Livestream videos have changed the way we share, learn, and engage with content, making it a more personal and interactive experience despite the flat screen it’s broadcast on.
In many cases, live streaming was a lifeline to brands, advertisers and business owners who were forced to find new ways to communicate when the impacts of COVID-19 started to hit.
According to an Australian Business News report in April 2021, 87% of marketers have incorporated videos into their marketing plans and, of those who participated in the research, 88% were satisfied with their video marketing results.
Today, video marketing is one of the most impactful ways to make branded content. And it will only grow in popularity as countries recover from pandemic losses and adjust to the “new normal”.
As live stream videos continue to dominate, it’s only fitting that you start experimenting with live streaming for your business to see what kind of marketing boost you’ll get.
Some small business owners aren’t well-versed with live streaming or may be skeptical of its effects on customers, so it’s important to understand its benefits and how to do it well.
Even though anyone can record a live video, creating one that can effectively communicate your message can be tricky, even for the most experienced marketer.
To help, we’ll walk you through the first steps to live streaming by outlining what it is, how it works, and what it can do for your business.
Why should a small business use live streaming videos in their content marketing?
If you’re a small to medium-sized business, live streaming can be a cost-effective and useful tool to raise brand awareness. It can also help you add value and establish trust with loyal customers and allow you to introduce your business to potential new clients.
If you’re someone who’s not well-versed in the online world, don’t let live streams scare you.
Live video streaming is just the recording and airing of footage in real-time. What makes it different from uploading a pre-recorded video is that there’s ongoing interaction with the broadcaster’s audience. In live videos, you can talk directly to viewers, answer their questions, and even gauge their level of interest-based on the views and online reactions you’re getting.
That makes it more like a conversation, probably like the ones you’ve had multiple times with clients throughout your business journey.
You also cut down on expenses. Since live stream videos, like webinars, don’t require a venue or food catering services for participants, you spend less overall.
Usually, these live streams happen on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn because they are free to use, easily accessible, and can accommodate a high volume of viewers.
In this highly digital landscape, it’s important not to be left behind. As well as netting a wider audience and increasing brand awareness, you also give a face and voice to your business, making it relatable, personal, and highly valued to those watching.
By adding an extra level to your business reach, you can see positive impacts for next to no cost, and that’s not something you’re told everyday!
7 steps to creating a live stream video that people will want to watch
We’ve broken the live stream process down into seven easy steps to help small business owners confidently create video content that their target customers can watch and enjoy engaging with.
1. Invest in quality equipment
Have you ever sat through a movie in a cinema that had grainy imagery or faded sound? Probably not. That’s because no one wants to watch something poorly made or hard to see. And, if you have, you probably didn’t enjoy it.
Just like films or television shows, people expect quality videos from your business. And one thing that will help you deliver well-made videos is good equipment.
Here are some suggestions on what you need:
- A full HD or 4K camera – These kinds of cameras ensure clear and crisp video footage.
- A good quality microphone – You’ll need a microphone with good frequency response to easily capture audio.
- An ethernet cable – Wifi connections can sometimes be unstable. For a more secure connection, it’s best to attach an ethernet cable to your computer or laptop during the live stream.
- A sturdy tripod or a camera stabiliser – This assures that the camera stays upright and steady while filming.
- Mood lighting – Having the right set of lights can not only brighten your video and help you look great, it can also establish the atmospheric tone and mood you’re going for.
Buying or renting out these items can seem pricey at first but once you build video marketing into your small business strategy and live stream regularly, it will pay for itself (and then some).
2. Establish a content strategy
Recording a live stream video unprepared will lead to fumbled and unrewarding content that might put you off live video for life. Moreso, it’ll leave a bad impression of your business to viewers and potential customers. You can easily avoid all this by establishing a content strategy before moving forward with your video.
Sticking to your content strategy will not only ensure a good flow and pace to your live stream, but it will also ease the pressure on broadcast day.
Your content strategy should include:
- A clear definition of your goals
- A good understanding of your target market
- An engaging topic or content
- A clear schedule of activities for the day of broadcast
- Social media monitoring scheme (to keep track and engage with viewers)
By creating your content with these key factors in mind, your video will be impactful, valuable and relevant to your audience, ensuring they are engaged for the whole stream.
3. Rehearse your broadcast
As cliche as it sounds, practice does make perfect, which means you’ll be rehearsing in front of the mirror, as well as with anyone who’ll be joining you on your live videos.
Rehearsing your program means running through the host’s spiels, the speakers’ presentations, and the activities that will occur on the day of the broadcast. Doing this will not only make the people involved feel more confident, but it will also give them an overview of how the live video will play out.
Going through a full rehearsal lets you test out the microphones, lights, and the visual aids of your speakers. This gives you valuable time to learn your equipment features or adjust and correct any technical errors, lighting and sound issues.
4. Be authentic
Live stream videos give personality and humanise a product or brand, making a business more trustworthy and reassuring people ahead of a purchase. In fact, the whole reason people love live streams is because they get to interact with the small business owner and ask questions unique to their situation.
Because of that, you want the personalised message you give to be real. I’m sure you’ve seen those fake marketing videos before, they are off putting to say the least. You don’t want to be recognised as that annoying sales person who makes false promises on products or services.
To get to the truth of what you offer and communicate to people in a sincere way, create an outline detailing your important points rather than a full script so you can add lib and let your true self show. When you practice in front of the mirror, be yourself. You don’t need to look or sound like anyone but you. The whole point is that if someone visits you in your office they know you, they recognise you and you are exactly as promised.
People like genuine and authentic marketers, so, it’s best to just be honest in your spiel and not oversell your products, viewers don’t like hard-sell types of content. Rather than convince people to buy, offer them some advice or information you think they will benefit from and link it to your product.
5. Create interesting types of video content
One important thing to remember about making content is that you’ve got to keep it interesting. To achieve that, you’ll need to have a variety of engaging and informative ideas that your customers will watch until the end.
Here are some video content ideas you can play with:
- Training and webinars
- Tutorials and how-tos
- Interview sessions
- Question and Answer (Q&A)
- Product launches or introductions
- Live event coverage
- Live critique of a product or service
- Live tours
- Behind-the-scenes scoop
- Your opinion or expert advice on a topic relevant to your business
Deciding on what to pursue depends on the product or service you are selling, the target market and what appeals to them, the present situation or circumstance, and the social media platform you use to live stream each video. Each factor needs to be taken into consideration so you can adjust your approach. Of course, you can mix and match from live video to live video–if that best suits your needs.
If you’re a start-up company or a small business, recording introductory videos or behind-the-scenes footage can help raise brand awareness and entice people to want to know more about your products or services.
Larger, established, and more well-known businesses will find more value in guest appearances, interviews, live event coverages, and Q&A segments to remind people of their presence and possibly address concerns or inquiries their clients might have with the company.
6. Actively engage your audience during the stream
During your live stream videos, you will have access to your audience and see their comments and reactions. It’s important to embrace this particular aspect and take advantage by actively engaging with your customers.
By asking questions and conducting mini-polls you will see who you are talking to and what their issues are. By also keeping an eye on the comments section, you can address specific concerns that come up. If appropriate to your business, you can encourage your viewers to join the games and activities you set up on the live stream to interact with your audience and keep it fun. It makes your brand more approachable and trustworthy, too, if they feel like they can reach out to you directly.
Not only will this make for an entertaining live video, but it will also build a rapport with your viewers, encourage word of mouth referrals to your content, and help convert your high quality leads.
You can get tools to help you manage your conversations or get a team member to monitor comments. That way you can continue to deliver the information and they can alert you to particularly important questions and comments without much distraction.
7. Promote your live stream
Don’t limit yourself to one social media platform when you’re releasing a live video. Instead, share it on multiple social media networks to widen your reach and possibly get more viewers. You might be surprised to find out how many people are actually interested in knowing more about your business.
Most social media websites keep a copy of your live stream, you can actually repost it on your account when you are ready to increase views. It’s also a way for your customers to recap on your information, share the content with a friend or catch up on missed live videos if they were unavailable during streaming.
You can also repurpose a recorded live stream by cutting it into segments and making video snippets, allowing you to generate more content to distribute to your social media pages.
All of these steps can help transform your content into an engaging, informative, and effective live stream video. Now, it’s up to you to plan how you’re going to go about doing this to make the most of live stream videos.