Live streaming is growing dramatically in popularity. And like almost all emerging media enabled by new technology, there are numerous potential applications for innovative marketing organizations to take advantage of.
Live streaming enables your brand to immediately, directly, and in real-time reach, entertain, and communicate with your audience through video communication. It’s powerful, but comes with a suite of unique challenges.
Is live streaming a viable marketing channel for your digital strategy? And if so, what’s the best way to bring the right digital creative staffing it into the fold? These are complex questions you’ll have to answer for yourself. But before you do, consider the following.
When a Stream Becomes a River
There’s a reason live streaming is a buzzing topic in the marketing world. Like recorded video content and social media before it, there’s tremendous potential to engage a quickly-growing audience. A growing number of streaming platforms and tools have improved accessibility to a hungry audience around the world.
Live streaming site Twitch, which was recently bought out by Amazon for a cool $1 billion, got 4 billion views from 1.7 billion visits last year. And it’s expanding; adding new categories like Art, Philosophy, and Cooking to its already robust library of video game streams.
How a Branded Stream Can Look On Twitch via Totino’s
Facebook is aggressively promoting its new streaming capability; Facebook Live. The social media juggernaut allows [almost] anyone with an account to stream and upload their videos to its network–including social media staffing.
YouTube, the king of online video, was relatively late to the streaming party. But it now offers a constant variety of streams on youtube.com/live and frequently hosts live sports, announcements, political debates and more.
Live streaming mobile apps like Meerkat and Periscope, though not making as much noise now as they were a year ago, retain strong audiences and empower anyone with a smartphone to become a streamer at any time.
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Why Marketers Care
Still unsure about whether live streaming is right for you? Here are some of the reasons smart, innovative digital marketers are flocking to it in droves:
- The ultimate content: If you use an inbound-centric strategy that relies heavily on valuable, entertaining, informative content to draw in customers, then live streaming is the holy grail. Few channels are more engaging than interactive video. And once you’re done streaming, you can convert the recordings into video for future use elsewhere.
- Customer support: Want to earn customer loyalty? Try actively responding to customer concerns and fixing problems in front of an audience. That’s the kind of experience you can’t provide through any other medium.
- Powerful influencers: Some of the most powerful influencers online right now are streamers. Most are constantly active in engaging their audience, often streaming for hours a day. They also tend to have very targeted, niche audiences. Partnering with a streamer is a powerful way to introduce your brand in a favorable light to their viewers.
- Advertising: Even if you don’t stream yourself, you may still want to look into advertising on live streaming platforms. Paid media can be highly successful if it’s targeted by the right digital media staffing and catches viewers in an environment where they’re eager to interact.
- Getting started is affordable. You’ll want good recording and streaming equipment; but after those initial investments your marketing is ready to go. In fact, marketers on a budget can even make due with their smartphones. Most streaming platforms are absolutely free to broadcast on. Costs can rise as you start to factor in brand deals, influencer endorsements, advertising, premium promotion, and the like–but those are optional investments you can consider after you get some experience.
When and How to Get on the Live Streaming Bandwagon
If any of those examples inspired you, or you have a totally unique idea of your own, right now is the best time to try out live streaming. This medium is still an unexplored frontier; if you can stake a claim early with an innovative streaming strategy, you’ll be able to hold your ground as more brands join and crowd the space.
Some innovative digital agencies are already offering live streaming services to clients.
However, if you want to take care of this in-house you’ll probably have some talent acquisition to do. The extra effort is worth it; directly connecting to viewers without a middle man is extremely powerful, and you’ll retain full creative and strategic direction over your streaming content.
The amount and the type of talent you need to bring in will vary depending on how heavily you want to commit to the channel. Dedicated brand video streaming experts are rare, so you’ll have to be creative with how you execute. At the very least, you’ll need two kinds of expertise:
- A good place to start is with a video recording specialist. Sending high-quality video and audio data isn’t required in order to effectively stream—but it definitely helps. After all, you want a stream that reflects the caliber of your brand and products. Digital creative staffing that can handle the technical issues as well as the practical aspects of lighting, framing, etc. can put you in a good place for success.
- Second, you’ll need someone who’s comfortable on camera, is good at improvising, and can manage a live community in real time. A professional with a background in social media staffing and online community management might be a natural fit. So would someone who does a lot of public speaking and event management.
Beyond that, you’ll want to consider specialized streaming media planners, influencer relationship specialists, video content strategists, etc. Customize according to your goals and the talent you already have on-hand.
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