Too Intimidated to Use Live Video? Don’t Be

How businesses that haven’t traditionally used live video can leverage the technology to increase both sales and awareness

By David Stubenvoll, CEO, Wowza Streaming Media

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a live video worth?

That’s the question brands around the globe are grappling with as live video continues to explode in popularity across numerous platforms. From social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to other video streaming options such as Nest, HQ Trivia, Vimeo and more, there are countless options for businesses and other streamers to turn to when going live.

Today, almost everyone carries a device in their pocket that can shoot video and instantly stream that video to millions of people across the internet. But different platforms work better for different live streamers because everyone has different goals and needs when it comes to streaming. Numerous brands, from Target and Kohl’s to Buzzfeed and Dunkin’, have leveraged the benefits of live streaming to deliver fresh content to their social media followers — and even if you’ve never used live streaming before, you can experience the technology’s numerous advantages.

No matter the industry your organization operates in, live video can boost your brand. Statistics prove that live video is better at captivating brand audiences: 80% would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog and 82% prefer live video over other social posts. Even if you’ve never used live video before, there’s something about the immediacy of it that audiences just can’t seem to get enough of, and brands are learning that there’s certainly value to gain from going live. Namely, organizations implementing live streaming benefit from boosted sales and increased brand awareness.

So, Your Business Has Yet to Try Live Video

If your business hasn’t traditionally used live video, this highly engaging format can help increase brand awareness and drive more sales. Whether your company offers products or services, driving awareness, engagement and sales remains priority for business owners, and live video streaming is one of the best ways to solve that challenge.

Here are some tips for traditionally video-averse organizations to take the plunge and go live:

  • Plan Ahead — Planning can remove some of the uncertainty from a live stream, and when every aspect of the stream is planned out, you’ll be more confident that you’re conveying the most positive image of your brand.
    • Create Community — By enabling real-time engagement and allowing viewers to comment, audiences can interact with each other, improving the user experience while forging a community.
    • Educate Your Audience — Even if your business or the industry you operate in doesn’t seem visually appealing, people love how-to or instructional videos. Software company with a new feature you need to explain? Try a tutorial. Trash hauler who wants to attract more customers? Consider a behind-the-scenes look at how you do things. You aren’t just selling your product or service — you’re educating customers and adding extra value to your organization.

In spite of how intimidating live streaming can be, the benefits offered are too good to pass up. Live streaming not only opens the door for enhanced interactivity and engagement, it can also quickly move viewers down the sales funnel into buyer consideration.

Live Video to Boost Sales

Whether your marketing goals are increased website traffic, enhanced engagement with online audiences, more email list signups or to promote a new product or service, the ultimate goal of tactics like live streaming is usually bolstering the bottom line. Your brand can use live video to promote a product, better communicate your identity, hype up an event and so much more. Live streaming is also increasingly used in novel applications like games and contests as well as online sales and live auctions.

Once social media removed the barrier between brands and their audiences, consumers and the outside world at large became better able to engage with their favorite brands, connecting with them on a deeper level than ever before. And live video opens the door for us to make this connection in real time. Unless it’s Super Bowl Sunday, no one wants to watch a commercial or a video that’s nothing but a sales pitch — they want to get to know your brand on a more personal level.

Due to the unpolished, less scripted nature, live video streaming offers a unique opportunity to showcase your brand in an authentic manner. Live streams aren’t perfect, and that’s the point. Experts believe audiences are most engaged when they see the real people behind the brand or business, and imperfections can actually make your live stream more compelling. After all, as the old saying goes: customers don’t buy from companies, they buy from people.

Additionally, going live allows you to answer questions in real time, shout out audience members and add an element of surprise to the stream, ultimately encouraging viewer engagement. Not only does this strategy increase the likelihood that user remains tuned in throughout the duration of the stream, it also increases customer retention while simultaneously making viewers more likely to endorse your brand down the road. What’s the point of tuning into a live stream if the broadcaster isn’t interacting with the audience? Viewers might as well turn to video on demand (VOD) for that kind of content. By forging a legitimate connection between a brand and audience, live video means brands are much more likely to encourage a boost in sales.

Live Video to Increase Brand Awareness

Much like using live streaming to bolster sales, brands are also leveraging the benefits of live video to increase their brand awareness. In fact, leveraging video allows marketers to witness a 54% increase in brand awareness. Not only does live-streaming pull in existing fans, the viral shareability of live video allows organizations across industries to reach an increasing amount of viewers much faster.

A much more accessible alternative to the 10,000-word blog posts of days past, video is more easily consumed than blog posts, and audiences are watching more live content than VOD. From live Q&A sessions and how-to videos to exclusive announcements, events and interviews, recent research illustrates that the average time a viewers spends watching live video on mobile is 125% more for than that for VOD and a resounding 1300% more on desktop.

To get the most out of a live stream, promote it ahead of time across the other social media channels you aren’t going live on. Create a compelling title and description that will draw people in. Include industry-specific hashtags, tag industry leaders and relevant influencers in your live video’s comments section. And when the stream is finished, share it and then reshare it later — the content shouldn’t just disappear once a stream ends. The recurring nature of video content is one of its major marketing benefits — videos can be shared and reshared forever. Employing any or all of these tactics greatly increases the chance that new followers find your live stream.

David Stubenvoll

Live video is becoming increasingly easy to stream and watch, accessible to more people every day. But beyond that, live video’s potential for an improved customer connection and the more immediate opportunity to expand an organization’s reach delivers an extraordinary advantage. While there are numerous reasons for a company to go live, there are even more benefits to going live. As soon as next year, 82% of all internet traffic will be video, and the majority of that content will be live. Even if you don’t know where to start, don’t think you have the right equipment, are intimidated by being in front of the camera or are afraid of doing something wrong, live video still offers brands a unique opportunity to increase both sales and awareness.

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