You Should Be Live Streaming
Let’s say you are attempting to grow an audience for your brand, whether personal or business. You should be live streaming.
Live content is rapidly becoming an important part of any marketing outreach. Live events, along with prerecorded video and blogging, engage, educate and entertain viewers and each contributes to a well rounded strategy for growth.
In this first part of a 3 part series, we’ll cover how live streaming can help you increase your engagement with your audience, build trust and influence and take your live video strategy to the next level.
So what, exactly, is live streaming?
Live streaming is not (only) gaming on Twitch
Online gaming viewership has gained a lot of traction in the past years as Twitch has made it easy for gamers to live stream themselves playing popular video games. While esports may have plenty of mindshare with the term livestream, it’s not the only game in town.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and most other social media platforms all have offerings that allow their users to create live streams of all kinds of topics in order to engage with their audience.
In fact, Facebook alone had something like 1 billion hours of live video watched in 2019. Not sure how much of that was bird watching but pretty sure all of it was not video gaming related.
To be fair, Twitch has channels related to other interests (née Twitch IRL). But it’s known mostly for its video gaming livestreams. Honestly, when you read Twitch did you think gaming or talk shows? That’s what I thought.
So let’s clarify our terms before we get too far down the road - live streaming, live stream events, live content, live video, live broadcast; all mean that the viewer is watching something that is happening at the time it occurs, and which may include one or more ways for the audience to interact with the host.
Live streaming is for social interaction and engagement
Why would you choose to live stream instead of blogging or creating a prerecorded video (which we’ll cover in upcoming posts)? The other methods can present your ideas in a much more direct and compelling fashion, without interruption or the occasional rambling.
But you’d miss out on the engagement of your audience, and the fact that live videos produce 6 times as many interactions, and 10 times as many comments as regular videos. Plus 1 in every 5 facebook videos is a live broadcast. So you’re in good, and plenty of, company.
Social platforms reward content that gets interaction from users. Think about what social platforms are optimizing their algorithms to do - to keep users engaged and on the platform. It therefore makes sense that if you are creating compelling live content, your audience will directly benefit plus you’ll get the side benefit of increased visibility in the social platform feeds.
Live streaming is for establishing trust and authority
If you are looking to build your brand, or sell your services/product/whatever then you will need your audience to know, like and trust you.
This is not unique to live streaming as you may establish authority by blogging and getting your audience to like and trust you with traditional video. Indeed, these are additional strategies that you may need to employ to get to the level you aspire.
Live streaming though provides a unique ability for your audience to get to know you by your interactions with them. Prerecorded video makes it hard to tell if the host really does know magic or if some fancy video editing is going on. Live streaming makes the magic go away and you get to show your authentic self. You know, just you being you.
Trust and authority are prerequisites if you strive to be an influencer in your niche. Your audience is looking for insider knowledge which only you possess. The ability to use this influence to sell your service/product/whatever is not only well known, but borders on the mind-blowing (see the Jenner family for crazy sales numbers).
Live streaming is for commerce
We know that celebrity influencers can move product. And with COVID causing people to buy more online (US ecommerce sales grew by 80% in 2020), the opportunity to get your goods in front of your audience through live streaming has never been greater. Live streaming in the United States has all but doubled since the pandemic started, and viewers are watching in record numbers.
The trend in live stream commerce is just beginning to pick up steam. In China, livestream shopping is already a $63B industry and the major platforms in the US are paying attention. Amazon launched its Live ecommerce platform last year and one can easily see Amazon-owned Twitch becoming a livestream talent incubator for Amazon Live.
If Facebook is seeing live video getting such traction (they do), then it makes sense that they’d offer a way for you to monetize this (they do), by allowing your live stream to sell products in your live stream (they do). They’d probably call it Live Shopping (they do).
And since Facebook owns Instagram, they’d probably be just as clever with naming that offering Instagram Live Shopping (they do).
You can expect that all the major social platforms will offer a way for creators to sell their goods through live streaming channels.
Maybe you’re not ready to use your live events to sell just yet, since you’re still building your audience. The good news is that when you are ready to offer something to your followers the major platforms will be more than willing to help you.
The Live Calendar is for live streaming
While you’re growing your audience, you shouldn’t need to limit yourself to using only one social platform. Each of the platforms would love to host your content and you should take advantage of that.
In the past it may have been easier for your audience to find you in one place, but since The Live Calendar shows your events across all social platforms, you can use whichever is best for what you’re trying to accomplish.
Add an event that you are hosting on Facebook for one segment of your audience, and another that you are hosting on Zoom for another cohort and your audience will be able to find you wherever you are. And they can get reminders no matter where your event is hosted.