When it comes to Live Video Streaming, the days of content that is just text and image based is quickly moving into the past. While quality content is always in demand, these days videos are moving into the world as the content of choice for many businesses. The benefits of video are that you can easily demonstrate a technique, show off the benefits of a specific product and even just make a connection with users on a topic of mutual interests.
So how can you take this trend and make it work for you and your company? The most important concept to take away is that live streaming or being able to watch videos without having to take the time to download them have become the biggest wave. Here’s a must have guide to how to make live streaming video work for your business.
The Evolution of Video Streaming
Today’s video streaming is no longer limited by licensing and software. Instead, you can do much of the work yourself with just a few tools. Streaming video can be classified into two different categories. The first is on demand video, which can be played when your viewers are in the mood or when they have a free moment.
Live Video, on the other hand, is basically watching a video in real time, often while an event is taking place. The best part is that these videos can then be saved and uploaded to be replayed on demand by a completely new audience. Live streaming can work really well for webinars, live sporting events or even a unique presentation. Reality television stars even use it to interact with their fans while the latest episode of their television show is on.
Depending on the live streaming app you use, the video can be saved for later playback. Facebook Live, for example, offers this option. Other apps allow for playback, but the time period is more limited. Additionally, you may find that live streaming provides the ability for you to connect with your audience immediately, including answering questions and responding to comments. For a brand, this can be a definite plus to live streaming.
Equipment for Live Video Streaming
In order to get the best result from your live streaming video, you will need to have a trustworthy high definition video camera. If you are only streaming audio, then all that is necessary is a good microphone. Keep in mind that depending on the medium where the video will be displayed, you may need to make a larger initial equipment investment to get the best results.
Additionally, depending on who will be on the live video stream, you may need to purchase multiple cameras and microphones. It might be worth considering a web camera purchase, because these are made for interaction over the internet. Professional cameras require you to have a video capture card or hardware encoder before your video can be watched on the internet. Additionally, it is important to make sure that you have extra batteries, fully charged, as well as a tripod and memory card.
Potential Issues with Streaming
The problem that you may run into with live streaming is that the internet connection begins to act up and your service speeds may slow down as your event gathers a larger amount of viewers. Therefore, you will need to work with an encoder to make sure that your video is in the optimal format for live streaming. A hardware encoder is a specially designed device created to broadcast live feed for several days without any real glitches. In reality, you may find that it really just provides a reliable and decent broadcast quality. They can also be costly, so it may be worth considering a software encoder instead. There are two free encoding software packages, known as Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder.
However, you can choose to pay for a software encoder, which will offer more features to make your live streaming experience even better. A number of these software encoders can have options that make them more attractive than a hardware encoder. You also need to be aware of internet upload speeds, because most host providers will require you to have a certain upload speed for your feed. The higher internet speeds will also translate into a better quality video feed.
After your live stream event is over, you can then choose to embed your video into your website or share on your social media site. The result is that you then can enjoy the benefits of your live event beyond the initial event itself.
Benefits of Live Streaming Video
The benefits of live streaming for a brand includes reaching a larger audience in a short amount of time. Every event has geographical or physical restrictions, but live streaming of an event can make it accessible to a global audience. Then if you choose to embed that video on your website or share it on your social media sites, then you are able to reach an even larger audience over time.
However, if you choose to take on live streaming, you may choose to make the content available only during that one-time event. This makes it take on a state of urgency, so you can create a stir on the web and draw in additional viewers. Live streaming video can also provide a great way to interact with your potential clients, especially those who may not have considered your brand in the past. Additionally, being able to have their questions immediately is also a big draw for many viewers. You can also include a call to action that can help move your viewers through the sales funnel much quicker.
Additionally, you can find a way to move beyond your targeted audience to interact with others that might not have fit your initial customer profile. Plus, you can use your embedded video from the live event to share on your Facebook or Twitter account, thus making sure that the content is shared multiple times. The best part of this is that your followers will assist in getting this content noticed by a variety of potential new followers for your brand.
Of course, you want to make sure that you choose content that accurately reflects your brand. After all, there is a certain point that your live stream might not be truly effective if it doesn’t reflect well on your brand or provide anything of value to your viewers. Therefore, be sure to focus on content and make it relatable for your audience.
Another benefit is that you can sell tickets to your live streaming events, making them more valuable because of their exclusive content. Therefore, you can not only earn additional revenue for your brand, you can also provide a sense of exclusivity that will make your brand stand out from the crowd. If your live stream is of an actual event, then you can have the advantage of charging for tickets to the online audience, as well as the physical one.
Finally, using live streaming events, you can make your brand stand out from the crowd. It can be a point of differentiation, as this type of interaction with a target audience is still relatively new. Take the time to record your Webinars, conferences or even informal live chats with your social media followers. This content can then be made available as part of a special product that groups several of these events into one package for individuals to purchase. You can also make a webinar a bonus if another item or product is purchased. In this way, your content can continue to provide value long after the event itself is over.
Live stream video is a great option for many brands because it provides a way to interact with audiences without a huge investment of time or capital. It also allows you to interact with a much larger audience than you could at a live event in a physical location with space limitations. However, here are just a few important points to keep in mind before you start streaming your first event.
When you are live streaming, it can involve onsite video production, live encoding, transmission and distribution to your audience and web development or other considerations to make sure that it plays properly upon delivery. Then your audience must also have a player that is compatible with the format that you are delivering your video in. Therefore, you will want to be sure that you have managed the technical side appropriately to make sure that the experience is valuable to your audience. Otherwise, you may find that they do not want to continue to interact with your brand and may even make a negative comment online through social media or other review site.
Still if done correctly, live streaming video can provide the following positives:
- It can be very engaging
- Can reach a real-time audience that chose to opt-in to view your video
- Have control over the message being broadcast
- May have a longer view time than on-demand video
- Embedding the video can lead to an engaged audience sharing it beyond the initial event
- Platforms may allow your engaged audience to share the event while it is still going on, thus engaging additional audience members
- Mine the stats to see how content is performing while event is in progress
The most important thing to remember is that you have the ability to judge how well your content is impacting your audience in real time. This means that you can make adjustments or use those statistics to change the type of content that you provide in your next live streaming video event.
Additionally, you have to keep in mind the potential challenges to this relatively inexpensive solution to connecting with your audience. The reality is that you are going to have some very technical aspects to deal with as part of setting up your live stream. So you need to make sure that your staff or vendor can handle the demands of your brand and your audience.
Stats from your initial live stream video can also help you to determine the type of audience you are attracting and help you to make technical adjustments for bandwidth and overall video quality as well. Making those kinds of adjustments could include making a change in vendor or adding bandwidth on your end. You also need to make sure that your average viewer can take advantage of the live stream. If the bandwidth demands are too high, you might find that you are alienating your viewers and audience before they even make the connection with your brand.
Your content also has to beneficial to your audience. You can put all that effort into your brand’s live stream, but find out that you are not in a position to leverage it effectively because your audience is not really interested. Therefore, you want to make every effort to know your audience and what they want before you put together a live streaming event.
Facebook Live also offers live stream options and can give you the ability to share it as part of your timeline. Thus, you may find that your live stream goes much further through shares, while being in a mobile friendly format. This can be a less costly technological option, while providing a chance to get your feet wet in the live streaming video world. Facebook Live allows you to also interact with your audience in real time, and can be used to promote another event, such as a season finale or larger sporting event.
Therefore, if you use live streaming effectively, your brand can then leverage it to make your audience sit up and take notice of your products and services. However, if it is not done correctly or leaves your audience with a bad experience, it might end up having a negative effect. So you want to make sure that you do your homework and take your time to build up a correct content for your audience before you start your live stream adventure.