Social media is a highly beneficial marketing tool for businesses of all sizes, be it a small start-up, or a large enterprise. One of the recent social media trends is live streaming with more social media platforms coming like brand new features and functionalities to support it. Live streaming has been around for a while for a decade now, but it lacked awareness. However, with the current COVID-19 pandemic the world is experiencing now, live streaming is quickly being adopted

Live streaming is a part of everyone’s life, including both individuals and businesses. Businesses that are experiencing difficulties due to lockdown started adopting live streaming to connect with their employees, clients, and customers. As it has been already proven as an incredibly effective marketing tool, it will not lose traction after the pandemic as well. 

In this blog, let’s look into how to start a live stream in a way it benefits your business growth. 

Reasons to go live on social media

If you have planned to use live streaming to grow your business, but not sure whether it is the best choice, here are some valid reasons to go live on social media. 

Simple and real

By its purest nature, live videos are simple and real. You need not invest a lot of effort into producing a live video and that’s what makes live streaming easy for brands to adopt. There is no need for a fancy setting for a perfect live video. You can invest in a fancy setup if you plan on how to make live streaming video professionally. However, that’s optional, you just need a smartphone and a strong internet connection to start out. Live videos can be produced on a budget which is really good news for brands. 

Social media platforms are free

As mentioned earlier, social media platforms don’t need a huge investment. You need not spend a lot of money on producing live videos on social media. All social media live streaming platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube Live, Snapchat, are free to use. While you have to spend a bit on the setup and platform if you want a professional-grade live streaming quality. However, the cost would still be low compared to the production of other forms of video. 

Receive instant feedback

Social media live streaming transforms a video from a normal broadcast to an engaging conversation. Users can respond in real-time through likes and comments. Live streaming helps to receive instant feedback from users and also helps to foster trust and engagement. As the feedback from your viewers comes instantly, you can adapt to their requests and can keep your content top-notch every time 

Capture immediate attention

The most important aspect of live streaming is that it captures eyeballs and demands instant attention. Over 80% of viewers would rather watch a live broadcast than reading a blog post which means it is worth investing in live streaming. 

Humanize your brand

Nothing excites and engages your audience than a good glimpse of your brand in real-time. When you give your users an idea of how your brand functions not just to humanize your brand, but also serves to convince that you are an honest and quality-driven brand. 

Create an intimate connection

Let’s get real- Live streaming is not always polished and things don’t always go according to the plan. But getting real is exactly what audiences are looking for from brands they love. Live streaming is a chance for them to get to know your brand on a personal level. 

It’s interactive

Live videos by itself is a great engagement booster. Additionally, social media live streaming comes with a wide range of interactive features like stickers, donations, sharing, and live commenting. Once your audience tunes in to your live broadcast, they can be a part of discussions and debates even after the broadcast is finished. Moreover, when you interact with your viewers in real-time, they feel more connected with you. If you are live streaming as a brand, even a simple interaction about any important update can lead to spontaneous results. 

For example, when the weather channel went live on Facebook to show the severe weather conditions in Oklahoma City, the videos brought in over 73k views and great engagement. 

Live Streaming from Facebook

Social media live streaming is unbounded

One of the major advantages of social media live streaming is that it is not bound by any physical restrictions. You can extend your reach beyond geographical boundaries. If a program is conducted in a stadium that can hold 5000 people, you can reach out to over 4 million global users through social media live streaming. 

How to stay ahead of the competition using live streaming?

If you want to leverage live streaming to market your business, producing quality live videos takes patience and a lot of planning. It’s not just a matter of recording yourself live without proper script and planning. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to properly plan your live broadcasts to become successful in the industry. 

Here are some of the tips to stay out in the crowd with your live videos. 

Think a step ahead when planning your live videos

Planning how to start a live stream is important like you would do with any other video types. To ensure that your live broadcasts go smoothly, you need to put valid thoughts into your live videos as you would in any other in-person event. Focus on your goals as you start planning your live streaming strategies. When planning live streams, it is important to strike a balance between thinking a few steps ahead and being improvisational. 

Make it timely

As your live videos would be competing for attention with millions of other videos on social platforms, timing it the right way is important. Timing your live broadcasts will help you give your live stream an urgency that evergreen content lacks.

Keep the context clear

Most live streamers think that viewers would watch their videos from the very beginning till the end. But the reality is not the same. Your audience would come and go throughout the broadcast at different points of time. To hook your audience to your live videos, keep the context of your video clear by occasionally reiterating the subject. Giving the right title and descriptions will help your viewers understand what the video is all about.

Engage with your audience at the moment

The main reason you are broadcasting live is to connect with your audience. So make sure they know they are part of your show. When live streaming, try to engage with your audience at the moment by answering their questions by addressing their usernames. Begin by saying hello to commenters, welcome any new viewers, and answer their questions on the fly if you can. You can also host live Q&A sessions to exclusively engage with your audience in real-time and give answers to their doubts and queries. 

Have a roadmap

The beauty of live videos is that they are authentic and real, and moreover not predictable. However, you must have a goal of what you want to happen in the live videos. To achieve that, design a roadmap and jot down important points before you go live to keep yourself on the subject.

Optimize your live streaming set up

While being raw and in real-time has its charm, it is important to optimize your setup when planning how to start a live stream. Make sure your live videos are well lit, audible, and have the right equipment. Do a camera and sound quality check before you broadcast live. Use natural light whenever possible and use a tripod if you cannot make your camera or smartphones stay steady. 

Which live streaming platform you must choose?

If you are looking for how to make live streaming video for business purposes, the most important step in your live streaming strategy is choosing the most adequate social media live streaming platform. It’s something that you need to give serious thoughts, especially if you have a broad social media strategy spread across multiple social media platforms. 

That leads to the most important question- Which social media platform to broadcast your live videos? Let’s look into the most common social media live streaming platforms. And what can it do for your brand? 

Facebook Live

Facebook live is growing more popular every day with an increasing number of brands and marketers using the platform. First of all, the algorithm of live streaming is designed to push live streaming to the top of users’ feeds. Social media live streaming platforms have their own strategies and they use algorithms to promote their services. Moreover, it is quite easy to start a live broadcast from both websites and mobile app as well. You just have to click on the “Live” options to stream live from any device of your choice. 

Another benefit is that your live videos on Facebook would be on autoplay. This means your content starts directly playing when users are scrolling their homepage so that it is easy to get them hooked. 

How does it benefit your brand?

  • Facebook still is one of the dominant live streaming platforms in the social media space and live content of any type performs the best on the platform.
  • Live streaming on Facebook is the best way to improve the reach and bring in better engagement. 
  • All types of audiences are there on Facebook.

Periscope

The Twitter-owned Periscope is a popular live streaming app that allows users to broadcast live from their smartphones. A lot of brands and marketers leverage periscope the same way they would use the live feature on Facebook. Periscope also supports 360 degree live streams, too. 

How does it benefit your brand?

  • If you already have an established audience base on Twitter as it is one of the social platforms where your core audience is, streaming on periscope would be a better choice. 
  • Periscope offers incredible twitter integration. 
  • Don’t just choose to stream on Facebook Live or say any social platform just because it is popular. It is important to choose the platform that would give you better engagement. 
  • When sharing a periscope live broadcast on Twitter, it autoplay directly in the tweet which is an additional advantage.

YouTube

YouTube is another popular social media live streaming platform after Facebook. It is one social platform where most users spend hours on watching videos so it makes sense to choose YouTube Live as a streaming platform.

How does it benefit your brand?

  • Users visit YouTube to visit especially to watch videos so you might get more exposure than any other social media platform. 
  • It offers you the ability to archive your live broadcasts.
  • Live videos on YouTube can be easily repurposed as edited videos on YouTube and can be shared on other social platforms as well.
  • YouTube also offers a great live stream chat functionality where it slows down the rate at which comments appear on the screen so that live streamers will have an easier time reading through the comments and replying back.

Instagram

Instagram Live allows you to broadcast live from your Instagram profile where users can engage through likes and comments during the stream. Recently, Instagram has also rolled out a functionality where your viewers can join the live stream. 

Live Stream on Instagram- Source

How does it benefit your brand?

  • According to the stats, over 80 Instagram users rely on the platform to buy a product which makes it a powerful marketing channel.
  • Instagram Live bumps your live videos to the first position in stories at the top of the feeds of users.
  • Followers who have turned on the live notifications will get a message telling that you have gone live. 

Is social media live streaming just a passing trend

If you think live streaming is just another passing trend, you are wrong. Live streaming has been around for a while over a decade now, but it was not utilized to its full capability. However, today both individuals and brands have started to realize the importance of live streaming and adapt it to the marketing strategies. Moreover, consider the fast rate of adoption of live streaming by brands during the current COID-19 pandemic. However, live streaming is not just a temporary solution to a recent global problem. It’s a reform of modern-day communication. Considering its incredible popularity, live streaming won’t probably do down even after the pandemic. More people would opt to leverage live streaming for different events like business meetings, conferences, and more. With the widespread use and acceptance of live streaming, it is only to grow and will not show any slowdown soon. 

Conclusion

There is no doubt that live broadcast holds the capability to catch the attention of the audience than any other form of marketing tool. Viewers love live videos and social media platforms support them as well. Considering the huge popularity of live videos and its ability to reach and engage new followers, it is the time to start adopting live streaming and use it for your business growth. The biggest take away is that planning is the core factor that contributes to the success or decline of a live stream. If you don’t put much effort into what you are doing, you cannot expect impressive results. 


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