Going Live: The Newest Small Business Marketing Trend

Live-stream is the latest content marketing trend for businesses of every size. Thanks to mobile technology, you no longer need a TV satellite or even a laptop to watch a live broadcast. Now that live-streaming has become so accessible, anyone with a smartphone and an Internet connection can enjoy live videos on the go: a fact that’s boosting sales for businesses all over the world.

With an increasing number of brands and individuals “going live,” live-streaming is well and truly having its moment. However, this new marketing tactic is far more than just a fad. Live-streaming can be utilized for a range of purposes, such as educating employees, attracting an audience and acquiring new customers.

In terms of digital marketing, going live is the single best way to boost engagement. According to Facebook, daily watch time for live broadcasts grew four times between 2016 and 2017. Live-streaming statistics have also reported that over 80% of people prefer live videos to blog content and social media posts.

The audience is clearly there. So how do you know how to tap into the right demographic for your business, and what’s the best way to go live?

What is Live-Streaming?

Live-streaming is the real-time sharing of live video to an online audience. Thanks to the abundance of platforms embracing live-stream in the form of Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, and Twitter’s Livestream, there are more opportunities for real-time sharing than ever before. These “stories” are usually video snapshots or images that disappear after 24 hours. They can be layered with emojis, text, and filters to make them more entertaining.

Why Use Live-Stream for Business?

In the digital world, consumers are tired of the same generic businesses. Online advertising space is limitless. Therefore, users are bombarded with marketing messages 24/7. The way to make your business stand out from the thousands of others fighting for a place online is through transparency.

People want to see that there is a human element to your brand. They want to listen to a human being rather than a pre-recorded advertising message. They don’t want to feel like they’re being pushed yet another marketing message by a faceless company. Studies show that live-streaming generates more positive emotions in an audience than regular advertising, leading to excitement and stronger connections with brands.

Live-steam is a great way to showcase the personality of your brand. Not only can you give your customers a sneak-peek behind the scenes, but you can also engage with them directly on a more personal level. Having live insights into your business will help consumers feel they are involved, and that your brand affects them on a personal level.

There are various benefits to embracing live-stream for your business. These include:

  • Building trust and transparency
  • Cost-effectiveness (social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are free to use)
  • Increased engagement
  • Shareability on social media and blogs
“The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity, and accountability.” Simon Mainwaring, Author and Media Specialist.

How to Use Live-Stream in Your Marketing Strategy

The key to unlocking your business potential is learning how to use live-stream to your advantage. Here are just some of the scenarios where you could use live-stream to engage your audience:

• Customer Service

A live video is an effective tool for answering customer questions or concerns. Thanks to live-stream, you can host a live Q&A or webinar where you can interact with your customers directly. You can even make live-stream appointments with customers and walk them through a demonstration of your product or service.

Using live video for customer service not only makes life easier for your customers, but it could also give a better impression of your brand overall. In other words, the more positive personal interactions your customer service representatives have with the people they serve, the better.

• Updates and Announcements

If you want to share updates or announcements about a new product, live-stream is the perfect way to do it. Viewers can watch demonstrations, ask questions and receive the answers to their queries immediately. Personal announcements help solidify the relationship between brand and customer.

• Day-in-the-life Videos

With a day-in-the-life video, you can show people what it’s like to work for your company, as well as how your products or services are delivered. Not only will this make your brand seem familiar, but it will also build trust. Just make sure your video doesn’t violate your company’s privacy policy and make sure you get your employees’ permission before putting them on camera.

• Live Events

Sharing a live video from an event is a great way to generate buzz around your brand. By sharing snapshots from your event on social media, you will incite FOMO (fear of missing out) in your audience and make them want to be there next time.

The key is not to make your videos too promotional. People want to watch content they deem truly entertaining or valuable. Your aim should be to create a buzz around your brand and get people interested, not to land sales. Converting prospects into customers comes later.

The Importance of Metrics

Of course, the best marketing tactics in the world won’t help your business unless you can track the results. With any marketing strategy, the key is to use metrics to see what’s working and what isn’t. Most social platforms come with their own analytics suites, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Alternatively, you can use an all-in-one solution like Hootsuite or Google Analytics to see how well your stories are performing.

To Conclude

Live-streaming is one of the best new ways to reach your target audience. Through live video, you can break down the barrier between your brand and its customers by allowing them “behind-the-scenes” access. This way, you can build trust, engagement, and excitement and let them see the human side of your company.

If you’re not already using live video to communicate with your audience, now’s the time to start. If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest marketing trends and compete with other brands, live video should be a core part of your digital marketing strategy.

Just remember that compelling content is the primary motivator for watching a live stream, so you’ll need to plan out your strategy just as you would with any other kind of marketing. Know what message or story you want to put across, but don’t panic if you mess up or the story is cut short before you’re finished. People would much rather see a “real” company made up of people like them than a robotic corporation.

Timothy Kelly

Timothy Kelly

Tim has been a writer for over 20 years covering financial markets and small business. In addition to writing about the financial markets, Mr. Kelly writes extensively about digital marketing and SEO. Mr. Kelly attended Boston College where he studied English Literature and Economics, and also attended the University of Siena, Italy where he studied studio art. Mr. Kelly has been a decades-long community volunteer in his hometown of Long Island where he established the community assistance foundation, Kelly's Heroes. He has also been a coach of Youth Lacrosse for over 10 years. Prior to volunteering in youth sports, Mr. Kelly was involved in the Inner City Scholarship program administered by the Archdiocese of New York. Before creating ForexTV, Mr, Kelly was Sr. VP Global Marketing for Bridge Information Systems, the world’s second largest financial market data vendor. Prior to Bridge, Mr. Kelly was a team leader of Media at Bloomberg Financial Markets, where he created Bloomberg Personal Magazine. Contact Tim tim.kelly@smallbizstar.com