How to Use Live Streaming to Increase Your Visibility and Engagement

Contributed content / By Amir Shahzeidi / 7 March 2019

Building off the success of video content marketing, live streaming is a dynamic new medium that digital marketers are using to expand their audiences worldwide. As you plan to launch a live streaming initiative, incorporate the latest industry insight into your strategy.

According to The New York Times, the future of content on the internet isn't just video-based — as we enter the future, we're most likely going to leave behind text altogether. 

Market analysis and consumer trends show the demonstrated impact this medium offers. Having advanced to a more dynamic type of content, the digital marketing space won’t be regressing to static media anytime soon.

2018 was such a terrific year for video content marketing that it likely catalyzed this shift. In recent years, businesses of every size have started investing more in video content. This trend is poised to hit its true apex in the not-too-distant future.

Last year, video marketers already saw an incredible 54% increase in their brand awareness on average along with a 66% increase in qualified leads. Nearly everyone agrees by now that online video is a powerful tool— but the format is no longer enough to take advantage of its potential.

Video largely became so popular because it was unique, offering a fresh, innovative alternative to the 10,000-word blog posts of yesteryear. 

Live Streaming: The Latest Video Format Gaining Traction 

When all content marketing is video-based, however, video is no longer special by itself. As content starts to blend together, standing out in a crowded marketplace will be difficult once again —unless you're prepared to take it to the next level.

Another type of video content is even more powerful and engaging online: live streaming. 

Audiences have been consuming substantially more live streamed content over the last few years:

Setting up your own over the top (OTT) service or Video on Demand (VOD) platform and live streaming is an organic, effective, and innovative ways to engage your audience. Turn passive followers into an active army of brand advocates along the way. 

Let’s break down the steps to take to leverage live streaming to boost your business today.

1. Vary Your Live Streaming Sessions

To turn live video into a visibility-generating machine, throw away most of the stereotypes you’ve probably heard. If you haven’t personally watched many live videos, it’s easy to believe clichés. The term most likely evokes the image of cheesy live product infomercials that used to air on late night, local television.

Product pitches and demonstrations are certainly effective live, but only represent a fraction of the potential to tap into.

Live video is engaging because it is urgent; people need to watch now before it's over or they'll miss it. It’s also uniquely intimate. A peek behind the curtain shows users exactly how your brand operates and why. Experiment with several formats to find the approach people respond to best.

2. Map out a Live Streaming Schedule

Here’s a sample outline for an initial plan:

  • Week 1: Go solo and dive deep into a piece of breaking news trending in your industry and your audience.
  • Week 2: Sit down with a thought influencer or respected industry professional and cover an "evergreen" topic that might not be on everyone’s radar. 
  • Week 3: Scale up the interactivity of your live streaming by hosting a live Q & A sessions.

After each session, analyze audience metrics to see what users like best will essentially allow your audience to dictate the format of your video as it goes along.

Taking advantage of all these opportunities will establish your brand as an authoritative thought leader. Turn your audience into active participants in your streaming sessions by providing valuable information that matters to them.

3. Engage with Your Audience

As we’ve shown, live videos offer the best opportunity to talk directly to your brand’s community. Online businesses have started using this medium to take advantage of that targeted engagement and grow their online audience. 

At first, asking for feedback is all you need to engage with the audience on your live streams effectively. Pose a question for viewers to respond to via chat or in the comments section, such as the ones below:

  • Where they’re watching the live stream from
  • What they had for lunch/ or dinner
  • How their day is going

Another live stream best practice is giving new viewers a chance to speak up and be recognized. Ask the viewers, to let you know if they’re new by typing #Newin the chat so you can greet them by name.

There are literally limitless ways that you can engage with your audience on your live streams, check out this video to learn more about how you can keep viewers engaged on your Facebook and YouTube live stream sessions.

4. Pay Attention to Insights for Videos

Once you've had the opportunity to get a few live broadcasts under your belt, use analytics and other data-centric tools to dive in deep. Use the results to learn as much as you can about what worked and what didn't.

Broadcasting on Facebook Live offers advanced insights for live broadcasts that have already ended. Along with the peak number of live viewers, it shows several useful metrics:

  • Number of unique viewers
  • Average number of minutes viewed
  • Average percent completion rate
Facebook Analytics Graph
Source: Social Media Examiner

 

Insights like the trend in the graph above, an example of Facebook analytics, contextualize which types of live broadcasts are working the best so you can double down on your most valuable offerings. 

You might notice that users didn't respond to a live demonstration the way you hoped, but they sure did love that panel discussion with an industry expert — and you've got the percent completion stats to prove it. 

Making data-driven decisions to produce content will attract the maximum attention and interest from your target audience. 

5. Pick Your Platforms Carefully

Even though live streaming is itself fresh and new, you still need to get the word out about your content. Pick your platforms carefully to reach the widest audience possible.

In other words, you need to go where your audience is. Depending on the people you're trying to reach, how you distribute your live content is just as important as where you place it.

For many B2C and B2B organizations, the OTT services and VOD platforms mentioned earlier are both viable paths. The most popular options include:

  • Setting up a Roku channel with both live streaming and pre-recorded OTT content
  • Giving free access to your content purely as a brand awareness tool
  • Charging for access to new videos on a subscription basis
  • Offering the option to download videos one at a time

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more effective opportunity to unlock a new revenue stream for your business.

Keep in mind, social media is still a powerful outreach tool just waiting to be taken advantage of. On social media sites, users typically want as much live content as they can get.

Facebook recently reported that its users spend three times longer watching a live video an average of than one that's no longer live. Currently, one out of every five videos on Facebook at any given moment is a live broadcast.

Especially in the early days of your efforts, Facebook is the ideal platform to spread the word about your company’s new live video initiative.

A Forward-Thinking Approach: Live Streaming Trend Predictions 

Live streaming has quickly become an incredible way to build a true community around your business and elevate brand visibility as you go. It won’t always be possible to "get in on the ground floor" forever, however. Social Media Examiner reports that 50% of businesses plan to use live video in some capacity in 2019.

Uscreen
Source: Uscreen

 

By as soon as 2021, 82% of all traffic on the Internet will be video-based. A significant portion of that audience base will be live. Strike while the iron is hot by leveraging the tips in this article.

The dual benefit of engaging your audience and building established credibility will yield a decade of positive results.

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