A Quick Guide to Live Streaming for Business

Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg / CC BY 2.0
Caption: Are you streaming yet?

Live streaming is much more than a new marketing fad. On the contrary, it’s one of the most powerful communications tools that small businesses can leverage to generate leads and build a powerful online brand.

According to TechJury, 87 percent of all businesses now use video content in their marketing efforts. Moreover, social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook have pushed video content in newsfeeds, as it has quickly become the preferred channel for most users.

It’s high time for you to jump on the bandwagon so that you’re not left behind. If you have a YouTube channel and produce videos for Facebook, you’re already halfway there. Now, all you need do is kick it up a notch with some exciting live content.

Let’s get you started with a few astounding stats about live streaming:

  • Sixty-three percent of users aged 18–34 watch live-streaming sessions on a regular basis.
  • One-fifth of all Facebook videos are live, and they’re watched thrice as long as the prerecorded video content.
  • Over 60 percent of people think that using live video brings a human touch to digital marketing.

The data is clear: If you’re dealing with a young enough audience, live streaming should be at the top of your marketing department’s priority list.

What’s the genesis of the live-streaming craze?

The phenomenon started with a wave of live-streaming sessions emerging from the gaming world. For instance, the poker world has used it for ages, with players like Summer Tobie broadcasting on Twitch with great success. It’s a part-time gig for most, but a few streamers went full-time and amassed a fortune with their live-video content.

Dyrus (Marcus Hill) who plays World of Warcraft has an estimated net worth of $1 million. He earned most of this money through his Twitch and YouTube channels where he amassed a combined following of over two million gaming enthusiasts.

But the good thing is that you don’t have to be a tech-savvy online gaming genius to use live streaming in your small business.

Using Live Streaming as a Small Business Marketing Tool

First, you don’t have to invest in a live recording studio (although that wouldn’t be such a bad idea if your budget can allow it). Instead, you can use your mobile phone and start streaming within a couple of seconds on major platforms, such as Facebook Live, YouTube Live or IGTV, Instagram’s native streaming platform. Keep in mind that you can benefit a lot from high-quality streaming services. For instance, this HLS player will allow you to access video analytics, which is good for adapting to what your viewers want. The advantages are endless.

Yes, you will need a decent following on each of these platforms to generate viewership and make the whole effort ROI-positive. For instance, you’ll need at least 1,000 subscribers on your YouTube channel to go live.

Second, think about which part of your business will be most interesting to your followers. You can try to show a specific benefit of your product or service or talk about your vision for the future of your particular industry.

Always make sure you have a goal in mind before starting your stream. You can use video for generating leads, asking for donations or giving away free information to build goodwill in your marketplace. The choice is yours.

Once you’re live, social media platforms will alert your followers automatically, and a few viewers will join in.

Here are a few ideas to improve engagement on your live streams:

  • Make sure you greet new viewers as they join the broadcast.
  • Talk right to the viewers and ask them to leave a comment.
  • Make sure you have a high-speed internet connection and video quality.
  • Above all, stay enthusiastic and positive.

The Trick is to Go Live on Many Platforms Simultaneously

You can do it by mounting two or three mobile phones on mini tripods (around $15 each) and going live on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube all at the same time. That will improve your reach dramatically and produce a bigger bang for your marketing buck. It’s great to have an assistant nearby so that they can take care of the technicalities and answer comments in real time through an online chat.

You can also record your live sessions and transform them into other pieces of online content such as podcasts or stand-alone YouTube channel videos easily. Additionally, you can cut the video into pieces and use the most exciting parts for short-form Facebook and Instagram story content.

The possibilities are endless but make sure to develop a repeatable process to roll out the content in an organized manner. It’s always great to start small and work your way up to the major leagues of streaming.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.