More than ever, people are skeptical of traditional advertising. Deterred by exaggerated or downright false claims, consumers want honesty. But transparency is more than offering a money-back guarantee or including a disclaimer. It should extend to every facet of your business, no matter your industry, including the way you communicate with customers. Live streaming video is just one example of a form of media that allows room for open and authentic communication between a company and its audience.
In a previous blog post, we outlined some guidelines for live streaming ethically. When used correctly, live streams are not only tools for promoting your products or your company’s image but building trust among your viewers and customers. As you begin developing — or tweaking — your live streams, keep these ideas in mind:
1. Share the right content.
While it may seem obvious, posting content that is true to your brand identity across all of your channels is vital, and live streams are no exception. Is your brand quirky and fun? Make sure the spirit of your broadcast reflects that. Is your business more corporate and buttoned-up? Be certain the tone reflects the seriousness you want to convey. And, as the saying goes, it’s not just what you say but how you say it that counts.
The type of live content you choose to share — products demonstrations, tutorials, Q&A sessions, launch campaigns, etc. — must be valuable to your viewers if you want to earn trust. For brands, posting claims without proof or pushing sales repeatedly can deter viewers from not only buying your products or services but unsubscribing from your channels altogether. That being said, people want to remain informed. Keep them up-to-date by mentioning events, sales, or other relevant content at the end of your broadcast and provide links to additional information. Your viewers will appreciate it.
2. Broadcast consistently.
Live video is an urgent and interactive platform, but that doesn’t mean your content should go unplanned. Consistency is key to building engagement with your followers, which can lead to stronger viewer and customer relationships.
While you should plan your live streams to be fluid to encourage audience participation and engagement, you should also prepare for them in advance. Include your live streams in your current editorial calendar to ensure an integrated marketing plan across all your content channels. If you plan on inviting a special guest, make sure you’re promoting it across channels well in advance of the planned stream for an added boost. Plan on shooting in a new location for your next broadcast? Make sure you have clearance to record live video beforehand to avoid any problems. While live broadcasts can be relaxed in nature, viewers expect to learn something new by watching interactive content, especially if it’s produced by a company or brand they respect.
3. Be an open book.
What separates live streaming video from other forms of media is that it inherently breaks down communication walls. When individuals or companies go live, there’s an understanding between the broadcaster and audience that it’s a give-and-take relationship: the broadcaster presents the audience with information or entertainment and the audience responds, and vice versa.
When speaking to viewers, acknowledge their presence and the value they bring by participating in your broadcast. Remember, this isn’t a one-way conversation. Encourage them to not just watch your stream but engage and interact. Ask for feedback on your current product or services. Answer questions. If possible, bring your viewers into the broadcast itself. If you’ve implemented live video technology into your existing channels, you have the freedom to create the kind of experience you want without relying on a social media or platform.
Live streaming offers both individuals and businesses a unique opportunity. While others forms of medium can be used to disseminate information, live video, at its core, is about connection. By communicating with their audience thoughtfully and allowing room for participation, companies across a variety of industries can gain and continue to build trust with their customers.