Guess how much internet traffic live streaming accounted for in 2020? A whopping 82%!
Wanna know how much the live streaming industry will be worth by 2021? USD 70 billion! (That’s 133% worth of growth since 2016 btw, in case you were wondering.)
Oh yes, live streaming is growing at an incredible pace! And if there’s one thing we’ve learnt from this exploding live streaming trend, is that those air-brushed commercials and evergreen smiling faces were fooling nobody.
People want their content raw, unedited, and engaging, and they want it fast! They’d rather watch and share interactive videos and live streams rather than consume other social media content.
How do you think influencers managed to grow their personal brands? By capitalizing on this very unfiltered and unpredictable nature of videos — pre-recorded and live!
Pretty awesome, right? The good news is this live streaming boom is here to stay. In fact, we are fast moving towards a future where over 80% of all internet consumption happens through videos!
We might just go out on a limb and say, there hasn’t been a better time to jump aboard this trendy bandwagon!
But you are probably thinking, “Gee, that all sounds very cool. But why should I go live?”
Well, great question. Let’s tackle that first!
Why should you go live?
So, the live streaming industry is taking off. Despite the popular belief that “live streaming is better suited for video games” or “people want to see celebrities and influencers”, more and more unconventional brands are finding success with live videos.
An example of the prominent multi-billion dollar company Apple should suffice here — the tech giant took the live route back in 2012 to announce iPhone 5, long before live streaming was even a thing!
Fast forward to today, live streaming is gaining traction like no other form of content marketing ever has!
And it’s not just the big brands like Apple that are leveraging this powerful marketing tool. Even course creators are on the front lines reaping the tangible benefits of doing so!
For instance, check out the Rajasthan Royals Academy UK that offers 1:1 courses and group coaching sessions to cricket enthusiasts of all ages and abilities.
Ever so often, they go live to give the audience an up-close and uninterrupted insight into cricket training at their academy and sometimes invite influential guests to discuss pertinent subjects that might interest viewers.
In one such live stream, they invited English cricketer Jos Butler, Vice Captain of the Rajasthan Royals IPL team and spoke about the mindset of budding cricketers practicing the sport.
Sounds like a treat to everyone involved, doesn’t it?
When you come down to it, it’s really all about ease, accessibility, and interactivity — which works equally effectively in favour of all online businesses, course creators included.
You see, consumer behaviour is way different than it was 20 years ago.
Are they satisfied with just learning about your services and USPs? Nah, that doesn’t cut it. They want to get a sense of your brand as well. They actively seek to build trust before engaging with your offerings.
And, with live streaming putting a face to your brand, forming connections and engaging with them meaningfully is sure as heck convenient!
So, whether you have a course on fashion, lifestyle, music, dance, sports, or fitness, believe us when we tell you that live streaming can drastically grow your customer base.
And, if you don’t get out in front of this powerful marketing tool right now, you’ll miss out on a huge chunk of traffic and lose the opportunity to create a viral buzz!
Nearly 63% of people between 18-34 year watch live streams regularly, especially on giant platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Mixer, and Twitch. Collectively, these platforms have attracted 3,934 billion worth of streaming hours in recent times, having grown a whopping 99% from April 2019!
It doesn’t end here. All of this translates to increased sales! Nearly 79% of consumers say brand videos have convinced them to buy their products.
No denying hard facts, right? It’s time to take action!
To that end, we are going to help you put together a kickass live streaming strategy with up-to-date tactics and cutting-edge equipment to connect with your audience on a personal level!
You aren’t mistaking “going live” to mean hosting webinars, are you? There’s usually some confusion there.
Let’s quickly clear that up.
Going live vs organizing webinars – apples and oranges
Online marketers often brush aside “going live”, thinking it’s the same as hosting webinars or web-based seminars. They couldn’t be more wrong!
The two approaches are different, both in terms of HOW they’re implemented and WHY they are implemented.
Let’s begin with the size of the potential audience.
With webinars, it’s typically students or clients or niche enthusiasts who’ve signed up to attend your event. On the other hand, live streams are wide open to the public, catering to a much larger audience that doesn’t need to register beforehand.
Which brings us to another important differentiator between the two — intent.
Course creators usually organize webinars with a specific agenda in mind. It could be to educate viewers on a niche subject or tackle QnAs. For instance, an arts educator might host a paid workshop for beginners or art enthusiasts.
Live streams, on the other hand, are inherently informal by nature. You have the luxury of straying from your subject. In fact, it’s usually the audience that sets the tone for a live stream.
You can even incorporate polls, questions, and other interactive elements to collects the audience’s feedback and responses in real-time.
Take an example of “Gangster Gardener” Ron Finley, who teaches a 10-part gardening course. He occasionally goes live on his social media platforms to review environment-friendly products or have a relevant conversation with fellow experts in the industry.
Here’s a recent live session posted on his Facebook page where students directly engaged with the instructor.
Clearly, a live stream is a two-way communication between you and the people participating in your stream. They make you more accessible to your audience!
What’s more, you can go live more frequently than you can hold webinars! Why? Setting up live streams is incredibly simple!
You start by testing the waters for a potential live broadcast. If the response is positive, you go ahead with it! Post that, a reminder here and there, and a countdown a few hours before the live stream — pretty much does the trick.
With webinars, on the other hand, it’s the same process again. However, it can get complicated getting attendees to your live class, tutorial or workshop.
At the end of the day, when successfully executed, both webinars and live streams bring you closer to your consumers.
With that settled, let’s look at some platforms you can check out for live streaming!
Where to go live?
There are various platforms today that support live streaming capabilities. The most famous ones include Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Knowing that you have to live stream is the first step. The second and the more important step is deciding which platform to pick for your live stream. Choosing the right platform is essential; otherwise, your live stream efforts might not convert into tangible results.
To select the best platform for you, the most important thing to consider is your target audience. For example, while Facebook still has the biggest audience, today’s consumers are scattered across different platforms.
In addition, different groups of people hang out on different social media platforms. As a result, it’s important for you to research a bit about your audience and figure out the platform where they’re most likely to spend time.
Apart from that, you should also be aware of some technical differences between hosting a live stream on Facebook vs Instagram vs YouTube. For that, here’s a table summarizing the key points for you to know about each platform:
|Feature||Facebook Live||Instagram Live||YouTube Live|
|Source||All sources – smartphones, tablets, computers||Only smartphones or tablets||All sources –|
smartphones, tablets, computers
|Time limit||4 hours*||1 hour*||36 hours*|
|Resolution||Up to 1280×720||Up to 1080×1920||Up to 3840×2160|
|Image quality||High||Low||Extremely high|
|Latency||Can’t adjust – approximately 20-30 seconds||Can’t adjust – approximately 5-10 seconds||Adjustable (to <5 seconds, <10 seconds, and <15 seconds)**|
|Interactive elements||Livechat and reactions||Livechat and reactions||Livechat, reactions,|
* Facebook and YouTube both offer the ability to provide “continuous live streams” that go on indefinitely. However, this comes with a set of limitations – as in, the analytics is limited, and there’s no on-demand viewing.
** Lower the latency, lesser the time that is required for optimizing different bandwidths. Users with slow internet speeds will buffer the videos more often if your latency is lower.
Depending on your audience, topic, and technical capabilities, you can select one (or more than one!) platform for your live streaming event.
How going live helps you grow your customer base
- They see you more, they trust you more
Live streaming is hands-down the most up-close and personal form of communicating with your audience. You essentially host events in a space that is personal to them. If there were a digital equivalent of your customers bringing you into their homes, this would be it!
Not to mention, the level of transparency is undeniable! The basic appeal lies in the approach feeling largely unscripted, conversational, and transparent.
You are responding to comments, soliciting expert advice, and addressing questions — all of which help develop strong, natural connections with customers.
What’s more, the whole act of streaming something live — for instance, a tutorial or a QnA session — brings people together as part of a community.
What you are essentially doing is cementing yourself as a trusted figure in their eyes! They are then more responsive to your products and keep coming back for more.
2. Makes you accessible and humanizes you
Live streams put a much-needed face to your brand. Remember the human element we were talking about? Yes, that!
Whether you are hosting a hairstyling tutorial or offering a behind-the-scenes tour of your workspace, there is little you can do to filter your responses. It’s all happening in real-time!
Viewers see you as one of themselves, and it increases relatability and humanizes your brand!
Now, when you tell your brand stories, pitch upcoming courses, or hold QnA sessions, they’ll be sure to pay attention!
3. Paves the way for brand exposure
Here’s a simple truth — live streams increase brand exposure. Nearly 74% of businesses report increased conversions with video marketing than other formats of content!
Take an example of Addition Elle that broadcasted its New York Fashion Week show on Facebook Live. The initiative resulted in its plus-size women’s latest collection to witness a 5% lift in sales and a 28-point lift in purchase intent.
The company’s VP of Marketing & Visual, Roslyn Griner, dedicated the success of its multi-layered campaign to Facebook Live. She quoted – “we wanted our customers and fans to feel they had a front row seat at NYFW to experience the excitement as it was happening in the moment, and Facebook Live allowed us to do that.”
What’s more, you can always record these live streams and put them up for people who might have missed the live event. Did you know videos on social media attract 1200% more shares when compared to texts and images? Crazy awesome, right?
4. Promoting upcoming courses is much easier
One of the sweetest perks of live streams is that you get to personally inform your audience of new launches, upcoming events, or initiatives.
Isn’t that just exciting? Getting first-hand information on new launches by your favourite brands? Gets us dizzy with anticipation every time!
Check out Apple’s September 2019 live event, where they introduced the all-new iPad, Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 11, and iPhone 11 Pro.
Anyway, keeping customers in the loop about your new launches makes way for increased brand exposure — which obviously translates to potential sales!
What’s more, you can tackle questions about your new products right then and there and confidently clarify doubts. This way, you win their trust and even initiating sales discussions becomes organic — automatically bringing customers close to conversion!
5. Valuable customer insights, anyone?
With courses, there aren’t many reliable ways to find out if customers liked your product. Once they are gone, they are gone for good. Sure, you can get them to leave reviews, but how many of them do so? Barely a handful, right?
So, it’s best to glean insights in real-time. For example, you can incorporate polls, quizzes, or other interactive elements into your live stream to collect customer data.
Once you analyze their activity on your live stream — assess their questions, answers, and responses — you’ll find yourself in a better position to cater to their needs.
6 awesome live streaming ideas you can steal
Given the endless reserve of opportunities live streaming offers, there is plenty of room for creativity for course creators to connect with your audience at a personal level and drive course sales. Here are 6 effective AF content strategies for your live streaming endeavor:
1. Hosting tutorials
Live tutorials are an excellent way to showcase your skills and build authority. The easier and quicker it is, the better it will be received by your audience.
If you follow John Mayer or Shankar Mahadevan on Instagram, you may have noticed that singers and musicians who train students online host live tutorials rather frequently.
Another example is makeup artists and fashion bloggers who do #GRWM (Get Ready With Me) sessions live and dress up from scratch in front of their audience, even answering questions as they do so. Isn’t that way better than posting a short, edited version of your final look on YouTube? We think so too!
Live tutorials are also relatively common amongst dance teachers. Check out dance coach Sonali Bhadauri’s live dance tutorial on YouTube, where she teaches viewers her “Dance Like” choreography.
2. Streaming starry live events
ou can also broadcast niche live events and give viewers an exclusive, real-time peek of shows they’d otherwise love to be a part of. You may have seen your favourite tech bloggers visit gadget launches, or fashion bloggers provide raw updates on the Lakme Fashion Week, and so on.
This is possibly the coolest aspect of live content, where you piggyback your audience virtually to any cool event you go to.
For some viewers, insight into major events is the deal breaker. Instead, it’s the FOMO within them that keeps them coming back for more!
Pro tip: Make sure you inform your audience beforehand, so they don’t end up missing it!
3. Deep-diving with QnA sessions
Possibly the easiest and most common form of content to live stream is a QnA. It draws people by the crowds and boosts overall interactions on your streams. Not to mention, you come out looking like a revered expert!
Live QnA sessions usually involve addressing raw questions that come your way and providing satisfactory answers in real-time.
Check out this live QnA session an IELTS mentor conducted on YouTube to address questions related to IELTS preparation strategies.
But if you’re just starting out, it makes sense to go in with some prep. So first, lead with a list of the questions you are asked most frequently. Then, you can take direct questions in between if prompted.
Pro Tip: Respond to comments while you are live if conditions permit. It makes your live session more engaging and ensures viewers return to your future live streams. After all, they know they’ll have their questions addressed so, why not?
4. Harnessing the power of experts/influencers
Live streams are ideal for hosting interviews with subject-matter experts or influencers. You can either strike up a casual conversation or choose an industry-related subject that viewers might find interesting for an interview.
Pro tip: Get your audience’s opinion on what subjects they’d like you to touch on if you’re struggling with interview topic ideas.
Conduct a poll on Facebook or your Instagram story and find out what topics your audience resonates with the most. That should get you greater interaction and engagement as well!
Also, don’t forget to promote your live event across your social media platforms, email campaigns, additional blogs, if any, to generate much-needed interest and maximize viewership.
5. Upcoming announcements
If you have a new product coming up, inform people about it via a live stream. This way, you can address any confusion among students about your courses and clear up potential setbacks in your path to conversions.
For inspiration, check out how the Equine Photo School announced its new “Mastering Horse Portraits Course” in a 24-minute Facebook Live stream, addressing every nuance of the course.
Pro tip: Host live activities in the event of a new product launch like polls, quizzes, and more to collect real-time feedback and analyse your audience’s response.
Definitely more effective than simply adding the course details on your website and taking the hardcore marketing route, right?
6. Show your audience that you care
Too often, we come across celebrities doing random, unplanned live sessions where they keep prompting viewers to run the show for them. See how that is problematic?
The whole point of going live is to interact with your audience at a personal level and generate meaningful engagement. And running live sessions without a focus point leads your audience to perceive you as someone who doesn’t care about their pain points or is actually concerned about resolving them.
Here’s something you should take to heart — your first and foremost priority should be to add value to your audience.
Take a moment to think about your motive for going live and do a rundown of the topics you wish to cover beforehand. This way, you won’t end up losing viewers fidgeting for content.
Trust us, your audience will appreciate you for it!
Live Streaming Equipment — What do you need?
It’s time to get into the tools of the trade!
The quickest way to go live is to make do with what you already have. But if it’s a polished-looking, high-res live stream you are after, you need some basic prep.
So, here’s your guide for an ideal live stream setup for a successful live stream event!
If you’re just starting, entry-level tools should be good enough for you:
- Smartphone, tablet, laptop, or a PC
- Tripod (optional) – if you have an external camera
- Stable Wi-Fi connection
That’s pretty much all you need to host live streams on a platform of your choice (also what most users opt for).
But you should know that entry-level tools aren’t without their set of limitations. Be prepared for poor lighting, low-res videos, and disturbances in voice quality!
Want your video to be on point, audio quality to be up-to-the-mark, and the atmosphere pitch perfect? Here’s what you need:
- HD video camera
- Video encoder
- Portable Wi-Fi device
The result will be professional-looking live videos with highly polished visuals. Not to mention, great voice quality! If your course revolves around teaching music, intermediate tools should serve you well.
You might even level up your game with more advanced, professional tools. It’s best to go with
- Multiple HD video camera
- Video encoders
- Audio mixers
- Computer graphics software and broadcasting software (OBS, etc.)
- Portable Wi-Fi device
If it’s large-scale live events we’re talking, you need sufficient pieces of hardware – so you’ll need more than one HD camera.
Don’t forget to get external devices to consolidate audio and video signals to get a sleeker and clearer picture in front of your audience. With a multiple camera setup, you can take shots from various angles and create more engaging and visually exciting content!
Pro tip: Have a setup checklist to go over before every live stream. This means you can focus on the actual subject rather than getting distracted by miscellaneous elements that could go wrong in a live environment.
Sell online courses with live streaming
There’s nothing like a free-flowing conversation with your audience to gain their trust. So, if you want to talk about your course, look for ways to get up-close and personal with your audience.
Live streaming does an excellent job of that!
Go ahead and try out these cool applications of live streaming to increase brand exposure and potential course sales. While you are it, spice things up with fun activities and interesting discussions! We bet it works!