By Solomon Thimothy, founder of Clickx.
Even though I've been in the digital industry for over a decade now, it still amazes me how much things have changed in just a few years. Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat have not yet hit the 10-year mark and most of us use these on a daily basis.
If you ask me today what I would do without these, I would have a hard time giving you an answer. Technology and new platforms have completely revolutionized how we reach consumers and how we communicate with them.
Engaging with your audience now takes more than just posting. As an entrepreneur, you can't afford to be passive on these channels. Engaging "live" with your followers, prospects and customers is where things are getting interesting for both marketers and businesses. Here's how to begin your journey into live engagement with your prospects and customers.
Why Live Content, Anyway?
Live content is the newest social trend. Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Twitter Live and Instagram Live allow for live video streaming. What exactly is it, though? Imagine streaming a video live to your audience on the platform of their choice, right in their hands.
With so much content consumed on mobile devices, it's no surprise that these platforms are moving toward live content. Followers instantly get notified when you go live so they can easily jump into the conversation. Add that to the fact that live content, like Facebook's Live videos, get watched 3x longer than videos that are no longer live, and receive 10x the engagement of non-live videos.
Creating Live Content Your Audience Wants
Unlike pre-recorded or pre-written content, live content needs to engage and draw people in during a specific timeframe. When deciding what type of live content is best for your audience, think about what they most want to see or know about you or your business.
A chef can do a live cooking demo, consultants can do live Q&A sessions, and product companies can do live product launches or how-to sessions showing more ways to engage with your products.
As a company, we do live streams that focus on answering marketing questions that we frequently get from prospects and even clients. It's a great way to educate and share your expertise.
Getting Started With Live Content
So, let's get practical now. Live content is the new way to communicate with your audience, and once you've found the type of content they are interested in, it's all about executing.
First, select your platform of choice. Next, you'll need to have a camera to get you going. You can start with the camera on your tablet or phone. If you are looking for high-quality video content, a DSLR camera is your best choice.
Depending on your goals and the type of camera you use, you may need additional software. There are a ton of options out there -- some free and some paid. OBS, for example, is an open source option. If you're looking for something more, try something like Wirecast by Telestream.
The next -- and perhaps most important -- thing is to promote your live stream. Be sure to let your audience know in advance through email or postings so they'll be ready to engage with you during your live stream.
What to Expect From Your First Live Stream
Your first live stream does not need to be a movie production. Your audience cares more about the ability to engage and connect with you than anything else. You might experience some technical difficulties and things may not go as you smoothly as you'd like, but it's all about trying it out.
I can tell you that our first live stream had a few different technical difficulties -- audio, internet, etc. Still, we had over 80 people tuning in. If I can give you any advice, it's to give it a try. Had we waited for perfection, we would have never experimented with live content at all.
Today we are producing regular live streams, and not only are we learning more about what our audience is interested in, but we are also connecting in a more natural way. So next time you review your content strategy, be sure to incorporate some live content into it if you're not already doing so.
Solomon Thimothy is the founder of Clickx, a marketing intelligence platform that helps businesses and agencies with marketing attribution.