Have you noticed that the latest trend to take hold in the world of social media marketing is the use of live streaming videos? Thanks to new live streaming apps, which provide a revolutionary tool to connect and engage customers, business-to-consumer (B2C) companies have rapidly integrated live streaming into their social media campaigns. Although historically slow to adopt social media marketing beyond Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, business-to-business (B2B) companies can also benefit by including live streaming in their social media marketing practices.
With these tools right at your fingertips, live streaming isn’t just for big-budget B2C companies; B2B companies now have the opportunity to be a part of this revolution and even be a driving force behind this new trend to show they aren’t late to the party for everything social.
Using live streaming is easy: All you need is a smartphone and an app. Expensive video equipment or a camera crew are not required. Viewers can also like and comment on videos in real time, allowing immediate feedback and interaction. Because of the simple setup, the videos feel authentic.
Here are 5 ways B2B companies can use live streaming tools for their businesses:
- To provide a behind-the-scenes look at the company. Live streaming is a great way to showcase the company culture and people, and create a valuable tool for human resources.
- To create product announcements, webinars, tutorials, event coverage, Q&As and “how to” videos. All of this content can be easily live-streamed and shared to a wide audience.
- For improved customer service. Many companies are now starting to use live streaming as a free customer service tool.
- To connect with influencers. Most of your industry’s influencers are likely already using live streaming in one way or another. Join their broadcasts and comment to start building a relationship. Live streaming is such a new platform, there isn’t much “noise,” and getting influencer attention may be a lot easier.
- B2B companies can repurpose live-streamed videos by uploading them to their YouTube channels and websites. This allows businesses to build up their video content at a fraction of the cost of professionally created videos.
Meerkat was the first player in live streaming, but the concept didn’t take off until last year, when Twitter and Facebook introduced Periscope and Facebook Live, respectively. This made the field so competitive that Meerkat is now pivoting away from live video, and focusing on becoming a social network instead.
Out of these tools, we think Periscope is the best option for businesses because of its reliable service, wide audience and a feature to save the broadcast for later use. Facebook Live is currently only available for iOS users in the U.S., so its reach is limited; Meerkat is leaving the field due to tough competition, as noted earlier; and YouTube’s live stream service is still in beta.
No matter which tool you decide to use, we recommend testing the service first to see if it’s right for you and your target audience. If you receive positive feedback and your audience grows after a few broadcasts, live streaming is likely a good fit for your business. If you don’t receive the engagement you expected right away, don’t give up just yet; it takes time to build a following on a new platform. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started with live streaming:
- Research when your social media audience is most active, and schedule your broadcasts around that time. This ensures your audience is most engaged during your broadcasts.
- Heavily promote your future broadcasts using all marketing channels, both social and traditional. Since you’re still building up your live stream audience, if you don’t drive traffic from your older channels, you may have very few people tuning in.
- Develop a good topic and a descriptive title. Make sure you deliver value to your audience; otherwise, you’re likely to lose viewers after your first broadcast.
- To maximize the quality of your broadcasts, make sure your connection is good. There’s nothing worse than watching a pixelated video with poor sound.
- Engage with your audience during a broadcast by addressing their questions and comments. This will help your broadcast to get more likes, which may result in organic promotion of your videos.
- Lastly, once the broadcast is over, don’t forget to save it and share it in your other channels. Some viewers may have not been able to join your live stream, so make sure they know they can also watch them at their convenience.
Although live streaming is still new and may not be the right fit for every B2B company, its potential for the majority of B2B businesses is undeniable; we recommend all B2B companies give it a try.