One of the most valuable (and consistent) things I’ve learned from speaking to marketers and social media managers is that video content tends to have an easy time finding an audience.
It’s not really that surprising: A lot of users prefer watching videos over just reading plain text (hence the rise of YouTube and its subsequent transformation into the content-sharing giant it is today).
If you recall what we talked about in the past few blogs (which I hope you read!), visual marketing is a strategy worth employing if you’re after building your community of followers and increasing your audience engagement. Video content tends to be especially effective in that regard, and when you take it up a notch with livestreaming, the results can be quite amazing.
Simply put, livestreaming is the process of shooting a video of an event or activity as it happens, simultaneously transmitting it over the internet and making it available for online users to watch. The concept is pretty simple; at its core, it’s basically you making a video, except you skipped all the parts in the middle where you splice clips, add music, and make edits, opting instead to keep things natural and, more importantly, live.
There are plenty of livestreaming options currently out in the market. Some of the more popular options are Facebook Live, UStream, Bambuser, YouNow, Blab, and (the appropriately-named) Livestream. On the other hand, there are other platforms, such as Periscope and Meerkat, that set themselves apart from the competition with their mobile-first approach. You’ll never run out of options, basically.
Here are a few of the most important reasons why you should consider adding livestreaming to your social media strategy:
1. Livestreaming allows you to share events live (which is something you can gather from the name itself, I believe!)
It’s difficult to overstate the significance of sharing what’s going on in an event, right as it happens. Have you ever been to a pay-per-view event where you got to watch, say, a boxing match with other fans, seeing every punch, dodge, block, and footstep as they happen? Well, think of livestreaming as that, except you actually get to give your own commentary on how punches were thrown or provide comments on why you think your guy would win. Pretty exciting, right?
2. Livestreaming keeps things fresh and new.
Among the many great things about livestreaming is that it grants you complete control over what you show your audience. It prevents them from getting bored because they’ve been staring at the same thing for quite some time already, and also relieves them of the burden of having to use their imagination to visualize things if they were to just read a blog post about an event. You can even communicate directly with your audience and ask them what they want to see, which in turn helps you learn more about them and establish a deeper connection with your target demographic.
3. Livestreaming makes your exclusive content even more appealing.
We love the feeling of exclusivity. Society loves premium items and special things, and online users are no exception. Livestreaming can create the notion that what you’re showing is of great importance, and that people should be tuning in because it’s not a pre-recorded thing, but an actual live event where they can even interact with you or whoever is featured in the presentation. Livestreaming content can also be seen as a reward of sorts for your followers, in the sense that they’re getting updates live from you because they chose to follow you on social media (and were thus made aware of your event).
4. Livestreaming can be used to help build confidence in your brand.
If you’re willing to show the side of you that can’t be construed as manufactured or pre-planned, your community will see you as a provider of products or services who is sincere in wanting to help them solve their problems. This humanizing effect on your brand is a fantastic way for your target market to see that you’re genuine — and that your brand cares about them and deserves to be trusted.
5. Livestreaming is cost-efficient.
There was a time when shooting a video to show your audience would cost you a lot of money. With livestreaming, however, all you need is a camera, a computer, and an internet connection. No ad dollars spent, and no extra expenses in hiring people to help you produce your visual content.
6. Livestreaming can help you establish yourself as a thought leader.
If you make an instructional video, a helpful guide, or a live demonstration of you and your team as you work on a specific product or process, this would greatly help your status as a genuine thought leader in your industry. You can, for example, take a video of yourself while discussing the implications of current political trends on global affairs, or even do something as simple as demonstrating how to fix a broken watch or glue the pieces of a broken vase back together. Regardless of the subject matter, livestreaming can be a valuable ally in persuading people that you actually know what you’re talking about.
7. Livestreaming improves engagement with your audience.
Another advantage of livestreaming on social media is that, as I’ve mentioned earlier, you can actually communicate with your audience and find out exactly what it is they want to see, or if they have any problems that you can help solve. By giving a real-time means of finding a solution, your audience will be more convinced that you actually do care about their time and input (which is definitely a big boon in anyone’s case).
In summary, livestreaming is a highly valuable ally in social media marketing, especially since it was developed for the purpose of creating shared experiences among consumers. With the right push and a clear idea as to where you want to go and what you want to accomplish, merging livestreaming and social media will yield great results (as illustrated in this handy infographic below) and help you discover how to really make things click between you and your audience.
Of course, adding livestreaming to your current content lineup doesn’t mean you should forget about writing entirely! On the contrary, having different kinds of content for sharing will greatly benefit you in identifying the needs and preferences of your audience.
Liz Azyan is interested in the ways new kinds of social data and technology introduce challenges and opportunities to society. Get involved with Liz’s latest project here.