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