We, humans, are very visual creatures. We therefore naturally gravitate to video content online. However many small businesses don’t have the time or budget for full-on video marketing. Scripting, filming, and editing can take a lot of valuable time out of your day.
People also naturally sociable too – if only there was a way to integrate the two! Turns out there is, and you don’t even need to shell out for expensive camera equipment.
I’m talking, of course, about social live streaming.
What is Social Live Streaming?
Social live streaming is the practice of broadcasting video in real time through social platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Periscope, and YouTube Live. Social followers can tune in and share public comments in real time too. It provides a genuine way to interact with your followers and be a face for your brand; and all you need is a humble (or perhaps not so humble) smartphone.
Because social streaming is done through platforms where you may already have a following, there’s potentially a live audience out there waiting for you. Big brands like Benefit, Nissan, Asics, Grazia UK, and Dunkin’ Donuts (soon to be simply “Dunkin’”) are all getting in on the live streaming action, but it’s a great opportunity for small businesses too. Let’s look at why.
7 Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Use Social Live Streaming
1. Real-Time Engagement
Blog posts and social updates are great and all, but their value often builds over time, once they’ve been in the public eye for a bit. But when you’re broadcasting live, you can start meaningful two-way conversations with interested parties instantly, answering questions and encouraging people closer to a sale there and then. You can even tout your live sessions as open question and answer sessions, offering to help people who need your expertise in real time during the stream.
Live streaming provides valuable face-to-face (or face-to-screen) networking time with people you may otherwise never meet in person
2. Increased Urgency and Attention
It’s easy to scroll past or skim read a “normal” social media post, but when a user sees that someone they follow is broadcasting live, it may pique their interest enough to start watching. And if they do, they’re likely to spend far more time-on-stream than they would be looking at a single, plain text or image post.
Most platforms notify your followers in some way when you go live, giving your name a quick hit of visibility – even to those who don’t tune in.
3. Putting a Face to the Name
But you’re not just a name that shows up on social media from time to time – you’re a real person with the expertise you’re dying to share with the world! Live streaming allows you to show what goes on “behind the scenes” in your business; you can show your face, your voice, how you work, how you help your clients, etc. You can paint a much more candid picture of yourself and your team than you might want to share through your website or standard social presence.
Behind the scenes content has a profoundly humanising effect on your brand, creating a more personal connection with your followers.
4. Ease of Access
Live streaming is incredibly accessible. Armed with only a moderately decent smartphone, your social streaming app of choice, and an internet connection, you can start broadcasting straight away! The same goes for watching live content too.
It’s a great leveller – you don’t need expensive equipment or immense technical knowledge to stream or to watch others. Some people worry that live video doesn’t look polished and that it’ll reflect badly on their brand, but the quality of live streaming comes in the information you share and from the real-time interaction. Nobody’s expecting Spielbergian production values!
5. The Opportunity to Show and Tell
Your marketing copy may show some of the passion behind your brand, but getting on video and talking about the work you love provides an added dimension. When viewers can sense the genuine excitement in your voice and mannerisms, they get hyped for your offering too.
If your product or service isn’t very visual, you can use live streaming to share your industry wisdom with the world. If your offering is quite visual, then you can live stream practical tutorials and how-tos.
If you work closely with experts in related fields, you can also broadcast live interviews with them, sharing their expertise and helping to boost their online presence.
6. Increase the Reach of Live Events
If you run live events, live streaming can be a great way to celebrate an event’s success. There may be a number of people who can’t attend due to scheduling, cost, or geographic location; so sharing short broadcasts from the event helps to keep those people included. Social live streams can be viewed by viewers from across the globe, so you can show your event to prospects from around the world!
In fact, 67% of live video viewers are more likely to buy a ticket to an event after watching a live video of that or a similar event (Source: LiveStream, 2017), so event promoters take note!
7. Fewer Competitors Go Live
There’s a lot of bandwagon-jumping with online marketing trends. Many companies jump into new and shiny marketing practices head first. But this doesn’t seem to have happened with live streaming – the draw just doesn’t seem to be as widespread and I’m not sure why. Maybe marketers aren’t sure how to make the most of it, so they eschew it entirely. Or perhaps people are nervous about getting on camera!
Only a small group of businesses use live streaming to its full potential, so, therefore, an even smaller group of your competitors are using it. This means that there’s potentially more scope to forge a meaningful live following within your niche. If your target clients are big live stream viewers then it could help you muscle in on a nice bit of market share!Should you use #livestreaming to market your business? Check out these 7 reasons why you should! Click To Tweet
Do you currently use live streaming in your business? If not, what’s holding you back? What social platforms do you find easiest to watch live streams? Leave your thoughts down in the comments!