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Want to Grow Your Business? It's Time to Go Live

Tips for making live streaming work for you


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Today, almost anyone can take their phone from their pocket, point the camera to shoot video and instantly stream that content to millions of people across the internet. As a result, live video is exploding in popularity across numerous platforms with over two-thirds of all consumer internet traffic today being live streaming video — a number that is predicted to increase to 82% by 2020.

Forward-thinking brands — everyone from Experian and Target to General Motors and Dunkin’ — are beginning to take advantage of the benefits offered by live streaming to deliver fresh content to their customers as well as a broader audience of potential customers. No matter the industry your organization operates in, the statistics illustrate that live video can boost your brand significantly — live video notifications drive 3.3 times more traffic than standard notification types (such as video, photo or status updates).

Live video is better at captivating brand audiences: 80% of consumers would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog and 82% prefer live video over other types of social posts. Unfortunately, many organizations lack practical know-how to create effective live-streaming campaigns to reach — and engage with — online audiences, and ultimately boost business.

Tips for Success When Going Live

Advances in technology have improved the speed and reliability of going live and you don’t need a fancy video camera to shoot quality video anymore. Even if you think you don’t have the right equipment or you’re afraid of being in front of the camera, the benefits of video marketing are difficult to understate.

Plan ahead and educate your audience.

Planning removes some of the uncertainty from a live stream and instills a sense of confidence. When every aspect of a stream is considered, conveying the most positive image of your brand is much easier. Even if you don’t think your organization’s offerings would be appealing in video format, a behind-the-scenes look, how-to or instructional video always seems to pique people’s interest. Teach them about who you are and what you do.

Choose a partner that can support your needs.

Today, countless options exist for a video partner. But entirely too often, businesses hastily select their partner based on cost, rather than basing it on their ability to meet needs.

Consumers expect a two-way connection to their favorite brands driven by syncing live video with chat and other interactive elements — all in real time. Consider streaming services that deliver ultra-low latency.

Keep it real.

Be sure you’re being your most authentic self when you’re live. By nature, live video is unpolished and less scripted than traditional video marketing, and the tactic showcases an authentic side of your brand. If your stream looks like an advertisement, audiences will disregard it. Thus, live streams must look and feel real. Our advice: provide real, actionable tips, be transparent in sharing your values and keep overtly promotional adjectives to a minimum during your live stream.

Whether you’re a software firm with a newly launched feature or a bank with hopes of attracting more customers, there’s a live video strategy for you that not only aims to sell your product or service, it can also help educate your customers and increase the value of your organization.

In addition to enhanced interactivity and engagement, live streaming can also move viewers quickly through the sales funnel. Regardless of how intimidating live streaming might seem, the benefits far outweigh the money you’re leaving on the table.

Launching Products and Delivering Unique Experiences

When you’re launching a product or service, you want to stand out from the crowd. New products and services are announced every day, but even some fantastic ones fail. Because audiences are constantly inundated by texts, emails, tweets, notifications and more, the average human attention span has fallen to just eight seconds — shorter than that of a goldfish. As such, organizations need to implement smart strategies for making the most of our limited attention span. Enter live video launch events.

An increasingly popular tool for product launches, broadcasting live video is a great way to build buzz around a new product release. A live streaming event can boost the sales and generate momentum surrounding a product or service, and the event can even become a place for you to create community.

Apple’s live product releases remain the gold standard. Of course one of the world's largest tech firms is successful at live streaming their product launches and earning front-page coverage. But they aren’t successful just because they’re Apple — they have quality products, and they plan every aspect of their event beforehand, maximizing viewer mystery to cultivate excitement. During these events, Apple really focuses on what their products can do for consumers — the iPod was not an mp3 player, but 1,000 songs in your pocket — an approach that has clearly worked over the years for the Bay Area giant.

Today, consumers desire a unique experience, event or special offering to tap into their desire to remain involved and in the loop — and live-streaming events do just that. Consider recent live- streaming applications for real estate property showings, banking, virtual doctor visits, smart home surveillance and digital marketplaces for buying and selling goods. Imagine being able to troubleshoot problems your technological device or vehicle is having by video chatting with an engineer or your mechanic.

Viewers are 64%-85% more likely to make a purchase after watching a product video and four times as many followers say they would rather watch a video launch than read about it. So, now is the time to take advantage of this new content-type.

Live Video to Boost Sales and Engagement

The stats speak for themselves — followers are 10 times more likely to comment on a live video stream than a regular video upload, and 92% of mobile video users share videos across their networks, vastly improving your chances to be seen by potential customers. In other words, live streaming works to boost engagement and sales.

Live-stream events enable real-time engagement and allow viewers to comment and interact with each other, improving the user experience while forging a community. Respond to your audience’s questions and feedback in the comments section to create a more engaging experience. By sharing exclusive content rather than directly selling to your audience, you can generate engagement by leveraging the feeling of trust. If you plan to discuss a specific topic during your stream, but the audience is asking about something else, respond and adapt to that shift. Viewers feel more involved and engaged when they see you’re responding to them.

By forging a legitimate connection between an organization and their audience, live video means consumers will be much more engaged, and as such, brands are much more likely to experience a boost in sales.

For organizations looking to leverage the myriad of advantages of reaching and engaging with the audiences that matter, live video is the answer. Advances in technology are making live video increasingly easy to stream and watch and making streaming accessible to more people every day. This opens the door for organizations to provide unique experiences and improved customer connection, boosting engagement and sales in the process. Even if you don’t know where to start, live video helps businesses who haven't traditionally used the strategy to launch products and increase sales and engagement.

Dave Stubenvoll is the CEO of Wowza Media Services, a Colorado-based provider of live-streaming software and services. 

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