I recently saw a comedy where the world was watching on the edge of their seats as superheroes battled to save the planet. The joke was that people were watching it via a bystander’s Facebook Live stream.
This is telling. Live video has gone from a niche technology to one of the most promising new tech trends in 2018. Smart businesses are adopting live video, alternately known as interactive broadcasting, and putting it to use in a variety of ways. Here are five ideas for how you might be able to incorporate the technology into your small business marketing strategy.
Getting customers to adopt a product or service can be a challenge, especially if it is unique or hard to articulate. One way you can spur adoption is through offering live product trainings that walk customers and potential customers through typical or advanced use cases. This helps both potential and current customers to learn your product or service, and it also helps as a sales tool.
“Show, don’t tell,” says Tony Zhao, founder of Agora.io, an interactive broadcasting tech developer for SMBs. “When you walk users through a use case with live video, you not only make it easy to understand, but you also give room for customers to interact and ask questions that helps solidify learning.”
Standing out from the competition is hard, especially for small businesses that don’t have a well-established brand. While there are many different ways that marketers suggest businesses can overcome this problem, one of the most effective right now is leading through live video.
Thought leadership through live video can take many forms. It could be live events that your company creates and then opens up to customers online via live video, or you can take your customers to industry trade shows like the Computer Electronics Show through live video. The interactive component of live video means that your viewers can feel like they’re there, too, because they can help guide your broadcasts and request in real time what you should focus on.
Right now my friend’s small business has a sale going on. The sale is great, but it isn’t getting traction because nobody knows about it. One way to overcome this issue and draw attention to sales and promotional offerings is to create a live event around it.
With live video, an otherwise normal promotion becomes an “event” that your customers are much more likely to tune into. Just like the Home Shopping Network, you can not only highlight the product—but you also can show it off and let buyers ask questions in real-time before they make a purchase.
This provides social proof that helps with sales, and creates a sense of urgency.
Putting on a perfect front doesn’t work any longer. If your business isn’t authentic and real, buyers are turned off. This is a truth especially among Millennial consumers who have been raised in a world saturated with marketing messages. Authenticity matters—a lot.
Live video can help give your business a more transparent connection with customers. You can use live video to give customers behind-the-scenes access to your employees and your work environment. This creates an authentic connection with customers and shows that your business is made up of people, not just a website or automation software.
“In the shift to visual communication, video is becoming the medium of choice for marketers. Third-party research predicts that 75 percent of all data will be video by 2020,” says Instagram’s director of marketing, Jim Squires. “With new features like live video, businesses can connect with customers in real-time and take viewers behind the scenes of their business.”
Every business knows they should be doing content marketing. The problem is that content marketing requires a lot of work; it isn’t easy to write blog posts and create videos for marketing, sales and thought leadership on an ongoing basis.
You can use live video to get around this challenge.
That’s because live video can largely be created by the viewers. Instead of having to develop a presentation or write an article, all your business needs to do is pick a topic and go live. Then you can let viewer questions guide your on-air talent. That lowers the bar for content creation significantly, while delivering exactly the content that your audience wants.
Asian firms are doing this with great success in China, where live video is a $5 billion dollar business. Smart businesses in the US are starting to copy the Chinese model and do the same for easy content marketing.
So if you’re not already using live video in your business, now’s the time. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate the technology into your sales, marketing and customer support operations, and it is a relatively cheap technology that can be used for stunning results.