This post was written by Ashley Jones of Ashley Ann’s Events. As a talented, award-winning wedding and event designer, Ashley has made a name for herself by offering unique and professional designs and productions. Ashley is a Master Flower Builder with a knack for transforming unconventional spaces. In the business world, Ashley offers speaking engagements for entrepreneurs on a variety of topics, including social media lead generation, sales funnels, and business growth. She has been featured on CNN Money, Fox News, KATV, STAND’s 30 Under 30, and several other media outlets and publications.
By now, you’ve probably noticed that many celebrities and businesses are leveraging live streaming apps like Facebook Live or Periscope to reach wider audiences with fresh, engaging videos. Rather than recording a video and uploading it later, live streaming allows you to instantly connect with your followers in a more organic (and less time consuming!) way. Live streaming gives everyone in the world access to you instantaneously.
I’m a huge fan of live streaming. One of the biggest benefits I’ve noticed is how quickly you can build a wider audience of followers. Using Periscope, I’ve been able to build an audience of a little over 20,000 followers in only about 5 months. I have followers in Russia, Canada, Australia, the UK, and of course the United States. It takes much more time on other social media platforms to build an organic audience of this size.
Another reason I love live streaming is its emphasis on the visual. As wedding professionals, our livelihood is based on not only the visual appeal of our work, but also our personality and friendliness towards our clients. Because it’s instantaneous, live streaming allows potential clients to see you and get a much better view of your personality than a scripted and pre-recorded video. Plus, research shows that visuals are processed in the brain 60,000 times faster than text, so it’s a much faster and more effective way to connect.
Another recent study shows that using video on landing pages can increase conversion by 80%, and I can personally attest to this – when I post a video on my Instagram compared to a photo I consistently get 3 times the views and engagement. Periscope, in particular, is a great platform because Periscope users consume nearly 40 years of watch time every day.
In addition to those benefits, live streaming apps Periscope and Facebook Live offer:
- Real time response from the audience
- The ability to answer questions and not have them taken out of context
- The ability to create an event anywhere
- You have the ability to be in millions of viewers homes, on lunch, at work, or wherever they are with no actual cost
- The ability to put a face, characteristics, and personality to your avatar or archetype
- The ability to network beyond written words in emails or on social media
How do you know if live streaming platforms are right for your business?
If you’re unsure, start slow. Join a live streaming community like Periscope and hang out for at least two or three weeks. Visit other user’s streams, learn the etiquette and culture, and see what type of content your target audience really wants to consume. You can also try a broadcast through Facebook Live to test out the functionality and gauge the response from your followers. Remember that it’s important to offer value before actually trying to sell your services – your live streaming audience first needs the opportunity to get to know you, like you, and trust you. Once your target audience achieves these things, they’re more likely to be receptive to your offer.
What are some of the risks you should be aware of before you start live streaming?
The biggest risk with any platform is just that you’re actually live, so anything can happen! Prepare as you would if you were recording a video that isn’t live so you know what you plan to say or do. If you’re planning on demonstrating something, be sure to test it several times to make sure it actually works the way you would like before you broadcast. And keep in mind that the audience can see your body language and hear your tone with everything you say – so when answering questions, behave exactly as you would at an in-person appointment.
For me, live streaming has been very successful. I have audience members that sit in on the entire hour #LateNightBiz Periscopes I do Monday-Thursday nights at 11:05pm. I have followers who set their alarm clocks and take afternoon naps just to catch the broadcast, and If I’m late they find me on other social media platforms! When I use Facebook Live, the video floating down the timeline captures their attention and it’s easy to build a momentum have casual conversation with my followers. Both Facebook Live and Periscope give me the ability to source the crowd in real time, introduce products to them, make jokes, and build firm relationships. I was able to sale a little more than $128k in online courses in just 60 days strictly from using my live streaming! I’ve also booked several speaking engagements and numerous other opportunities because of my live streams.
While live streaming may not be the right fit for every business, it can be a great way to make new connections and put yourself out there! It can’t hurt to give it a try like I did – if it doesn’t work, you don’t have to continue. Let me know about your live streaming experiences in the comments!