10 Ways Your Business Can Make The Most of Live Video Streaming
In January 2016, it was revealed that Facebook was witnessing one hundred million hours of video being watched every day.
Think about that colossal figure for a moment. And then think about your own use of Facebook, assuming you have an account. The last time you logged in, how many videos did you watch? The chances are you will have clicked ‘play’ on at least one of the many pieces of footage dominating your news feed.
If you open your Facebook smartphone app, you’ll notice the recent addition of a little, red camera icon at the top-left of the screen. Labelled ‘Live’, it’s the gateway to an instantaneous streaming video service. You simply press it, start shooting and your followers can tune in, straight away.
If you have even a passing interest in video production, you’ll know how incredible this new streaming technology is. Just a few short years ago, you’d have needed a van parked outside your house with a colossal aerial and satellite feed to a mother station somewhere that had the computing power and bandwidth available to broadcast your live footage.
Not any more – just a simple press of a button on a device that fits in the palm of your hand is all that’s needed to start a live video feed.
For businesses, live video represents a huge marketing opportunity. But we appreciate you may need some convincing, so with that in mind, we’ve compiled ten ways your business can make the most of live video streaming in 2017 and beyond.
1. Build your audience first
It goes without saying that for live video to be successful, you need an audience, therefore if you’ve already got Facebook and Twitter accounts but they’re full of mothballs and dust bales blowing across the screen as opposed to any real followers, you’ll need to start getting people on board before broadcasting live video.
Start the easy way by inviting you and colleague’s friends to like and follow the business on social media. They’re the perfect candidates to watch your first batch of videos and they’ll almost certainly help you along by sharing your content (they’re by far the easiest audience you’ll have).
2. Try it!
It’s nerve-wracking when you first press that ‘Live’ button, granted, but you’ll never know what its all about or appreciate the raw power of video streaming if you don’t simply give it a go.
So, take a deep breath, head to something of interest within the business (the factory floor, or bustling sales office), and hit that button.
You don’t need to say anything – just perform a ten second panning shot of the environment before ending the stream. You may be surprised (read: inspired) by how many people tune in and engage.
3. Live stream regularly
Live video isn’t a fire-and-forget marketing tactic. Just like content and social media marketing, consistency is key. The more people come to expect your videos, the more they’ll tune in and share them with their friends and colleagues.
This means one thing – extra work on your behalf, but if you can call in assistance in the form of other colleagues and external help, you’ll be able to live stream regularly.
It doesn’t need to be planned, necessarily, either. Live video is often at its best when its unexpected and filmed off-the-cuff, and because your smartphone is usually always by your side, you can start broadcasting whenever inspiration strikes.
4. Don’t overlook sound quality
A brilliant live video can be wrecked if the sound quality is poor, so make sure you pay special attention to this element wherever possible.
If you’re filming off the cuff, you’ll likely have to rely on your smartphone’s built-in mic, and in many situations (for example ‘to camera’ pieces), it’ll be fine, but in noisy environments or times when you have to head outside into windy conditions, it may struggle against the elements.
In such situations, try a test video first to ensure you can hear whatever it is you need to and, if it results in poor audio try a different location or go video-only.
5. Go for the 5 minute mark
Ask any two marketers the most effective length of video for business purposes and you’ll get two different answers. It’s an incredibly contentious topic, but when it comes to live video, it’s generally accepted that a maximum of five minutes works well in terms of engagement. Any longer, and people will likely get bored and switch off.
6. Don’t put on an act
The whole point of live video is that it is very much intended to be an accurate representation of a moment in time. For that reason, no one needs to put on an act (unless you’re having a bit of fun). Just be yourself once you hit record and live in the moment.
7. Don’t read from a script, but be prepared
You’re probably not an award-winning actor (few of us are), therefore you don’t need to read from a script for your live video. In fact, if you attempt it, you’ll simply come across wooden and unnatural.
Again, this really isn’t the point of live streaming. By its very nature, its ‘live’ and unpolished; you don’t need to deliver a perfect performance.
You do need to be prepared, though, and with that five minute limit in mind, make sure the key message or insight you want to deliver is done early on and nice and concisely.
8. Be lighthearted, yet professional
Certainly, try your hand at a bit of humour – it’s that kind of thing that works on social media and is likely to encourage shares, but don’t forget that this is a business marketing endeavour and you therefore need to retain a professional edge.
When all is said and done, your live stream is another extension of your brand. It will paint a picture of your business and while viewers would much rather have a bit of a laugh with you than be bombarded with business speak and acronyms, you need to be careful to leave the right lasting impression.
Don’t be afraid to be lighthearted with your live streams, but finish them up with a quick reminder of who you are, what the business is and what people need to do to find out more about your products and services.
9. Go behind the scenes
People love behind the scenes glimpses of businesses. And, yes, so do your competitors, but live streaming something ‘behind the curtain’ of your organisation doesn’t mean you have to give away its most precious secrets.
If you run a hotel, for example, you may want to take people on a guided walk of the kitchen during dinner prep. If your business produces signage for supermarkets, a quick tour of the printing facility may be enough to capture the attention of people who have previously admired your work during their weekly shop.
Lift the veil – partially – and give people an idea of the hard work that goes into your business.
10. Make the videos personal
If you’re the shy and retiring type, you may feel a little apprehensive about being the central theme of the live stream, but business videos work best when they’re personal and feature real, genuine human emotion.
No one is expecting you to put on a performance Al Pacino would be proud of by crying on cue, but by being yourself (see no.6), you’ll endear yourself to the audience and add some vital personality to the business itself.
Live video is set to be huge in 2017 and due to the ease with which it can be instigated, every business should at least experiment with it.
If you fancy going live, use our tips above to make sure you make the most of the opportunity. We have a feeling you’ll find it rather addictive!