By Trevor Evans
As social media platforms put increasing amounts of time and effort into bolstering their live streaming services, understanding the power of live streaming and the role it can play in marketing couldn’t be more timely. Here are five reasons why you need to be giving some time to social broadcasting in 2018.
1) The connection with the audience is genuine
Unlike straightforward ads and YouTube videos, live streams give you the benefit of being reactionary, real time, and unavailable for edit. This provides a human element to the operation that no other form of digital marketing can really nail – particularly with the continuing spiralling costs associated with securing the services of social media influencers (who are now fully-fledged celebrities in their own right) as relatable advocates for brands and products. The excitement, unpredictability and element of improvisation synonymous with a live stream creates a level of emotional investment on the part of the consumer that it is now difficult to foster through the usual channels. Inevitably this results in a stronger connection and better engagement.
2) The opportunity for creativity is limitless
Live streams perfectly bridge the gap between online videos and television programmes, therefore creating an opportunity for publishers to be enormously creative with their content. From TV-style broadcasts to vlogs, interviews, talks and panel discussions, the range of video content that a live stream could encompass is huge, and can make for some really effective and engaging content. Not only this, but the real time element allows you to talk to viewers and customers in the moment, as they respond to and discuss the content that you’re broadcasting. As expected, the different social media platforms offer unique opportunities when it comes to live-streaming. Periscope and Instagram are ideal for holding Q&As and directly engaging with the audience, whereas Facebook and YouTube are set-up well to immerse audiences in events they can’t be at in-person. In short, the opportunities are endless.
3) The reach can be huge
The scale of the online world provides huge marketing opportunities, and this provides access to a huge audience that is ready and waiting to have its interest peaked by the right content. The popularity of YouTube over the years demonstrates the sheer number of people that are watching video content online or on mobile devices: so if you know your target market and you know what they want to see, you can harness the attention of this vast network, sit back, and watch the conversions roll in.
4) The content is richer and scalable
It may not be as slick and glossy as your typical online video, but the human element of a live stream certainly makes the content far richer. The time and money you may spend on capturing and editing video content is eliminated, with no need for high tech camera equipment or complicated software. A smartphone, an app, and 15-20 minutes worth of stream-worthy activity are all you need to get started. Needless to say, live-streaming also enables content creators to bypass navigating broadcasting rights and ceding control to traditional media companies by cutting out the middleman and providing content directly to the audience.
5) The time is now
With Netflix and Amazon Prime now more popular than traditional television and the broadcasting rights over e-sports content being hotly contested, streaming is definitely having a moment. People like to be able to curate their viewing schedule, picking and choosing the video content they want to consume from a range of publishers, networks and formats. Live streaming plays into this trend, making a variety of content available in an instant with the click of a button. If you can nail the live stream now, you’ll be closer to your customers and way ahead of the digital marketing curve in 2018.
Trevor Evans is CEO of Stream Time