How businesses can benefit from live streaming

While 2016 will be widely remembered as a year of bad news, one good thing that did come out of it was the explosion in popularity of live streaming. With social media giants Facebook and Twitter both rolling out live streaming functionality globally, there is now an opportunity for B2B companies to reinvigorate their digital marketing strategies. But how can marketers make the most of this emerging trend?

By Thomas Roden, senior account executive

video marketing at trade showsRecently, B2B marketers have been branching out the platforms they use to promote their brand. 2014 survey by ITN Productions showed 88 per cent of B2B businesses had no video guidelines in place. Only a year later, ReelSEO found that 73 per cent were engaged in video marketing – and we can expect this trend to grow.
Video, for example, has been one of content marketing’s rising stars in recent years. A

This is representative of the changing nature of B2B marketing, with businesses repurposing tactics previously confined to the consumer sector. As such, live streaming is the next frontier of business content marketing as it promises the benefits of video marketing without the potential barriers of time and budget constraints.

In fact, there are three key ways that businesses can integrate live streaming into their existing PR and marketing strategies.

Trade shows and conferences
Trade events are core to most B2B marketing strategies and many have speaker opportunities available to industry-leading professionals. While this is an effective way of demonstrating knowledge and changing the minds of those attending the event, live streaming these presentations shares the experience with those who cannot attend.

For example, an electronics components specialist might want to speak at the Engineering Design Show. In 2016, it attracted 4,200 visitors with a total of 38 speakers and workshops taking place over the two-day event. As a rough estimate, each speaker may have attracted approximately 110 listeners.

Yet if the company also has a sizeable, focussed social following, livestreaming may double — or even triple — this figure. Since the global launch of Facebook Live, broadcasts have been favoured by the platform algorithms and are served up to page followers much more frequently than regular updates.

Alternatively, live streaming to a platform such as YouTube allows the stream to be embedded onto the company website. Depending on where it is embedded, this could potentially persuade site visitors to enquire further.

This principle can also be applied to conferences, expanding the reach of the event beyond those invited. In some instances, it is even possible to partner up with a key publication to stream the conference via its website.

Internal communications
One of the biggest challenges to multinational businesses is communicating effectively between multiple sites. Whether the firm aims to expand the skill set of employees or discuss key messages with sales personnel, the ability to communicate in a timely and effective manner is critical.

Instead of arranging a series of meetings for each site and country, businesses can livestream these sessions using an unlisted stream on sites such as YouTube. This is not only convenient, but because live streaming platforms create permanent videos from streamed content, it also means a session can be referred to in the future as a resource.

Webinars
Webinars have proven highly popular among trade bodies and magazines as a means of sharing insight and knowledge. As such, they are a valuable way for businesses to position themselves as thought leaders, while also building rapport with potential customers by answering their questions.

Of course, leading a webinar in association with an organisation often means using a specialised broadcast platform. However, businesses can easily host their own webinars by live streaming to social channels or platforms such as join.me. These webinars can be promoted through the usual PR activity and are an effective way of distinguishing a brand as industry-leading.

2016 opened the doors for live streaming to become an effective marketing tactic, so 2017 should be the year that B2B marketers take steps to use it. Whether it is for broadcasting a conference or sharing training internationally, there are many ways streaming fits into PR campaigns. Though if you’re unsure about how to fit it into yours, get in touch on +44 (0) 1785 225 416. We’re always happy to share our insight!

Thomas Roden

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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