You should live stream. Everybody else is doing it. Facebook, YouTube, and all the other cool kids. Of course, just because it's popular doesn't mean it's good. Maybe you think it's a trend, or perhaps you just want to go out on your own.
Thing is, the crowd is right.
Why Live Stream?
Peer pressure aside, there are many reasons and they aren't all just about marketing.
Increase your Reach
Growing your numbers can present a challenge. Whether it's followers, subscribers or just plain customers, it can be hard to get in front of people.
Live video is urgent and exciting. It reaches out and grabs their attention. According to Tubular Insights:
viewers spend 8X longer with live video than on-demand: 5.1 minutes for on-demand vs. 42.8 minutes for live video content. [source]
You may throw a party to celebrate a product launch, attend a conference or host a charity event. Obviously, there are only so many people that can physically be there, but with a live stream, your virtual guest list is unlimited (just make sure you can scale effectively).
As for those who were too busy to attend in the first place? You can record your stream so others can watch it and grow jealous. They are going to have to be there next time; online or otherwise. In fact:
67% of audiences who watched a live stream purchased a ticket to a similar event. [source]
Encourage User Engagement
As you are reaching out to more people, you need to pull them in as well.
That electric feeling of being a part of something happening right now is infectious. As your camera moves around the event, your user is immersed in your story, from your point of view. They experience what you see and what you hear.
Most importantly, that's what audiences want:
80% would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts. [source]
More than that, you can engage with your customers as well. As long as you have a low latency application, you can respond to feedback and make adjustments in real time to improve the experience. Imagine streaming a demo to demonstrate the various features of your product with a live Q&A at the end. You could even share exciting company news.
Outside of traditional marketing or entertainment events, you can encourage inner-office communication. You could live stream training sessions for employees to make sure that everyone in all locations are getting the same information. Don't forget to record it for those that missed it entirely.
Authenticate your Brand
Live streams are perfect for telling the authentic story of who you are; the people behind the mission statement.
You can show off the office, interview staff members, or reveal some other behind the scenes part of your process. Customers don't want to feel like consumers, they want to be contributors. If your audience feels like they are helping to build or participate in something, that unlocks a sense of community not just with you but with other audience members as well.
This, most importantly, builds trust. No matter what your business model, any sort of transaction requires mutual confidence. The easiest way to provide assurance is to be transparent.
Without requiring all the setup of a choreographed marketing video, live streams are easier to produce and more cost-effective. Consumers don't expect the kind of meticulously edited and highly polished video for a commercial setting. It's a more forgiving medium requiring less prep time and fewer materials.
Furthermore, video content is fueling growth.
73% of B2B organizations report positive ROI from video marketing. [source]
Companies using video enjoy 41% more web traffic from search than non-users.
Why Build Your Own?
Of course, there are plenty of platforms out there that you can use. Facebook Live and YouTube Live, for example.
However, these platforms carry limitations as well. You are on their site, with their advertisers, and their format. There's very little flexibility. Not to mention the fact that if something changes, you are locked into that system. It's much harder to adapt when you don't have the access to build around it.
If you build your own, you retain ownership. Keeping everything in-house addresses any security concerns you may have, rather than using an open platform. With better access to the back-end, you can customize your application. You can feature your own ads, allowing customers to focus on what you want and not third-party sponsors.
From the perspective of a potential customer, Video is driving how they perceive your product or service. This isn't a trend, it's a fact.
Live streaming will enhance your product. You'll get more users, increase engagement and create a trustworthy identity around your company. All that for a cost-effective ROI.
So go with the crowd. You don't have to blend in, but you do have to move with it.