Social media apps dedicated to live streaming like Periscope and Meerkat, as well as the introduction of live streaming on Facebook are providing yet another avenue for brands to engage with their audience online like never before. Meerkat has more than 2 million registered users, while Periscope has 2 million active daily users who watch more than 40 years of video each day.
Major global brands, political parties and small business have been quick to include live streaming as part of their digital marketing strategies. Whether it’s a structured press release type stream to promote a new product, broadcast a major event; or a raw stream from your local cafe’s barista pumping through the mornings coffee orders – live streaming is providing a powerful new way for businesses across all industries to engage and interact with their audience in real time.
With all the benefits of live streaming come some big challenges. Many businesses have a process in place which provides room to pre-write, review, polish and triage a social media post before going public. Live streaming is real-time and it’s raw. There is no room to edit and refine your content. Once it’s out there, it’s out there! It’s really important to choose the right person in your business to think on the spot and represent your brand well.
Risks aside, the positives and massive growth projected for live streaming can’t be ignored by business. Here are some ways we might see it being used more in 2016:
- Broadcasting Events
Holding an event can be a great way to promote your companies product/service. The problem is getting people to give up their time to attend. Streaming your event is a great way to reach a wider audience.
- Gaining customer feedback
Facebook, Meerkat and Periscope all offer a live comment stream. This allows you to gain instant feedback from your audience as you are speaking to them. Periscope also allows your audience to send hearts when they ♥ what you’re saying.
- Improving transparency and customer trust
Nobody likes speaking to a robot, which is why a lot of brands with good social media strategies are responding to their customers in a less scripted way over social media now. Training social media reps to use less formal language and humour is helping break down barriers. Having a company representative run a live-stream instantly instills trust, simply because you’re willing to put yourself out there and engage with your audience in a live setting.
- Sharing news
The real-time nature of live streaming makes it a great platform for sharing company news and updates on your products/services. Periscope and Meerkat keep your video available for 24hrs after the stream so people can continue to watch it.
- Providing customer support
Customer support offered online, particularly IT support, has a pretty bad image. Putting a friendly face out there to solve your customers problems on the fly is a great way to build trust and change this perception.
- Responding to PR issues
Received a nasty social media comment or some bad press? Quash it instantly by broadcasting your response live and taking any questions or concerns your audience may have. People will appreciate you being up front and available to talk through their concerns rather than hiding behind a piece of paper.
Teaching people to better understand your product/service is best done in a live setting so you can respond to questions on the fly and clarify any confusion your audience may have in following your instructions.
It’s still early days as companies experiment with ways of using live streaming to their advantage, it’s an exciting space. If you need help in learning more about the various live streaming platforms available and how it can be best incorporated into your digital strategy, give us a hola! We’d be happy to help.