In an economy focused on grabbing attention, engaging your audience is key to keeping your business competitive.
But achieving a high level of customer involvement can be difficult in a time of health-related and geographical constraints.
Technology provides part of the solution: live streaming services allow for sharing your content in the most immediate way while getting genuine feedback from the audience.
In this article, we will discuss how you can apply real-time video streaming to efficiently promote your products and communicate with your audience.
Live Streaming as a Part of Digital Transformation
First, we need to get some basic definitions out of the way: What does live streaming mean?
Live streaming is a professional broadcasting practice of transmitting audio and video of real-time events over the Internet. It has swiftly gained popularity, with more and more businesses using it to improve direct communication with potential and actual customers.
Live streaming is a practice of transmitting the media while it is recorded, allowing viewers to watch or listen to it in real-time.
If we look at the big picture, the widespread adoption of video streaming apps and platforms is playing its part in the digital transformation of businesses. The main reasons for that are:
- Companies are looking for new ways to drive sales and talk to their customers.
- Businesses are trying to reach their customers through the web while physical interaction is limited due to COVID-19. According to McKinsey&Company, to stay competitive in times when physical interactions are extremely restricted, businesses are increasingly relying on technology to continue offering their products and services to customers.
Average share of products and/or services that are partially or fully digitized. Source: McKinsey&Company
The research also confirms a “rapid shift toward interacting with customers through digital channels.” Compared with the times before the pandemic, respondents are three times more likely to say today that 80% or more of their interactions with customers are conducted online.
Average share of customer interactions that are digital. Source: McKinsey&Company
The main point here is that live video streaming particularly shows its benefits in customer interactions. It allows a business to engage potential customers in a more creative way.
Businesses That Use Live Streaming
Here’s what various businesses are already doing to drive product sales and build stronger relationships with customers using live streaming:
Twitch is now one of the biggest players in the online streaming business. Though it started as a platform for gamers to stream as they play, it’s now covering the cybersports industry, hosting various championships.
In addition, COVID-19 has turned out to benefit the platform.
Twitch saw a rapid increase in viewership around February and March, 2020, as the pandemic was altering people’s lives around the world.
Year-over-year change in average viewers on Twitch. Source: Quartz
In addition, Twitch has become a platform for people looking to connect with others in real-time. There are streamers discussing TV, books, pop culture, and other topics.
And what about other platforms?
YouTube and Instagram have also stepped into the field. Both platforms have live streaming features that content creators can use to communicate directly with their audiences.
YouTube allows its users to stream their content live
A great way to boost sales of an upcoming product is to hold an online presentation. That’s what many tech vendors have been doing since the pandemic started. For instance, both Apple and Samsung have unveiled new products using video streaming services.
Apple pre-recorded the unveil of their newest iPhone 12 and then streamed it on YouTube
Here’s how they made the presentation look professional on stream.
They pre-recorded the events, as though they were meant to go on YouTube, with careful scripting, professional lighting, and editing. But to make it feel more like a live event, the companies didn’t just upload the videos on platform, but streamed them.
Since the pandemic Samsung also hosted online events for their products
Live streaming benefits the real estate industry by allowing brokers to show properties to potential buyers without those customers actually being on-site.
Simply put, it’s as if the clients were in the same room with the agent, but without having to travel at all.
Benson auctions are held through live streaming
The agent is there to show everything that interests the clients and answer their questions on the location, neighbors, insurance, taxes, and so on — all through a video streaming app.
Live streaming is extremely valuable for educators who may not have the ability to interact with their students directly.
Here are a couple of examples of live streaming used in education or training:
- Lectures, Consultations, and Q&As. Companies such as Microsoft do their fair share of education by having live educational events. For instance, these can be used to teach developers how to use their new tools.
Microsoft’s live educational event Inspire 2021
- Traditional classes. For example, Newrow provides a virtual classroom with the ability to offer live classes and offers LMS features. >
Newrow virtual classroom allows for holding live classes
On top of that, educators can share useful materials and guides while getting valuable feedback from the viewers.
Video streaming solutions can also be useful for healthcare specialists, who can use it to check up on patients, train interns, hold conferences with colleagues, and give interviews and presentations.
Since the pandemic began, healthcare workers have been relying on streaming as a workaround, amid the need for social distancing while continuing to fight the disease. Doctors can schedule virtual visits. A company called Carbyne offers the ability to have a live stream with a patient instead of a traditional call. This allows healthcare workers to gather useful information about a patient’s well-being and location.
Carbyne offers live chat with healthcare professionals
Since gyms have closed down around the world due to the pandemic, people are looking for other ways to stay in shape. Technology provides a great opportunity for fitness instructors to train their clients remotely. Via video streaming apps, they can coach their clients, provide training and nutrition programs, and even hold group classes.
Classpass offers live fitness classes
And there’s another angle to the sports business: entertainment.
Sports is a big part of the entertainment market, so there are lots of companies that bring content to audiences online. Apart from more traditional reporting from networks such as CBS Sports, we now have content juggernauts such as Barstool Sports or The Ringer. They stream competitions, offer live podcasts and shows talking about sports, and provide sports news reporting.
Such media companies as Barstool Sports use live streaming to report on sports
Pros and Cons of Corporate Live Video Streaming
Take a look at the advantages you can gain from live streaming:
Greater audience potential
Any physical space has a limited capacity, which means you can only invite so many people to the event. There might be people who want to attend an event but can’t, due to the inability to travel.
So holding an online event with the help of a video broadcasting app helps to reach people you could not reach otherwise.
Variety of content
Live streaming may not be limited to audio or video broadcasting. To improve audience engagement and boost conversion rates, you can implement features such as live chat, multimedia sharing, and notifications.
Ease and convenience
There’s no need for a technician to set anything up. All it takes is a computer or mobile device with a camera, and an internet connection.
Video streaming applications also allow streamers to keep an eye on the viewership and viewers’ behavior — meaning you can see how your event did.
This data will help you get to know your audience better and come up with new ways to convert them into customers, as well as work on improving your future broadcasts.
Another advantage of live streaming is that it is available on mobile devices. There are lots of people who use a smartphone as their main computing device, so it makes sense to enable them to stream your content there.
Pros of corporate live video streaming
Despite all these benefits of live video streaming, there are some drawbacks:
You and your viewers both need a stable and fast internet to transfer and receive video and audio of high quality with no lag.
Slow loading times and lag can make people leave your stream.
But advances in technology are helping to solve this problem.
5G connectivity is becoming more available around the world. 5G brings high internet speeds and bandwidth good enough to host live events and stream high-quality content.
If you work with clients from different time zones, it might be difficult to decide when to stream your event. Even the most loyal of customers won’t be up at 3 in the morning to watch your content every time.
To solve that problem, you may need to change up the scheduling.
Analyze the time period when most of your audience is typically online and schedule your streams accordingly. Also, you can plan several streams for the same event so that more people can attend, or save the recording of a stream and share it on social media.
Cons of corporate live video streaming
Steps to Create a Live Streaming App or Feature for Success
Now let’s talk about how you can build a live streaming app for your business — everything from the idea to the app development process.
Here’s the process you should follow:
Identify what value you could derive from live streaming
It is useful to figure out how live video streaming can help your customers solve their problems. This will help you focus on building your project in a helpful manner while not getting carried away with features neither you nor your audience need.
Come up with a specification for your live video streaming app
Make a list of all the features you want in your app, such as video playback, personal accounts, social media sharing, and payment methods. Jot down ideas on how your software solutions should look and work. This will be useful when negotiating with the development team.
Do a Google search or check B2B research agencies for listings to find a software development company to build your streaming solution. Take your time to study the website, portfolios, and testimonials of the companies you find, to be sure that they have relevant expertise.
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Build your video streaming app
Once you’ve chosen a potential company, decide how you want to work with them. You can cooperate on a fixed budget, pay for whatever time it takes to finish the project, or go with a dedicated team that will work completely on your terms.
Steps to create a live streaming app
As you can see, there are a lot of advantages of live streaming: boost your sales, engage your customers, and build your brand to continue growing your business.
Many brands and companies in various business fields are already using video streaming apps to their benefit, providing quality content for their audiences and making their services and products more accessible.
To sum up, here’s a rundown on what you need to start live streaming for your business needs:
- Outline the value of streaming for your potential audience;
- Build a specification for a video streaming app based on its value;
- Find your video streaming app developers;
- Build your streaming software solution;
- Produce the content!
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