Live Streaming Video: What It Is, Why It Matters and How It’ll Quickly Grow Your Brand

Live video streaming is a powerful marketing tool, which should become a key focus in your digital strategy.


5 min read

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We live in a time when a brand’s ability to reach its customers online has never been more important. The same is true of individual entrepreneurs, influencers and others. This is where live streaming video comes in. While the popularity of YouTube has long proven video’s importance in the online world, live video’s surge is relatively recent, and is still often overlooked by marketers.

A report from IAB found that by the end of 2018, 67 percent of internet users had streamed live videos, with 47 percent saying they had increased their live streaming over the year before. In fact, Go Globe estimates that as much as 82 percent of online traffic will be dedicated to live video by the end of 2020.

Needless to say, live video streaming should become a key focus in your digital strategy.

Just what is live video streaming, anyway?

Live video streaming is exactly what it sounds like: a video that is streamed live on the internet, rather than pre-recorded and uploaded to a Facebook or YouTube profile. Technically, live video streaming is an all-encompassing term that can even include TV broadcasts that are also made available in real-time over the internet.

For marketing purposes, however, live streaming typically refers to the content that you yourself are producing and broadcasting online. While you still need quality cameras and microphones to present everything in the best light possible, the resulting video isn’t going to look as polished as content that is professionally edited after filming.

Businesses and other organizations will often use live streaming for press conferences, product announcements or webinars. Live streaming is how many influencers have grown their personal brands, particularly in niches such as gaming. The unfiltered, “in the moment” nature of these streams gets people to tune in.

Related: 5 Content Ideas for Making Money With Facebook Live

Why live streaming matters to your customers

Regardless of your niche, your customers are craving engaging video content — and this can have a big impact on their behaviors. According to survey data from Livestream, 80 percent of internet users prefer live video to blogs, while 82 percent prefer live streaming video to other social media content. Sixty-seven percent of those who watch a live stream bought tickets to similar events.

In a recent email conversation, Vlad Rigenco, founder and CEO of Dood Livestream, explained, “For the consumer, live streaming feels more like a conversation than a prepackaged ad. This helps them develop a stronger connection with the brand, especially if you use your live content to answer questions or respond to comments. Forming a natural, authentic connection with your customers will go a long way in driving conversions and addressing concerns that might otherwise keep them from buying.”

For many viewers, the appeal of live streaming is that it offers a taste of accessibility — a “behind the scenes” approach that feels more unscripted and transparent. This helps establish trust in ways that other marketing tools simply can’t.

Using live streaming to grow your brand

While live streaming can be a powerful part of your marketing arsenal, not all live streaming video is created equal. As marketing consultant Lisa Illman once advised in an Entrepreneur interview, “Stick to content that delivers the 3 Es: educates, engages and entertains.”

The truth of the matter is that while live streaming often appears to be off the cuff, brands should plan what they are going to do and say before going live. It may help to think of live streaming similarly to other marketing tools you may have already used in the past. For example, when filming a video webinar, you would prepare key talking points and use engaging graphics or product demonstrations to keep your audience’s attention. The same principles apply in a live video.

Naturally, the type of content that will work best will vary based on your niche and target audience. However, content such as interviews, Q&As, tutorials and behind-the-scenes access have proven to generally be effective for brands. You could even partner with an influencer to live stream content that ties in with your products or services.

Despite your planning efforts, however, part of making live streaming content feel truly authentic requires a bit of spontaneity and a willingness to adapt as needed. In an interview with Convince and Convert, digital futurist and public speaker Brian Franzo explained, “In one example, I was giving a tour behind the scenes with the goal to make the streaming a ‘backstage pass’ event, when several viewers started asking questions about my new Samsung phone…. So I switched gears, and we started talking about technology because that is where participants wanted to go.”

By putting the customer’s interests first, you will form stronger connections and drive more meaningful engagement.

Related: New To Instagram Live? Here’s How To Show Up Like A Pro

Despite live video streaming’s popularity, many brands and influencers have yet to fully embrace this trend. But by using this format in creative ways that fit your brand and its audience, you can make a big impact in your niche and experience unparalleled online growth.

Where Live Video Fits into Your Marketing Strategy

Live video is a hugely powerful marketing tool. It combines visual imagery with a unique form of urgency, two-way communication, and an appearance on popular social media channels. But like any marketing tool, it shouldn’t stand alone. Live video has to be worked into an overall marketing strategy in which different elements support and reinforce…

Live video is a hugely powerful marketing tool. It combines visual imagery with a unique form of urgency, two-way communication, and an appearance on popular social media channels. But like any marketing tool, it shouldn’t stand alone. Live video has to be worked into an overall marketing strategy in which different elements support and reinforce each other to build trust and desire, and guide leads to the purchase.

Using live video for your marketing at your launch is crucial.

Brands that release their products with spectacular, eye-catching shows have long used live broadcasts to attract as large an audience as possible. Apple’s product launches fill the company’s own auditorium with journalists but also go out to people watching at home at the same time. When designers like Michael Kors release their new collections, they offer live video feeds from the catwalk.

Smaller brands might have less splashy launches but they can still use live video.

The live video will also support the products immediately afterward. Once the product is out and available, hold an AMA or a live product demonstration. You will already have trailed the launch and generated interest. The live video that follows the launch will give you an opportunity to show the product’s benefits and value instead of only describing them.

Later, you can follow up that product demo with more broadcasts that help customers make the most of the product. Beauty firms like Schwarzkopf, for example, have built large audiences with live tutorials.

One powerful marketing strategy is for a brand to associate itself with a campaign for a good cause.

Starbucks, for example, has long taken part in voter registration drives. That association helps to raise the company’s profile and enables it to support a cause that all its customers, however they vote, should be able to support. When the coffee chain takes part in registration drives or helps to organize events to encourage voter registration, it often broadcasts them live. Viewers get to see a street party—often with celebrities—and they see the company’s logo.

Much of today’s marketing strategy is content marketing.

Businesses issue a steady stream of information to customers that help them to remain informed and educated about a topic they find interesting. Customers get to satisfy their curiosity, and the brand gets to show off its expertise, build trust, and create a connection with its audience.

That content comes in a number of different forms. It might take the form of articles, both original and shared. It could take the form of images or the release of data that reveal trends and the results of experiments. But it can also take the form of interviews with other experts.

A surf shop, for example, might interview a surfer about how they use their boards and find great waves. Those interviews could be published as text on the surf shop’s blog. They could be uploaded as video that’s cut and edited to include the best content and make both the shop and the surfer look their best.

But it could also take the form of a live video. That allows audience members to participate. They could use the comment form to ask questions, like a radio phone-in. The interviewee wouldn’t even need to travel to the company itself.

Businesses like BeLive.tv provide third-party plugins that create split-screen interviews, like in news broadcasts. The interviewer could sit in the office while the interviewee remains at home and talks through their webcam or their phone. It’s a very easy way to add interactive, visual content to a content marketing strategy.

Live video is the only marketing tool that combines immediacy, visual imagery, and interaction. Work it into your marketing strategy and you’ll give your sales efforts a powerful boost.

image credit: ySxubvil

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Joel Comm

The Functional Futurist

Joel Comm is New York Times bestselling author, blockchain enthusiast, podcast host, professional keynote speaker, social media marketing strategist, live video expert, technologist, brand influencer, futurist and eternal 12-year old. With over two decades of experience harnessing the power of the web, publishing, social media and mobile applications to expand reach and engage in active relationship marketing, Joel is a sought-after public speaker who leaves his audiences inspired, entertained, and armed with strategic tools to create highly effective new media campaigns. His latest project is as co-host of The Bad Crypto Podcast, a top cryptocurrency show making the future of digital payments easy to understand.