Go viral: Livestream.

How live video encourages engagement and conversions.

The social media landscapes seem to change daily. Users are being trained to want information faster with less fluff and as transparently as possible. Eighty percent of users are now trained to watch a video over reading a post or blog (Pickard-Whitehead, 2017). But now, everyone is posting how-to videos, or explanation videos, even vlogs… so what stands out in this bombardment of social media advertising? Livestreaming. Livestreaming is the new tool that small and big businesses can’t afford to miss.

Even in the social media world, the common practice is to operate under the assumption that customers and users interact and buy from organizations they like and trust. Creating live content for users to interact with gives organizations multiple opportunities to build and maintain trust. “Audience engagement with live video is also impactful in the B2B space with 73% of B2B businesses using live video reporting positive results to their return-on-investment (Stubbs, 2018)”

With all the evidence in favor of livestreaming, how does a company effectively enact and facilitate a live stream their clients and followers care about? Any video, especially live video, should be interactive, fun, dynamic and engaging. The videos should also be streamed across multiple platforms and moderators should be engaging commenters and users live. Organizations should also consider spotlighting how they’re different from competitors and everything that makes their product or services are best in class.

Uzialko’s 2017 article for Business News Daily lays out a basic and best practices for creating a successful live video:
1) Post a teaser: Like any good advertising plan, let your audience know what’s going on so they can tune in. Of course, people will tune in when they see your organization go live, but informing your audience of an upcoming livestream will increase viewership and engagement.
2) Create an outline: This seems counterintuitive when your organization is going for authenticity and spontaneity, but rambling will turn people off from your brand. Create a few key bullet points you want your audience to walk away with and talk to those.
3) Keep your content fresh: Not every livestream has to be an advertisement or based around the same few things. Customers and users are more likely to engage with streams that aren’t direct advertisements. Because how-to videos are so popular among social media users, consider creating videos that solve client problems or tutorials about your product.
4) Remember your brand: Any advertisement must be mission minded. This should be at the forefront of everything your organization does, including livestreaming.
5) Sell a feeling: Unlike traditional advertising, livestreaming can be tailored to connect with users and customers on an emotional level. Know your audience, their likes, their dislikes, and their concerns then connect with them about those issues. Building a strong connection between your audience and your brand is more important in the long run than selling a product or service.
6) Consider incentives: By offering special deals or products on livestreams, your organization is more likely to see conversions from viewers to purchasers. Livestreaming is designed to encapsulate a specific moment in time, but together all videos should create a consistent narrative.  

If an organization is looking for a few companies that have modeled excellent livestreaming practices, they would do well to look at Dunkin Donuts first live video on Facebook. Nearly 40,000 users saw the video and it garnered more than 5,000 unique interactions (Richman, 2017). Dunkin Donuts is the perfect example of the excitement and camaraderie viewers can experience from live interactions with their favorite brands. Livestreaming can be an incredibly successful way to grow an organization’s brand and digital footprint when done correctly. With these few tips, your organization will take the correct steps to meet digital goals and growth.

In my organization, unfortunately, the idea of livestreaming to connecting with our audience is vastly underutilized as well as misused. By only livestreaming quarterly events that are catered to a small demographic of our audience who are most likely already at the event, sets up our videos and livestreams as functions of recall and don’t garner any new interactions with current or potential clients. I believe that if media companies like the one I work for are to make headway into new media or the digital realm, changing the concept of audience interaction from the top down will be imperative. Thinking of social media strategically and as two-way communication instead of something we just do “for fun” and to have some presence on the web is the wrong way to look at social media capabilities. In the future, I would like to see traditional media groups begin to take steps to mobilize their PR and communications departments to assist in the strategic management of all communications going out to any audience over any platform thus creating more effective live videos.

Pickard-Whitehead, G. (2017, November 09). 10 Top Livestreaming Tools for Small Businesses. Retrieved from https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/11/top-livestreaming-tools-small-business.html

Richman, J. (2017, July 11). Live-Streaming for Business: How, When, and Why You Should Use It. Retrieved from https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2017/07/live-streaming-for-business.html

Stubbs, A. (2018, January 18). Livestreaming for Business: Business Communications Best Practices. Retrieved from https://livestream.com/blog/livestreaming-for-business

Uzialko, A. C. (2017, October 18). How to Market Your Business with Video Livestreaming. Retrieved from https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9442-how-to-livestream-advertise-for-business.html

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