Video content is taking over the internet.
The growth of video is transforming how we consume digital content. It is easier and cheaper than ever to produce high-quality video, which means we’ll only see more of it. In fact, Cisco anticipates that video will be 82% of all internet traffic in the next two years.
As video dominates digital content, it’s become a powerful tool for digital marketing, especially on social media platforms.
That’s where live streaming comes in.
Live streaming is the biggest social media marketing trend of the year and has emerged as a huge marketing opportunity. Why? Today’s consumer is savvy and resistant to traditional marketing techniques. Audiences are seeking authenticity, engagement, and interaction.
Live streaming adds a human element to marketing, which can help brands build trust and better relationships with their customers. The informal approach feels more personal because it allows you to interact with your audience in real-time. For ecommerce companies that exist only in the online world, creating a human connection to your target audience is essential.
- Live content gains three times more engagement than pre-recorded video.
- Video gets shared 1200% more than text or photos posts on social media.
- 54% people buy from a brand after watching their live stream.
The good news? Live streaming is accessible to any ecommerce brand through social media.
It’s simple, affordable, and will likely increase in popularity over the next few years. Let’s explore how ecommerce companies can use live video to their advantage.
Which Live Streaming Platform Should You Use?
While there are multiple free platforms to use for live streaming, four major social media platforms are the clear and obvious leaders: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. As video formats advance, new players will emerge, but for now, any ecommerce company looking to establish traction in live streaming should concentrate on these big names.
Twitter live feeds are most popular with business-to-business companies who stream snippets of short, live content from events and conferences. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, but its live streaming is mostly used for recording webinars or live vlogs.
Facebook and Instagram will likely offer the most effective live streaming opportunities for your ecommerce brand, so we’re going to dig deeper into these two platforms.
After the launch of Facebook Live in April 2016, Facebook vaulted to the top and is currently the leading platform for live streaming. In addition to providing the reach of Facebook’s vast audience, Facebook Live delivers high-quality engagement. According to Facebook, users watch live video 3x longer than pre-recorded video.
A major benefit of brands choosing Facebook to live stream over other platforms is their algorithm. Facebook loves live content and will automatically push live streams to the top of users newsfeeds.
Another advantage for ecommerce brands marketing on Facebook Live is the interaction with your audience. You give customers the opportunity to feel closer to you because you can engage with them via the live stream. Likes, reactions, and comments are live and both sides can see these comments in real time, offering you the chance to respond to comments and start a discussion with your viewers.
Instagram has been a preferred platform for ecommerce brands for years, providing access to shoppers who use Instagram to discover new products and explore brands. Instagram Live takes the active engagement and reach of the Instagram platform to another level.
What’s more, some businesses find they get more views and higher engagement from Instagram live feeds than on Facebook. Millennials and Gen Z love Instagram, so brands with a younger target market should take advantage of their live feeds.
Remember: Instagram is a platform centered around imagery, so keeping your live stream consistent with beautiful visual content and branding is a must.
The biggest difference between live video on Facebook vs. Instagram is you can’t save content from Instagram Live. Viewers can only see your content while you broadcast live, which can increase the sense of urgency to watch your content.
No matter which platform you decide to utilize, the trick to successful live streaming is to plan your content first.
How Ecommerce Companies Can Use Live Streaming
1. Show Your Product Off
Live streaming offers a uniquely personal medium to show off your product. You can test your product out live and give your viewers inspiration on how to use your product in their own lives. Demonstrate the value your product offers.
Live video is the perfect opportunity to use branding to add personality to your products. You’ll also be able to answer any questions about your product on the spot, which ultimately helps your future marketing efforts. You can discover any objections your customer might have to buying your merchandise so you can address these via your website, social media, or other marketing channels.
2. Go Behind-the-Scenes
People love exclusive content.
According to a survey from Livestream and New York Magazine, 87% of audiences prefer watching online content if they receive special behind-the-scenes content. Use live video to give your audience backstage access to your ecommerce brand.
Give viewers a quick tour of your company headquarters or let them preview an upcoming sale. If you’re getting ready to launch a new product, use your live stream to build anticipation and generate excitement among your customers before you even begin promoting your product launch. Pay attention to the feedback you get via comments, so you can adjust your content to what your customer wants to see.
3. Interact with Your Audience
Host a live chat or a Q&A session. You can invite an entertaining guest to interview, or let your audience guide your content. It’s simple — ask your audience questions. Encourage them to respond with their answers and comment on other responses. The only content you need to plan is the questions you ask.
Make it a conversation and get your audience involved. This dialogue helps build a relationship with your customers, which increases your credibility and trustworthiness as an online business.
4. Instructional Video
Demonstrate how to use your products with instructional live video. The options are endless, depending on what you sell. Check out these ideas to get inspired:
- Clothing: Teach your audience how to style one of your pieces and turn it into an outfit.
- Fitness gear: You can broadcast a quick, new workout for your viewers to try out.
- Beauty brands: Show your users how to apply a specific product.
- Barware: Demonstrate a new cocktail recipe with your equipment.
Before you go live, create a quick script or outline to follow. You don’t want to plan too carefully and follow the script exactly. People engage with live streams because they appreciate the opportunity to view the imperfect, authentic side of your brand.
Live streaming has the potential to become an indispensable element of any ecommerce product strategy. The benefits of the platform are undeniable — brand building, customer loyalty and engagement, and increased conversion.
As live video content continues to develop, live streaming will evolve into a place where people can purchase products directly from the live stream. Any ecommerce company looking to be at the forefront of marketing and sales trends should be focused on developing a live streaming presence in 2018.
Original article published here