Nearly two million words. That’s the value in one minute of video.
Let that sink in for a moment. Now consider how long it would take to write that amount of content.
Sure, you could plop down in front of your computer, slaving away day in and day out.
Or, you could create a one minute video to pack a bigger punch in a shorter amount of time.
Now add to that the power of live streaming video. No longer is video staged clips, prettied up and posted for an endless loop of views.
Nope, live streaming is so much more than that.
It’s a way to speak with your audience one on one.
To take a a new relationship and deepen the connection.
And the best news? It’s not just businesses and brands eager to connect through video. Consumers are too.
Just take a look at these mind-blowing stats.
- Online video viewing accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic.
- Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines
- 90% of online shoppers said they find retailer videos helpful in making shopping and buying decisions.
Easy to see why apps such as Snapchat, Periscope and Meerkat have seen rapid growth. And why Blab, the new kid on the block, has skyrocketed in fame.
If you’re ready to make live streaming work for your business, keep reading.
In this article, I’ll share the most overlooked (but simple) ways to start using live streaming video to connect with your target audience.
The Most Overlooked (But Simple) Ways to Use Live Streaming Video
Live Streaming Video Options
Before we dive into the how, let’s take a look at the what.
What are your live streaming options and which one makes the most sense for your business?
1. Periscope and Meerkat
It’s hard to ignore the meteoric rise of live streaming “newcomers” Periscope and Meerkat. (new in comparison to UStream and other pioneers).
The two apps, while similar in many ways, have created distinct differences within functionality.
Both are two-sided, letting you have a real conversation with your viewers. The audience can ask questions and post comments which appear on your screen where you can easily respond.
Both apps link to your Twitter account, but Periscope has the upper hand here.
Periscope is owned by Twitter. Recent updates have made it easier than ever for Periscope users to tap into the reach afforded by Twitter.
When you broadcast live from Periscope, the link no longer simply tweets. Your scope will now autoplay (minus sound) in the Twitter feed.
If there’s one downside to Periscope, it’s the shelf life.
Periscope users only have 24 hours to access the broadcast. Fortunately, there’s an app to extend the availability. Connect your account to Katch.me and each of your broadcasts will be automatically saved.
Meerkat users can save the video to their phones, making it possible to upload, brand or repurpose across sites like YouTube, Vimeo or DailyMotion.
2. Facebook Live
Not familiar with Facebook Live Video? Wondering what the benefits are to you and your business?
The biggest advantage is that the Live Video option is built right into Facebook. No more searching for the right app,
Simply open the Facebook home page, click on the “status” button at the top, and choose the live video icon. Just like that you can start broadcasting your message and have it appear in the news feed. Here’s a few extra benefits:
- As the video is shooting, you see how many people are watching the video, as well as their names and comments.
- As soon as it’s over, the video is automatically saved to your timeline.
- From there you can share it, tweet it, embed it in blog posts, or delete it.
And here’s where it gets even better. Unlike Periscope or Meerkat, these videos won’t disappear.
While not really Live Streaming, you can create Live Stories with Snapchat.
Not familiar with Snapchat? The idea behind it is “deleted content.” Your “story” only lives online for 24 hours before it’s gone forever.
While the demographics don’t make this the perfect network for all businesses, for those diving in, there’s a lot of room to own your space.
If you’re eager to capture the 25 and under crowd, Snapchat could be right for you.
Just take a look at one of the brands using it with great success. Taco Bell produced massive hype during the 2016 Super Bowl, teasing a mystery item across the United States.
They eventually revealed the new “Quesalupa” to their hungry Snapchat fans.
Blab is another alternative that’s taken live streaming by storm. Although it offers live broadcasts just like Meerkat and Periscope, Blab works a little differently.
It is a public video chat among four people at the same time. Instead of users seeing one person or scene at a time, the audience gets to see and hear four.
This app is incredibly useful for doing interviews and getting the users actively engaged. After all, if one of the four Blab seats is open, a user can request to join in the live stream conversation, letting the host decide whether to allow that or not.
Users can join the conversation, air their questions or comments, and leave to be replaced by the next user. Or users can simply watch the live stream and not get actively engaged. After the chat is over, the host has the option of saving it so that others can view it later.
5. Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts have been around longer than any I’ve listed above. Yet, I still find usage among business owners is spotty and somewhat misunderstood.
In reality, Hangouts are very easy to use, especially since they’ve migrated outside of Google+.
The Best Ways to Use Live Streaming Video in Your Business
1. Create an Interview Series
With the emergence of social media, business success depends on product and service almost as much as the likability of the brand.
How conversational, interactive and open you are with your audience goes a long way towards building an engaged community.
And an engaged community according to Rosetta is worth its weight in gold.
“Engaged consumers buy 90% more frequently, spend 60% more per transaction and are five times more likely to indicate it is the only brand they would purchase in the future. All of these factors lead to engaged customers delivering three times the value to the brand over the course of a year.”
Creating an interview series can share a more personal side of your brand. It can also give special insight into who you are, your area of expertise and the products/services your business offers.
Blab and Google Hangouts are a perfect platform for this.
Whether you’re promoting Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick during the launch of their book, or highlighting a customer success story – make sure your videos are:
- Value Based
2. Give a Sneak Peek
Everybody loves going behind the scenes, getting insider information or a sneak peek into what’s up and coming.
Live streaming apps can give you the real time ability to share company news or jump on a trending story.
And if you’re ready to take it to a whole new level, integrate two live streams at the same time.
Brian Fanzo shared his Blab on Periscope as he discussed breaking news that Twitter would now integrate Periscope live into the feed.
- Give your viewers a quick tour of your facilities
- A view of your multiple locations
- A walkthrough of a specific process or insight into how your product is created
The goal is to build engagement and an appreciation of your business as you take it from “abstract” to “real” in mere minutes.
3. Live Stream Events in Real Time
Attending an event? Share it with your audience!
Give your viewers a glimpse of an event you’re attending. But don’t just stop there.
Talk with your audience about the event – why you’re there, what your participation is (are you speaking?), and how often they’ll hear from you while there.
Make your audience feel like they’re hanging out with you, live at the event.
Mari Smith puts this into practice daily. Wherever she is, we get to go along with her. And the beauty in it? You can do the same thing with Facebook Live from your personal account.
That is…as long as you’re an iPhone user. Sorry Android…for now.
Behind the scenes at University Club Atop Symphony Towers – social media event!
Posted by Mari Smith on Wednesday, March 16, 2016
4. Set up a Video Conference
Love what you do? Ready to share your expertise with the world?
Don’t wait for those speaking engagements to come to you, create your own video conference!
When Blab first hit the scene, many newcomers eager to test the limits of the platform put this idea into action.
And the great news? It doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming to put together.
Who to Invite to Your Conference
- Company leaders
- Influencers or experts in your field
- Product users or past clients
- Employees / Brand Advocates
- Leaders with a specialized niche
- And the list goes on and on!
A word of caution: this isn’t a moment to “wing it.” If you’re going to put a several hour, half day or full day event together – be prepared!
Outline the agenda, be clear in the timing, share discussion topics and make sure to leave room for audience participation.
5. Repurpose Content for Video Training
One of the best ways to leverage live streaming is to repurpose current content for training purposes.
This is something we do regularly at Post Planner and with great success.
What do I mean by this? Take that blog post (the one that continues to bring traffic to your website) and pull out 2-3 points.
Expand upon each one, sharing an in-depth look at one specific topic.
Your audience is eager to learn, take the time to teach them something new.
Not only will they position you as an expert within your field, but they also pull your audience in – allowing them to get actively involved.
As opposed to the standard webinar where you’re speaking at your viewers, live streaming lets them add their voice to the conversation.
- For Meerkat and Periscope, viewers can send comments and type their questions. For Blab they can enter your chat and ask you directly.
- Always ask questions, create a debate, be conversational and stay interactive!
- These training sessions don’t have to be scripted or rehearsed. In fact, the public will love it even more as they will see it as “real” and “genuine.”
6. Be Topical and Relevant
Have a breaking story within your industry?
How about a hot topic currently trending across social media?
Live streaming is a great way to share your thoughts around that trending topic.
Nothing builds engagement (and thought leadership) faster than proactively responding to a situation directly affecting your audience.
Madalyn Sklar hosts a weekly Blab and was quick to recognize the opportunity around SXSW. While this wasn’t the only focus of her Blab, she took the time to highlight the event and share insight around it.
YouTube was here long before Periscope, Meerkat or Facebook Live. Does that mean there isn’t room for both? Of course not!
Live Streaming adds an extra layer of inclusion to video. It takes moments and turns them into meaningful connecting points.
Take advantage of what live streaming affords your business.
Make your audience feel heard. Give them a voice within your brand.
Not only will it boost your engagement, and help your business presence grow, but you’ll also gain a loyal following that will keep tuning in over and over again.
Need more ideas? Grab a copy of this Infographic from Constant Contact.
Full disclosure: Links on this page may be affiliate links which means that if you decide to buy, I will earn a commission. 3 things you need to know: I only recommend products I use within my own business, am extremely happy with, and can confidently promote.