If you’ve been relying solely on images and pre-recorded videos to impress your audience, consider enhancing your marketing strategy with live content. Live streams are surging in popularity. In 2018, the global video streaming market reached a value of roughly $38 billion. By 2026, it’s expected to top $149 billion, according to Valuates Reports

Live Content: Going Live on Instagram

What’s Fueling the Popularity of Live Content?

Live video content comes with a slew of benefits that are hard for marketers to pass up. Here are just a few of those advantages:

 

High Engagement

Live streamers interact with audiences in real time. This provides an opportunity for live, unscripted communication and gives the audience a more personal experience. 

 

Builds a Brand Community

Repeatedly engaging your audience will help create a community around your brand. Loyal viewers will look forward to your next broadcast, and you might even begin to notice familiar names in the stream chat. On top of that, viewers can respond to one another in the chat. 

 

Cost Effective and Time Efficient

Live streamers may need to spend money on equipment such as a high-quality microphone or smartphone with a camera. But there’s no need to buy video editing software or spend time adding special effects. If you do have video editing software, you can repurpose parts of your stream. 

 

Tips for High-Quality Live Streams

Anyone who has watched a live television feed recognizes that live content does come with one big downside: unpredictability. From trolls in your chat room to stage fright to technical hiccups with your camera, various factors can derail a live stream. Some careful preparations can help you reduce unpredictability, while still coming off as personable and trustworthy. Use the following tips to ensure your live content impresses your audience.

 

Simplify

Whether it’s a microphone or a camera, you want to ensure your equipment is up to par. But resist the temptation to add too many gadgets to your setup. More equipment means more chances for technical difficulties to arise.

 

Work on Your Stage Presence 

Keep your eyes on the camera as much as possible. Many novice streamers make the mistake of staring at themselves on the monitor, rather than addressing the audience. Make sure you’re sitting comfortably throughout the stream too. Good posture will make you look confident, and a smile can make you come off as trustworthy and engaged. In other words — act like you’re giving an in-person presentation to an audience. 

 

Engage

You might think of live streams as a one-way channel of communication. You’re simply talking to your audience. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, especially when viewers can respond to you in a chat box. Take some time to scan the comments and respond in real time when appropriate. This creates a more engaging, conversational experience for viewers. Don’t feel pressured to reply to absolutely everything. Just acknowledge the comments that really stand out to you and answer questions that seem important.

 

Test Your Stream Beforehand

Use a secondary account or ask a trusted friend to view your stream before you open it up to the public. This gives you time to ensure there’s no issue with your audio, video or bandwidth. 

 

Reconsider Your Backdrop

Does your background match your content? An office background gives your stream a professional vibe. Or maybe you want to show off some of your pop culture posters in the background of a gaming stream. Whatever backdrop you decide on, make sure it complements your content. 

 

Stick to a Rough Script   

A live stream isn’t the time to try out an improv act (unless your audience expects it). Instead, have a goal and plan in mind. You don’t necessarily need to have an entire script written out, but it helps to set expectations beforehand. Here are some common live stream formats to consider:

 

  • Live Q&A: Write down some common questions you receive on social media, and then use the live stream to answer those questions. You can also encourage viewers to post questions in the chat for you to address.
  • Product Demo: Use the stream to unbox and show off a new product. Teach viewers how to use the product, explain some of its benefits and talk about what inspired its creation. 
  • Interview: Interview an industry expert to educate your audience and build credibility. Have some questions prepared beforehand. You can even pitch some audience questions to the interviewee. 
  • Behind the Scenes: For a personal touch, invite viewers behind-the-scenes to see your brand at work. Show off your office space, talk to team members and offer insight on your creative processes.
  • Contests: Increase engagement by promoting a contest or giveaway on social media. Then, use a live stream to announce the winners. If you’re giving away a free product, you can also use the live stream to promote the product’s features.

 

Exploring Streaming Platforms  

Most of the major social media platforms offer live streaming capabilities. Here’s a brief overview of some of your options. 

 

Twitch: Twitch, which officially debuted in 2011, is one of the most successful live streaming platforms. It’s especially popular with gamers. However, the Amazon-owned platform also allows streamers to share content related to everything from fitness and travel to crafting and body art. Twitch is expected to reach 47 million monthly active viewers by 2023, according to eMarketer.

 

Instagram Live Rooms: Instagram began offering users live video capabilities back in 2016. Videos could be shared via Stories and would disappear after the broadcast ended. In 2021, Instagram added its Live Rooms feature. The feature allows you to host a live stream with three other broadcasters. The audience will see your faces displayed at once. This allows for more collaborative content, such as Q&A sessions or talk show-style streams. 

 

Clubhouse: This invitation-only platform launched in 2020. Clubhouse allows for live, audio-only conversations. Once the conversation ends, the platform doesn’t keep a recording of the session. You can think of these sessions as very exclusive conference calls or live radio shows. 

Other platforms for live streaming content include Facebook Live, Periscope and YouTube Live. Even TikTok, which puts emphasis on short video content, has a live stream feature. Get to know the capabilities, limitations and guidelines of each service before going live.

 No matter which platform you use, promoting the event is a vital step. If you forget to share the time and link, or neglect to hype up the event, you’ll likely be addressing a small audience. Use multiple platforms to spread the word — even social media channels you don’t stream on. For example, mention your Twitch stream in a YouTube video, or let your Twitter followers know about your Instagram Live Room. 

You can also rely on social media influencers to direct traffic to your streams. Popular influencers already have large audiences of their own, and if they vouch for your live event, their followers may become your followers. Social media influencers can also take on the role of stream co-hosts or interviewees.

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