Live streams have become an excellent tool for small business.
Since Periscope was founded in 2015, live streaming (beyond video games) has seen a huge jump in interest.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners saw the potential, and the popularity of live streaming has grown since.
But many small business owners aren’t sure what to do with live streams.
Mostly because it’s a foreign and uncomfortable medium.
That is until you learn about it and what it can do for your brand.
Live Streaming Doesn’t Allow Perfection
Before we dig into what live streams can do for your brand, I want to talk about what it can’t.
Or really, what it shouldn’t.
Live streams shouldn’t be polished, perfect representations of your brand.
They aren’t meant to be.
Part of the beauty of a small business live stream is the way your audience gets to see something that’s raw and unfiltered.
So, before you get anxiety over making sure it’s perfect, remember that you don’t have to.
Just make sure what you’re sharing is real.
Small Businesses Can Use Live Streams To Grow
Learning to live stream is huge for your small business.
It can have far-reaching effects that only benefit you.
The most important is that they create brand recognition.
When people notice your brand, it’s much easier to grow.
Let’s dig into some ways that live streams can help you boost your small business’ brand recognition.
Show How Your Small Business Does Business
I’ve said plenty of times that people love to see behind the scenes.
The curiosity of how it all works fascinates people no matter the industry.
It’s a way of letting people know exactly what makes your business unique.
Social media has given us even more tools to do that.
Those tools allow you formats that weren’t available years ago.
And those formats give your content more power than ever.
So why avoid using them?
Live video allows you to do what the rest of social media can’t.
You can integrate it directly into your day.
Instead of telling your audience that you’re unique, show them.People want to see what you do and how you do it. Click To Tweet
Turn on the camera during daily operations, like when you’re making the product.
As an example: If you make pottery, you can turn on the live stream while you use the pottery wheel.
People are fascinated by the process of shaping ceramics, which is obvious quickly if you search YouTube for pottery making.
The top 5 results are over 500k views. Two of them are over 5 million views.
Live video takes that to the next step, offering people worldwide the ability to see your work live.
Bakers can (and do) share live videos of cake decorating.
Mechanics can live stream engine installs or custom vehicle reveals.
The list of possibilities goes on.
Live streams give you a chance to humanize your business, showing the people and personalities involved in the process.
That’s what people want.
Especially the millennial crowd, who would rather work with people they know and trust.
Remember, if you don’t show those potential clients what they care about, someone else will.
Give Your Fans An Authentic Look At Your Small Business’ Culture
Like looking at your process, people want to know who you are.
They want to see who they’re working with before they decide your brand is the right fit.
But they want to see it for real.
They’re not interested in the ideal version of your brand, but the factual, day-to-day version.
Your audience wants to know who you truly are.
Because we live in a world full of false marketing promises, authenticity is a difference maker.
And it can swing things disproportionately in your favor if you embrace it.When people know and trust you, they're more likely to become your client. Click To Tweet
Live streams allow you the most transparent way to do that.
Whenever you’ve got something you can show your audience that’s real – from team-building events to day-to-day office interaction – turn on the live stream.
By showing your audience what really happens behind the scenes, they can see that your brand is made up of real people.
It’s not just your automation.
Look, video is real.
According to a Cisco study, 75% of mobile traffic will be video by 2020.
If you’re already proficient at live video, you’ll already be ahead of your competition.
Live videos allow you to connect with your customers in a real, authentic way in a format that matches their interests.
Do A Live Reveal Of Your Latest Product Or Case Study
New products are exciting for your audience.
They love to be the first to see the newest version of what you offer or the newest addition to your line.
Think about it in the car industry.
There are huge conventions that automakers use to reveal the upcoming models and lines they have, including prototypes.
When you add a new line or update a product, you can take advantage of the excitement too.
Hold your own online convention through a live stream.
Prepare a big product reveal, announcing the event ahead of time.
Cluing your audience into these reveals builds on that excitement.
They’ll tune in to see what you’ve got in store.Big reveals are popular video subjects. Click To Tweet
But what if you have no physical products?
It’s a little harder to reveal a new service in the same way.
However, you can still reveal how awesome your company is.
Whenever you have a big case study to share, fire up that live stream.
Show people what you did for your clients live.
Answer their questions about how you did it.
Include your client to answer questions too.
That authenticity is going to help prove you’re as good as you say you are.
But you’ll get a bonus too.
You’ll have a whole targeted demographic whom you can aim later marketing content towards.
Using the audience of your live videos, especially through Facebook, you can create a selected audience who will see your paid ads for the product or service you just did a reveal for.
That’s going to improve the ROI on those ads.
Offer A Live Demo Or Training For Your Product
Do your customers have trouble with a certain product or process?
Is it something that’s hard to describe through words, text, and images?
If you answer either of these “yes”, a demo or training video might be the solution.
Demo and training videos are a great way to help your audience understand your products and processes.
They help viewers visualize exactly what they’re supposed to do.
But those videos lack one important thing: the ability to answer questions.
Live videos make up for that failure.Live streams let you demo your product and answer questions at the same time. Click To Tweet
During a live stream, your audience can ask about specific things that either you missed or that you didn’t explain clearly enough.
It allows you to find out where your clients are facing issues so you can correct them.
You could even turn these live pieces of training into a video series.
Walk your audience through individual processes for both beginners and advanced users.
These series become an excellent product adoption tool for your clients, but they also make an excellent sales tool.
When potential clients see what your product is capable of, they can visualize ownership more easily.
They can also ask pre-sales questions that help them decide if your product is right for them.
It’s a win-win, and it helps you build a reputation for helpfulness.
When your audience knows you’ll have their back, they’re more likely to buy.
Give Your Audience A Look Into Your Small Business’ Events
Whether you’re hosting an event for your industry, your audience, or your team, your fans want to be a part of the action.
However, sometimes they simply can’t make it.
In some cases, they can, but they don’t know why they should.
Either problem is solved with a live stream.
While some portions of your events are exclusives that you want to reserve for those who attended, others are perfectly fine to share.
When you can, put them on the stream.
You’re going to get two huge benefits from it.
The first is a ton more attention.FOMO is a great marketing tactic. Click To Tweet
When you live stream your events, your audience that isn’t in attendance will get to join virtually.
When your events hold a ton of value, lots of people that couldn’t be there will want to see what they’re missing.
That brings me to the next benefit.
The people that weren’t sure will realize what they’re missing out on.
When you get that opportunity to take advantage of FOMO, you assure that your next event will see higher attendance.
People hate to miss out on great stuff.
When the portions of the event that you share are full of value, they’ll really want to know about the stuff you didn’t share.
They won’t miss a future event.
Take Your Viewers On Location With You
On the flipside to events, what about the ones you attend?
In fact, what about all the locations you have to go to while serving your clients?
People are interested in the places your business takes you and the things you wind up doing.
So, when you head somewhere interesting, be it an industry event or a meeting with a client, turn on your live stream.
Live streaming the ongoings at industry events allows your audience an opportunity to see what’s important to you and your company.Take your audience with you. Click To Tweet
They get to see the way your philosophy plays into business decisions.
It ties back to the idea that people want to know who they’re working with, and seeing your industry from your perspective helps them do that.
But sometimes you’re at an industry event and you’re not an attendee.
Instead, you’re there as a featured guest.
That’s a unique opportunity to take advantage of.
When you’re a speaker or an interviewee at an industry event, live stream your time in the spotlight.
That’s going to build your reputation in an unbelievable way.
Your audience gets an amazing opportunity to not only see what you know but to see how others in your industry look towards you for information.
It turns you into an industry leader in a way that your audience can see.
That creates a level of trust that’s hard to build any other way.
Announce Promotions And Contests
Most small businesses run promotions to get people to come through the door.
Some even hold contests online.
Both work well to bring people through the door and help market your brand on social media.
They offer more traffic and exposure, and they give you the opportunity for cross-selling and up-sells.
Except in one case.
They don’t work when nobody knows about them.
Hard to believe, I know.Your promo isn't going to make you anything if nobody knows about it. Click To Tweet
Without a proper start, the promotions never get traction and you never see the benefits.
But a live streamed announcement is a great way to get initial attention.
Treat your live stream as a product reveal, teasing the announcement in advance.
Live stream the announcement with festivities.
When the sale begins, stream the subsequent traffic it creates.
And, if you’re holding a contest, you can allow special participation from your live stream’s audience.
When your live stream audience gets to participate in a promotion, it creates excitement.
That excitement turns into promotion as they begin to tell their friends about it.
Then, of course, their friends get involved.
If you want to make it even more effective, tie your contest or promotion to the live video.
Offer the special during the live stream only.
Or select your contest winner before the end of it.
That builds a sense of urgency to become a client.
And that pushes sales.
If You Live Stream, Your Small Business Gets Seen
Live streaming doesn’t have to be scary.
It’s something you can embrace with ease (and no new software).
It’s the rawest, organic, and interesting platform attached to social media right now.
And using it correctly will help your brand get in front of more people than ever before.