13 Ways Small Businesses Can Leverage Live Video Platforms for Business Growth
As Live video streaming has been becoming a popular web activity, Facebook and YouTube too joined the party by launching Facebook Live and YouTube Connect respectively ( Though YouTube Live was launched way back it was not accessible to the general public till recently ).
Though Google Hangout also enables live video conferencing/meeting – Google+ could neither become a popular social network nor could it generate much interest among public for its live video streaming feature – Google Hangout.
There are many other live video streaming apps/platforms, both paid and free. But, they are not as popular as the ones launched by the Internet giants. Blab is another live video streaming/hang out app (which is gaining popularity) that helps you to interact with closed groups and also general public live.
People across sections – media, businesses, politicians, celebrities, professionals and also the general public, are using these live video streaming platforms effectively.
Do small businesses use these platforms effectively? Some may be leveraging these platforms but we can without doubt say that many are not. This post will give you some tips and ideas to use these platforms effectively to promote your business, connect with your audience and build your brand.
This is a no-brainer – before you go live, always promote your live streaming program/event or activity in advance, aggressively so that people know in advance and be there to watch your live videos. You can promote your live video event through the following ways
• Post about the event across your social accounts/pages and encourage your fans/friends to like and share the post. Also encourage them to invite their friends/relatives to watch the live event.
• Do send emails/SMSes to the loyal customers in your database.
• Distribute pamphlets to customers visiting your business location and also display attractive posters informing about the event at your business location so that visiting customers may read them.
• If it’s a significant event, approach local press/journalists and influencers for coverage.
• Run targeted Google display and Facebook ads for publicity.
These live videos can be recorded, saved and promoted later too.
Choosing the right Platform – Periscope, Facebook Live or YouTube Direct?
Also, choosing the right platform – Periscope, Facebook or Youtube Direct, depends on the nature of your business and the number of fan following you have on each platform. If you have a great fan following on Twitter, then obviously Periscope is the right platform (Periscope videos can be watched live on Twitter) or if you have a strong fan base on Facebook, it makes sense to go live on Facebook. If you have a great YouTube channel with a strong subscriber base, then YouTube Direct is recommended.
If you have a decent fan following on all the platforms and if you have to choose between these three platforms, I would personally recommend Facebook Live as Facebook is the platform of the masses and there is a higher chance of your video going viral or atleast there is a better chance of higher level of engagement which will result in higher visibility comparatively. Facebook may not be the right platform for live streaming only in case of businesses belonging to boring industries such as machinery manufacturing, chemical manufacturing etc. For such businesses LinkedIn is the best bet and LinkedIn is still testing live video streaming with a few influencers – but you can expect them rollout the feature to all users or may be only to all businesses on LinkedIn.
But, if you are a highly active Twitter user or YouTuber with huge fan following and if your nature of business is such that high level of fan engagement happen on Twitter or YouTube compared to Facebook, then you should choose the one that may yield better results – in any case, you are the better judge as you know your business situation better.
1. Make your Loyal Customers Speak about your Business
There may be a loyal group of customers your business may have. Make them speak live about their positive experiences using your service or product or about your excellent customer support. This can be conducted as a program where a moderator can ask the customer questions, make them speak one by one and they can take questions from viewers (viewers can post questions as comments) and answer their queries. The can also give feedback and ideas for improvement. Sounds great, isn’t it? Will the customers agree to be a part of such program? Well, that depends on how deep your relationship with your customers is – it again depends on customer satisfaction. Beyond that, you should give a strong reason for them to take out time and attend the program – how about inviting them for a dinner or a lunch or offer them gifts, discounts or cash backs for being a part of this program? These loyal customers should also invite their friends and relatives to watch the show and also they need to encourage their friends/relatives share about the program across their social accounts. If you can put things together properly, the program may become a big hit and create massive awareness about your business in your target market.
2. Product or Service Review by your Loyal Customer and Influencer
Live streaming In-depth review of your product or service by your long-term customer and social media influencer can be really effective. Find out from your data base, if you are lucky enough to have a long-term customer who is highly active on social media with huge fan following, convince him to review your service or product in-depth and take questions from viewers – such a review by your customer will make your business look very authentic. Again, offering freebies, discounts, gifts etc. is the best way to most probably convince your customer to do a review.
3. Product Demo
Live product demo and interaction with your customers may be a great relationship building exercise and may also generate interest among potential buyers who may view the product demo. Multiple queries may get resolved in a single live video session – you can save a lot of time by reducing the number of one to one demos you give. How can you do this? – You can invite the recent purchasers to attend the live product demo session on a predetermined date and time – may be at the weekend. You can offer benefits to customers who choose to attend this live video demo session and opt out of one to one demo – like say, you can offer one-time free after sales service or a small discount or 5% discount on the next purchase etc.
4. Big Announcements
Create a lot of buzz before the live video session and generate curiosity – make big announcements such as launch of a new product or service, introduction of special offers or contest announcement. The comments and likes you generate will help you spread the word among your target audience.
5. FAQ Session
Invite your audience for a live FAQ session where you’ll answer frequently asked questions – live session will result in address/resolving more questions related to FAQs. Such a session may even help you generate leads.
6. Sharing Interesting stuff about your business
You can live stream your company or business event or show your customers the things happening behind the scenes – like take them to your manufacturing unit or show your fun interaction with your service team etc. or show a sneak peak of an upcoming product.
7. Staff Speak
Ask your employees to speak positively about your business and products/services. Sharing their experiences working with your company or business, sharing positive customer satisfaction stories and also describing things like how your employees’ typical work day look like – these are worthy stories that your customers or potential customers may be interested to listen to. How creatively you organize and conduct the session will be a significant success factor.
8. Host Events/ Conduct Debates/Discussions
If your business location is considered a landmark in your city, say you run a restaurant or a coffee shop or may be a business centre – it’s a great opportunity for you to increase publicity – lend your space for free for local community events – show them live, it may not only increase brand awareness but also could result in more footfalls immediately. Invite subject matter experts, local authorities/ influencers and also local community, moderate or organize a discussion/debate about local issues – show the community participation live. Isn’t it one of the best ways to get free publicity?
9. Live Stream your Busy Business Hours
If you are into the service/hospitality business, say restaurant, coffee shop, business centre, departmental store etc. – you can make a live video of the crowd or people at your business place, make your customers talk about their experience visiting your place and service, have some fun conversations with them.
10. Knowledge sharing
If you are into knowledge-sharing business or technical service business like say, laptop/pc repairing or mobile repairing – you can create live videos and share your knowledge and expertise. You can interact with your audience live and answer their queries.
11. Entertain your audience
How about inviting small-time singers, comedians or speakers and conducting interesting shows at your business location and live stream them? Your audience may love watching such interesting stuff. Try it out!
12. Invite local celebrities or influencers
Invite local celebrities/influencers like bloggers, YouTubers or speakers. Have an informal interview session where they can talk about their work and experiences and also recommend your business to your viewers. It’s a win-win situation where both the parties can promote each other. You may also offer them gifts, discounts, payment for their visit etc.
13. Live stream events and interesting happenings in your locality or city
Live stream events and interesting happenings in your locality or city with a live commentary.
Those who may not be able to attend the event or visit the venue will watch your video and may also share it with their friends. Isn’t it one of the best ways to promote your brand?
There is no limit to creativity – think of more ways to promote your business through these live video platforms. Try out new things, experiment a lot, observe the results and do more of what works. Let the creative juices flow!
If you have more ideas/tips to share, post them in the comment section below.
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