Few marketing tools – if any at all – have the power of connecting you with your customers the way live streaming does. They make your retail brand feel approachable and authentic, and that’s probably why they are such an outraging success.
But live video is not just about humanizing your brand or appealing to younger audiences – It’s also about building trust in your brand and its products!
Through direct, candid interactions, viewers can clear their doubts about you and hear your message in a more casual setting. In e-commerce terms, it’s probably the closest they can get to approaching a place and talking to a retailer.
That said, experienced video companies would be the first to tell you that creating an effective live streaming video is not as easy as it may seem. Behind its spontaneous façade, there’s plenty of preparations and considerations you can’t afford to miss.
And you won’t! Today I’ll cover some essentials of producing a live stream that helps you bond with your clients and jump-start your sales. Shall we?
Planning A Broadcast
“Spontaneous” is not equal to “unprepared.”
Your video should be as close to a natural, improvised conversation as possible. But this doesn’t mean you should start streaming without a plan. To avoid uncomfortable silences, you must consider the objective of your stream and the information you want to get across.
Think about what you want to achieve from a marketing standpoint. Maybe you are trying to promote a new product release, or just show your expertise in a given subject connected to your brand. Whatever the goal, the cohesiveness of the content will depend on you having a solid grasp of it.
Secondly, as in any campaign, your target audience is a make-or-break factor. Try and choose the channel in which they engage the most with your retail brand. Also, take into account the day and the time when they are most likely to be available for your stream. Stay away from broadcasting when everybody’s at work or in class. Thankfully, most platforms show you metrics about which days your profile receives more visits, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
Before Going Live
Imagine you are running a perfect stream. Everybody is interacting, viewers can’t take their eyes off the screen … and then it cuts off midstream. Or, the audio starts getting choppy and undecipherable. To avoid such catastrophes, ensure your setup has been tested pre-stream and everything is in order. Have full batteries (and backups) for your wireless equipment, and a steady internet connection able to handle a smooth stream.
And since we are talking about technical aspects, here are a couple you can’t neglect:
Decent lighting. A simple choice is to pick a spot with bright natural light, like close to a window. Failing that, make certain to have a couple of white lights pointing your way.
About sound, the idea is to have a quality second microphone picking up your feed. However, many can’t afford that. Therefore, try to stream from a quiet spot, without external noises that may hamper your audio.
Lastly, pay attention to your set too. It should be neat and interesting, but stay away from distracting or cluttered backgrounds. Viewers’ eyes and attention should organically be on you.
Dry Run as Many Times You Need
Talking in front of a camera can be a daunting task for some, but it’s not the end of the world! If you are feeling a bit camera shy (it happens to the best of us!) try to record a rehearsal of the actual stream and pinpoint whatever you need to improve upon. It will go a long way to help you sound more easygoing and confident on camera, even when improvising.
By the way, be sure to look directly at the lens: seamless interaction is one of the main differences between live videos and other types of content.
Also, when dry running, simulate hypothetical situations that may come up during the streaming phase. Think of comments and questions your audience could have, and practice possible answers. Try to address pain-points the way an explainer video would, using storytelling to carry the information. Pretend welcoming more viewers and reintroduce the topic for them halfway through. After all, your stream won’t be a monologue but a conversation, and you should be deeply aware of that from the get-go.
Promoting Ahead of Time
Promoting your stream beforehand is a key to its success.
Try to advertise it at least twice: about a week before the broadcast and once earlier on the same day. An excellent way to attract viewers is to announce the stream will have timed opportunities like discounts or product sneak peeks. Let your audience know you will provide them with exclusive content they won’t be able to get anywhere else.
Another great strategy is to ask your audience to leave questions or topic suggestions in advance of the stream. That way, not only are you promoting your upcoming stream, you’ll also have your audience engaging beforehand and this will allow you the chance to prepare your content better.
Last but not least, promote the video in all your networks, even if your stream will only be in one of them. A fresh approach is to show a bit of behind-the-scenes before filming, and including links to where the video will display.
Branding in Live Broadcasts
Let your audience know your retail business is one of a kind.
Luckily, many platforms give you the option of personalizing the stream by adding logos and changing the color scheme. But beyond that, the video presenter, the words, the background, the composition – it all should match the unique style of your brand.
Live videos are an increasingly popular practice, and you want your customers to distinguish yours from other similar content they watch.
Call to Actions in Live Videos
There’s a critical difference between quality video content and a quality video that actually impacts your bottom-line, and that difference is defined by the quality of their CTAs – or lack thereof.
The basics of video CTAs are to prompt viewers to comment, give feedback, turn on notifications and share. But you can also seize this opportunity of close interaction with your audience to enhance further engagement.
Encourage viewers to participate actively and take their interventions into account. For instance, you can encourage them vote on which product they’d like to see showcased or reviewed in future videos. Or, invite them to participate in a survey to shape aspects of your business or content-creation process.
Lastly, ALWAYS include the appropriate links into your streams, directing people to where you want them to be.
Live videos are here to stay. There’s no two ways about it.
They give your retail brand an invaluable opportunity to display its human side and bond with customers; an opportunity you should take to portray and promote your message in a way no other medium quite matches.
Make the most out of streaming by following the advice we’ve covered today! Outline the message you want to convey and practice it as much as you need. Optimize its results, pairing it with the right promotion and CTAs. Then set out to interact and genuinely connect with your clients.
I promise you won’t be disappointed with the results.
About the writer: Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.