You’ve heard all the chatter about live-streaming video lately. Every marketing agency, guru, and trainer has come out of the woodwork the past couple of months to stress the importance of live streaming video for your business.
It’s true! Your business should be doing live video.
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In today’s digital and busy age, consumers want to see video and live-streaming. More accurately, they need video in order to hold their interest.
In order to begin reaping the benefits of live streaming, you need to be aware of 7 things to examine and prepare for before getting started.
Fancy equipment is not required to do live streaming.
The best part about live streaming video for your business is that no fancy equipment besides your cell phone is required to get started. Unlike professional videos for YouTube and/or your website, live streaming requires far less technology to make an impact.
Many live streamers eventually invest in equipment to enhance the viewing experience. If you’d like to go big before you get start, check out popular equipment other live-streamers use:
- A USB microphone, such as the Yeti microphone developed by Blue. Just easily plug the microphone into your laptop’s USB port and look cool while you stream.
- A camera designed specifically for live-streaming, such as Mevo. Set up the small camera, let it film, and use your phone to edit the footage mid-stream
- Three-point lighting. The difference between a good and bad photo, video, or live-stream is the lighting! Kits can be expensive, but learn how to rig up your own lighting here with LifeHacker’s tips.
- A backdrop. While you may just prefer the wall of your office, a whiteboard, or the driver’s seat of your car as your live-stream backdrop (I’ve done all 3), you can also get a little more professional or creative with a backdrop from Society6.
Depending on what you are filming and where, such equipment is helpful but is not necessary, especially if you are just starting out. I have filmed live streams from a car parking lot many times. And to be honest, they got no fewer views. Which brings me to my next point.
It doesn’t have to be perfect
While you do need to be presentable, live-streaming does not require full-on makeup nor a suit and tie. There is also no problem with conducting a quick live-stream while walking on the street, sitting in your car, or, if you prefer - while fully prepared in your office with fun-to-use equipment. The choice is yours!
The main point of live streaming is to be real. Viewers want to see you and your business in your day-to-day life, behind the scenes. Save the stuffiness and scripted audio for professional videos. Live-streaming is your chance to relax and show off your personality, even for a brief moment!
Short and sweet? Even better!
Live-stream videos vary in length. Since the point of them is to “keep it real,” the last thing you want to do is a conduct a full-length presentation with cliff notes and everything.
If you have a few minutes in between clients or tasks, live-streaming is a great tool to quickly get some traction online. Your video can be short and sweet or long and informative.
However, keep in mind the attention-span conundrum of our consumers. Unless your live-stream is jam-packed with something incredibly exciting, your best bet is to keep it short and sweet so as to not lose viewers. Short and sweet doesn’t mean invaluable. A great live-stream tip is to be valuable with your approach.
Provide a ton of value by way of tips and information
By no means should a live-stream video be an advertisement. Can you give a shout out to your product or service? Heck yes! But in order for it to be received well, you have to provide value to your audience. After all, they’re giving you their biggest asset: time. The point of social media is to provide valuable information to your niche audience with content that resonates with them. This is how you earn their trust and loyalty in order to eventually sell to them or earn their business.
Therefore, your live-stream video should give your audience something they crave by way of information or tips. The more often you go live with your tips, the more often you will be “top of mind” to your audience. This approach in itself will sell your services indirectly. No one likes a show-off, but everyone loves someone who gives back.
Document your day
Gary Vaynerchuck is one of the best social media influencers out there. He rules the Livestream game with this simple tip: don’t show off, document instead. His article, “Document, Don’t Create” explains perfectly how to do this. Gary Vee documents his day-to-day experiences while giving tips and advice on social media, entrepreneurship, and life. He draws his audience in by inviting them into his daily world. And guess what? It works.
If you aren’t sure how to go live without selling your services, taking the “document” approach will help you tremendously. Invite people into your kitchen in order to indirectly sell your cookbook.
Sharing our world can be a bit intimidating, but once you get the hang of it there is nothing to be scared of. Check out Gary Vee’s video on documenting your day here:
Don’t be scared
I know what you’re thinking. You’re either born to be a star but you’re a little nervous to say the wrong things, or you’re incredibly shy and live streaming just sounds cringe-worthy to you. My advice: don’t be scared! There is absolutely nothing to be scared of, especially if you keep in mind the “documenting your day” mentality.
Essentially, think of it as if you are speaking to one person and sharing your tips and information with that one person: ideally, your best friend who happens to be your ideal client! The live-stream then becomes a conversation instead of a “video.”
As with all things, getting good at something takes time. Live-streaming is no different. With a little bit of practice, pretty soon you will be a pro.
Stick to one platform
Typically folks who test out a new feature or platform get really excited and then want to try everything! For instance, sometimes people who have done one or two Facebook Livestreams try to immediately migrate over to Periscope, Snapchat, and Instagram stories. Pretty soon they’re not live streaming on any platform because it became “too much.”
Protip: Stick to one platform until you become an expert or at least extremely comfortable with it. Sometimes one platform in all you need. Decide which platform to start with by deciding where your niche/target audience is saturated. Go live where your future customers are!
Once you have one live-stream platform mastered, you can leverage it to attract an audience to other platforms. Send people from Periscope over to Facebook to watch you live there, or to your Facebook community group, or to your website. The point is that once you have a great following in one spot, it becomes a lot easier to bring that following along to other platforms.