You know you need to build a digital-first business, but how caught up are you? If you’re still working on going digital, you want to create a solid foundation with tools that have been around and found their way into the mainstream before branching out into emerging technology.
A perfect place to start is live streaming. Video boosts engagement with both new and established audiences, helps branding, can extend your reach, and is a cost-effective tool. Streaming has enjoyed a steady rise in popularity over the past few years. In 2019, statistics from TechJury show that 87% of businesses are using it and 80% of consumers prefer watching a video to reading a blog. So if you aren’t using it yet, it’s time to start. Here are some ways to integrate streaming into your business’s digital landscape.
One way live streaming can boost your marketing is by giving your audience a direct look at the people behind the brand. Building an emotional connection this way is more powerful than simply providing information via written content or even pictures. And younger audiences vastly prefer video to text, so streaming is an effective way to reach this growing consumer base. Other benefits to live streaming for marketing include shareability and ease of incorporating video into a marketing strategy.
So how to get started? Choose a platform. For marketing purposes where engagement is important and the most cost-effective entry, you may want to go with the Live option on Facebook or Instagram (or if you’re B2B, LinkedIn). These platforms are best for short, casual streaming options, so they’re a good place to start but not the only streaming you should utilize. When you’re ready to expand, consider Vimeo, IBM Cloud Video, DaCast, or Brightcove. Each of these offers different benefits and drawbacks, so get clear on what your goals are for live streaming before you choose.
In terms of what to actually put in your videos, consider looks inside the company through conversations with different employees, product tours if you sell products, how-to videos on topics relevant to your brand, and product/service review videos.
With all the hype about using streaming to connect with audiences, its benefit to your company itself is sometimes overlooked. In these days of remote workforces, effective live streaming is a powerful tool for employee engagement. Many people use video conferencing, such as GoTo or Skype, but live stream tech offers better video quality and content management than these tools. Some good options are Livestream, UStream, and JWPlayer.
Another way to use streaming is in culture-building or educational activities at a central location. For instance, a great way to boost creativity and give employees a fun break from the daily grind is to watch a movie of some sort on a Friday afternoon. Documentaries, for instance, can be a way of learning from others’ mistakes and provide new inspiration for when your employees may be feeling stuck. According to a survey by MagellanTV, 44% of people who watched documentaries felt inspired to change something in their lives. And they can provide good coffee break or lunchtime conversation material, helping your employees build stronger relationships with each other.
Providing excellent customer service is an ongoing challenge, and it’s one that brands must strive to overcome if they want to build customer loyalty and reach. It may not be the first thing you think of when you think about streaming, but it can be a valuable tool. It provides a more personalized interaction than phone or video chat.
Some ways to use live streaming for customer service include offering new product or process walk-throughs during which they can ask questions and get answers in real-time, troubleshooting with customer service personnel, and doing live beta testing with your desired audience.
Why not expand the reach of your company’s events with live streaming? For people who can’t attend an event because of location or financial considerations, streaming tech gives them a way to connect with your company when they otherwise wouldn’t. Use a video platform to stream talks, panels, and presentations; another benefit is that you’ll have the recordings and can make them available later as part of a marketing campaign.
Providing streaming of events is a good way to attract new attendees in the future; a study by PCMA a few years ago found that 23% of virtual attendees convert to physical attendees within 24 months. Live streaming conferences also provide new revenue opportunities through partnerships with sponsoring organizations.
Marketing, internal culture, customer service, and events are just a few of the areas in which live streaming tech can be useful to your business. There is a myriad of other ways to add streaming to your digital toolkit, some broad and some industry-specific. With social media platforms now supporting streaming video, there’s quite a low bar to entry, so start experimenting and see where it takes you.
Morgen Henderson is a freelancer from the mountains of Utah. She writes about everything from business to technology to travel. When she’s not writing, she’s usually hiking a new trail or trotting across the globe. Twitter: @mo_hendi
Live streaming stock photo by thanasus/Shutterstock