Brandcasting: How Can Your Business Benefit From Live Streaming?

Now that we're almost three-quarters of the way through the year, it seems safe to say that live streaming will be the defining social media story of 2015. From the SXSW-inspired madness surrounding Meerkat, through the more refined, Twitter-backed app experience of Periscope and recent feature announcements from Facebook and Samsung/YouTube, streaming live video to a highly engaged, albeit early adopter audience is the latest piece of the online marketing puzzle. For brand managers this poses a familiar decision: should you get in while the channel is new, exciting and, most importantly, inexpensive, or wait to see if this is just another fad? It might be too early to coin a phrase, but don't be surprised to hear the term "brandcasting" popping out of marketing mouths a lot as we enter 2016. Periscope live streaming

Where to Start With Live Streaming Social Media

Familiarity is by far the most effective way to make an informed decision on what any social media platform is worth to your business, so the sensible first step is to create a personal profile and dive right in. This will take some of your valuable time, but you can keep the results within a walled garden that doesn't affect your brand, at least until you learn more about whether live streaming is a good fit. Live streaming works especially well when you're willing to "lift the lid" on your company. Think of this as backstage access for your followers - or perhaps a behind-the-scenes documentary - where you need to give the viewers something they can't see on your website or other social networks. Here are some ideas to test with your early live streams:
  • Introduce a staff member or section of your business. Keep it short, sweet, and packed full of fun!
  • Give a brief tour of your facility or office. Plan your route and time before you do this, so that there's something interesting for your viewers to see.
  • Broadcast unboxing videos of new technology your team will use, or simply cool new things that your business is about to offer.
  • Celebrate a brithday or work anniversary and invite your followers to join the party.
  • Hold scheduled (or even impromptu) question sessions, where customers can ask about their purchase and potential buyers can add to their research in real time.
  • Demonstrate the most effective ways to use your product or offer hacks, tips and tricks that will help customers get more out of it.
  • Offer customers the inside track on new products, services, and press releases, before they hit the traditional news wires.
  • Broadcast live from trade shows, seminars, and any other event that has relevance for your industry and audience.
  Although these points offer you a place to start, the best way to get going with any new form of social media is to simply dive in. Figure out how to use the various platforms, learn the interface, choose which one you prefer and start to stream content direct to potential customers. When YouTube began, it's tag line was "Broadcast Yourself." Spend a little time on Periscope, Meerkat, or any of the other competitors who spring up in the months to come, and there's every chance you'll feel the unofficial  tag line of live streaming services should be "Broadcast Your Business."

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