Live video streaming was already popular in 2019, but the pandemic increased interest among global audiences for this type of video content. The live stream sector grew 45% between March and April 2020, and The Verge reported that live streaming solution Twitch reached 1.645 billion hours watched per month by May 2020.
Despite pandemic fears slowly dying down as we approach mid-year 2021, it looks like live video platforms are here to stay. According to Restream, “91% of business streamers plan to keep streaming after COVID, and 81% say it will be a social media priority in 2021.” A major reason for this is that many people have now experienced the ease of attending live broadcasts from the comfort of home — and they’re going to want continued access to that.
“91% of business streamers plan to keep streaming after COVID, and 81% say it will be a social media priority in 2021.”
Brands can go live in a variety of interactive formats to keep their audiences engaged; you can also select the live streaming software that best suits your goals. And — especially weighed against the benefits it can provide — live video isn’t an expensive or time-intensive initiative, making it a valuable tool to add to your marketing arsenal.
Still not convinced? Here are five great ways that investing in live video can benefit your brand.
Live video streaming is a great way to engage with your audience. When you’re live, you can have a real-time conversation with viewers and create a dialogue between them and your brand. Viewers can use a chat box to ask questions directly, and you can respond to them immediately — and even address them by name when you do. Check out the responses and comments that roll in during this Hootsuite LinkedIn Live event.
Viewers are also intrigued by the transparency of live video. They will likely be interested in seeing how your brand presents itself when it’s being more “authentic,” with less scripting and no opportunity to edit and polish a video in post-production. Unfiltered content delivery of this nature shows subscribers that there are real people behind your brand. People want to be able to relate to you; they want to get to know you better.
“Unfiltered content shows subscribers that there are real people behind your brand.”
Research confirms that viewers actually find live streaming more engaging than pre-recorded video and are likely to interact with it for longer. A study by Forrester showed that users watch live video streams 10 to 20 times longer than pre-recorded, on-demand content. That’s a huge boost in engagement.
With live streaming, viewers can tune in from anywhere in the world. They can even join after the stream has started if they see the live event pop up on their social media feed or get a notification for an event that’s currently in session.
Beyond location flexibility, people can watch virtual events on a range of devices. Whether they’re in transit on an Apple or Android mobile device or at work on a desktop, as long as a person has access to the live streaming platform the event is hosted on (e.g., YouTube Live or Facebook Live), they can easily join.
Live streaming events are also more accessible for people with disabilities, those with compromised immune systems who are still wary of being in large groups, and anyone with restricted mobility.
Essentially, almost anyone who is interested in your brand can attend your virtual event to learn about your product, ask questions, and even network.
Viewers don’t expect live streams to look as polished as high-quality produced videos and are more forgiving when the sound or image isn’t perfect. These expectations give you room to keep things simple at first and leave yourself space to grow.
You don’t need to become an expert videographer or invest in expensive equipment, and you really only need a smartphone camera or webcam, a microphone, and an internet connection to get started. However, if you do want to go all-in on production, you can do that too — here’s some advice on how to build a multi-camera live setup.
Live streaming is often less time-consuming than creating and posting a pre-recorded video. You’ll still have pre-production work, but you won’t have to spend time on editing in post-production since the stream is played in real-time.
If you want something especially low-lift, plan a live video streaming event that requires a less intense workflow — like a live webinar or a simple Q&A about your product’s features.
Make sure to record your live stream so you can repurpose the content and get even more value from it once the event is over. You might repost the entire video on your website or Facebook page to reach more people, or you could cut it into bite-sized chunks to add to your brand’s Instagram Story. You can also share the best quotes from your live stream on Twitter and link to the video.
If you feel that your video paints your brand particularly well, you can also edit and resize clips from your live stream and use them in a retargeting campaign to attract new users. Global e-commerce platform, Tokopedia, took this approach across Instagram and Facebook and saw a 67% increase in traffic to their product pages.
But repurposed live stream content isn’t only useful for social media. If the video doesn’t rely too heavily on visuals, you can turn the event’s audio into a podcast episode. You could also share ideas or takeaways from the event in a blog post or even embed the video itself into an existing blog post or email.
Basically, if your live stream content is interesting, you’ll have many different options to get even more value out of it.
Once you start posting these events on social media, the platforms will in turn give your live streaming a boost. Facebook sends out notifications when a friend or page you like starts a Facebook Live, and executives have shared that Facebook Live generates 6x more interactions than regular videos.
“Facebook Live generates 6x more interactions than regular videos.”
Insider Intelligence reports that the pandemic greatly increased audiences’ interest in live video. Social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn have adjusted their algorithms accordingly to encourage more live streaming. Because of this, live events are a great way to increase your reach and grow your audience online.
The pandemic has made live streaming more popular for B2B businesses, but many brands have not yet harnessed its full potential. Now is the time to take advantage of this medium if you haven’t already. Your audience is eager to watch live events, and it takes minimal resources to get them up and running.