The world of marketing is always evolving, leaving marketers constantly on their toes when it comes to new ways of reaching customers and spreading brand awareness.
And video content has been gaining traction in content marketing.
But when I talk to other entrepreneurs or marketers about live streaming, they brush it off.
They’ll say things like:
“That’s only for video games.”
“People don’t want to see us live stream.”
And while it’s true that video games make up a huge portion of live streaming, it doesn’t mean that it’s only for video game players.
Think about Instagram for a second.
Marketing companies find massive success on Instagram despite not being travel photographers with photos like those that appear in National Geographic.
They amass huge followings despite not being hair and makeup channels.
Just because the platform is very popular for one thing doesn’t mean it can’t work just as well for another.
So pigeonholing methods like live streaming is usually a big mistake.
Especially when the industry is really taking off.
It’s the prime time for live streaming, and if you miss the boat, you could be missing out on huge traffic numbers and the ability to create a viral buzz.
It’s one of the most genuine ways to connect with an audience and allows for levels of personalization that the marketing industry has never seen.
So don’t fall behind the curve. Don’t get stuck in the old ways of doing business.
Here’s why you should care about live streaming in 2018 and how to start implementing it in your marketing strategy.
Live streaming is growing fast
One of the main reasons you should care about live stream is simply due to its huge user base and growing popularity.
The potential to reach thousands (or more) of new customers with the click of a button is becoming a reality.
When tactics like search engine optimization and content marketing are taking up too much time and money, you need a new outlet to drive traffic.
Using live-stream platforms is a nearly free way to drive tons of revenue for your business.
And when it comes down to it, the video live-streaming market is growing at an alarming rate.
In 2016, it was already a more than $30 billion industry and it’s just getting started.
It’s projected to more than double in growth by 2021 to become a more than $70 billion industry.
Live streaming is on the rise, and it continues to grow every single day.
Twitch.tv is one of the biggest live streaming sites in the world right now.
It’s bringing in nearly 10 million active users daily. And those active users are watching for an average of 106 minutes every single day.
On top of that, 81% of Internet users viewed more live-streamed content in 2016 than they did in 2015.
Tons of social media platforms are starting to integrate live streaming, making it even easier to reach customers.
Plus, people of all ages are watching and creating live-streaming videos right now:
In fact, 63% of people ages 18-34 are watching live-streaming content regularly.
Even older target markets like people aged 35-54 are using and creating their own live-stream videos!
Let’s recap a big number: Live streaming is going to be a $70.5 billion industry by 2021.
It’s growing with no signs of slowing down.
If you want to start taking advantage of the incredible, active user groups that are constantly watching live content, you need to get into live streaming.
There are millions of people watching live streaming content daily.
And beyond just the growth of users watching live content, it’s a great way to drive revenue for your business.
Live streaming creates active engagement
In the past few years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the use of standard video.
People are watching more video-based content than ever before.
From mobile phones to tablets, video content is taking over:
And on top of that, live video usage is slowly surpassing standard video-watching trends:
So why should you use live streaming?
To understand why live streaming can be huge for your business, you need to know why people are watching it.
You need to understand why people are tuning in at alarming rates to live streaming content.
And the truth is, people are watching live-streamed content for the same reasons they love TV:
It helps them stay informed on the latest news and events, it helps them get actively connected to companies, and it helps them get excited about your fresh content.
With typical TV subscriptions in decline, it only makes sense that live streaming is the new way to consume content.
It’s the next logical step beyond the static video that we already consume in mass amounts on a daily basis.
And, it’s surpassing TV and static video because of its diverse platforms, the ability to multitask, and the excitement that is generated from live content:
On top of that, live streaming can be great for your business because it allows users to engage with your brand in multiple ways at the same time.
For example, the majority of people who watch live content will use a search engine to search for that content creator:
Even better, viewers will also search for them on social media and engage in email or texting to tell friends about it.
You’re getting your brand out there and engaging with your audience. They are actively learning more about you and they are sharing with their friends.
Live streaming is the new wave of digital communication, content promotion, and content consumption.
If you want to get ahead of the curve, now is the time.
Live streaming can give your company the boost that it needs to grow and reach an even bigger audience.
What platforms should you use?
So, now that I’ve got you on board and you’re interested in using a live stream for your company, it’s time to do a little research.
You know and understand the potential impact that it could have on your growth and brand.
But what platform do you use? There are already dozens of ways to live-stream content.
So which one do you pick? Which ones will give you the best returns?
Here’s a look at the most popular live streaming social media platforms available right now:
Facebook Live reigns supreme as one of the most-watched live streaming platforms on social media today.
It’s even starting to surpass YouTube for live-streaming content.
If you have a great following on your social sites like Facebook and Twitter, you should focus your live-streaming efforts there.
Live streaming is a great way to build an audience. But it definitely helps if you already have an existing audience to gain traction.
While platforms like Twitch are meant mostly for gaming, you can find tons of awesome marketing streams on there, too.
Let’s go a little deeper on how you can utilize Facebook Live and Twitter for live streaming.
Use Facebook for live streaming
Facebook Live is one of the best ways to stream live content and generate a strong brand presence.
It’s no secret that Facebook has an incredibly large user base, making it one of the best platforms for advertising and content promotion.
In fact, they have billions of monthly active users:
This means that you can reach tons of people on the Facebook platform by using live video content.
And if you want to stay competitive with the top media publishers and competitors, you need to be publishing live videos on Facebook:
Just take a look at the engagement statistics for Facebook Live. They are incredible.
People spend 3x more time watching live-streamed content than they do watching non-live videos:
Live-video content generates more comments, shares, engagements and viewing time than standard video.
And the great news is that any company can take advantage of it.
You can do almost anything with live videos from live webinars, behind-the-scenes videos, and more.
Just look at how HubSpot has taken advantage of Facebook Live streaming in their own marketing strategy:
They first set up notifications and posts that informed people that they would be going live at a specific time.
Next, they started their live stream!
They ended up driving more than 5,000 views on that event alone:
Another amazing example of companies using Facebook Live to build an engaged audience comes from Benefit Cosmetics:
They turned a weekly live show on their Facebook page into an opportunity to pull in a massive audience.
They draw more than 25,000 views on every single show!
It’s become a new type of television show for viewers who are now hyper-engaged and excited for updated content.
They get hundreds or even thousands of shares and countless comments, too.
They’ve successfully been able to grow their brand exponentially with the use of live video.
So, how do you start streaming on Facebook Live today?
There are multiple ways you can go live on Facebook right now. You can do it straight from your phone or even from a computer.
If you want to go live from your brand page, head to the Facebook Live Map.
Here, you can see all of the people going live around the world.
If you want to run live video from your computer, simply click “Go Live” in the right-hand corner:
From here, you can directly connect a computer or external camera:
Then, you can start to configure your settings:
For example, you can share the live broadcast with specific groups of people.
By picking this option, you could create a live webinar group and only show that live video to people in the group.
Or, you could show the live video in a specific event.
You can also connect an external camera and microphone for a show, webinar, or any style of video that you want!
The options are incredibly diverse, and it’s also very easy to do on mobile, too.
Load up your mobile application and click “Live” from the options of sharing a post:
Now you can go live directly from your phone and share behind the scenes content of your company:
It is an exceptional way to bring authenticity to your brand.
Showcase events that are happening during the day or any cool clips of your business.
It helps to build trust and transparency and to connect users to your brand.
HubSpot has found great success using it as a way to promote and share live webinars.
They’ve run dozens of live videos on various hot topics in the digital marketing community.
Use Facebook Live as a tool to bring in more fans and drive more traffic to your page and website.
Use Twitter for live streaming
Live video produced on Twitter’s platform in Q4 of 2016 drew 31 million unique viewers.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, Twitter saw some struggles with growth and revenue.
They are getting crushed by platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which now hold the mass majority of the social media market share.
More people are using Instagram and Facebook than ever before. And this means there are fewer and fewer users on Twitter.
But with the integration of live streaming directly into Twitter, the site has seen a resurgence in growth.
Twitter’s content creators streamed more than 600 hours of live content in Q4 of 2016.
And some of the best brands are already taking advantage of Twitter’s live-stream platform:
Buffer has nearly 60 live broadcast videos on Twitter to date.
They post great videos that are natural and cost almost nothing.
Using just an iPhone, they have been able to drive thousands of visitors to their streams.
Meaning they’ve spent almost no money on production, lighting, or special camera equipment to draw visitors in.
To find a brand’s live broadcasts, simply head to their Twitter profile and click the “Watch LIVE” button:
And Buffer isn’t the only marketing brand that is starting to take advantage of live-video views for promotion.
Marketo has done an excellent job of using Twitter’s live-streaming service to drive traffic to their social profiles:
Marketo has posted 21 live videos and generated thousands of hits.
They host guests on their live broadcasts and use the platform as a way to provide more transparent information about their business and marketing in general.
And getting started with Twitter broadcasting is easier than ever.
Any company looking to take advantage of this growing medium can get going immediately.
You can create live videos directly from your phone simply using the standard, stock Twitter application.
First, click on the compose button in the top right-hand corner:
From here, you can easily select “Live” as your choice of Tweet instead of the standard text and photo options:
Then, type in what the live stream will focus on and hit “Go LIVE:”
And that’s it! You will be up-and-running in just a few seconds.
It’s by far one of the easiest and simplest live-streaming platforms available on social media.
I recommend it for sharing behind-the-scenes footage of your office or even doing simple question-and-answer videos.
It is my all-time favorite live streaming tool for personal interaction.
Speak directly to your viewers and allow them to ask questions on topics that concern them.
For example, host a Q&A about your business expertise.
If your agency focuses on search engine optimization, allow users to ask questions about SEO and help them solve these issues.
It’s a stellar way to drive brand awareness and build an engaged, loyal following.
Marketing tactics fade over time like everything else.
Consumer behavior changes, new technologies emerge, and old ones die out.
We need to constantly be on the lookout for new forms of reaching customers and building a brand presence.
So it’s important to pay attention to live video.
It’s not just for video games anymore.
Live streaming is accessible and beneficial to everyone, and it’s time you started using it.
Why? For one, the growth of the live-streaming industry is almost unprecedented, and you don’t want to be left behind, risking huge potential to grow your business.
And luckily, it’s not that hard to implement. Any brand can start live streaming immediately.
So start using platforms like Facebook to grow your audience.
It has more than two billion monthly active users, meaning there is a big potential for growth.
Or consider using Twitter to get more behind-the-scenes live videos that show a natural brand presence.
Find a platform that works for you and then jump on it. Because you don’t want to miss the boat on live streaming.
Live streaming is the future of video content, and it’s only going to continue to grow through 2018.
How have you found success building your brand with live streaming?