We live in a world where advertising is all about being “top of mind” for your customer. But at the same time, people are sick of TV ads, over print, and annoyed by web ads.
So just how can you build awareness of your business?
Experts recommend one strategy above the others: connecting with your customers. When setting out to do that, one word comes to mind.
The quality of bringing one into direct and instant involvement with something, giving rise to a sense of urgency or excitement.
That’s the sort of thing you want as a business. Getting people excited and involved is practically the holy grail of marketing. An engaged audience is the ultimate precursor to success.
Entertain, share, educate, explain: this is how you get people excited. This is how you get to be “top of mind.”
Live video streaming can help deliver on this promise.
How live streaming can help your business and build brand awareness
We’ll get to brands who have found success using live streaming in a moment. First, let’s explain why it’s working.
Content that is broadcast live can be very attractive to viewers. The sense of immediacy makes people more likely to join in. More people watching at the same time leads to a better social conversation, and more buzz attracts more people to your brand. It’s a positive feedback loop – the more people who watch, the more people join. You can use this to boost traffic, grow your audience, and strengthen your brand.
Of course, to truly reap the benefits of this approach you have to do things in a smart way. You can’t just live stream anything and expect success. Your content has to be good. Even more crucially, your attitude has to be right.
Here are four approaches to live video that may help you build brand awareness.
1. Be true to your brand identity
Live video has the unique ability to convey honesty and emotion. That means it can convey your “brand voice” easily.
Your brand voice personifies your business with human traits. These could be humor, seriousness, passion, directness, or silliness. It’s all up to you. Video allows you to share these traits with others. It’s a lot easier to do so than with writing.
However, mistakes and deviations from your brand identity are also easier to identify. Anyone who is on camera should be fluent in your unique voice. Have a plan for the attitude you want to communicate.
2. Build real face-to-face connection
One of the cool things about live video is the chance to “go behind the scenes.” Streaming allows people to meet the individuals behind their favorite companies. It can be an intimate glimpse into the way your business operates.
Not everything needs to be private. Giving customers a glimpse into your operations is a way to build trust. Consider whether you could build connection by streaming video of your:
- Supply chain
- Design process
- Holiday parties or gatherings
- Break time
- Introducing your team
We’ll say it again: live video is excellent for conveying emotion. Real faces and unscripted (or loosely scripted) conversations can build a connection that feels more real.
3. Show, don’t tell
We’re visual creatures. One study found that human beings process visual data 60,000 times faster than text. Live video allows you to “show, not tell.”
For many topics, this is by far the best way to communicate. Visual content is perfect for product demos, music, technical training, etc. It’s faster and more complete than any other alternative communication method.
4. Don’t sell
Here’s the thing: live video isn’t great for direct sales. Sure, it can be used this way, but it really shines in a supporting role. Instead of selling your product, live video allows you to build a relationship. It’s often a long-term investment in your brand, and many businesses are finding it pays off.
Video is a dominant form of content
Video content already makes up a huge part of the internet. That rise isn’t over. Video’s dominance continues to increase.
Cisco has projected that video will make up 76% of all internet traffic by 2020. They’re not alone. Marketing expert Neil Patel calls video “an exponentially growing content type.”
It’s understandable why this is the case. Just look at some of the numbers.
- Video posts have 135% more reach than photo posts
- On mobile, video posts get 114% more views than those without
- 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with their friends
- Marketers who use video receive 41% more web traffic
Pretty amazing, right? With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that more and more people are adopting this tool.
What platforms do businesses use for live video?
You’re probably aware of the surge in popularity of personal live video applications. Apps are free, easy to use, and can reach an already established social media audience. Nonetheless, most pro users prefer dedicated live streaming video hosts. Here’s why organizations and businesses prefer these platforms:
1. Advanced features
Video hosting platforms have advanced features that businesses need. These include:
- Monetization (via pay-per-view and subscriptions)
- Analytics (which are inadequate on social platforms)
- High resolutions (HD and beyond)
- Advanced APIs
- Audio-only streaming
2. White label service
Dedicated hosts have another major advantage: they’re not branded. That means your videos can include your logo, or no logo at all.
No more pesky social media logo in the corner with streaming platforms. You’re not locked in to providing free advertising to massive corporations. Instead, you can promote your own brand. You’ll be front and center with no distractions.
3. Full control of content
With a host, the content is yours. You can choose to embed on your own site, or share on social as part of an omni-channel marketing strategy. You can even disable embedding completely.
You can also enable other features, like comments and polls for viewers. You can set up multiple simultaneous feeds so viewers can switch between different camera angles. The possibilities are endless.
4. Security and Privacy
Live streaming security is also a concern for some users.
Authentication and privacy settings allow you to manage these issues. You’ll also have full control with DRM and rights management options. Copyright can be maintained with various anti-piracy measures, while geographic restrictions can help you comply with licensing agreements.
These options allow you to stream completely privately. That’s a big advantage for business users.
It used to be the case that live streaming with incredibly difficult. You practically needed degrees in video production and computer networking just to get started.
Luckily, things have changed. Platforms have extended the “streaming as a service” model. Now, it’s quite easy to just plug and play. There’s no need for a technical staff. As long as you’re comfortable with some basic technical issues, you can do it all yourself.
For a little background on a few issues that you should understand, check out these primers. After reading a few simple articles and spending some time setting up a few test streams, you’ll be ready to get started.
- How to start live streaming
- Bandwidth requirements for live video
- Hardware vs. software encoders for streaming
What are some use-cases for streaming video?
Live streaming video is commonly used for:
- OTT Television and entertainment
- Breaking news, talk shows, and media
- Product releases, tutorials, and demonstrations
- Internal training and communications
- B2B communications
- Marketing (e.g., via an online video marketing platform)
- Education, workshops, and classes
- Government and open-meeting compliance
- Sports and competitions
- Conferences and public talks
- Interviews and group discussions
- Political events
- Community and religious events
These are just some of the more popular uses of live video. There are hundreds more! You can let your creativity run wild here. We’ve seen some fun and innovative stuff.
5 businesses that succeeded with live video
There are thousands of businesses using live streaming today. Here are 5 case studies of live video being used well.
Apple live streams product announcements
iPhone and computer giant Apple is currently the ninth largest company in the world. Their 2015 revenues topped $233 billion. Key to their success has been the cult-like following their products have inspired. For decades, the company has worked to generate excitement around their creations.
One of their primary methods is the live product release. These events are usually held twice a year in San Francisco. For years now, they’ve also been live streamed globally. The June 2014 event (one of the few for which numbers are available) attracted 20 million viewers! One analyst called this the power of “digital convening.” For more info on how Apple structures their live events, I recommend this in-depth piece from Quartz.
Microsoft announces new XBOX products at E3 via streaming video
Apple isn’t the only tech giant to get in on the live streaming action. Microsoft has stepped into the game as well. They use live streaming for product announcements, software releases, internal training, and more.
Here’s one example. Recently, Microsoft streamed their XBOX One S release event at the 2016 E3 conference. The feed generated more than 6.5 million views and thousands of comments. Those who couldn’t attend the physical event were able to be there digitally. Everyone gets to be part of the tribe.
The ultimate result? Consumer excitement. The XBOX One S was completely sold out within two weeks of launch.
Sierra Designs uses live video to boost revenue by 200% – 300%
Outdoor products company Sierra Designs has been using live video for a number of years. Their use focuses on live product demos.
For complicated products incorporating technical designs and niche features, the advantage is clear. Specialists can instantly inform potential buyers about product design and help them make an informed purchase.
According to Cory Barnes, their director of digital marketing, it’s working. “We have consistently seen revenue gains of 200% – 300% on the day of the event and the following day,” he says. “The event participants are psyched to see the new gear and enjoy having their questions answered directly by the brand team.”
VideoHub uses white label streaming to grow its audiovisual business
In New Zealand, the small audiovisual company VideoHub is achieving great success. They provide recording, DVD creation, and other video services to customers holding live events. Now, they’ve added live streaming to their repertoire.
They use a dedicated live streaming video host that allows them to purchase bandwidth in bulk. Then, they can turn around and sell live streaming services to customers at better prices. They can also bundle together extra services. It’s a one-stop-shop for audiovisual needs. With discounted prices and happy customers, they can maintain a healthy profit margin.
Al Jazeera reaches a global audience by streaming TV news
Streaming presents a number of challenges for news media, specifically in regards to advertising and licensing. This has kept many news agencies off the internet for years. Al Jazeera was able to overcome these difficulties much earlier than most.
They were one of the first news agencies to go all-in on video streaming. The Qater-based company now reaches more than 270 million households globally—a large number of them via free online streaming. All of their content goes online.
They have also been a major innovator in social video. Their AJ+ page on Facebook generated five billion video views in two years, and has more than six million likes.
Learning from these examples: how to reach and engage your audience
So, what can we learn from the examples shared above?
From Apple, we can learn the importance of suspense, timing, and buildup. From Microsoft, we can learn the excitement that comes with entertainment and fun. From Sierra Designs, we can learn the value in having product leaders share technical information directly. From VideoHub, we can learn about the flexibility made possible with one-time live streaming. Finally, from Al Jazeera, we can learn the value of being an early adopter.
Still, the question remains for your business: Can you leverage live streaming to build your brand and strengthen your business? For many businesses, we think the answer is yes. You just need to sit down and work out a plan.
Figuring out how live video can work for you is a personal question. It involves strategy, marketing, and business knowledge that’s impossible to generalize. However, learning from the examples of others is a great way to spark your creativity. That’s why we love to share case studies like the ones we’ve listed here.
Streaming video is just fun, not to mention a powerful tool in the hands of businesses. In the past, almost no one had the power to broadcast. Now, we can all do it. It’s an exciting time!
Hopefully, this essay has inspired you to learn more about live streaming and consider how it can help your situation. Are you considering using live streaming for your business? Have you already tried it? We’d love to hear from you in the comments. Let us know what you think! We look forward to the conversation.