The time is now, literally right this very moment, that you can be engaging with your followers, with your ideal customer, and with your current customers live on social media.
What exactly is social media live streaming and how can it be used in the B2B space?
Live streaming is the art and act of reaching your audience on social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram in real-time. Live streaming can come in the form of video and/or audio content. The benefits of social media live are plentiful:
- Real-time engagement is by far the most obvious benefit of social media live streaming. This means that instead of publishing content and waiting for someone to comment or engage with your post down the road, you can actually have a two-way conversation with your audience in real-time. Some platforms (covered below) have Q/A systems built right into the live stream software, others let you leverage the comments being posted on the live stream post to be fed live within the feed as well.
- Higher engagement rates than pre-recorded video. The data doesn’t lie and you can see that live video streams receive higher engagements than any other video or static image posts. A research algorithm report conducted by Richard van der Blom and Just Connecting published in September 2021 stated that “LinkedIn Live receives up to 20 times more comments than native video and up to 6 times more likes than native video”
- The opportunity to turn warm leads into hot leads has been proven to happen time and time again with live streaming. Sometimes these events take hours and if you have someone staying on for the entire duration, you know you have a hot lead in front of you that is soaking up all of your goodness.
- Low investment to get started. You don’t need a ton of video production tools or software to get started (more covered on that topic below) and the time investment is really your topic prep time, time to promote and actual time to go live!
"Live streaming audio is on a tear.” - at least that’s what Forbes Business Council member noted in this article Top 8 B2B Social Media Trends in 2022. In general, live streaming is one of the fastest-growing types of content to be produced.
Live Formats and Platforms
What technology and devices are required in order to do live streaming on social media channels? Great question, as you can imagine, there are a lot of options out there with new tools and resources showing up every day.
As mentioned previously, you don’t need to make a significant investment and can actually use your mobile device or a webcam to live stream. Lighting and sound will play a factor in the overall quality of the experience provided, but if you make sure you are in a well-lit area with minimal background noise, you should be good to go. This Get Started with Audio & Video Casting guide has recommended equipment and a get started checklist.
The top platforms available include:
Zoom - If you are in business, you’ve likely been on Zoom once or twice in the past year… OR daily, like me. Did you know that you can Live stream to Facebook right from your Zoom account? This could be your business account or your personal account.
Restream - You can simultaneously stream your live video to 30+ channels (including LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter) and have guests on as well. Free and paid options are available.
ManyCam - Allows you to control multiple camera views, add guests and customize enhancements such as images and text on your livestream while simultaneously pushing your video to multiple channels including Facebook and YouTube.
And what about some things to know about the different channel options.
LinkedIn - In order to officially go live on LinkedIn, you first need to apply in order to stream video content to this platform. It’s easy and free to apply
YouTube - As its primary content is indeed video, they’ve created nice YouTube Live Streaming resources to help educate leveraging their live services. You only need an account to get started, and that’s free!
Facebook - You simply need an account in order to go live here as well. You can use a personal account or a business account. Tips for using Facebook Live.
Instagram - Since Facebook owns Instagram, the process is very similar and actually you can simultaneously go live on both channels leveraging just one of your accounts. There are tons of resources on their website. Check out this one for starters: How do I start a live broadcast on Instagram?
Let’s make the most of the live experience for everyone involved.
Here’s a punch list of best practices for:
The host -
- Check your equipment well in advance. This includes your microphone, lighting, sound, computer, software, all of it. Make sure your internet or WiFi connection is strong.
- If filming outside, be aware of where the sun is positioned. Avoid any glares if possible.
- Consider wearing a solid color shirt, minimize patterns or stripes.
- Consider having multiple camera points to add variety for your viewers.
- Create a checklist of your set-up items
- Map out the flow of the show and have that in front of you or easily accessible during the show
- Promote your live event in advance to maximize exposure and awareness
- Have a clear call to action
- Make time for Q/A
The guest(s) -
- Give them a heads up on what to expect
- Ask them to arrive 10 - 15 minutes before officially going live
- Consider doing a practice run or pre-show warm-up
- Give them tips for the best experience
- Confirm how to say their name in advance of going live
The participants/viewers/followers -
- Engage with the viewers - have some questions or prompts ready to address. Start simple with “where are you from” or ask for a fun fact. Plan to ask or engage the audience on a consistent basis throughout the live.
- Encourage your viewers to share the live stream
- Encourage your audience to add tips and resources in the chat
There are so many different purposes for live streaming. Some include...
- Webinars (we’ve been live streaming our webinars on Facebook for a while now)
- Interviews, especially with influencers (leverage their audience)
- Virtual Trade Shows - I’ve seen this done as an alternative to the in-person trade shows due to Covid19
- Promote an event - stream the keynote, build up the hype for an in-person event
- Celebrate big milestones
- Attract talent to your team
- Demonstrate how to do something
- Highlight a new product launch
- Hold Q/A sessions
- Behind the scenes
And the best part is you can repurpose that content after it's done. Don’t just think that the information you are publishing is gone and over with. For every 30-seconds of content you’ve aired, you can create another piece of social media content. Ask yourself “Why you should be repurposing content?” Well, the simple answer is that it makes your life easier and lets your message last a lot longer. Consider pulling the transcript from your live video and converting it into a blog post, or pulling the audio file and uploading it as a podcast, the opportunities to keep your audience engaged with your powerful message are wide.
Now, go make that live video! Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge and expertise with your audience.