6 Ways Startups Can Leverage Live-Streaming Services

July 25, 2016

9:00 pm

You’ve just launched or you are in the very early months of your business. Your biggest challenge? Engaging potential customers in unique ways. Let’s face it. Consumers are somewhat “jaded” and content marketing has to go way beyond the traditional blog and social media posts. Enter the world of live streaming. It is already disrupting the media industry, but businesses need to understand the benefits of live streaming as a marketing tool as well. Here are 5 ways that startups use live streaming, such as Periscope and Meerkat, to promote products/services, relationships with consumers, and a brand image.

1. Broadcast Live Events

Perhaps you attend a trade show; maybe you are supporting a charity and there is an event you are attending. Broadcasting these events live (announcing them in advance, of course) and allowing your audience to participate by asking questions or by telling you what they want to see more of and drive what content you provide, right there on the spot, in real time. Ask viewers what they want to see more of and then respond.

2. Give Behind-the-Scenes Tours

You have a product or service to sell. You have a staff that helps to produce it. You can tell the story of your brand as you show viewers your team in action. This allows viewers to connect with you. Your company is made up of real people, people who are working hard to produce – their stories can be great. If you have ever watched the cable TV show, “Undercover Boss,” you will have the concept. Human interest sells. With live streaming, you go one step beyond the TV live streaming platforms. Your viewers can engage personally by asking questions and making comments. And you get to answer and respond in real time – a big win for that relationship and brand building. And you can save those broadcasts for future viewing too.

4. Interviews in Real Time

Companies often forget that influencers in the marketplace are really important to consumers. So are other consumers who are happy with your products and services or employees who love working for you and have a commitment to your product or service. When you can do interviews in real time, you build trust and credibility with potential customers. Suppose, for example, that you have a new deck-staining product. Filming a customer in real time, using that product, is a huge marketing tool. Viewers can ask questions in real time; the customer actually applying the stain can provide responses. And, you can have a set of prepared questions to ask as well. The idea here is not so much to promote your product as it is to promote real customers and employees interacting with your product or service or your company.

5. Conduct Training in Real-time

If you have a product or service that involves a learning curve for the customer, then you will need to provide some type of training. Lots of this is done through videos that are published on your website or social media platforms. How much more of a relationship can you establish if you do this training in real time so that your customers can have their questions answered and their issues addressed? Just publicize the real-time event on your site, on social media, and to each customer individually via email or text message. Give them the instructions for tuning in and assure them that they will be able to participate in this training event.

6. Have Virtual “Office Hours”

Customers are pretty much “done” with long waits and punching numbers on a phone to get to a customer service rep with their issues and questions. You can relieve them of some of that pain by promoting Q&A sessions in a virtual “office hour” environment. Let participants express frustration and deal with them on the spot. Answer questions immediately without the need for a customer to contact customer service or wait for message/email responses. In this era of wanting instant information, using live streaming is a huge win for that consumer. If you publicize these events and have a feature that allows your customers to “subscribe” in advance and receive notification when the event is beginning, so much the better.

Remember this: consumers are curious. They also want recognition, personal treatment, and a sense of belonging. Live streaming offers all of these things.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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