Small businesses are looking for new ways to engage with potential customers. Inflation is increasing, and 85% of small business owners are concerned about supply chain issues. Business owners need to explore new marketing strategies to drive sales and lessen the blow of rising production costs.
Luckily, a stellar marketing strategy is in the palm of your hands. Rather than hiring expensive crews and equipment, business owners can create video content that engages prospective buyers. With the help of an iOS device and a ring light, companies can directly communicate with their followers in real-time.
Yes, that’s right. I’m talking about live streaming. Livestreams are an effective way for businesses to connect with customers on a more personal level. Studies show that 78% of e-commerce companies that go live do so to make deeper connections with their followers. Going live can convert leads faster, engage new and existing buyers, and even help business owners collect and analyze data.
So how can small businesses start streaming effectively?
1. Plan and organize your live stream content
Although live streams are broadcasted in real-time, you don’t want to feel unprepared when you press the record button. Plan which types of content you want to incorporate into your streams. First, research your customer base and the types of content they are most likely to connect with. What are their favorite products that you offer?
Then, make an outline that includes a variety of segments you can try. From showing off your products in a live selling format to hosting a fun giveaway, the possibilities are endless. Find the balance between keeping your content informative and fun. Just make sure that you present viewers with specific CTAs as the stream progresses.
If you organize your content ahead of time, it will be easier to engage with your audience at the moment. For example, creating a bullet-point plan will keep you on track without feeling like you’re reading a script.
2. Learn how to multistream
With the help of streaming software like Switcher Studio, mall businesses can multistream their content across all of their channels at the same time. Instead of having to choose between Facebook and YouTube, companies can go live on both simultaneously.
There are many benefits to multistreaming. First, it allows you to expand your reach across all social media platforms. It gives businesses the opportunity to connect with more of their audiences where they are already spending time. This builds brand awareness and makes the experience more convenient for users who prefer one channel over another.
In addition, multistreaming tools create a streamlined area for businesses to receive viewer comments and questions. Switcher Studio collects comments and interactions from multiple platforms and displays them all in one place inside the Switcher app as you stream. Keep this in mind when engaging with your viewers. These comments will also help you learn about your various audiences and their interests.
3. Incorporate b-roll and prerecorded content
Who says that you can’t include prerecorded content in your live stream? The newest live stream tools allow businesses to transition to taped segments at the tap of a finger. These could be professional product images, establishing shots of your storefront, short videos showing how a product works, prerecorded interviews, clips from previous live streams, and other creative b-roll. Multimedia assets will ensure that your live stream does not feel like a conference call.
4. Keep it interactive
The more you can speak directly to your audience, the more engaging your stream will be. Some examples include doing a roll-call to welcome patrons as they watch your stream, featuring viewer comments with on-screen graphics, and offering a discount or promo for sharing your video.
For e-commerce businesses, live selling technologies can allow viewers to purchase products directly from the stream! Make them feel like they have just walked into your store by showing products and enabling viewers to buy at the moment. With Cartr by Switcher Studio, you can feature products from your Shopify store during a Facebook Live and viewers can purchase by commenting on the video.
Q&A sessions, virtual games, and polls are all great ways to learn from your viewers and get them involved. Drive more sales by experimenting with these elements.
5. Stay consistent
Consistency is key! If you’re wanting to grow your live stream audience, you will need to commit to going live more than once. Think of each live stream as a new episode of your favorite television show. Every week, you are excited to watch what happens next. If new episodes are not aired consistently, you will either lose interest or forget about the show altogether.
If you pick a time slot and stay consistent, viewers will continue coming back and inviting their friends to watch as well. It can take some time to determine the best day and time for you, so be sure to look at your social media analytics. Consider establishing different themes for your continent, like “New Arrivals” on Tuesdays and “Clearance & Specials” on Thursdays. Then, go live more frequently as the demand increases.
6. Spread the word
To become a live streaming professional, you have to promote your streams! Spread the word by using hashtags, mentioning your streams in newsletters, and repurposing past stream content. You want to market your broadcasts as must-see events because they are!
Use every social media platform and channel you have to promote your live streams. Create incentives for new and returning customers to watch! The goal is to leave them wanting more and keep them coming back.
If you follow these steps, you’ll go from dreaming to professional streaming in no time.
Nick Mattingly is a live streaming and social video expert and leads the Switcher Studio team as CEO, and co-founder. Since 2014, he has led the company to partnerships with Facebook Live, LinkedIn, Microsoft Stream, and beyond and has garnered features in TechCrunch, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, and BBC. Nick is also a member of the highly competitive Endeavor Entrepreneur network and FastCompany contributor.
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