Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram all introduced live video streaming to their platforms in 2016. The result? A 600 percent increase in live video streaming. As such, it’s pretty much a given that video marketing should be a part of any smart business’ integrated marketing strategy in the year ahead. What’s exciting about live-streaming video is that it levels the playing field: Anyone can do it. Small to mid-sized businesses can do as many amazing things with it as large brands and, in many instances, more.

Want to capitalize on live video for your business? Here are some ways you can do that:

    Give behind-the-scenes access. There are many examples of how you can use behind-the-scenes access to make your target audience feel like a guest at a special event. For instance, The Tonight Show showed behind-the-scene footages using Facebook Live, making their guests feel like they were backstage, where all the action was happening. Target used live-streaming to reveal exciting new design partnerships, and Marc Jacobs used Facebook Live to allow fans a peek at its 2016 line.

    Want to take it local? A Pilates studio owner regularly uses Twitter’s live video to showcase snippets of Reformer workouts so that people interested in Pilates can get a behind-the-curtain glimpse at what Reformer Pilates is all about. This behind-the-scenes glimpse is designed to tempt new prospects to not be afraid of trying out a new workout and to help build a customer base.

    These tactics all help personalize a brand and make it seem less like a faceless organization and more like a company that’s human, fun, and doing interesting things that they want to make you a part of. For consumers, that’s a heady feeling—and it when it comes to fostering and nurturing brand loyalty, it works.

    Broadcast live events. Planning a broadcasted live event can create a conversation around your brand and give users a limited time to see something special. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube, live streaming video is a powerful component to add to your live events.

    Leverage live video when your team is doing presentations, performances, product demonstrations, or even speaking at conferences can be very interesting to customers and prospects. The sky is the limit here on the things you could experiment with.

    Provide daily updates. Daily updates allow users to feel connected to your business in a more personal way—especially if they see real people talking. If you’re a small local business, announce a special deal or opportunity by way of live video and feature the winner in your other marketing efforts. By doing daily updates on a regular basis and having fun prizes and giveaways, or special guests that are features give your customers a reason to want to tune in to what you’re doing and to watch for your video.

    Give announcements. Live streaming is the perfect way to announce something momentous—like a breaking news alert. Product announcements, company news, or upcoming changes to the business are great to stream because users feel like they have exclusive access. Be careful, however; overused, this will lose its power.

    Consider the connection between social media and television. If your company runs ads on television, consider airing them simultaneously with videos on social media. People often watch TV and check their social feeds at the same time. When they see something that interests them on television, they may search for a hashtag or product on social media. Small to medium-sized businesses can target different audiences and run ads and share videos at the same time for bigger reach. Skoda, a Czech automaker, saw a 50 percent increase in click throughs using this technique. You could also consider live streaming a video during a competitors’ television commercials.

Research First

Before live-streaming an event, be sure to spend time making sure you understand your audience. What social media platforms are they on? Would they understand the significance of the broadcast? Consider what kinds of streams would attract your target audience and where they are most likely to see them. Facebook Live is pretty much a given these days, and Instagram is popular as well. For some, YouTube remains the most attractive channel. Make sure you understand the nuances of your target audience, and their channel preferences, and then target them with the right media in the right channel.

Live-Streaming is But One Part of an Integrated Marketing Strategy

What’s most important to remember is that while live-streaming is awesome, and can deliver much value, it’s really just one tool to be used in your integrated marketing strategy in order reach both your prospective customers and existing customers. Video content streamed live should be part of a larger strategy that includes a strong web presence, quality content, a solid social media presence, attention to search engine optimization, and connecting what you’re doing online with what you’re doing off line from a marketing standpoint. What about your company and live video? Are you using it at all yet or maybe thinking about it as we head into a new year? If you’re already using live video and have any success stories to share, we’d love to hear them.