According to Statista, Internet users spend more than 480 billion hours annually watching live streaming content with leading platforms in this sphere enjoying a reach of 29.5% on a global scale.
For marketers, this represents a trend that cannot be ignored.
However, many practitioners still consider live streaming an expensive strategy available only to top-tier media coverage companies or a prerogative of eSports and gaming enthusiasts.
As opposed to Instagram Reels and Shorts, this approach requires greater preparation and planning, which also raises some questions regarding the types of content compatible with it.
In this article, we will attempt to reduce the ambiguity involved and will analyze 4 strategies for using live streaming websites to build your brand.
1. Podcast Streams and Interviews
One of the best ways to personalize your brand experiences is to give your brand a face and a name.
We know Apple as the company led by Steve Jobs before 2011 and Tim Cook after 2011.
Similarly, most powerful brands have their spokespersons and leaders who are associated with them like a popular band that is frequently recognized by their frontperson.
Live streams require good ‘stage presence’ and solid improvisation skills, which is why you may choose to recruit an external professional for this role.
Alternatively, you can organize several podcasts with your brand members to identify which staff members are positively received by the general public.
In terms of topics, a weekly stream covering some brand-related news or presenting a live interview with industry influencers may be recognized as the most popular format.
It gives your brand a ‘human face’, allows the spokesperson to discuss the topics they consider interesting, and provides sufficient flexibility in the choice of topics and guests.
Using multiple hosts may be the best option for presenting your company from multiple sides and/or showing different perspectives forming your unique business (e.g. manufacturing specialists, marketing experts, customer service professionals, etc.).
2. Q&A Streams
Another strategic option that is perfect for a live stream format is Q&A sessions.
Most existing and prospective customers have general questions about the brand, its value, the people contributing to its success, and the whole process of product creation in general.
Q&A sessions allow them to post these queries in real-time chats and get immediate answers from show hosts.
This format can be further improved using the following ideas:
- Organize a vote on social media in advance to select 5-7 most popular questions that will be answered by hosts at the beginning of the stream.
- Keep several chat moderators ready to remove spam, offending messages, and any irrelevant posts from the chat.
- If you have two or more hosts, allocate one person to reading the chat in order to select the most interesting incoming questions.
- If your stream is attended by large audiences, apologize to them for not being able to answer all messages if you cannot reasonably process this amount of information.
3. Edutainment Streams
Your vast knowledge of the selected area of your brand presence can make you a valuable expert for thousands of followers.
If you are a manufacturer of cutting-edge electronics products, who could provide better advice on optimizing their performance or service life?
Similarly, a producer of beauty products may be as valuable as popular fashion bloggers in their recommendations on selecting and applying skincare solutions.
This format is largely similar to webinars but involves a greater element of spontaneity and entertainment, which is why marketers frequently refer to it as edutainment.
Here are some ideas on how you can incorporate it into your live streaming schedule:
- Ask your hosts to play the roles of an expert and a learner to demonstrate some life hacks or techniques.
- Provide practical and valuable information in a condensed form without any marketing messages.
- Use guest influencers to ‘spice up’ the format and share their expertise with your viewers.
- Allocate edutainment videos to specific days of the week to identify the audiences drawn to them.
In the case of success, you can always create a schedule of future edutainment streams, announce your guests and stream topics, and create a series of videos covering the same subjects interesting to your audiences as a mini-course.
4. Product Presentation Streams
As opposed to official and thoroughly edited promotional videos, unpacking and ‘first reaction’ videos are gaining popularity due to their sincere and straightforward format.
You can use this trend to present your new products and services to your audiences via live streams.
Here are some ideas you can use to build excitement and achieve unparalleled positive response:
- Create excitement by showing real emotions.
- Engage new team members or loyal customers in the unpacking and testing of the new product.
- Present it from the perspective of a first-time user to demonstrate real-life experiences of its utilization.
- Use live streams to disclose new products and services in an unexpected manner to create further excitement.
The main thing to keep in mind in this sphere is the fact that your promotional live streams must differ from your edited promotional or educational videos in order to create value.
Focus on the emotions and use unconventional scripts such as asking a person who has never tried your offerings to unpack and experience them for the first time.
Choosing the Optimal Platform
As of 2022, there exist multiple streaming platforms allowing you to achieve sufficient bandwidth and successfully deliver your videos to thousands of viewers simultaneously.
However, every solution comes with its pros and cons such as the website focusing on particular audiences.
Let us consider some popular choices in this sphere.
While this platform is generally associated with gaming streams, it can be successfully used for brand marketing purposes.
Its main pros are superior embedded functions allowing you to communicate with your followers in real-time, collect their questions, run real-time polls, and use other engagement instruments.
Unfortunately, this platform’s audiences may not contain the customer groups targeted by some brands, which could lead to lower conversion rates.
2). YouTube Live
YouTube may be recognized as the universal one-size-fits-all platform for brand marketing.
In addition to rich embedded functionality, it allows you to use Google proprietary instruments for analyzing incoming traffic, key follower characteristics, and other key metrics.
This potentially makes it the best choice for starting your live-streaming promotional efforts.
3). Instagram Live
If your brand uses Instagram as its key promotional platform, using Instagram Live may be a good option for increasing your conversion rates and engagement figures.
In addition to substantial audiences available via this social media, marketers can also enjoy the embedded Instagram Shopping functions ensuring that motivated users can become buyers within minutes after seeing some interesting items onscreen.
4). Facebook Live
For brands interested in Q&A sessions, expert interviews, and longer streams focused on older audiences, Facebook Live represents a good way of reaching prospective viewers as well as engaging existing followers on this platform.
It works well with traditional long-read materials and creates a cumulative effect for reaching the users of this social media.
Key Challenges and Recommendations
The four strategies identified earlier can be associated with a number of potential problems hindering their implementation and marketing performance.
1). Podcast streams and interviews rely on interesting insights and the quality of their delivery.
Unfortunately, many companies do not have charismatic hosts among their staff members or quickly run out of topics.
If you encounter these problems, it may be reasonable to recruit external specialists in both spheres to help you improve the quality of your live streams and develop a comprehensive schedule of future publications.
Alternatively, you can organize several brainstorming sessions with the key executives of your brand to create a list of potentially interesting topics each of them can cover.
This will substantially decrease the difficulty of preparing future podcast scripts for your brand marketing specialists.
2). In the case of Q&A streams, improvisation skills and flexibility are crucial for answering potentially problematic questions and building up the trust of your audiences.
It may be a good idea to invite your top-level specialists to such events and announce their participation in advance.
This will ensure that followers can ask ‘proper questions to proper persons’ and receive quality answers to them.
Limiting the list of queries to user-selected ones through polls on social media may also be a good idea to deliver a well-rehearsed performance that looks like a spontaneous one.
Keep in mind that non-professional speakers always experience problems with improvising in front of a live camera. Hence, any amount of advance preparation may improve the quality of your delivery manifold.
3). Edutainment streams may be a tricky instrument to use for engaging your audiences.
Try to watch 15-20 popular TikTok ‘how to’ videos to understand what modern audiences expect from such materials.
While you may not need to compress your live streams in 30 seconds or less, they must be entertaining and should create a seamless watching experience.
Rehearsing such events in advance and writing scripts for future live videos may be a good way for non-professional hosts to achieve this result and keep your audiences interested.
4). Product presentation streams need to focus on both emotions and technical aspects of the products and services demonstrated in them.
This may be a challenging task for novice brand marketers who compare themselves with famous speakers such as Steve Jobs.
The truth is, Steve Jobs spent dozens of hours writing presentation scripts and rehearsing their performance on a real theatre stage.
This tiresome preparation process was the key to the smooth delivery of their speeches in real-life settings.
Have a plan, prepare notecards or teleprompting tools, and rehearse your delivery in order to create a seamless delivery that looks like natural improvisation.
About the Author – Catherine Smith is an Online Marketing Manager at PhD Centre, specializing in PhD thesis writing. She is passionate about researching and writing on various topics, including Education, Marketing, and Technology.