Streaming tech being what it is today, one has to make a case to justify spending hundreds of dollars to attend a football game or concert in person!
Of course, I’m being a bit facetious. There’s no real substitute for the excitement of attending an event and interacting with people face-to-face. But the opportunities that live videos have opened up for most people can’t be understated either.
And that’s something content creators and brands should be leveraging head on!
Never mind the huge leap in terms of convenience and accessibility – “attending” an event without having to deal with Ubers and standing in lines is nothing short of fantastic from a consumer standpoint. But what I’m more interested in exploring here today is the huge value live video brings to branding efforts.
It’s why big companies like Apple and Nintendo are choosing live streaming as a (if not the) primary means of marketing their products. And why social media influencers can’t have enough of it.
So, let’s talk a bit more in-depth about why (and how!) it’s done!
What Makes Live Videos Stand Out
The main benefit behind live streaming – in contrast with other popular video marketing pieces like explainer videos or social media ads – is the immediateness of the medium.
You get to form a direct connection with viewers that calls for their active involvement in whatever is happening in the moment. Unlike traditional ads or pre-recorded content, real-time broadcasts create a sense of excitement and urgency in everyone participating.
Moreover, live streaming is a godsend for relationship-building, if not necessarily for immediate conversions – Even though that’s an expected outcome from an effective brand campaign that utilizes the medium.
When it comes to branding, live video content takes more of a supportive role, insofar as it’s conducive to longer lasting interactions with an audience prone to come back for more. Building trust and a sense of familiarity between a brand and its customers.
Thus, live videos work as a class-of-its-own, content-wise, that it doesn’t depend on scripts, formulas, or storytelling to work. In fact, they don’t aim at telling anything, but rather sharing something with their respective audiences. But that’s easier said than done!
Let’s take a look at how to actually plan and carry out successful streams that further your branding.
Figuring Out the Basics for your Stream
Let’s start at the big-picture level. There are two keystones you’ll want to keep in mind when planning, structuring, and executing an upcoming social media live broadcast:
- The message you want to convey.
- The audience you’ll be talking to.
The people you are trying to talk to, and the thing you are trying to say should be your guideposts in your journey through social media live streams. Figuring out these two aspects early on will help develop and implement the best plan of action for your specific goals.
It’s also important to remind yourself that Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and the like are all social media channels people use to enjoy their time and connect with others —and that’s also crucial to your broadcast success!
Streaming should aspire to this economy of means and concentrate on one task at a time, as to avoid overwhelming an audience. While there’s plenty you can accomplish through the medium – brand promotion, humanization, information delivery, community building … – you can only do so much at any given time.
Ask yourself key questions to figure these elements out. Are you trying to communicate with longtime customers or newcomers? Are they acquainted enough with your brand or not? What is it you want to tell them and how can you do so in a way that’s new, relevant, or interesting?
Find your answers for every stream, and they’ll be that much more effective.
Building Buzz Around Your Stream
It should go without saying, but you really need to promote your broadcast ahead of time! Let people know when it will be held and give them good incentives to show up. Post about it well in advance and don’t be afraid to ask them to share it with their friends and spread the word around.
You are responsible for setting up the atmosphere and expectations around your upcoming stream. Depending on what you are arranging, you can establish certain degrees of suspense, timing, and buildup. And feed into it as the stream day approaches.
For example, if you are planning to have a Q&A at the end of the stream, invite people to leave questions ahead of time. If you are planning a live product reveal, tease images and clues about it as a build up to your stream.
The important thing is to give people enough of a heads-up to have more people showing up on the day of. And reinforcing/reminding them when the stream is going to take place as the day draws nearer.
About Gear & Other Technical Aspects
Should you wait to have professional-level gear before doing a live stream? Not at all. Using the latest gadgets is not a priority when it comes to live streaming. Which isn’t the same to say that it wouldn’t be valuable to invest in an adequate camera and mic setup.
As long as you can achieve a decent-enough, neat-looking video and sound quality, there is nothing else you should worry about. Remember, live video—especially in social media—benefits from coming out as natural as possible.
Way more important than a top-of-the-line camera, for example, is having a reliable Wi-Fi connection. The last thing you want is to have people attending your stream leave frustrated after sitting through a few minutes of your feed breaking up due to poor connection quality.
The location you choose is another huge technical factor you’ll need to consider. One that often gets ignored until issues arise.
You need an environment up for the task, but that doesn’t mean you need to rent a professional recording studio for the hour. Check beforehand that the sound picks up nicely with your gear and the surroundings won’t be an issue. Meaning, don’t stream next to a construction site, or in a place where distractions will be constantly walking through.
Lastly, consider your lighting. The best camera in the market won’t pick up a poorly lit room nicely, and you need to be clearly visible to keep your audience engaged. If you have a place with A LOT of natural light, it might be sufficient. More often than not, however, you’ll want to supplement with a white light to help things along.
As mentioned earlier, your focus should be on your message above all else. But your approach must look friendly and spontaneous at all times. Remember: people have taken time away from liking cat memes in their Facebook feed to give you their attention!
Avoid scripts or memorizing long lines. You have a chance to open yourself up so people can see the human face behind your brand. Take that opportunity! Show that you’re unique in your delivery and natural in your reactions.
Having said all that, I’d encourage you to write down an outline of the ideas or topics you plan to cover. If you are someone who favors more preparation than that, you can go as far as to write down a couple of transition cues, but that should be it.
You want to follow a certain progression of ideas to keep the stream from stalling, and an outline can be ideal for that. But your best bet is to loosely go over your content once or twice beforehand, and to trust yourself to carry the stream when the time comes.
I’m Broadcasting—Now What?
Give people time to connect: depending on your niche, it’s reasonable to give them between 10 and 20 minutes. Not everyone will turn up right from the start either, so it’s often advisable not to give away the core of your message or announcement right from the start either.
Visuals and interactive content are also great ways to keep your stream active and your audience engaged while branding effectively. Adding music can liven things up, but you should always be careful of copyrights. When in doubt, go with some royalty free pieces.
Depending on the platform you are streaming from, you’ll want to add elements like Swipe Ups and promo codes offering discounts through the stream. You can also prepare visuals ahead of time to underline important parts of your stream – particularly call-to-actions at the midpoint and end of the stream.
And on the topic of CTAs, remind your audience from time to time—certainly at least once at the beginning, middle, and end of your live video—to check your website, follow your account, or whatever it is you want to persuade them to do. We want to raise people’s interest in our brand and that’s simply the most effective way to accomplish it!
Lastly, never forget that the driving force behind streaming is interaction! When in doubt, engage your audience. Read chat. Ask Questions. Present information and address their reactions. Doing so will keep your stream alive and your head in the game.
There’s plenty of more in-depth aspects we could talk about when it comes to live streaming and branding. The pluses and minuses of each platform and streaming methods. Do’s and don’ts of buying gear for streaming… Yet nothing we cover here will teach you as much as gaining real hands-on experience!
Leave your excuses aside, follow-up on the points we discussed here, and start doing some live-streams to help further your brand and grow your audience. Each one should leave you with new insights on how to develop your strategy and make the next one even better!
About the Author!
Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.