With video continuing to dominate content posted on popular social networks, live-streaming has become an increasingly important element in the process. Live-streaming has grown so significantly that a recent report from Brandive indicated that 44% of brands used live-streaming during 2016, and an additional 20% were planning to do so this year.
On Facebook in particular, video content has begun to overshadow image content, with video posts generating 135% greater organic reach than photo posts. We can now take that a step further with live videos, which Facebook users comment on 10 times more than they do on regular videos.
As live-streaming becomes a growing trend on social media, it introduces a new way for organizations to improve social validity and spread awareness about their brand, while doing it in an authentic way that connects with viewers in real-time. A study from Livestream.com concluded that 80% of people online would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.
The following are seven ways you can use live-streaming to increase user engagement, attract new customers and employees, and drive customer and employee retention to ultimately develop a strong competitive advantage.
1. Share events with your followers
Events are a great showcase for live-streaming, and streaming them in real-time can give your audience a feel for your industry, and your company in particular. This can provide the audience with a highly interactive experience, if done correctly, and can keep viewers interested by showcasing several key areas within the event.
How do you make live-streaming your event successful? Creativity is key here, as live-stream events can vary from company trips or outings, conferences, concerts, or just about any event that pertains to your business. While the audience is getting a real-life view of their surroundings, asking them what else they would like to see or know could be beneficial.
With 45% of live video audiences saying that they'd pay for a live video from a speaker or performer, sharing events not only helps to spread awareness about your brand, but can also increase user engagement and perception of your organization by providing users with insightful and unique information. This type of content also provokes users to comment their questions or opinions on a specific topic.
2. Show the creative process
Often, your customers don't get to see the work or brain power that goes into the creation of your products, but providing such insight can help form a stronger emotional connection with what you produce. Streaming a live video with information about the creative process behind your products brings more value to your brand and attracts more user engagement by getting them more heavily invested in your product or service. Once they know the story behind it, they'll be even more sold on it.
With 90% of users saying that product videos are helpful in the decision-making process, this type of live-streaming could assist in developing qualified sales leads for your organization.
As an example, Dunkin Donuts used live-streaming to give viewers a look at their creative process, showing how they create new products in their test kitchen, with the live-stream ending with a clip of an enormous donut-themed wedding cake.
This helped their customers think of Dunkin Donuts in a different way and brought them into the creation of a unique product.
3. Give a behind-the-scenes tour
Live-streaming can provide a unique or "once in a lifetime" access to your fans and followers. You can give an insider tour of the office or stream anything that your audience may not usually get to see. This allows users to get a "behind-the-scenes" and "off limits" view, which will ultimately increase their interest and engagement with the brand.
While this type of video attracts people already aware of your brand who want to have an exclusive look at the company, it can also attract new user engagement by drawing in potential customers who are intrigued and attracted by the idea of something behind-the-scenes or exclusive. Behind-the-scenes access is a huge draw for 87% of audiences, who say they would prefer to watch online vs. on traditional television if it means more behind-the-scenes content.
4. Conduct a Training How-To
How about an educational opportunity for your customers? You can offer a how-to or step-by-step walkthrough of how to complete a certain task related to your industry. The topic of this training can be chosen by asking the audience what they would like to learn about, offering another engagement opportunity. Asking the audience what they want to know ensures that they'll be interested in what you'll be streaming.
Tastemade, a video network offering food and travel related online programming, live-streamed an episode of their usually pre-recorded series "Tiny Kitchen" - a cooking tutorial where people make tiny meals using tiny cooking supplies.
This creative video attracted more than 3 million viewers, in comparison to their average 1-50K viewers on every other video they'd posted, showing the power that live-streaming can have in improving user engagement. Tastemade thought outside of the box with this live-streaming idea, which helped shine light on their use of creativity and innovation.
5. Host a Q&A Session
Tired of Twitter chats? You can use live-streaming to hold a Q&A type session. Choose a topic that you or someone in your company is knowledgeable about, and have them share their knowledge and experiences with the audience in an interactive way, This type of live-stream provides a great platform for user engagement, as the foundation of the video rests on the interaction between the speaker and the audience.
For instance, Vogue makes great use of this type of video by filming Q&A sessions with celebrities in a single shot.
6. Introduce Something New or Provide an Update
Another great use of live-streaming is the unveiling of a new product, project, or any new aspect of your business or industry that your audience may be interested in learning about.
Again, this is where the immediacy and intimacy of live-streaming provides your audiences with a great way to be brought in on a unique or timely event. This idea of live-streaming something completely new and unseen before can be a great draw - statistics show that 4X as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
As an example, last year, General Electric was the first auto brand to utilize live-streaming on Facebook when they debuted their 2017 Chevy Bolt EV at the Consumer Electronics Show. The all-electric car attracted a lot of attention with over 56,000 views and nearly 850 comments from viewers.
Have you already introduced a new product or project to the public? No problem - keep them up to date on the status of the project by live-streaming informative sessions that let customers know what going on right now. This aspect of gaining inside and up-to-the-minute news will help attract existing and new followers.
7. Run a Contest/Promotion
Another way to promote your brand via live-streaming is to announce a contest. Ask questions and allow respondents who answer correctly to enter into a sweepstakes.
Take Autumn Calabrese, a Beachbody fitness and health expert, who recently ran a contest where people entered to win a pantry raid where they would learn what food they need in their pantry and what food they should no longer have. She announced the contest on Facebook Live and provided details on how to enter the contest.
You can also go beyond just the announcement of a contest, and run an in-person contest and live-stream the event. The NBA recently live-streamed the 2017 Dunk Contest online, allowing a wider audience to tune into the event and engage in the comment section. This gave fans the intimacy of being there during the event.
Live-streaming can help connect brands to audiences by giving people the opportunity to tune into real-time videos that provide loads of information. This often provides a more intimate, meaningful connection than more static, branded content, and its timeliness and relevance to the moment make it memorable and valuable to the user.
Plus there's numbers to back it up: making use of live-streaming raises user engagement, spreads awareness about your brand, increases social validity, and can play a big role in bringing a strong and sustainable competitive advantage to your company.
Let the live-streaming begin.