to the educational aspects, the hosts ask their viewers what product they would like to see used in the tutorial. By doing so, Benefit not only keeps viewers engaged, but the company also learns about their audience’s product preferences and pain points.
5) Host a Critique
Here at IMPACT, we host a monthly Website Throwdown where our CEO, Chief Strategy Officer, and an invited industry influencer analyze websites live on YouTube.
Users submit their websites for the chance to get honest feedback on their website marketing, UX, messaging, and more.
During the broadcast, the audience members receive free critical feedback and actionable advice they can’t get anywhere else and we are able to showcase our expertise and build our brand awareness.
The critique also encourages social interaction with viewers tweeting questions and commentary using #WebsiteThrowdown.
Note: CMO of Cybereason and Former CMO of HubSpot, Mike Volpe is joining us October's Website Throwdown guest! Submit your site for the chance to be critiqued by him here before Friday!
6) Have a Q&A Hour
Potential buyers and current customers almost always have questions regarding your product or service offering that they can’t find the answers to.
Focus on one segment of your business and host a Question and Answer (Q&A) session so people can ask questions and hear the answers live. This gives you the opportunity to engage with your audience in real-time and humanize your brand.
7) Show Your Sense of Humor
Don’t forget, work should be fun too!
Barstool Sports, a popular sport-centric podcast company, recently had several of their employees watch the first 2016 Presidential Debate live and provide an ongoing commentary. People were literally watching other people watch the debate, but because of the timeliness and their comedian-like personalities, the video attracted more than 175,000 viewers.
8) Introduce New Products
When you have a new product launching and want to include people in it’s debut, live streaming it’s launch is perfect.
GE became the first auto brand to live stream on Facebook when it debuted the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year.
The all-electric car attracted a lot of attention with over 56,000 views and nearly 850 comments from viewers.
9) Set Customer Expectations
If your business is a brick-and-mortar that customers can visit and shop around in, using live-streaming video can help build expectations.
Using live-streaming video, walk them through your store or showroom, interact with your floor managers, and show the customers the experience they can anticipate having when coming to your shop.
Jeff Bullas explains that “showing the customer a live view of what is happening can help to build credibility and trust, even more than what can be gained through paid channels.”
10) Crowdsource Feedback
Have you launched a new product recently? (Maybe live on Facebook or Snapchat like #8 suggests?)
Use live-streaming videos to gain feedback from a large audience. Keep up with their comments as they come in and even respond to them in real-time. Or, have users tweet or post with a specific hashtag so you can search for their feedback both during the session and after.
You may hesitate because you feel this will open your brand up to negative critiques, however, customers with a negative experience may be posting that elsewhere online anyway. By gaining feedback live, you can respond to all commentary in real-time as well.
11) Offer Customer Service or Troubleshooting
Have a glitch or a widespread issue that all of your customers could use some help with?
Consider troubleshooting the issue or walking people through the solution on live-streaming video.
This will help your audience know that you’ve heard their concerns and that an actual human being has been working on a solution.
Live streaming in this way also offers your customers the chance to talk and engage with an actual human representative instead of a bot or waiting in a support line queue. This can also make your brand more transparent and offer an intimate connection with current and potential customers.
12) Give a Project Status Update
Projects that take a long time to come to fruition, like real-estate development or high-tech engineering, can benefit from streaming a project status update.
Show your future customers where the product or project is currently to keep their attention.
GE recently showed viewers the infrastructure of the RIO 2016 Olympic Games and the technology needed for the event.
13) Run a Contest
Engage with your audience by running a contest or promotion through your live stream. You can ask viewers questions and have them comment their answers on the live stream to enter a sweepstakes, host a contest in person and stream it live to your outside audience, or even simply announce a contest you currently have ongoing and explain to people how to enter.
Autumn Calabrese, a Beachbody fitness and health expert, is running a contest where people can enter to win a pantry raid and learn all about what food they should keep on hand and what to get rid of. She annouced the contest on her multiple social media channels, including Facebook Live to explain the details on how to enter and who is eligible.
14) Give a Behind-the-Scenes Sneak Peek
Showing users something they typically wouldn’t have access to provides awesome engagement.
Take a tour of your manufacturing plant or stream retail buyers pulling next season’s wardrobe. Regardless of your business, you can show an audience what your day is like from your perspective.
Cory Stark of KMOV News often takes his viewers behind the scenes in the studio whether he’s introducing what’s to come, or showing some co-worker camaraderie.
Eliminate the sense of FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out, for your audience. This is so common in today’s day and age when people can constantly update others on what they are doing, where they are going and experiences they are having.
This consistent phase of “in the know” makes others that aren’t involved feel like they are missing out on something.
Whether people are wanting to watch the Emmy’s or be present at a tradeshow, give people the opportunity to tune in to what you are experiencing.
Live streaming video offers so many possibilities for connecting to your audience so be sure to get creative.
Try out some of the different suggestions here and see which ones work best for your business!
Not only can you reach new audience members, but you can better engage with your current customers as well.
Interested in seeing a live stream video in action? Register for our upcoming Website Throwdown and join us on October 12!