Social Media keeps progressing and live streaming is now becoming a major part of it. Facebook, Instagram Twitter (Periscope), Youtube and other platforms allow users to transmit to an international audience using just a mobile phone. You can now watch live news, sports and other events from a plethora of broadcasters. Some people find themselves as accidental broadcasters in that they just happen to be there at the time something worth streaming live happens. Many large corporations have woken up to how easy this is to use along with the sole broadcaster and build a fanbase of viewers in a relatively short period of time.
I have watched broadcasts that have been extremely interesting, for example, the historian Dan Snow has made extensive use of Periscope and Facebook Live to show and explain the historical places and events he visits. Of course, there is a lot of rubbish with selfie obsessed people looking at the camera and trying to get a response but you can soon filter those out.
With so many broadcasters now live streaming, is it time for you to join the party? If you are looking to promote your business this is certainly a format that you should be pursuing. If you are already using Twitter and Facebook these are already ideal platforms to start live streaming. Instagram might also be useful but at the time of writing when you live stream with them, the broadcasts are not stored for viewing later. Live streamers will tell you that you can often have more viewers on replays than when live, as not everyone will be around when you are actually broadcasting live.
How can your business use live streaming?
Live streaming allows you to reach out to both your customers, those that you would hope will become customers and not to be forgotten, those that will just be interested in what you broadcast and can then recommend others to your business.
It would be good to set aside time to form a strategy for your live streaming. You will need to decide on topics for your broadcasts and how often you will host them. With regard to the latter, it is important to have some regularity. If you decide on a weekly show then set a time that will be convenient to keep it to that time. Also, keep an eye on the numbers viewing and if the time is not proving to be good, try and host at another time. There is nothing wrong with ad-hoc broadcasting if something worthwhile happens. When I say something worthwhile I don’t mean that it has to be spectacular of world shattering. People are interested in many things and what might seem quite trivial can be used to build rapport with your audience. The more natural the broadcast is the better.
Plan to live stream
Next plan your topics. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and as I have mentioned above, people are interested in all sorts of subjects. All of us by nature tend to be curious and like to see things that we can’t normally have access to. That’s why the TV has so many programmes featuring the police, border patrols and businesses shown in everyday life, which are loved by the viewers. So here are some ideas on what you can live stream.
You might choose to answer a topical question. Blacks Solicitors do this well and you can follow them on Periscope and see how they do it. This type of broadcast is great for those that sell knowledge as a service, which effectively is what lawyers do. A live show demonstrates your expertise and people will build trust in your company the more shows that they view.
Behind the scenes – give a tour of your company offices, warehouse, factory and show your viewers what happens and how your business operates to give great service and products. It’s good to interview staff and you could do this to show the role they play in your business. Manufacturing often has many processes and without giving away trade secrets you can show the effort and care that goes into the goods you produce, handle and store. You know your business best so what and how you tell your viewers is down to you.
Be your own QVC
You can live stream a showcase of your products, it’s always worth remembering that millions watch shopping channels on TV so now with live streaming you can host your own. A regular schedule can be published on your website and you could even offer some extra special viewer only deals. When you do make special offers, please keep in mind that if you are saving the broadcasts to be replayed you need to specify how long the deal lasts for replay viewers in the show. Or for very special deals that you wish to use to obtain more live viewers, advertise the show on your website and social media feeds that this is going to be a live only show and will contain a very special “viewer only deal”.
If you are working on a job can you set up your phone so that you can live stream as you work? A tripod and phone holder come in useful for these situations. For example, let’s say that you’re a gardener pruning a plant. You could actually show your expertise and explain what you’re doing and you could soon have a fan base of people interested in gardening. Any trade can do this as it is so easy to set up when you’re at work. You might also find that a separate microphone might be useful under certain circumstances but don’t worry until you really get comfortable with live streaming and want to do more complicated shoots. Additional equipment is relatively inexpensive.
If you attend trade shows, whether you display there or not, a live stream can draw attention to your business and you might be surprised at the results! If you use Facebook Live, Twitter/Periscope your broadcast can reach people at the show or in the area. Always include the relevant hashtags in your show title to increase the chance of the right people finding it.
Your Next Step
The above are just a few of the things that you can live stream and the total will only be limited by your imagination. It would be good if you can start making a list of each of the things that you can stream about and if you are a larger business then get your staff involved in the process as no doubt they will have some terrific ideas.
If you would like more advice on live streaming check out Steven Healey who has written a book to help you get started and improve as you go. Also feel free to contact me using the contact form or leave a comment below and I will endeavour to answer your questions and talk through your ideas about live streaming.