Live video is taking the world by storm. It’s become the tool of choice for savvy brands that want to get closer to their buyers and stay top-of-mind. And while it’s new, it’s not as scary as it sounds. Here’s how you can get started with live video.
Live video has been a big trend for a while now and doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. According to studies, 80% of consumers would rather watch live videos than read a blog, while 82% prefer live video to brand social posts.
Question is, how can you jump on this trend and position your brand for success in 2021?
In this post, we’ll cover why this is the best time to start creating live videos. We’ll show you how to get started and cover the best platforms and tools for live streaming.
Why you should be using live video
Live video is a slightly different beast to pre-recorded video. While you’ll still need to plan what to broadcast, it offers businesses the chance to become more than just another market player.
Here are four reasons why you should be using live video in 2021.
Real-time audience engagement
Did you know that 44% of people watch less TV as a result of live streaming? That’s a large audience that’s chosen to spend more time watching live content.
Because live video is far more engaging.
Audiences can do more than just sit back and view content. They can respond with comments, ask questions, and like and share your video while it’s live.
Dave Kerpen’s Likeable Leaders show on LinkedIn is a great example. It generates engagement from marketing professionals and business owners looking for effective ways to grow their brands.
And for businesses – eCommerce businesses, SaaS businesses, and most other businesses – the opportunity to engage a live audience can be fruitful. You’re able to answer questions and show a more personalised side of your brands that can help accelerate the sales process.
Humanize your brand
Nameless, faceless brands are not exciting or endearing brands. Their marketing lacks a personal touch, making it harder to develop the kind of loyalty that drives sales and repeat customers businesses need to grow.
In fact, research shows that 64% of consumers want brands that connect with them, while 70% feel more connected to companies with CEOs who are active on social media.
Going live makes your brand look and feel more human.
You’re able to show the very best parts of your business, your people. And because people buy from people (and brands they trust), by getting in front of a camera and broadcasting live, you have the opportunity to humanise your brand.
Less work than pre-recorded video
While you need talking points, live video is in real-time. You don’t need to spend hours in post-production editing a video before publishing it. Once you hit record, your content goes live.
And depending on which platform you choose, your video immediately becomes available for a larger audience to watch at their convenience.
Live video can be re-purposed
If you’ve created content in the last decade, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard about re-purposing yours. When it comes to re-purposing live video, there’s no better opportunity.
You can create tons of content (think stills, quotes, video snippets, voice recordings, blog posts, and more) to help keep your brand top-of-mind with your buyers.
Here are six steps to creating your first live stream.
1. Think “Live Event”
Live streaming is an event. It’s an opportunity to connect with an audience digitally. And like all events, it’s got to be well-planned to go off without a hitch. Here’s how to plan yours:
Know the purpose of the live stream
Live streaming is versatile, but you need to know why you’re going live before you hit record. After all, this is marketing, and all marketing is planned and part of a bigger picture to generate results.
So, determine what the purpose of your live stream is.
Are you trying to:
Inform, educate or persuade your audience?
Attract a larger audience?
Promote your brand or products and services?
2. Identify your audience
Like all things marketing, you must know who your live stream is for. This ties into the purpose of your live stream.
Do you know what your audience’s needs, wants and desires are?
Do you know what they really want to get out of watching your live stream?
These may seem like tough questions to answer, but they are relatively straightforward. As a business owner, you’ve likely conducted research on who your ideal customers are and what they need out of a solution like yours.
Live video helps you take that knowledge and position in a captivating and value-packed way.
3. Develop talking points
While it is live, and there will be engagement, a smart first step to finding your live video idea is to create a list of live video topics. This should be a list filled with concepts that resonate with your audience and how you can help them solve a specific problem.
Next, narrow your list down and then prepare a list of talking points. Talking points create structure. They will keep you from missing critical opportunities to position your brand or get an audience involved in a certain way.
According to Goldie Chan, video and brand strategist, talking points around a specific topic also make it easier for people hopping-off and back onto your live stream to keep up.
4. Where to stream from
Live streaming can take place almost anywhere. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a studio to host live streams. You can get away with a neat, quiet office space.
If you want to shoot yours indoors but aren’t sure what the ideal environment should look like, here are four tips to help you create your setup:
Going live means there’s less room for error. Choose a space you know will be free from distractions for the duration of the live stream.
Get adequate lighting
Lighting has a considerable influence on the quality of video. Aim to get as much lighting as possible to eliminate shadows that could make your video appear dark and dull.
Find a quiet place
While adequate lighting is a must, high-quality sound is just as crucial. If you’re starting out, you can get away with a smartphone headset. If you’d like to step things up, you can invest in a standalone podcasting mic (more on this below).
Remove reflective objects
Reflective objects cause distractions for viewers. Ensure that you don’t have any mirrors or shiny surfaces that stand out on camera.
5. Hardware and software you’ll need
While you don’t need to break the bank building a studio, there is a list of basic equipment you’ll need to host your live stream.
1. Camera equipment
You’ll need a camera capable of producing clear and high-quality video. While the quality of your video will be influenced by viewer internet connection speeds, the higher the video quality, the better.
Most smartphones can record in HD, making it possible to attach yours to a tripod. If you’d like to go with something a little more professional, you can invest in a standalone camera.
A webcam will do but opt for something that records in Full HD. If you’d like to invest in something that will become a fixture in a studio later on, you can purchase a DSLR camera.
Depending on your camera of choice, you may need a tripod. Once again, you don’t need to break the bank (unless you’re building a studio).
2. Sound equipment
If you’re using a smartphone or webcam, be sure to limit any background sound as much as possible. Standalone cameras can take mics that will provide higher quality sound.
Depending on how you choose to broadcast your video (with or without a standalone camera), you may require encoding software. It enables recording and broadcasting of your video from your standalone camera to your computer.
While putting this together may sound a little complex, it isn’t. Many live broadcasting applications come with easy-to-follow instructions for setup and usage.
You’ll be broadcasting live, so ensure that you have access to a reliable internet connection. It needs to be fast and steady enough to carry video and sound without buffering or losing connection.
6. Promoting your live stream
As all savvy business owners know, promotion is one of the four “Ps” of marketing (Price, Product, Promotion, and Place), and a quintessential “P” at that. For your live stream to be successful, you’ll need to promote it as far and wide as possible.
Here are four ways to get your message out there.
1. Social media
Social media is low-hanging fruit. Use all of your accounts and create a campaign with posts that start at least one week out from your live stream date. This way, you’ll be able to generate anticipation for your event and draw a large enough audience.
Tap into your list. Send a broadcast email to all subscribers that you’ve identified as perfect candidates to attend your live stream.
Also, If you’re promoting your live video around the time you typically send a newsletter, include it. While you would have created a unique broadcast email with unique messaging, mentioning your live stream in a general newsletter is still a great opportunity to spread the word.
3. Your team
Rope-in your team and give them social posts (copy and creative) they can use to promote the live stream through their channels. Personal social accounts typically generate more engagement than company profiles, so grab the opportunity to leverage your staff’s networks.
4. Explore partnerships
Partner companies are a great way to extend your reach, especially if they have access to an audience filled with your ideal customers. If you’ve worked with partner brands before, approach them and put together a deal that’s beneficial for both your brands.
For example, Steph from the Courage and Clarity podcast partnered with Fizzle to promote her upcoming Facebook Live event. Fizzle is filled with entrepreneurs looking for ways to grow themselves and their businesses, making Steph’s message the perfect fit for Fizzle members.
The best platforms for live streaming
While there are many live stream platforms available today, the easiest and most accessible are social media platforms. These include YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
And in many ways, they include all you need to host a successful live stream. Each allows you to:
Social media algorithms are also powerful. When content is liked, shared or commented on, it has the potential to spread like wildfire throughout a user’s network.
You’re also able to reach smartphone users. Each platform allows broadcasts to smartphone users, making it possible to attract a large audience.
Take Facebook. Stats show that almost 96% of its users access the platform via the smartphone app.
Build a larger audience
Social media also allows brands to widen their reach. A viewer who is attracted to your band via a live stream can become a follower and later a customer.
Social media live streaming services don’t cost a thing. You’re free to host as many live streams as you need without spending a penny.
Try pay-per-view live video
Unlike social platforms, pay-per-view services allow you to do a little more than go live. Most offer you the opportunity to create a live video paywall with a sign-up page, a countdown timer to build anticipation for your event, and collect leads. They also offer businesses the chance to charge a fee for live stream events.
Live video is an opportunity for brands to develop stronger, more engaging relationships with their customers and prospects. While the idea of going live may seem a little daunting, it’s not and the benefits outweigh any initial jitters.
Going live will, however, require planning. Know why you want to use live video for your brand and who your ideal audience is. Create talking points that resonate with your audience and ensure you have all the equipment you need to produce a quality live stream, one that generates results.
Amir is the digital marketing manager at Uscreen, an all-in-one video monetisation and OTT platform provider that empowers video entrepreneurs and creators to monetise their content and build thriving businesses around their videos.