How Can Your Business Benefit from Live-Streaming?

Previously we talked about how you can use how-to videos to promote your business and help your customers and visitors perform an action that is related to your business and/or industry that they don’t know how to do themselves. But what about those businesses who want want to reach their audience in a personal and immediate way right now? 2014 was called the year of the mobile, but 2015 is being hailed as the year of video, and not just video, but mobile video.

As a matter of fact according to a Q1 report, video plays on mobile devices doubled year over year. It’s more than probable that your audience is of the same mindset - they want it now! Fortunately, there are new services that allow you and your business to connect with your current and prospective clients in real time via live-streaming. Simply put: You can broadcast your activity live to your audience via webcam or smartphone, much like you would watch a game or match on WatchESPN or the news.

How Can Using Live-Stream Video Benefit Your Business?

You can use it to educate your audience, broadcast an event, or hold a Q&A session. You can also broadcast news about your business, elaborate and explain something that’s relevant to your industry, or discuss current developments in your industry and/or business. It’s all about making your business up close and personal for your audience.

You can set up a live event in advance, by setting up a future date for a Q&A session and allow your audience to ask you questions about your business, or you can discuss brand new developments or news at the very moment a change has been made to your business (such as new website changes, or customer service rep leaving, or introducing a new employee, new product or service announcement, etc.). You can also be completely spontaneous as well, and that is also something that can be beneficial to your audience because they get to meet the people working behind the scenes on the product or service they love, and it helps you because connecting with your audience always adds to your reputation as a company that cares about its customers. Movie director Bryan Singer announced via mobile app a special DVD cut of X-Men: Days of Future Past to all the fans. During his announcement, people got to see the set for the new movie, as well as people who work behind the scenes, and the set for the new movie in the series. The video had huge engagement. Luke Dormehl of Fast Company says that live-streaming is all about capturing attention in a moment. Therefore make sure that your event is compelling, lends itself to interaction and that it truly needs to be live. Luke adds regarding choosing between a live event or posting a video online,

“Working out the right balance (between live and recorded) is going to be a matter of trial and error, depending on your business. Just make sure you have a plan.”

How to Live-Stream an Event

Well, once you decide that an event or activity is live-stream worthy, there are 2 ways to live-stream: desktop or mobile. Some services provide apps for both, such as Ustream.

Desktop

Other desktop live-stream services, such as Google Hangouts, give you an option to live-stream event and record it at the same so your audience who wasn’t able to participate in live event to view it at a later time. For both of these desktop services the only thing you will need is an account, good webcam, and a good microphone because the audio and video quality are what matters the most for the best possible live experience. And when it comes to Google Hangouts, this means you need to have a YouTube channel created because Hangouts use it as a medium for live-streaming, and after your Hangout is finished, it will stay there as a video that you and your audience can watch later. Also, make sure you have enough bandwidth to support a large crowd that will be interacting with you because a large crowd can slow your bandwidth down.


Mobile The two newest and most popular apps are Periscope and Meerkat. They both use Twitter feed to broadcast. An advantage of Periscope is that it saves your video for 24 hours and then deletes it, while videos streamed through Meerkat are deleted once the event is over. The only thing you and your audience need for both of these services is an iPhone or Android smartphone with good internet connection and you can live-stream to from almost anywhere and anytime.

Preparation is The Key

Something you’ll want to do is notify your audience in advance that you will be live-streaming an event from a certain platform. You don’t need to know exact dates, but you will want them to know which service you’ll be using to broadcast from because not everyone has Periscope installed on their phones. So you want your audience to be prepared because if your audience doesn’t have these apps or programs, they won’t be able to see your broadcasts until it’s probably too late. Another thing to do before you start an event on Google Hangouts or Ustream is to make sure you test your equipment, and test your channel by running a private test and making sure you know how to use all the options those services provide so you can correct any bugs (such as bad equipment) if they appear. Better to be prepared than to have your event delayed, slowed down, or ruined. Also, if you’re going to be announcing a new product, or news in regards to your company or industry, you may also want to have a script ready just in case you lose your train of thought during the broadcast, or are easily distracted. In case you’re hosting a Q&A, you may want to have a list of answers of possible questions ready. People will ask the same question over and over again, and that is something that you can easily prepare for.

Wrapping It Up

Broadcasting a live event or discussion helps your reputation as a company that cares for its customers, that cares that their customers are well-informed, and informed on time; while at the same time it allows your customers to get to know you a little better, see how your company looks from behind the scenes, and grow a closer connection to your company. Of course, in order to have a live-stream audience, you first need to build your online presence and allow your customers and target market to find you, because if they can’t find you, they won’t participate in whatever activity you decide to do to engage with them. Ready for your live streaming debut? We are here to help you Be. Found.

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