Earlier this year, two live streaming apps were launched within days of each other – Meerkat and Periscope.
What was thought to be an overnight sensation has now caught the attention of the media, tech, and music industries as well as various high profile celebrities, who are finding creative and engaging ways to tell their story through live streaming.
Although the live streaming apps have yet to gain cult status – from a business perspective, just like Snapchat, live streaming certainly has the potential to be a beneficial tool.
Grows your audience
Streaming live events gives access to consumers who otherwise wouldn’t have participated. For example, Apple recently announced the iPhone 5 at a conference that was live streamed. This allowed consumers from all over the nation that couldn’t attend the event and may have not been near a TV to tune in with the announcement. How’s that for audience growth?
Of course, a huge benefit is that it saves your company a lot of money. When hosting a live event, consider the cost of travel, accommodation and all the other expenses associated with it. Live streaming from a familiar place such as your office or your home removes those costs and is actually more beneficial if you can reach a larger audience.
Increases consumer engagement
By coming face to face with your audience, you are humanizing yourself and connecting with your customers. By allowing them to comment or ask questions, you are engaging, which provides a wealth of benefits, including but not limited to consumer loyalty.
Increases consumer trust
Letting customers see behind the scenes helps them see you for what you really are. You’re not pretending to be perfect, you’re being you. Consumers appreciate this and respond to it with warmth and trust. No brand is perfect. Remember that.
It’s important to consider whether this form of communication is right for your brand, and then determine how you could best utilize it. Meerkat and Periscope’s primary users are aged 18 – 34. If your audience is way out of this age group, then it may not be worth it for you. Otherwise, there are a variety of ways you can use live streaming to deliver engaging content.
A great way to use live streaming is to show demonstrations of products or services. Real estate agent Coastal Luxury did something similar – they gave viewers a tour of a mansion that was on sale – killing two birds with one stone.
Possibly the best form of content is exclusive content. Give consumers more access. Show them behind the scenes or give them sneak peeks of product launches to come. Not only does this help to increase trust with your followers, it also makes them feel valued and creates a kind of intimacy that is rare amongst consumers and brands.
Streaming live events that your consumers may never see otherwise is a great way to reward your followers. They’ll appreciate it too, and probably re-tweet it if it’s something they really enjoy. It’s a great way to get their attention. Red Bull regularly streams live events, the most recent being the snowboarding trials they sponsor.
Q & A’s
A great way to utilize the service is to offer your customers and followers the chance for their questions to be answered, especially if it’s by someone important and not just some customer service guy who hates his job. Putting yourself on the line like this may be scary, but will help you gain respect from your customers, and of course, increase trust.
Both Meerkat and Periscope are cheap and easy tools to use, with little risk and resources needed to give them a go. So at the very least it’s worth experimenting with, even if it’s just to see if you have an interested audience. If it takes off, you’ll certainly be rewarded in one way or another.