Social media is perhaps the biggest equalizer among businesses in this day and age. It serves big and small businesses alike as a platform, which they can utilise to make themselves more approachable to customers. This is why keeping up with social media trends is so beneficial to every enterprise.
Social media has deeply embedded itself into our culture. 66% of the UK’s population is on at least one social media platform, which translates to 45 million active users. The platforms and how they are used are continually changing, making it difficult for businesses to keep up.
Many social media users nowadays don’t respond well to impersonal and overtly promotional advertising posts. Scepticism towards brand authenticity and their genuineness has grown, to the point that aggressive sales pitches have lost their appeal. As a response to this shift in audience attitudes, businesses had to find another way to create trust. One such solution that is growing in popularity today is live streaming.
Live streaming refers to online streaming media that is simultaneously recorded and broadcasted in real-time. It is a fast and accessible way to provide existing and potential customers with information on what your brand has to offer in a natural, unpolished manner. This may be off-putting for some businesses, especially when they first come into contact with this type of format. There is a certain level of unpredictability and lack of control in this form of content; however, this can be used to the company’s advantage. Many consumers trust live videos over written content due to this raw and unfiltered look. It is, therefore, no surprise that live video has a much higher viewer retention rate than, for example, video-on-demand (VOD) content.
Being able to react as you share your content allows your customers to voice their preferences and opinions, which promotes a more intimate relationship with your audience. You can give your viewers a sneak peek of how you create your products or what your work environment looks like. From live streaming your work events to your restaurant’s menu of the day, live streams can be as formal or informal as you like. This way, your customers know exactly what to expect from your business, and this familiarity can help build customer trust and loyalty.
Live streaming is a great opportunity to test new ideas without too much risk and commitment beforehand. You may be able to quickly see the reaction to a concept based on viewership, engagement, and instant feedback during the live stream. It can also be a way you can gather new ideas from your followers.
Social media platforms are prime spots for businesses to look for leads. Many live streamers have reported that collaborations are very popular in this form of content, which is an easy way to broaden your audience and increase the pool of potential leads as well as build trust with your viewers. With more viewer trust, your business also gains more influence in your field and your advice becomes more valuable.
The company stops being a foreign, impersonal object and becomes a collective of people that customers can see and interact with. Another great advantage of live streaming is that you can record it, post it or repurpose it and it doesn’t require much post-production.
It is expected that before 2020 live streaming will make up 82% of the total internet traffic. People are looking for real-time connections and as such this type of format will become increasingly popular.
Statistica. 2020. UK: active social media users 2020. (online) published by Joseph Johnson
The advantages we mentioned above can only be achieved if you do it right. Being yourself in a live video may be easier said than done, but this is exactly the sort of content that your viewers want to see.
This isn’t to say that it should be completely unplanned and spontaneous - like with on-demand videos, quality matters. Make sure the room you’re live streaming from is soundproof and there are no unnecessary distractions. The quality of the image, sound and content is key.
Like anything in this world, practice makes perfect. After you master the basics, live streaming becomes a habit and the main challenge becomes coming up with original ideas for new episodes.
Many say that live stream is the new radio. Through live stream, you can build a connection with your audience instead of just providing them with information about your product or brand. With this type of content, you can convey the company message just as well, if not better, than other forms of media.
As viewers are aware of the format and style of live videos and don’t expect to see a highly polished and edited film, there is a sort of charm to this form of content which is why viewers gravitate to it. Furthermore, it gives you the opportunity to create a sense of community among customers, thereby, building trust and strengthening customer loyalty.