As posted in the Gaston Gazette
Video has long been a boon for business. It’s a great way to get your product or service in front of customer eyes because it allows them to see how something works rather than just reading or hearing about it. Live video – which allows you to press a button and stream video immediately to an online audience – is the newest video platform to take off, and it has capabilities that traditional video doesn’t.
Why should you be interested? Because live video has numerous benefits that will make showcasing your business a cinch. Take a look at these tips to learn what makes this digital tool so attractive (and a few ideas for how you can use it):
- It’s authentic. Why do people keep putting “live video” and “authentic content” in the same sentence? Because live video lets your audience see exactly what you’re seeing as you’re seeing it, without editing and filtering. With editing removed, people are getting an unvarnished look at your business. As an entrepreneur, you could use Facebook’s “live” button to record and stream a real-time demonstration of how your product or service works. Benefit Cosmetics, for example, uses live video regularly to introduce and demonstrate new products to customers. Consultants for companies such as Rodan + Fields and Norwex similarly employ this “live” tool. Providing an honest window into your world is something that customers are increasingly valuing over a heavily edited video.
- It’s timely. Video has always been popular, but new numbers suggest that its popularity is rocketing upward. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, approximately 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic will be video-related by 2019. According to a multitude of research, millennials – the next big group with rising purchasing power – love video content. It makes sense, then, that social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have all integrated live streaming video. But it’s not live video’s popularity that makes it so valuable; it’s the real-time capabilities. Traditional video, on the other hand, takes time to film, edit, upload and share, which means that using it to promote time-sensitive events isn’t practical. With live video, a boutique can stream video of stock available at a flash sale and offer an additional discount to anyone who comes into the shop and mentions they viewed the live stream. You can also livestream an event: Disney and Airbnb recently partnered for a premiere of The Jungle Book. They built a treehouse, hosted a red carpet and interviewed attendees. You don’t need that kind of prominence to make live video a success, however. There are many possibilities for using this very engaging medium to promote products without the barriers of expense or time constraints.
- It’s cheap and easy to use. Many entrepreneurs previously avoided using much video, and that decision once made sense: the equipment was expensive, editing costly and the benefit reaped from using it often didn’t compensate for either. Not so with live video. All you need now is a smartphone. The software, which is often integrated into the social media platform, involves only the press of a button. Most people, even those who claim not to be tech-savvy, can be taught how to stream video in around five minutes. And since there’s also a replay option once a live film is over, you can continue to reap the benefits of this media form because customers can replay the video long after you’re done streaming.
- It could compete with traditional television. Although many people still turn to the television for news and entertainment, it’s clear that the tide is turning in favor of streaming video overall. According to a 2015 study by Deloitte, more people are choosing live streaming services like Netflix and Hulu than primetime television for entertainment. If news and advertising follows that trend, we could be looking at a major shift in how people view video content overall. Given the rising popularity of live video, this could mean dramatic changes in how people report information and how people advertise their services. And that means entrepreneurs have the opportunity to be on the front end of a big cultural change – with no monetary investment needed.
- It’s social. This is the most obvious feature of live video, but it’s also one of the most important. The power of live video as a social tool can’t be overstated. Why? Because live video allows people not just to watch what’s happening, but to engage and respond in real time, which means they can be “part of the conversation.” When Martha Stewart offers a live tutorial prepping holiday decorations, for example, she can both partner with Home Depot and see and respond to questions from viewers during the broadcast. And sites like Quora, which has already taken much of Yahoo’s Q and A traffic, now offers users the ability to post questions and answers as live video. If someone wants to know how to make DIY slime with his or her child, a Quora user can respond with a video that shows the process step-by-step. That capability is a powerful cocktail for people who are looking to connect online, and your business could easily meet this need. In addition, it could give you the opportunity to highlight not just your business’s attention to innovation, but also your ability to listen.
Live video may look like another fad, but research suggests that it’s here to stay. And all indications are that it could provide a tangible benefit to the way in which you interact with current and potential customers. Now all you have to do it pick up your smartphone and give it a shot.