What Live Streaming Means for Small Business

2015 has been called the year of video, but that doesn’t mean the momentum of mobile marketing is slowing down anytime soon.

In fact, these two platforms are increasingly being used together — video views on smartphones and tablets showed a 114 percent increase year-over-year from 2013 to 2014.

Now, with the emergence of popular apps like Periscope and Meerkat, the latest mobile and video trend is live streaming.

What is live streaming?

You can think of live streaming as a one way video chat, a live video blog of sorts.  Live broadcasting isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but with the attention that newer apps like Periscope and Meerkat are attracting, it might be something you want to experiment with as a marketing tool and way to connect with your audience.

What’s in it for small businesses?

Like a lot of social media, live streaming provides a great way to make content more personal and to humanize your business. It has the potential to be a great marketing asset because it allows you to bring your audience behind-the-scenes of your business and show them what’s going on.

Remember that people like to do business with people they know, like, and trust, so the more content you can provide that shows your personality and the people behind the business the better.

What’s the difference between Periscope and Meerkat?

When it really comes down to it, Periscope and Meerkat aren’t that different; they have relatively similar features and interfaces.

The biggest differences are the social media integrations. Periscope was acquired by Twitter in March 2015. While you can now set up an account with just a phone number, Periscope allows you to link to your live stream from your Twitter account easily, making it a great option for Twitter enthusiasts.

Meerkat, however, recently announced a Facebook integration that will allow users to watch streams directly on Facebook, making the app more accessible than ever.

Despite this recent Meerkat update, one feature Meerkat is still lacking is statistics.  Periscope, on the other hand, will provide you with some basic statistics — how many live viewers you had, how many viewers replayed your video, how many likes your video received, viewer retention, and a few others.

These stats can help you find out what times and topics work best for your audience.

What should you broadcast about?

The main thing to keep in mind when you’re trying to come up with ideas for broadcasting is that this is an opportunity for you to connect with customers and prospects on a different level than any other social platform.  Use this to your advantage and give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at your business that they don’t have access to anywhere else.

One great idea for live streaming is to show the process — whether that be cooking a meal or showing where donations are going.  Giving viewers this exclusive insight allows them to feel like they have a truly special connection with you and your business.  This will leave them with a unique memory that will encourage them to choose you in the future.

Another great strategy is Q&A’s with your employees and other experts.  The live video format is perfect for this and will give viewers another inside look at your business.  This makes viewers feel  connected to you and will also hopefully give them expert tips for the future.  When they go to utilize these tips, they will automatically think of your business!

A couple final things to keep in mind:

  • It’s a new tool — meaning if you “mess up” it won’t be too big of a deal.
  • You can definitely use written content that you already have and repurpose it for a stream.
  • BE REAL — the best part about live streaming is that it isn’t scripted. Your videos should feel spontaneous, rather than polished.

What should you do after your broadcast?

Once you’ve finished your stream, you will have the option to save the stream to your camera roll. That way, you will be able to utilize the content later on in a blog post, on your website, or in an upcoming newsletter.

This is a perfect opportunity to not only recycle content and save yourself time but also to promote your live streaming efforts.  If you chose to use Periscope, your stream will stay on the app for 24 hours, so even if people missed your stream you can still encourage your audience to come back to the app later that day.

Ready for your live stream debut?

To help you get started, we came up with a few ideas for streams based on industry. Check out the infographic below for inspiration!  If you don’t see your industry, make sure to comment and we’ll do our best to respond with some ideas for your individual business.

infographic livestream

Be sure to follow us on Periscope @ConstantContact and look out for some live streams from our account coming soon.

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