Livestreaming – It’s not for me, or is it?

By Julia Gardial on February 23rd, 2017

Believe it or not, livestreaming was a fixture on the internet before smartphones. The first incidence of livestreaming was in 1993 with the first band to ever stream live over the internet (Severe Tire Damage), broadcasting a concert across the world. However, in the early 2000s when owning a personal computer became the norm instead of an anomaly, social media hit the scene and the internet hasn’t looked the same since. While early social media platforms will make most think of MySpace and AIM, these platforms soon gave way to Facebook and Twitter, and businesses soon began to join their consumer counterparts on these social channels.

Due to this rise of social media, customers are demanding increased transparency and interaction from businesses of all kinds. From B2B to B2C, organizations are now largely expected to use social media not just to talk about their products and services, but to connect and engage with their customers on a human level. Interacting with both current and potential customers, as well as other businesses via social media allows for a brand to develop a personality, increases customer engagement and cultivates a relationship of trust. Trust allows the customer to believe that the business – or at least the people running it – are just like them.

Building this relationship of trust and consumer engagement must move beyond engagement via text and image posts. Consumers are demanding more connectivity, insider info and real-time interactions. Livestreaming video is becoming ever increasingly popular as a tool to up engagement, as various social sites roll out user-friendly platforms for viewers to tune in live to see video updates from friends and businesses. While many communications professionals might want to dismiss livestreaming as a consumer-only playground, we wouldn’t be so quick to write it off. Livestreaming has been on an impressively steep growth trajectory for the last year, and viewership on livestreams will just continue to grow in 2017.

Increasingly, supposedly “consumer” tech tools hit home with both B2B and B2C marketing efforts, and getting onboard the livestream train might be a way to get yourself into a growing communications avenue before everyone else floods in. Here are some tips for launching your livestreaming efforts:

1. Find which platform is right for you. Are your Facebook followers highly-engaged? Or does your YouTube channel get enough views to send your videos to the stratosphere? Take a look at where your organization and your competitors are currently successful to find where your target audience is most likely to be. That’s where you’ll want to stream.

2. Find content to stream. After deciding which platform you’ll use to stream, think about what you want to stream. What content do you have that’s the most valuable to your audience? What will they find the most exciting? Industry events, presentations, company announcements and impromptu Q&A’s are some good examples of events that you can livestream and will help you get information to your audience in a new, engaging way.

3. Find your audience. While livestreams are, in fact, live, it’s important to announce that you’re planning on streaming ahead of time. Announce your livestream on multiple communications platforms to get the word out and let your audience know when to tune in.

4. Find your groove. Any Communications professional will tell you that when it comes to communications, you can’t have a one-and-done strategy. Hosting regular livestreaming events will help you build an audience and find your best practices. (Don’t believe us? Look at Twitter chats!)

While adopting a new communication platform is always daunting, following these steps will allow you to take your first foray into livestreaming.

Are you planning on livestreaming an event or announcement this year? How are you planning to communicate your stream to your audience?

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