First, it was the era of television, then of online video, and now the era of live streaming is here and it's taking over social media.
From Facebook Live to Instagram Live to YouTube Live, viewers are scrambling to get in on the live-action and see what's going on right now. In fact, 59% of people prefer watching videos live as opposed to on TV. But what drives people to watch Live Videos? What types of live videos are the most successful?
And most importantly: how can you tap into the power of live streaming to grow your brand and authority? These are the questions I was asking myself when I came across a great Infographic from Koeppel Direct. So, let's take a look!
Why go live?
Just look at the stats:
- 64% Have watched a live online video in the past year
- 80% Would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a blog
- 82% Prefer a live video from a brand instead to social posts
- 87% prefer watching online as opposed to traditional TV
Do you see a trend? TV and some types of media are being replaced or overtaken by live video, and it’s easy to see why. No TV program, or pre-created content can offer the same sense of immediacy as does live video. Users can watch and take part in something that’s happening right now!
Live video creates a sense of urgency and suspense. People know that the experience will not be the same if they watch the live-stream video after it has aired. Only by tuning into the video immediately will they ensure they don’t miss anything.
Moreover, anything can happen Live. If you’re there, you’ll see it. If you’re not - you may never even hear about it. And that’s something viewers don’t want to miss out on.
Live video also elicits a sense of fascination in viewers. They know that this is their chance to get a behind-the-scenes, intimate look at what’s really going on, and to get the unscripted story.
Last, but not least, live streaming creates an instant connection and provides immediate gratification for the viewer, and feedback for the brand shooting the video. Going live provides your audience with the ability to interact with your content, with you, with other viewers, and do so immediately.
Most live streams have a running commentary you and your viewers can use to chat. This is a huge benefit as it makes the viewer feel much closer to the brand. It’s also a great chance for the brand to get instant feedback from the audience and gauge the level of interest some topics, products, or services may generate.
What type of live stream to create
Live streams are popular but that doesn’t mean that anything you live-stream will be a massive success. Like with anything else, there are certain trends that show what people like and what they don’t when it comes to live video.
Here's a stat to think about: 67% say that quality is most important for a live stream. Of course, nobody expects a live video to be perfect. After all, going live limits your options and takes away your ability to edit the video and add effects.
But as evidence shows, you still need to put in the effort to bring quality. That means having a good camera, good lighting, and good content. Don’t go live every minute of your boring day. Instead, choose the most interesting moments or information that you’re sure will interest, or bring value to, your audience.
If you can’t shoot a quality video and offer quality insight, don’t go live at all. Now onto the type of live videos that are most popular at the moment:
- Funny and entertaining videos (53%)
- Breaking news stories (41%)
- Music concerts and events (38%)
- Videos by friends and family (30%)
- Sports events (29%)
Think about how you can tap into those trends and leverage these kinds of live streams to help grow your brand.
The top live streaming networks
You don’t have to be active on every single platform that offers live streaming. Instead, focus on one or two networks where your audience is most engaged. Here are the three top live-streaming networks to keep in mind:
This is a biggy. If you choose only one platform to go live on, this is definitely one to consider. Just think about this:
- There are 360 Million Facebook Live users
- Facebook Live videos are watched 3x longer than regular videos
- Users comment 10x more often on live video than regular videos
Moreover, Facebook Live has a lot of cool options many other networks don’t have. While you’re Facebook Live streaming, you get the option to invite friends, stream the video in your Groups and Events, and see the live reactions from your viewers. And once the video ends, you can replay the comments and re-watch the live videos.
Being an entirely visual platform, it’s no wonder Instagram has become a strong and popular network for live video. With live streaming now built into the Instagram stories, it’s not surprising that 200 million people use Instagram stories every day.
Those huge numbers are not the only benefit. Instagram Live also lets broadcasters pin comments for all viewers to see, and have access to the real-time likes and comments. The viewers, on the other hand, get the option to discover new Live Stories through the “Top Live” section.
YouTube Live is a more exclusive option, not available to everyone. In fact, you can only live stream if your channel is verified, and you can only mobile live stream if it has over 1000 subscribers.
But if you meet that criteria, you get access to YouTube’s 1 billion users! You’re bound to find your target viewers in that huge audience.
A huge user base is not the only thing YouTube Live can boast about. There’s also the Super Chats, which users can buy to highlight and pin their messages during a live stream. As for the broadcaster, you get the option to see (and respond to) the real-time comments in the chat.
How to make your live stream a success
There are millions of people and brands going live. So, if you want to get noticed and have hundreds or even thousands of viewers tune in for your live stream, you need to make your videos worth their while. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind:
Don’t jump all over the place trying to cover every possible niche, hoping to capture each specific audience. That will not get you anywhere. Instead, choose a topic that’s relevant to your brand and interesting to your audience, and make it your focus.
Become an authority on that topic and keep your viewers coming back over and over for more valuable insight.
Make sure you’re also consistent in your posting. Stream your content regularly, so your followers know when to tune in and are encouraged to do so.
Engage with your viewers in real time
One of the best things about live video is that it brings the broadcaster and the viewer closer together and makes interaction easy. So, don’t miss out on the ability to engage and interact with your followers in real-time.
Include interactive live chats and elements to get people talking. You can also ask them questions and encourage viewers to leave you comments and questions of their own.
Use this as a chance to get their feedback and build a deeper relationship. Such communication will also help you create a sense of community and shared interest.
Ensure good connection and video quality
Like I mentioned before, 67% of viewers say that quality is most important for a live stream. So, give them quality! Make sure your connection is strong and secure and your sound and video quality are up to par.
Very few viewers will stick around till the end if your connection keeps breaking up or if they can’t see or hear you well. The bad video quality may even hurt your brand. In fact, evidence shows that 62% of consumers are more likely to view a brand negatively if they publish a low-quality video.
Ideas for live streams
Don’t know what to live stream? Here are a few ideas:
Go behind the scenes
Everybody loves to get a secret look behind the scenes and see what really goes on on the inside. So, give your viewers that option. Take them behind the scenes and show your office, how you work, your team, or anything else they might want to see but don’t usually have access to.
Give them an exclusive look at something no one outside of your company has seen. Not only will this make your viewers feel special and privileged, but it will also help you establish a stronger connection.
Host live interviews and Q&A sessions
Don’t miss an opportunity to interact with your audience, build a stronger connection, and show them that you’re real and that you care. Go live to host an interview or do a Q&A session.
You can interview an employee, a brand influencer, a customer or anyone your audience would be interested in listening to. For a Q&A session, I suggest you prepare beforehand. Tell your followers that you’ll be going live to answer their questions and have them send you questions beforehand. That way, you can prepare beforehand and structure your live feed accordingly.
But don’t take the “Live” element out of it completely. Use the pre-asked questions as a starting point, but also encourage viewers to get engaged and ask questions Live as you’re streaming.
Show how your product is made
This is a fantastic way to build a better relationship with your audience, while at the same time promoting your product (or service). Take the viewer behind the scenes and show the time, energy, and care that goes into creating your product. Show how it works and help users see the benefit of using it. The user will be much more compelled to buy once they know this inside info about the product.
Do a product launch
If you’re about to launch a product or service, a live stream is the perfect way to build up buzz and get people excited about it. Go live to tell your audience what’s coming, why it matters, and what the big deal is. Excitement is contagious, so leverage it! Especially because 4x as many consumers would rather watch a product video than read about it.
Monetize your live stream
Live video is a fantastic way to build a community, grow authority, and raise awareness around your brand. Many brands don’t realize that it’s also a fantastic way to earn money.
However, I suggest you only start monetizing your videos after you’ve built a strong and loyal following - one that'll be willing to pay for your content. So, once you’ve got the support of your loyal audience, here are a few strategies you can use:
Create a video series around a topic, including a free trial video and premium paid videos. The free trial will give people a taste of what you can offer, and hopefully convince them to pay to view the rest of the content.
If you’re running a charity or simply looking for monetary support, consider using the “Donations” button. People don’t part with money easily, so make sure you’re convincing in your explanation about why you need this money and what it will go to.
Google double-click for publishers
Tap into the power of DFP and run ads during your live event. Sure, nobody will be too thrilled to see them, but if your live video content is interesting and engaging enough, your viewers will wait through the ad.
This is not a monetization technique that will bring you money right away, but it’s one you can start using from the get-go, even if you haven’t yet built up a strong loyal following. Add a lead capture form to your live stream, and use it to collect your viewer’s contact details. Once they opt in, you can get them on your email list and into your sales funnel.
Once the video is concluded, you can save it and use it on your landing page too. Having a live video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%. It’s definitely worth a try!
Live streaming is here and it’s not about to go away. So, go Live and use it as an opportunity to connect with your audience face-to-face, instead of hiding behind a corporate veil.
Let your followers become a part of the brand story and take your relationship to a whole new level.
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.