A man and a woman setting up various equipment for live streaming in real time

Today, live video streaming has well established itself as a dominant force in online content. As a powerful tool for engaging an audience, its popularity has led to every major social media platform providing the ability to view and produce live video content. Live streaming is an especially powerful tool for brands and businesses. It allows them to engage their audience in real time. We’ll explain some of the basics of live streaming and how your brand can use it to directly engage with its audience.

The Benefits of Live Streaming

One simple benefit of live streaming is that it’s extremely popular. it’s one of the most popular kinds of video content online with 23.7% of time spent on social media platforms dedicated to watching live streams. The other benefit is that live streaming is the best content for directly engaging with your audience. In all live streams, users can chat and react to the content in real time. In turn, the streamers can immediately respond and engage with their active viewers. This makes live streaming extremely personable compared to other kinds of content, and is why it’s also a popular choice for influencers. The result? Live streaming is one of the best ways for your brand to foster personal connections and communicate directly with its followers.

Streaming Platforms

With streaming’s immense popularity, there are many platforms to choose from. However, like any services, there are some clear leaders. 

Social Media Live Streaming 

Considering how fast they deliver and spread content, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the major social media platforms have their own live streaming services. Facebook LiveInstagram Live, and TikTok Live are all great and popular options for your brand’s live streaming. These allow you to stream directly to the audience you’ve already developed on any of those platforms. Plus, it’s easy to start right away. Streams on these platforms usually have simple production values, with streams coming directly from a mobile device.

Twitch and YouTube Live

The two other dominant streaming platforms are Twitch and YouTube Live. They are by far the most popular. Twitch users watched over 210 million hours in just the third quarter of 2022. It originally was designed for streaming video games, which is still the primary content on the platform. However, over the past years, Twitch and its streamers have diversified to now include more broad cooking and “Just Chatting” categories, the latter being by far the most popular. As a true testament to the variety, the BC Marine Mammal Rescue streamed the Vancouver Aquarium’s otter habitat for multiple years there. YouTube Live streaming is newer but has always been as diverse as YouTube’s on-demand content.

A difference for these platforms compared to social media streaming is production value. Twitch and YouTube streams tend to have more complex video and audio setups. Streams are meant to be horizontal video and rarely, if ever, come from mobile devices. Similarly, some brands and companies even just stream out pre-recorded videos or presentations. On the other hand, that complexity also means these platforms come with various tools like creating clips or countless plugins that social media lacks. Overall, these platforms are better suited for brands planning to make streaming a regular part of their content delivery strategy. 

Tips for Live Streaming

The ability to communicate and engage directly with your audience makes live streaming incredibly exciting for brands, but it can also be a little daunting. Here are some of our tips if you’re looking to start:

  • Engage your audience – The strength of streaming is the live component that allows for engagement, so be engaging. Address feedback, answer questions, laugh at jokes, etc. If people see you are engaging back, they will be more motivated to keep engaging with your brand.
  • Choose who and what to engage with – You can’t and shouldn’t engage with everything. If a stream has a large audience there will be a flood of chat messages, and you will have to be selective where you spend your time. Your audience will understand. Unfortunately, some material might be inflammatory or insulting. Ignore it and remove it. Acknowledging it could only fan the flames.
  • Announce and schedule streams – While many do regularly spend time on social media, many won’t be aware of your streams unless they stumble upon them. Announce planned live streams on your social channels so that followers are aware of when it’s going to happen. You can also provide some hints of the stream’s content, such as QA, announcements, a contest, or a giveaway. On dedicated streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube, it’s more typical to have a set schedule and announce streams on other social channels.
  • Spice things up with spontaneity – Spontaneous and sudden streams can also have a charm of their own. If they attract enough audience, they keep your following regularly attentive, checking your other content to see if a live stream is happening.
  • Remember you’re live – Live streams have no edits or cuts. Be attentive to what you’re saying and how. Mistakes are fine and part of the charm but keep them innocuous.
  • Choose the right platform – It’s best to stream where you have the biggest following, especially in the case of social media. However, as already mentioned, if you’re looking to make live streams a prominent part of your brand’s content, look towards Twitch or YouTube.
  • Consider streaming on multiple platforms – You may have a substantial audience on more than one platform. Consider streaming on multiple platforms at once. Various other tools and services help with this, such as OBS. Just remember that when you are streaming on multiple platforms, you need to be attentive to engaging that audience in multiple spaces.

Let the Live Streams Flow

Now that you understand some of the benefits, and fundamentals, and have some extra tips in your toolbox, your brand is ready to go live. If you’re looking for more specific advice, need help with live streaming, or are considering making it part of your brand strategy, contact our marketing team at Rosewood Marketing. Their expertise will help you get those streams flowing.

A perfect flat lay with photos, hat, and sunglasses on a white furry background

Flat lay photography has become a versatile visual form for any small business. These minimalist photos of products taken from above and arranged with props use minimalism to create visual emphasis. That simple presentation style makes items pop, perfect for promoting products on a website or grabbing the attention of those browsing social media. Whether you’re getting started making your own flat lays or looking to master the technique, here are 8 easy tips for creating perfect flat lays. 

1. A Fully Clean and Flat Surface is Essential

Flat lays are named for everything being laid on the same, flat level. A completely flat and clean surface creates the blank canvas necessary to make perfect flat lays. Everything sits on an equal level and receives full lighting, leaving nothing obscured. That flat surface will also lack shadows, making it the perfect canvas to edit in texts or graphics when editing.

2. Perfect Flat Lays Need Proper Lighting

Bright lighting is what makes flat lays so eye-catching. To accomplish this, you need a soft, broad light. Natural light in a bright space can work but is out of your control. Artificial lighting will give you full control but can come with a cost. We recommend starting with a lightbox or ring light. These are relatively cheap in the world of photography equipment. If you’re interested in more professional grade equipment, a strobe light with a soft box provides a perfect mimicry of that soft, natural light of a sunny day. Of course, if you aren’t looking to get this equipment, you can always hire a professional photographer for truly perfect flat lays.

3. Props Bring a Flat Lay to Life

A flat lay isn’t just merely a photo of a product or something your company makes. It should also invoke a certain emotion or theme. Props help bring that life and character to a perfect flat lay by creating a lifestyle context that viewers can imagine. For example, a flat lay of cosmetic products can be brought to life with some related props such as makeup brushes.

4. Flat Lays are for More Than Just Products

Flat lays are great for showing off a business’ products, but they can also evoke a certain moment or emotion that’s associated with your brand. This is particularly great for businesses that focus on services. For example, a catering company can create a flat lay of an ornate table setting. An interior designer can have a flat lay of an idealized work surface that includes a blueprint, furniture catalog, laptop, and a cup of coffee. A salon might create a flat lay with the various hair cutting and styling tools they use.

5. Create a Colour Palette

Part of the effective and eye-catching minimalism of flat lays is accomplished with a limited set of colours that unite the image. Determine a colour palette that works well both with the featured product(s) or props while keeping the background neutral. This will help tie the entire picture together, giving it a cohesive look for a perfect flat lay.

6. Your Flat Lay Background Doesn’t Need to Be White

Part of designing your flat lay and its colour will mean choosing a proper background. Marble, tile, and wood can be great options depending on the content, but flat lays work best with solid colours. That doesn’t mean the background needs to be white, especially if the products you’re showing off are. Instead, a solid background of colour can help the items pop. A large roll of paper can create a perfect background. 

7. Don’t Underestimate Negative Space

Flat lays are defined by minimalism. If they become cluttered with objects, they become too visually busy and important objects blend into others. Keep a healthy amount of negative space in the flat lay and around each object. This keeps them distinguishable and visually prominent. A simple rule: if you think there might be too many things, remove one.

8. Take Multiple Shots

Like any photography, one photo usually won’t suffice. Take many photos of your flat lay at different angles and orientations from above. Then, rearrange items and take even more shots. It’s always much easier to take as many photos as possible when you have already collected and arranged the materials than realizing you need to collect and arrange everything again because you didn’t capture that perfect shot. Taking all these various photos will provide you with a rich library of shots to choose from, ensuring you have at least a few you will want to use.

Flat Lays are All About the Pop

They might be called flat lays, but visually they are anything but flat. These 8 easy tips are sure to help you start perfecting your flat lay photography. If you’re interested in professional flat lays, contact Rosewood about our brand photography services. We’ll be happy to help you create flat lays that truly pop.

Person holding a phone, engaging in social commerce as it drives sales

Social media has become an essential marketing tool for growing your business’ reach and reputation. However, another one of social media’s goals, like other marketing, is to convert that attention into sales. One of the best tools for accomplishing that is ‘Social Commerce’, where products are sold directly on social media. We’ll explain what social commerce is and how you can leverage social media to drive sales.

What is Social Commerce?

Social commerce is selling products directly through a social media platform. Product discovery, selection, and checkout all occur on the platform rather than redirecting individuals to your own store. It’s a service that is now available on most major social media platforms, including InstagramFacebook, and TikTok. For all three, you create product listings that appear in a shop on your account. Users can then browse and order products directly through the app. In exchange for offering the service, the platform takes a percentage of the sale as a fee. 

The Benefits of Social Commerce

Social commerce is different from eCommerce which happens on a business’ own dedicated website or online store. As a result, you have slightly less control over the presentation, and it requires creating a store dedicated to the platform. However, there are clear benefits to using social commerce to drive sales. 

People Use Social Media to Shop

Over 80% of users research products using social media and nearly half of both Millennials and Gen Z are already making purchases on social media. Social commerce immediately drives sales because you provide a shopping experience for these many users precisely when they are actively searching for or considering products. 

A Seamless Shopping Experience

That immediacy and convenience also translate into an effective shopping experience that helps further drive sales. Social commerce provides the opportunity for a potential customer to immediately purchase upon discovering a product they like. This creates a more streamlined shopping experience. Rather than leaving the app, navigating to the product on your digital store, adding it to their cart, and filling in their information to complete their purchase, the user can immediately checkout and continue their browsing. The eCommerce checkout can be a moment where carts are abandoned and sales lost. The speedy and seamless shopping experience of social commerce means there are fewer chances to lose the customer’s attention and that purchase.

A More Thorough Representation of Your Business on Social

Another benefit of social commerce is that you can better showcase the products that your company provides on social media. You could make posts for every product you sell, and you should highlight new items, but these inherently move down the feed as time progresses. Those ever-drifting posts aren’t an effective way to continuously show off your entire catalogue. Instead, the dedicated storefront of a social commerce space on your profile allows social media users to conveniently get a better sense of your products and services without needing to leave the app. 

Shopping That Reaches Your Audience

Social media platforms have an incredible amount of user data at their disposal. With social commerce, you can use that data to promote specific products to those whom the platform knows to have certain interests. Because of the wealth of data available, these product suggestions can be highly specific. For example, one product might suit a certain demographic like men in their 40s, while another suits young adult women. Each can be selectively targeted on social commerce to users in those demographics. Specific product suggestions of this specificity on your own eCommerce store need a shopping history and will take time to generate. Social commerce allows you to specifically tailor such suggestions and promotions from the start.

Social Commerce Isn’t the End of eCommerce

Social commerce has clear benefits for driving sales, but it doesn’t replace eCommerce and having a dedicated digital store and website. It’s an addition and effective supplement to your eCommerce strategy. Ultimately, the goal is to drive sales away from social media platforms, which take a 2-5% cut, to shopping and browsing on your own digital storefront. There customers can browse and better familiarize themselves with your products in a space that is exclusively dedicated to them. Social commerce’s strength is in getting new customers as they are generally browsing and securing that initial sale. That sale then converts someone into a dedicated customer when they understand the quality of your products. 

Making the Most of Social Commerce

Social commerce’s ability to convert and drive sales lies in the shopping convenience it creates for those actively browsing. It’s a valuable tool for attracting and recapturing dedicated customers. If you think social commerce is part of your next social media strategy, contact us at Rosewood. We’ll be happy to help you expand your eCommerce horizons.