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With the skyrocketing popularity of live video broadcasting, the year 2016 has confirmed that video content is king on social media. Companies across the globe are increasingly using the technology to reach fans, support customers and generate leads in innovative new ways.
To be sure, live video streaming is a game-changing tool for corporate content marketing, and it has revolutionized the way brands produce content, and customers consume it. It allows content to be transmitted or received in real time without needing any expensive tools to broadcast. The beauty of it is the accessibility you have on any mobile device to stream.
If you’re not using live streaming as a marketing tool, you should be. Here are some ideas and tactics to get you started:
Three types of events to stream
1. Live events: People on social media like to feel connected to friends, family, and the brands they’ve grown to love. Sharing live events with your followers allows them to see you and your company in a new light.
During a live event, you can highlight several on-site locations, while creating an experience for your audience. Don’t be afraid to walk around the event to show the location atmosphere. After all, you become the eyes and ears for your live stream viewers.
Real estate agents should consider live streaming from open houses. By showcasing the property, neighborhood, and other additional features, you will provide a virtual walk-through to several potential buyers at once. You’ll also share your insights and key features about the property with viewers in real time. And as an added benefit, live streaming at the property also demonstrates what great cellphone reception there is on site.
Mortgage professionals should consider showcasing their service and expertise by streaming from conferences or other events or meetings. If you are hosting a booth, show viewers at home how you’re engaging with attendees.
Lastly, live streaming gives you the opportunity to broadcast breaking company news with the masses. You position yourself and company as a go-to source of information whenever there is a change in the company or industry.
2. Host interviews and panel discussions: Consider hosting interviews with company employees, clients or guests that features their expertise and builds trust in your brand. Panel discussions and interviews allow viewers to experience several professional points of view in one content package. Not only are you answering questions and sharing their wisdom and skills, you’re also gaining intel on the types of questions your customer base wants answered, which leads to future content opportunities.
3. Behind the scenes: “Behind the scenes” broadcasts from your company can be a powerful, brand-building tool. You’ll give customers an inside look at the people who serve them, and the internal culture that defines the ideals of your company. Whether it’s showing them how products are created or the faces of customer service representatives, you are painting a visual story that humanizes the company and builds trust in your brand. These broadcasts are a perfect way to promote products or company announcements, which provides your audience with exclusive information before the news goes public.
Platforms offering live streaming
Many social media platforms now offer video streaming from their mobile apps. You should always use the platform that provides you with the largest audience, and the most consumer engagement potential. Your options include:
1. Facebook Live: This feature can be used from any personal or business page. When broadcasting, Facebook Live lets everyone in your network see your video on the page’s newsfeed. Viewers can submit comments and reactions as you’re streaming. After the segment is over, the video lives on your page for a greater viewer reach.
2. Periscope: Owned by Twitter, this app allows you to create a channel where you can follow and be followed by users around the globe. When you go live, your followers are instantly notified. The app gives you the option to broadcast publicly or privately to specific people. Once the live stream is over, the replay becomes available for 24 hours for those who missed it.
3. Meerkat: With the press of a button, you can stream a video from your cellphone to anywhere. Your followers are informed about the stream through a push notification. Your content gets stored in the app library after the stream is over. Followers can watch, comment and re-share any streams to their followers in real-time.
Preparing for a live broadcast
When live streaming any event, it is important to consider a few things.
1. Before the live stream: When setting up for any live event, the most important thing to look for is a strong cellphone connection, through Wi-Fi or cellphone data. Weak connectivity will result in a poor broadcast. It is also helpful to have a phone tripod or selfie stick you can use to steady your phone and prevent a shaky video. And lastly, lighting is vital. It changes whether you are filming indoors in a dimly lit setting or outside where the sun’s brightness may create shadows on what’s being captured.
2. During the live stream: While you are streaming live, you will be able to interact with viewers. You can keep track of how many people are viewing your content. Also, pay close attention to incoming comments and reactions. If a question stands out, it’s best to address the person by name and answer their question live instead of typing it. The reactions will help determine how people feel about the content.
3. After the live stream: After the broadcast is over, review any unanswered questions and reply back. Depending on which platform you use, the life of the video can vary. If you are using Facebook Live, you can export the video to your phone, save it and share it on other platforms.
Streaming video content allows you a new way to reach your audience and create brand exposure like never before. The restrictions on customer interaction are lifted and you have the opportunity to provide personalized, real time content. You put a face to the brand and the company becomes personable. Implementing live stream into your marketing strategy is important for connecting to the next generation of customers and for the future of your business.
Cindy Medrano is social media coordinator for the National Notary Association (NNA) in Los Angeles, which serves America’s 4.4 million notaries. Her core responsibilities focus on growing the association’s digital marketing strategy using social media, search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing. She may be reached by e-mail at [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the July 2016 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.