On their never-ending quest to draw eyeballs to products, marketers increasingly turn to live streaming. The name of the game is more business and sales.
Stephanie Liu, a digital marketing strategist and an author of “Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing,” is most notably known for her Facebook Live show called Lights, Camera, Live®, where she helps businesses succeed with live video.
Liu, along with marketing and branding strategist and millennial expert Chelsea Krost, discussed going big with live-streaming videos during Krost’s #MillennialTalk Twitter chat. They compared top tips and tools for conducting a quality looking and sounding live-stream show and ways to start making money.
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Live streaming is the perfect opportunity for brands to take consumers behind the scenes, which piques their interest in the people who make a company come alive.
“Start with the 10x10 framework,” Liu said. “Write down the Top 10 frequently asked questions about your business, product or service. Then jot down the Top 10 should-ask questions — what customers should be asking but they don’t know because you’re the expert.
“When you’ve done the exercise, you’ll have 20 ideas that you can turn into a show,” she said. “Repurpose every broadcast to extend the lifespan of your content — such as a blog recap, Facebook post, Twitter thread, Instagram Story, one-minute video, audiogram, podcast, Quora, YouTube playlist and GIFs.”
She recommended doing live streams of product demonstrations, interviews, promoting live shopping and tutorials.
“It’s time to get creative,” Liu said. “Organize all of those live streams into a single playlist. Viewers can binge watch to learn more about you.
“Once viewers realize that you’re answering frequently asked questions, they’re more likely to ask more questions,” she said. “You can learn more about your audience and even turn your answer into a new episode.”
Krost reinforced how live streaming incorporates marketing.
“It’s the most cost-effective, direct-to-consumer way to engage, educate and empower your community,” she said. “You’ll increase brand and product awareness and sales.”
More industries are embracing live streaming. That includes educational and science content. They take the best advantage of captive, inquisitive audiences.
“With social distancing putting physical events on hold, brands have increasingly turned to live streaming to connect with and create new opportunities for their audiences,” Krost said. “I can’t think of an industry that wouldn’t benefit from live streaming.
“It’s all about grabbing and keeping the attention of your target audience or consumer,” she said. “A Forrester survey found that live videos hold users’ attention 10 to 20 times longer than pre-recorded, on-demand content.”
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Another factor is if a target audience includes millennials or Generation Z.
“Millennials are the largest group of consumers of live content,” Krost said. “Sixty-three percent of people ages 18 to 34 are watching live-streaming content regularly.
“Thank goodness for live streaming,” she said. “I have been able to attend so many weddings, baby announcements, anniversary and birthday celebrations throughout the pandemic.”
Traditional businesses are coming along to the video world.
“Brick-and-mortar stars have started to embrace live shopping,” Liu said. “IAB, which specializes in digital ad marketing, says that ‘shoppable media — such as live streams, social commerce, virtual consultations and shoppable ad formats — will be the fastest-growing advertising categories in the near future.’
“In fact, live stream-generated sales are expected to double to $120 billion worldwide this year,” she said. “Take a look at what’s happening with Amazon Live and Facebook Live Shopping. Have you heard of Facebook Portal? The camera will automatically pan and follow you when you’re live streaming or in a Zoom meeting.”
Hit the targets
Service-based entrepreneurs can use live streaming to connect with their audience and target customers.
“Live streaming is an opportunity where you can answer the questions that your audience has been wondering about in real time,” Liu said. “Use that time to showcase your expertise. Give them an idea on what it’s like to work with you.
“If you’re using Facebook Live, that’s a great opportunity to promote your Calendly link to book Discovery Calls,” she said. “Use the External Link feature in Facebook Live Producer. After every live stream, we always get highly qualified leads. That’s why we use Group Track CRM to follow up and seal the deal.”
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For those who have an active Facebook Group, live streaming inside the group can keep members engaged.
“We usually have our clients promote their biography link when they live stream on Instagram. Easy. Peasy,” Liu said. “Even if someone already asked a question, try explaining in different ways. Use the whiteboard, tell a story or use a metaphor. Show prospects that you are a great problem solver.”
According to Krost, entrepreneurs are great live-stream formats to explore. They include live interviews, questions and answers, behind-the-scene product development, promotions, tutorials, product launch, service launch, educational event, quick tip, do it yourself or demonstration, giveaway, contest, influencer takeover and podcast promotion and recap.
Liu and Krost gave tips and tools to conduct quality looking and sounding live streams.
“Invest in an external webcam, digital single-lens reflex camera and mic,” Liu said. “Most of our clients got their hands on the Elgato Key Lights because they can mount to your desk and save so much space. We often recommend the Rode PodMic.
“More importantly, when you live stream, make sure you’re connected to an ethernet cable,” she said. “Check your internet upload speed to make sure that you have at least 5mbps upload speed. Speedtest is your friend.”
Then there are the final tests.
“Create a run of the show so you hit all the important elements of your broadcast — intro, hook, teaser, bullet points,” Liu said. “I created the Video Script Maker to simplify this process.
“If you can get your hands on the Logitech Brio 4k, that’s all you’d need,” she said. “If you already have a webcam or DSLR, buy them for your clients. They’ll associate you with their new gear every time they use it.”
The equipment has the advantage of simplicity.
“Connecting the DSLR with CamLink is just like plugging in a webcam,” Liu said. “Once it’s connected, just choose the DSLR from the camera options. The quality is amazing.”
- Stream on 30-plus channels at once.
- Customize your dashboard with your branding.
- Share your screen.
- Invite multiple guests.
- Chat with viewers in real time.
- Insert video files.
Bright ideas for lights
“When I got live with Restream, I could record videos and media interviews,” Krost said. “My simple lighting setup goes a long way: one full-stand ring light and one tabletop ring light, both found on Amazon.
“Another tip to make your live broadcasts look a bit more professional is to really take your backdrop into consideration,” she said. “I like to catty-corner my camera to give the backdrop more dimension versus being on a flat wall. It helps to give your frame more depth.”
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The next step is to simultaneously live stream on multiple social media channels.
“Restream lets you stream live to more than 30 social platforms at once,” Liu said. “We broadcast to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
“As a remote live producer, I find the Restream analytics super helpful in telling clients which platform performed the best in terms of engagement and being able to identify their superfans,” she said.
Krost uses Restream for her “C-Sweet” podcast.
“I stream live on Twitter, Facebook personal page, Facebook business page, Linkedin and YouTube all at once,” she said. “Then the live recording saves on my YouTube.”
Live streaming is growing fast. Krost cited a Streaming Media survey that showed live video has grown by 93 percent with an average viewing time of 26.4 minutes per session.
“The length of your live stream should be based on the format or purpose of your broadcast and who your target audience is,” she said.
Liu said that “as long as you can deliver value, tell your audience about your show.” She favors the 4MAT Formula:
- What is your show about?
- Why is it important?
- How will it impact their lives or business?
- What if they can’t tune in? How do they watch the replay?
Finding the right length
“As a Facebook live streamer, we usually recommend going live for 20 minutes to give audiences enough time to see your content in the news feed,” Liu said.
“As for the top-performing live streams, for our clients we find that having an intro, hook and teaser increases engagement,” she said. “That run of the show is super important.”
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In a well-meshed media plan, live streaming can enhance sales.
“If you have a large audience on Facebook, live shopping is a new feature available in the United States and Thailand,” she said. “If you’re a live streamer who wants to leverage affiliate marketing, join the Amazon Influencer program and start doing product reviews of your favorite products.”
According to Krost, live streams are optimal for product placement.
“Storytelling, behind the scenes, tutorials and how-to’s are great ways to engage, inform and excite your audience,” she said. “The end of the live stream is the perfect place to insert the offer.”
These are examples:
- “Book a discovery call”
- “If you would like my help”
- “Click for more”
Although the format is inviting, people slip into miscues when they’re live.
“Don’t use live streaming as a straight-up infomercial or billboard,” Krost said. “This should be an opportunity to story tell, make conversations, inspire, showcase your expertise or product, and share how you, your product or your service is the solution.”
Speak up ahead of time
As good as they might be, productions don’t advertise themselves.
“A big mistake is not promoting your live stream ahead of time,” Liu said. “If people don’t know, they won’t go. I did a presentation on how to launch your live stream and get people buzzing about it before you even launch.
“Don’t rely on channel notifications because the next big product feature can take over the notification alerts,” she said. “Encourage your viewers to sign up for your email newsletter if you have one.”
Liu encourages her audience to subscribe to her company’s calendar events.
“We know that if it’s on their calendar, then they’ve already blocked out time in their schedule,” she said.
Live streams can go on to live many, happy lives.
“A live stream is going to be a long-form piece of content,” Krost said. “Chop up your 20-minute live stream into bite-sized 30- to 60-second clips. These clips could be a quick tip or product feature. Then share them on social media to promote the longer video. It’s more content.”
One of many GIFs
Liu’s company transcribes every live stream using Descript.
“Once the transcription is done, we turn that into a blog post and then create five one-minute videos that can be shared across social media,” she said. “We create GIFs and give them to our guests who love sharing that with their audience. We call it GIF-giving.
“In every episode of Digital Confetti, we share step by step on how to repurpose your content and sprinkle it across the internet,” Liu said.
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“Live streaming is here to stay,” Krost said. “We are only going to get more innovative with the way we use and consume live streaming for our business. The pandemic may have nudged everyone to do it faster, but the demand and viewership is here and ready.”
Liu sees advances — and job openings — on the technical side.
“With more industries embracing live streaming, we are seeing an immediate need for remote live video producers,” she said. “Talented producers can help brands and organizations launch a live stream remotely.”
Those interested in remote live video production can check out Liu’s Showrunner: Secrets from the Set, which includes tips and tricks on how to have a successful live video production.
She added that shoppable videos have higher engagement rates than display advertising and will start to trend, based on an Internet Retailing report. Reportlinker also states that e-learning grew by 36.3 percent in the last year and is expected to continue growing in the near future.
“Let’s not forget about the health and wellness industry,” Liu said. “I love that I can join a Peloton live stream.”
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