Live-streaming: The essential tool


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By the end of 2016, we started to witness the growing popularity of live videos, thanks to the most popular social platform, Facebook, introducing its new streaming feature. It seems that ever since the buzz did not stop. The online marketing community has mastered the new tool with ease, keeping the trend alive even in 2017. By this year, live video streaming has simply become another basic tool in the world of online marketing. As we have seen, big brands have already utilized the benefits of live streams. BMW revealed the M2 coupe on Periscope; The Verge runs a daily Q&A event. Even BuzzFeed ended up with 807,000 viewers on Facebook live for putting rubber bands on watermelons. What did they do? They simply incorporated live streaming into their online marketing plans. The benefits are indisputable, however, sending out the right message and adapting might not come that easy.

The Platforms
There are numerous platforms out there, which offer live streaming services. Periscope, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube Live are only a few out there as new and new platforms are emerging. As everybody joins the contest for the “best live-streaming service” title, it is hard to make a decision. However, your platform choice should not simply be about the number of users. In fact, you should also narrow down your decision mainly by two things:

1. Which platform does my target audience prefer?
2. What are the different functionalities?

As live streaming is becoming an everyday online marketing tool, different platforms offer various services. You will find that video storing and availability, chat and comment functions or social media integrations are handled differently. By focusing on one or a few platforms, you can maximize the efficiency of your live-stream campaign. Even though there are live-stream syndication tools offering multiplatform streaming capabilities, they are still in early phase. It means that they come with restricted functionality, which can easily affect your message. The best is to keep things interesting and broadcast streams using various platforms. It gives you a chance to get back into the lab to analyze numbers and draw a conclusion. As the live-stream battle is still ongoing, it is simply impossible to point out the best platform. What is for sure, is that staying flexible can bring you closer to finding the most suitable solution.

The Message
Your number one question should be: what could be the best message, which will get your viewers back to your website? The specialty of live video content is that it delivers the most powerful message. Meaning, that it’s a real game changer if used well. Why? Because of 5 things:

1. Live-streaming is relatively new and interesting
As opposed to a quality e-mail marketing campaign or a well-placed Facebook ad, live-streams still have the buzz. People are interested, and they are more open to creative, live streams. Furthermore, thanks to the versatility of video content, it should take a long time for them to lose interest.

2. Pick me! Pick me!
The most powerful asset that comes with live-streaming is that your customers/future customers can join your sessions and participate. Platforms handle usernames differently, showing the participants IDs, full names, or avatars. However, the fact that a user can pose a question from anywhere makes them feel valued. Furthermore, once you address them when giving an answer, makes them feel appreciated. It also creates a desire to be recognized by you and pose further questions. Use it well and pay attention to your audience.

3. It’s not We + Them; It’s Us
Obviously, these live-streams strengthen the idea of sharing the same interest and belonging to the same group. Feeling connected is the cornerstone of engagement, which is the most important tool for customer conversion and retention. Build a real community – e.g.: let viewers continue discussions on your own forum, which can be a great way to move your viewers to your website.

4. Just for You
It is the big chance to become unique and to provide exclusive content! It will simply further enhance all of the aspects mentioned above. As your audience once again feels connected, they will highly appreciate unique content created only for the ones who are present in your live session.

5. The A-Team
The fact that your brand is no longer without a face makes connecting much easier. The more you share, the more you reveal, will make your audience feel that you are approachable. Sharing insider information or giving a tour around your office can help you get good connections. You can also introduce B2B partners to specific production processes, or gather valuable feedback from your B2C audience. All in an instant!

Keep up the hard work
Since live-streaming is constantly changing, be on the lookout for any additional hints on the newest trends and techniques. VR and 360° streams are already getting popular, bringing your brand even closer to your partners and customers. You can soon expect to feel the world of online streaming crowded, as more and more companies include streams in their online marketing plans. If you haven’t started yet, NOW is the time to take advantage of the benefits of live-streaming. Join the buzz and convert those social media connections into happy customers!

Melissa Burns
Focused Agency
Melissa is an independent journalist. She also conducts workshops and provides consulting services for young, but promising startups. Follow her on Twitter


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