There’s at least one thing that became popular during the pandemic that I hope sticks around. No, not sourdough starters or puzzles — I’m talking about live streaming performances.
It’s funny: You can go to YouTube right now and pull up dozens of recorded contents from your favorite bands, whether they’re playing stadiums or dive bars. But there’s no substitute for watching it happen live. There’s an intimacy and immediacy that even the highest-def recording can’t match.
And livestreams aren’t just for musicians or comedians, either. B2B brands can use the format to reach and engage people in new and interesting ways. It’s no coincidence that our client LinkedIn, in its quest to become the destination for B2B marketing, now boasts robust livestreaming video capabilities.
Here’s why your B2B brand should consider livestreaming video.
#1: Promote Authenticity and Transparency
Impeccably produced and edited videos are good for building awareness and showing off your product or solution. But when it comes to building a deeper connection with your audience, these types of video can feel slick and emotionally distant.
By contrast, a livestream video can showcase the people behind the brand in all their imperfect, relatable glory. Even the occasional technical glitch or flubbed sentence of dialog can add to that feeling of authenticity. It can make even the biggest enterprise brands seem scrappy and DIY-friendly.
#2: Demonstrate Thought Leadership
Does your CEO have amazing ideas about the future of your industry? Or perhaps your HR director has mesmerizing thoughts about hiring in the hybrid work era, or your CFO has a wealth of advice on budgeting at the enterprise level.
A regularly-scheduled livestream can showcase your executives’ thought leadership with a minimum of time invested on their part. Even better, you can highlight some of the folks further down the org chart, those who are deep in the day-to-day operations of the business. Anyone in the organization with valuable insights to share with your target audience could take part.
#3: Promote Customers and Clients
B2B marketers should never pass up an opportunity to give clients some love and attention. Inviting a client to appear on a livestream can hit several objectives in one go:
- Supporting the client relationship
- Presenting a case study in a more compelling format
- Boosting the credibility of your brand
- Showing prospects what your brand can do
- Providing valuable advice for businesses looking to replicate your client’s success
The big advantage of livestreaming with clients is that it breaks the mold of the typical customer success story. Instead of a slickly-produced short documentary (or a static PDF, for that matter), it can be a conversation that allows the clients more breathing room to talk about the details of their story.
#4: Connect with Prospects
It can be hard to get on the radar of your most valuable prospects. Curated content, targeted advertising and social media mentions are all valid tactics. But consider the effectiveness of saying, “Hi, we recognize that you are thought leaders in the industry and we want to interview you for our livestream,” versus, “Hey, read this content.”
In the same way that a livestream can be a lovefest for your clients, it can be a way to break the ice with prospects. The informal immediacy of a livestream makes it easier to start the conversation and connect on a human level, rather than as marketer to prospect.
#5: Co-create with Influencers
In case you haven’t noticed, our agency is bullish on the power of influencer marketing for more effective B2B content. Livestreaming is no exception to the rule. In fact, many B2B influencers are uniquely suited for this format, especially those with big personalities who are already creating tons of content.
Influencers can help keep the livestream entertaining as well as informative, and can help bring in a wider audience.
#6: Build Community
The popularity of livestreams comes down to a peculiarity of human nature: We value shared experiences. If you’ve been in the front row at a concert, singing along with a thousand other people, you know what I mean. There’s no substitute for being in the moment with your fellow humans — and that shared experience builds an instant camaraderie.
If your livestream is entertaining, informative, even emotionally moving, the people who witnessed it firsthand will feel the power of that shared experience with each other. If you bolster that feeling with interactive elements during the stream and follow-up after, livestreaming can be an incredibly effective way to turn your audience into a community.
5 Tips for a Successful Livestream
The easiest way to do a livestream, of course, is to connect to a streaming platform, turn on your phone’s camera, and start talking. But a more effective approach is to think of it like an interview podcast — a spontaneous discussion with multiple guests, informal but guided. To create that type of livestream, it’s important to:
- Rehearse. You don’t want to have people reading a script, of course, but a full run-through of questions you plan to ask and potential talking points will help the stream go smoothly.
- Check your tech. An hour or so before the planned start, get everyone together to make sure audio and video are working properly for each guest.
- Have an off-camera ally. Audience interaction is a key selling point of livestreaming, but it’s hard to interact and perform at the same time. Have a designated person to respond to comments and hand over interesting questions.
- Set a regular day and time. One-off streams can be fun for those who happen to catch them, but a regular cadence will help your audience make a habit of tuning in.
- Capture and repurpose. No marketer worth their salt would leave quality video content unused. Take this opportunity to edit and repackage the video, pulling out highlights, adding graphics or b-roll, and creating a fully produced video asset (or assets!).
Go Live with Your B2B Content
Livestreaming is a great way to connect with your audience, build community, look brilliant and get on your customers’ radar. The intimacy and immediacy of the format make it ideal to show off the people behind your brand, too. For more inspiration about creating better marketing experiences for B2B customers, check out Lanes post featuring 5 Brands Rocking Livestream Content. Of course, if you would like to explore ways to add video livestreaming to your B2B marketing mix, the content marketing experts at TopRank Marketing are happy to help.