An Introduction to Social Media Live Streaming

In times gone by, the only way for someone to "go live" was to climb on stage or secure a slot on live TV. In the modern age, however, the unstoppable growth of social media has ensured that any brand can broadcast live to audiences far and wide - and what's more, in an easy and accessible way.

A camera ready to begin live streaming

Allowing you to watch, create and share videos in real-time, social media live streaming has been made possible by the ever-developing functionalities of every channel, and has been embraced by many brands hoping to inspire their followers and reach new audiences.


What is live streaming?

Live streaming refers to video transmitted via the internet as the action happens rather than being recorded, stored and often carefully edited beforehand. Today, we have the technical capacity to live stream everything from informal Q&As filmed on camera phones to super-slick live theatre performances, complete with multiple camera angles and cinema-quality sound.

Some social media platforms, such as Twitch, have been built on the concept of live streaming – with Twitch facilitating the wildly popular genre of live video game-play, in particular. Most platforms, however, added live streaming capabilities to their suite of services as the technology emerged, with TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram all allowing their users to broadcast live streams. 


How can live streaming be useful to brands?

Live streaming content offers brands a compelling and exciting means to boost brand awareness, connect with their audience and even drive sales. As part of a wider content strategy, live streaming offers an interactive and engaging means to build the relationship between a business and its social media followers, as well as presenting exciting opportunities for influencer marketing and brand partnerships. 

Brands can achieve some incredible live-streaming creativity given enough time, imagination and budget. Some of the most familiar formats for corporate live streams include:


Live streaming entertainment 

Whether an event is held by an entertainment brand or arranged by a business to get its name on the map, live streaming is now a familiar part of live performances – offering the opportunity to increase viewership and garner more revenue. From watching the big match in the comfort of their own home to being awed by a live ballet performance streamed at a local cinema, people are more than willing to tune in to broadcasts that are important to them, and will sometimes even pay to do so. 

Moreover, research has shown that 67% of live streaming viewers are more likely to buy a ticket to a concert or event after watching a live video of that event or a similar one. This makes the live streaming of entertainment a valuable tactic for many venue, event and entertainment-based brands. 


Knowledge-based live streams 

It is becoming ever-more commonplace to see the live streaming of corporate events, lectures, round table discussions and webinars, especially from organisations who want to provide learning opportunities to their members and brands who wish to position themselves as thought-leaders.

Being able to live stream these kinds of events has been a boon to brands that may not have had the capacity to cater to larger audiences in a physical space. This is most particularly true of webinars, which require no real-life hosting or organisation and can be conducted entirely online.  

This kind of knowledge-based content isn’t only useful for B2B brands and industry/professional organisations; it can also be used to offer customers interesting insights into a business, and deepen the affinity between brand and consumer. 

Brands on social media not only have to offer customers value by providing great products and services, but they also have to keep their audiences engaged through the value of their content. Whether they’re teetering at the top of the sales funnel or are a loyal repeat buyer, social media followers need a reason to stay interested in branded social media accounts. 

How-tos, tutorials and behind-the-scenes content can all be fascinating to consumers, showing the faces behind the brand. For example, if a product has an absorbing or visually pleasing manufacturing process – such as traditionally-made confectionary – people may be interested in watching it, while the brand in question gets to promote its authenticity and expertise. 


Live shopping and product demos

Dubbed the 21st-century answer to home shopping channels, live shopping refers to the partnership of e-commerce brands with celebrities or influencers to promote products over live social media broadcasts. As a growing trend across the globe, two-thirds of Chinese consumers made a live stream purchase in 2019, and the US live stream e-commerce market is estimated to be worth 17 billion dollars in 2022

This is a great option for any brand that sells its products over the internet, providing a huge scope of opportunities for inventive merchandising, profitable partnerships and engaging formats. Live streaming can also be a way to launch exciting new products and share product demos, giving online retailers plenty of scope to show off their products’ features, advantages and unique selling points, inspiring the vital decision to buy.  

Streaming live over social media can create fantastic content for businesses and enhance their branding efforts in a variety of ways.

We understand, however, that the unpredictability of live broadcasts can be off-putting for some. If you are beginning to explore how live streaming can be useful to your brand and help you expand your audiences, but want some guidance on how to proceed, our friendly and experienced team can help you today. Get in touch by clicking here