Live streaming is one of the newest additions to the marketer’s toolbelt. Yet, it’s also one of the most underutilized. Part of this is because many marketers are unsure how it would fit into their marketing funnel, while others just don’t think it would be a good fit.
Having a regular live stream is a big time and money investment, so for some businesses, it isn’t a good fit. For many though, live streaming can bring a lot of value to their consumers and give a powerful boost to their reach. Here are some factors to look for to decide if live streaming is right for you:
Strong Social Media Presence
Live streaming is a very social experience, and a majority of streaming is done on social platforms. To find success, that requires the company to have a strong and engaging social media presence.
Before you can even begin seriously considering engaging in live streaming, you have to have a solid social strategy in place, and it needs to actually be working. If your social pages only have a handful of followers, it’s unlikely you’ll see a positive return on the investment that goes into the stream. Before turning on the camera, there needs to be a large number of followers that even have the potential to see the stream. There is no set number of followers you need to have, as each industry is different, but if it’s too small, your time would be better spent growing a following before streaming.
It’s also important to note how much your followers engage with your brand. Having tons of followers, but little to no engagement, might lead to very empty live streams. You can count follower engagement through shares, likes, retweets, comments and clicks.
If you have a strong amount of followers who regularly engage with you, that is a clear sign you should be live streaming. It gives your followers a way to engage directly with your company and lets you address them immediately. It also can create stronger connections, because of the direct and engaging style of live streams.
Attending Events Followers Want to See
There are constantly exciting events happening around the world, and many of your followers want to see what is happening at them. If you are attending events like trade shows or conferences and there are things there your followers want to see, live stream it.
Now, this approach isn’t applicable to every industry. A roofing company going to a trade show about roofing might not pull in a lot of viewers, but a tech company going to a trade show filled with the newest and coolest gadgets would.
It doesn’t even have to relate directly to your business model, but it does need to be something interesting to your target market. By live streaming what they want to see, it makes your business more credible and helps form connections with what they want to see to your business.
Expertise Unavailable Anywhere Else
Live streaming isn’t just for entertainment value. If you can provide expert advice or a tutorial people can’t get elsewhere, they will come watch. In a sense, businesses have been doing live streams for awhile, just in the form of live webinars.
Things like panels, Q&As, tutorials, and lectures from industry experts are all potential live streams that can draw in consumers. This is especially relevant to the B2B industry, but could apply to specific B2C markets where consumers spend a lot of time educating themselves.
If you are capable of providing this style of expertise, live streaming can be a powerful medium for doing so. It makes viewers feel involved and part of something exclusive, that they are being rewarded for following you and that the information provided is rare.
Have the Talent for Streaming
First, you need to determine who is going to be your on-screen talent/host. This doesn’t have to be the CEO or the company, but they do need to be comfortable live streaming. Typically, this means somebody who can think quick on their feet, is personable, likable and is comfortable in front of a camera. This person becomes a face for the company, specifically when it comes to live streams.
Next, the business requires an investment in proper streaming and video tools. That means a quality camera, lighting, microphones, and live streaming software. Along with the on-screen talent, you’ll need people to operate the behind the scenes of the stream.
So the question is: do you have the resources to put on a quality live stream? Can you afford the investment for the tools? Do you have employees who could handle live streams and be that on-screen talent, or will you have to hire somebody else?
Are Your Followers Watching Live Streams?
Not everybody is jumping on the live stream train. Plenty of demographics have little interest in watching live streams. This might include older generations who don’t fully utilize social media, or people who simply prefer other methods for entertainment and education.
If your target market doesn’t care about live streams, don’t do them. But if they do, you need to find out what kinds of streams they like and how they interact with them. Do they just watch it in the background, or are they actively commenting on it? What style of live streams do they prefer?
To find this out, you’ll have to do some market research and interview your current customers. Then, as you start out, watch your analytics and optimize your streams to get the most engagement. Doing so can ensure you build loyalty to your brand by providing the live streams your consumers want. That in turn will lead to them learning more about your company, making purchases, and more word of mouth.
These are just a few things that need to be considered before deciding if live streaming is right for you. Doing research ahead of time means that your first experiences in live streaming aren’t a bust. Look at your target market, make sure you have the gear needed, and come up with creative content that will engage and entertain viewers.