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This is an intense time of year for marketers. First of all, there’s the obvious commercial opportunity inherent in gift-giving holidays. If you’re a B2C company that manages to stand out in people’s minds when they’re doing their holiday shopping, it can be extremely valuable and lucrative. Also, it’s the end of one year and the beginning of another, so there are lots of opportunities to tell people about what you accomplished in the past year as a company, or what you plan to do the future. It’s a great time to remind customers that they’re important to you and to grab the attention of new people looking to try things in the new year.

As marketers, we’re all looking for an extra edge around this time of year. So, how can you use live streaming to boost your marketing efforts? Here are a few things other companies have done:

Live Stream a Holiday Marketing Seminar (Google, Constant Contact, Facebook & Square)

As with all content marketing, providing value is the name of the game when it comes to marketing with live content during the holidays. For B2B companies, helping businesses succeed during the holidays is a great way to garner good will and raise brand awareness among potential customers. The holidays are a great time to live stream instructional webinars and trainings.

For example, in November the U.S. Small Business Administration Tech Coalition – Google, Constant Contact, Facebook and Square all teamed up to create a marketing seminar in time to help businesses with their holiday marketing efforts. The Marketing Wonderland Holiday ‘17 Seminar was a 2-hour workshop that took place in the morning on a Wednesday and was a great opportunity for many small businesses to come together to learn marketing strategy from some of the biggest names in business. The live stream allowed Google, Constant Contact, Facebook and Square to educate potential customers across the country on holiday marketing techniques (that may or may not have included paid technical services and products).

Live Stream A Demo Of Gifts (HP & Walmart)

A product demo can be a great way to inspire brand awareness during the holiday season. What better way to get people excited about what you have to offer than to show them? And with live streaming, you can give people the opportunity to ask questions about your products and see how they work before they buy them online.

For example, HP and Walmart used live streaming to sell out the new HP Laptop in time for the holidays. In order to garner more participation and engagement than they saw with traditional QVC and home shopping network models, the two companies looked to live streaming. With the help of an online video platform and distributor (AmpLive), they were able to have the audience participate, ask questions, pre-order, and purchase the items up for sale, all during the live event.

Through a strong targeting and distribution strategy, HP & Walmart saw huge live audiences and ultimately sold out of the new HP Laptop.

Live Stream A Holiday Special (Martha Stewart & Home Depot) 

Live streaming a holiday special can work for entertainers and big brands alike. This can be a year-end review of your company’s successes, a plan for the next year, a concert, or an interactive workshop.

One great example of a successful holiday marketing campaign is the 2015 partnership between Martha Stewart and Home Depot. At the time, leading up to the holidays, Home Depot was looking to diversify and expand its audience, and Martha Stewart was looking to launch a new line of products (Martha Stewart Living Collection) at Home Depot.

In order to reach the affluent DIY-er audience that was the target for both brands, marketers for Home Depot and Martha Stewart Living Collection organized a live DIY workshop sponsored by Home Depot and hosted by Martha Stewart herself. The live stream reached millions, and the campaign led to a large boost in web traffic and awareness for both brands.

 

In short, if you’re looking to stand out with your marketing efforts around the holidays, getting creative and strategic with a live event is a great way to do it!

 

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Allocating your stream budget effectively and strategically is one of the biggest keys to successfully creating content that builds your audience and drives ROI.

For many marketers, content creation isn’t a problem. It’s easy enough to produce a live stream if you have a camera and internet connection. However, for professional marketers using live streaming, the problem is maximizing ROI through audience targeting and development. Maybe you have an existing audience that loves your stuff. How do you continue to make content that resonates with them while grabbing the attention of new readers/viewers/followers? And, how do you grow your reach and maximize impact without wasting money on tactics that don’t generate enough leads?

Here are some ways to make sure you maximize the value of your live stream budget:

1. Audience Targeting Support

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: When producing content, you must identify your target audience. Audience targeting is about finding your desired customer before they know you’re there. It’s the practice of identifying your ideal customer and focusing on them. Even your best content will never resonate if you don’t create it with a specific persona in mind. Ask yourself what topics your audience wants to see you cover, and don’t stray from that list.

In terms of budgeting — you can hire media-savvy companies [such as AmpLive 😉 ] to help with this. However, the main budget you’ll be dealing with in this case is just regarding time. And even though time is the most valuable currency, don’t cut corners here. Identifying the correct target audience is one of the most crucial factors in increasing ROI for all streaming efforts.

2. Production Team

Sometimes the only thing that separates two great live streams is the production value. All other things being equal, it can make or break you. Would you rather watch someone a stream of someone idly talking to the screen, or watch someone using a green screen, with professional lighting and cameras? When a viewer sees that you put time and effort into your broadcast, it further entices them to engage with your stream.  

3. Distribution Service

Audience targeting is important, but it becomes significantly more valuable and actionable if you have a distribution strategy to actually reach your target audience. Once you have identified your target audience, it’s time to deduce where they like to browse on the internet so you can deliver your content to them. (We’ve touched a little on this in a previous post).

If your target audience is in the millennial age group, it’s probably not a good idea to advertise to them on AARP or sites aimed at retirees. In this instance you would be better served distributing your content via sites like Twitch, where your target audience is already browsing.

The distribution strategy will most likely require a financial investment, and should be carefully considered when organizing your live event. If you aren’t planning on investing in a distribution service, you’ll need to set aside extra time and money for promoting the event ahead of time to make sure people know where, when, and what you’ll be streaming (only about 50% of registrants show up to events, on average, so you’ll need to expand your event promotion to offset this loss).

4. Retargeting Service

As with any content marketing campaign, the interaction doesn’t stop at the main event. Sure, you’re more likely to be seen by more people, and by the correct people, if you develop content that is appealing and targeted, and you deliver along the correct channels in the proper venue. However, most people engage with one piece of content online and then move on.

While it may be easy to forget when mapping out your event budget, if you want to have a lasting impact on your audience, it’s important to invest in retargeting. Keep track of your viewers, and follow up with the ones who seemed open to learning more about you. This could be attempted through social media or through chat during the event, or it can be accomplished through a formal distribution and retargeting service.

If you’ve ever been in San Francisco during Salesforce’s annual user conference, you’ll know that it isn’t just about teaching people to use cloud computing apps. Dreamforce is much more than that.

Last week, over 170,000 Salesforce users and aficionados flocked to downtown San Francisco to hear from CEO Marc Benioff, former first lady Michelle Obama, Ashton Kutcher, Girl Scouts of America CEO Sylvia Acevedo and other inspiring innovators. Talks covered the future of Salesforce services, as well as broader topics like the future of work in America, artificial intelligence, innovative trends in marketing, the economic gender gap, and technology as a force for good. To amplify their reach and invite more people into the conversation, most of the presentations were live streamed on Salesforce’s video page, as well as on media sites across the internet.

During his keynote speech, Benioff introduced us to five new Salesforce features: myLighting, mySalesforce, myEinstein, myIoT and myTrailhead. All five will allow for greater customization and functionality for users. Using companies like T-Mobile, 21st Century Fox, and Adidas as examples, Salesforce demonstrated the customizabile interfaces made possible by myLighting, myEinstein’s point-and-click AI builder, mySalesforce’s app builder, myTrailhead’s customizable training interface, and myIoT’s easy-to-use IoT flow visualizing tool. This keynote was live streamed to an audience of millions, but if you missed it you can still watch online here.

In addition to Salesforce product introductions and demos, Dreamforce featured over 2700 breakout sessions and 54 presentations. InsideSales.com founder Ken Krogue aptly summarized the main takeaways in his Forbes article Playmaking, AI Revolution, CRM Evolution, Giving Back: Highlights from Dreamforce 2017.

According to Krogue, speakers at Dreamforce expressed a belief that, in the context of a more complex sales communication landscape, CRM technologies are declining, leaving space for more innovative sales tech.

Marc Benioff covered technology more broadly, discussing the social impact of what he called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” in which millions of jobs will be created by technology, shifting the landscape of labor in America.

Another major topic was the importance of “playmakers” in the modern business world. According to speakers at Dreamforce, playmakers are people that use data to make informed sales decisions to maximize revenue. Playmakers know how to use the tools to play the game.

Finally (and most importantly, in my opinion), Dreamforce speakers across the board emphasized the importance of using the tech industry’s success to give back to the community, either globally or locally. With just 1% of their revenue, tech giants can have a huge impact.

As a marketer for a marketing platform, I’ve found the Dreamforce streams and messaging to be particularly fascinating and inspirational. If you’re a marketer, or just a concerned citizen curious about the future of tech and business, give the summaries and videos a look. And, (because it wouldn’t be an AmpLive post if we didn’t bring it back to live) check out the live streamed presentations next year.

 

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Despite its increasing professional use, live streaming still takes up only a small space in the vast world of marketing tactics. Of course, its prevalence is increasing as brands recognize its value, but many companies still aren’t exactly sure how to use live streaming.

If you’re a marketer, you’ll need to be strategic about your live content. You don’t want to wind up streaming to no one, streaming to the wrong people, or streaming content that doesn’t engage your target audience, right?

Here are some of the most common challenges businesses face when incorporating live streaming into their marketing strategy:

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1. Gathering a large audience

Gathering a large audience for your live stream is not easy, and requires a few different steps. Of course, like every event, you’ll need to do a fair amount of promotion leading up to it. This means posting about it on social media, sending out emails, using PR networks — essentially using your usual marketing tools.

In the context of live stream, it also means figuring out an effective means of distributing your live video on a mass scale. You’ll need to be sure that you’re placing your video on high-traffic pages that contain content relevant to your target audience.

If you plan on expanding your live stream audience past the traditional online video platforms, you may want to work with a distribution service that can display your content on more diverse sites. Getting your video on the Wall Street Journal website, or on TechCrunch or the New York Times, will guarantee that more people will see it.

 

2. Targeting the right people

We’ve discussed this before in other posts, but it always bears repeating. You have control over the what, where, when and how of your live stream, but you can’t change the personalities and preferences of your customers, so you need to understand them.

You can’t engage everyone, so be sure your content appeals to the people who are likely to buy your product or service. Think about what problem your offering solves, and consider where and how you deliver it. If your product is a tooth whitening solution and you mainly sell it online, your audience is more likely a young to middle-aged adult than a child, for example.  

Once you’ve determined your buyer profile, you’ll need to ask another set of questions to find them online, but that’s another post altogether. You’ll also need to come up with a means of staying on their radar after the event.

3. Producing high quality, engaging content

There are some simple steps you can take to make sure your live stream is successful. Beyond the technical tools, you’ll need to come up with content ideas based on your own research. Among your other pieces of content, which topics garnered the most attention? If blog posts about apples consistently get more comments or traffic than posts about bananas, maybe your live stream should focus on apples (excuse the unimaginative example).

You’ll need to determine what constitutes engagement. Some platforms count 3 seconds of visibility as a view, while some have a higher standard. In order to determine which formats, topics, and types of live content get the most engagement, pay attention to what was happening on screen in the moments with high chat activity and in moments with a high exit rate.

4. Translating audience to leads

So you’ve got everything ready to go — you’ve used the right tools, created the right content, and were seen by the right target audience. Now what? How do you ensure that your viewers don’t just watch the video and then disengage with your company?

First, you’ll have to strike a balance in your presentation. You want your brand to be present in your content, but it should provide significant value outside of just instructing people about your product. Make sure you provide your audience with something unique to your brand that they won’t forget right away.

Also, make it easy for people to return to your video or your page after they’ve left. This is where retargeting comes in. Let’s say a viewer has engaged with your video, but then traveled off the page. A service that offers retargeting will help get your video and brand back in front of them, and increase the likelihood that they remember who you are and follow up with you.

 

Hopefully this list helped reduce some of the uncertainty surrounding live stream. Remember that the most important thing is to always keep in mind that your video should provide value, and will always represent your brand. Best of luck on your live endeavors!

 

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2017 truly was the year that livestreaming took off. Video is being utilized by marketers at an all-time high, and for good reason. YouTube and Facebook both have over 1 billion users, and 45% of them watch more than an hour of video every week. Instead of the typical behavioral marketing campaigns, marketers are realizing that they need to go where their audience is and be presenting what their audience wants to see.

While it’s easy to see where the industry is going, it can be hard to figure out a starting point. Below are 5 great ways to start your livestreaming initiatives in 2018.

 

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  1. Share a Product Launch

    Creators in all industries are always looking for new ways to launch their latest products. Whether it be a new gadget, or a great new software addition to your platform, livestreaming is a great way to show it off.

    Apple has consistently used annual keynotes to rollout it’s newest phones, tablets, and softwares. Their audience comes in droves to be among the first group to know about the product. Additionally, if you’re launching multiple products, the audience is incentivized to keep viewing until the product they’re most interested in is announced.

  2. Stream Live Events

    Any major live event that your company is involved in branding, sponsoring, or otherwise partnered with should be streamed. 51% of marketers worldwide agree that video is the type of content with the best ROI. Furthermore, video on Social Media generates 1200% more shares than text and image based post combined. These statistics are only bolstered with the addition of “live,” as the fear of missing out becomes a major factor. Needless to say, live streaming must be incorporated into your event production strategy.

  3. Stream Trainings

    The products that we build in tech can be complicated, and most aren’t meant to be understood in a matter of days. While it’s a good idea to have an FAQ page to answer some of the higher-level questions, some users may want to dive deeper.

    The “power users,” — those who are constantly using your product to the best of it’s capabilities — may have some questions that require a 1-on-1 setting. Why not provide a webinar-based environment (chat + presenter engagement) where you can answer multiple questions throughout the session? Not only will it serve as a Q&A, but it will also provide you the reputation of being attentive to your customer’s needs. Win win!

  4. Live Stream a Giveaway

    A live giveaway is a great way to incentivize your customers and get “room.” Once they’re there, you can schedule the stream to what best suits your company’s interest. If you plan a 60 minute stream, doing the giveaway in the last 10 minutes, that’s 50 minutes of content curated for your needs! It could be brand education, virtual case studies from previous successful campaigns you’ve run or just general industry knowledge.

    The idea is to get people’s attention with the giveaway and then reward their stay with a chance to win. The value proposition lies in your having their attention and, in turn, them receiving your physical gift.

These are some of our ideas, but there are plenty of other ones out there, and there’s nothing stopping you from coming up with something entirely new. It’s also always useful to look at what other brands are doing for inspiration. We know you’ll come up with something great to share!