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You’ve watched a live stream of the Oscars, but have you thought about learning how to livestream for your small business? This article will cover the ins and outs of using live video broadcasts to market your online store.

How to Livestream – A Masterclass for Your Small Business

How to Livestream Lesson 1: What is Livestreaming?

How to Livestream Lesson 2: Small Business Benefits

How to Livestream Lesson 3: Livestreaming on Different Social Platforms

How to Livestream Lesson 4: Encourage Engagement

How to Livestream Lesson 5: Repurposing Video Content

How to Livestream Lesson 6: The Future of Livestreaming

A person recording outside shows all the options you have when you're learning how to livestream for your small business

How to Livestream Lesson 1: What is Livestreaming?

Livestreaming is broadcasting video content in real time, rather than publishing a pre-recorded, edited video clip. Although replays of your live broadcasts will usually be available, the emphasis is on spontaneous, casual messaging.

People are watching more videos every day, and many believe that video is the most important format for conversion. Live video is spontaneous and authentic, making it attractive to every kind of customer.

In a nutshell, learning how to livestream matters for your small business because livestream videos are easy to make and they’re easy to watch. They are a fantastic way to connect with your target audience on a more personal level.

How to Livestream Lesson 2: Small Business Benefits

There are many obvious benefits for your small business that make it worth learning how to livestream.

For starters, livestreaming platforms tend to be very user-friendly. Any member of your team can share live broadcasts without having to do any special training. Livestreaming is also free, which is always a benefit for microbusinesses on a shoestring budget.

Figuring out how to livestream provides you with the same engagement as a face-to-face meeting without the geographical challenges. You are able to connect with real people across the globe. Livestream videos also let you address questions from your customers in real time. This is particularly impactful for small businesses selling products online. Your customers aren’t all local, so why should your marketing be?

Livestreaming is also a way to learn about your target audience. Each platform allows you to see who is watching your broadcast live, so you’re able to communicate with your audience directly. Get the most out of your livestream and ask for feedback on your products or services. Investigate current pain points, which will help you develop new offerings.

Read: How to Improve Product Quality with Customer Feedback

Livestreaming can help you build a buzz around a particular offer or event. It is also an incredible way to showcase the human side of your business. Behind-the-scenes broadcasts or clips focusing on product development tend to work really well. Flash sales, demos, and live Q&A sessions are also great content as you learn how to livestream.

Live video helps you whip up urgency around your products. This can be just the ticket when you’re looking to make sales, or reach a wider audience.

To put it simply, livestreaming is a great equalizer. Any business can do it, whether you’re a one-man band or a global brand. Immense marketing budgets have no part to play.

Knowing how to livestream gives you full control of your video content. There are no rules that dictate the length of your broadcasts, the content, or where you stream. The livestreaming tools you have at your disposal mean that you can get as creative as you want, and market your small business in a truly memorable way.

Read: The Essential Brand Voice Template for Your Microbusiness

A person cooking shows the importance of being authentic and original when you are learning how to livestream

How to Livestream Lesson 3: Livestreaming on Different Social Platforms

If you’re here to learn how to livestream, let’s talk about the basics. Livestreaming is a simple thing to do from your desktop or smartphone. You just click on the platform of your choice, hit a button, and start broadcasting. Like most creative forms, it’s not the technology, but what you put into your livestream, that makes it interesting.

Some initial advice on how to livestream effectively? Build a livestreaming schedule into your marketing calendar and stick to it. Think about your lighting, background, and anything else your viewers will see on the screen. Practice what you will say, and how you say it. Be yourself and have fun.

Lighting can be important when you're learning how to livestream, it makes your live video look professional while still being casual

Let’s go over the step-by-step instructions for the most popular platforms:

How to Livestream on YouTube

We all think of YouTube as the ultimate hub of video content, and YouTube is one of the top live streaming platforms.

Let’s talk about how to livestream on YouTube with their handy checklist to guide you through the first steps.

One of the benefits of choosing YouTube Live over other platforms is that you can easily download your broadcast and use it elsewhere. Another is the easy searchability and SEO. YouTube videos show up in search results, ensuring that you reach the widest audience possible.

How to Livestream on Twitter

Twitter-owned app, Periscope, is a really handy platform for live streaming on the go.

To get started, simply download the app to your smartphone. You’ll see a prompt to set up an account, but most of you are already on Twitter. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to start streaming!

If you’d like detailed instructions you can find them here, but Twitter is a very simple app with a lot of fun options for live stream personalization.

How to Livestream on Facebook

To start streaming on Facebook Live you don’t need to download a new app or install any new software, it’s all right there in Facebook.

To get broadcasting just tap to update your status and you’ll see a series of icons – photos, tagging friends, emojis and check-ins. Just hit the button, start recording and share your live video.

One thing that makes Facebook Live stand out from other live streaming platforms is the built-in audience. Facebook Live gives you a new way to interact with your largest social media community.

How to Livestream on Instagram

Livestreaming on Instagram is just as easy as it is on Facebook, with a few options that are incredible for small businesses. Live video is a recent addition to Instagram, but a valuable one, and livestreaming puts you at the top of your followers’ feed. Read here for how to livestream on Instagram.

How to Make Money Livestreaming with Twitch

Another factor to consider when selecting the right platform for your small business is which platform is most popular with your niche. For instance, Twitch is another great option for monetizing live video content. Twitch offers a range of subscription packages and is the best site for people in the game industry. You can read instructions on how to livestream with Twitch here.

A phone with the Twitch logo shows Twitch as one option when you are learning how to livestream for your online store from Selz, the Ecommerce platform for growing businesses

How to Livestream Lesson 4: Encourage Engagement

Now that we’ve discussed how to livestream on a technical level, it’s time to look at how to livestream from an engagement standpoint. There are many different ways to encourage interaction during your live broadcasts, and we want to show you how to livestream in a way that will enhance your small business.

Video content lends itself to promoting personalities and livestreaming is a brilliant way you to make your people the focus. Products and services are important, but being approachable and human is key.

There are many ways to increase engagement on your broadcasts, and you don’t have to be a professional public speaker or an experienced videographer to make it happen.

Create a Livestreaming Schedule

Start by establishing a schedule of livestreams. All the content you create for your business is part of a wider plan – why should livestreaming be any different? Planning ahead helps manage the expectations of your audience. It also means that you can promote your broadcasts across your different channels to ensure maximum attendance.

The stats suggest that mid-week livestreams see an increase in live attendance, so incorporate that knowledge into your content plan.

Studies also show that a loss of engagement is directly connected to the length of your stream, so bear in mind that you may want to keep your broadcast brief. It’s a good idea to use a loose script for your live streams. You’ll stay on point while still leaving time for any questions or suggestions from your viewers.

Increase Engagement Levels During your Livestream

Start your livestream with a welcome and an icebreaker. This first minute or so is your opportunity to make viewers feel comfortable and join the conversation.

The single most important thing to remember about livestreaming is that you’re LIVE. People are watching in real time and this is not a pre-recorded, carefully edited video. Your audience might have something to say about your content, and if they do, they can share it.

Make your audience feel appreciated by answering questions and responding to comments. Some of the pros suggest holding a Q&A at the end of the broadcast so you can still get your key points across. That’s fine, but make sure your viewers know that is your plan.

Another effective way to bring your viewers into the livestream is to make questions part of your broadcast. Ask for customer feedback and opinions, poll your audience, and make it a two-way discussion.

If you’re looking to really supercharge your engagement, think about offering a content upgrade. Perhaps you could point viewers to a really handy resource you’ve mentioned during the broadcast, or create an offer for one specific livestream.

Since livestreams are more conversational than formal, end the session with that in mind. Thank your viewers for watching – both live attendees and fans who will watch later. Highlight your final call-to-action, and remind your customers when and where they’ll see you next.

An image of a man watching a screen on a porsch shows that your customers might watch you on livestream anywhere, which is why it's important to know how to livestream.

Use Livestreaming to Boost Your Business

As with any form of digital content, there are many ways to harness your knowledge of how to livestream for business purposes. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Share a series of actionable tips
  • Show off your behind-the-scenes space
  • Demo your products
  • Promote an upcoming event
  • Answer some frequently asked questions
  • Crowdsource feedback on an idea
  • Soft launch a new product or service
  • Share a time-sensitive offer

Read: Growing Business 101: How to Structure, Manage, and Succeed

How to Livestream Lesson 5: Repurposing Video Content

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as a business owner, especially if you’re a microbusiness owner creating content to market your company. But if you’re wondering how to livestream for your business, you’ve landed in the right place.

The most powerful piece of advice I can offer is to repurpose each and every piece of video content you create and share it across different platforms. This will help you raise the profile of your microbusiness and reach a much wider audience. It will also save you a lot of time and effort.

You’re here to learn how to livestream for your business, and live streaming is no different than your other digital content. You can repurpose your favorite live broadcasts and make your message go much further. The first step is to save a copy of your live streams:

Person looking at phone with YouTube logo for an article about how to livestream

Once you have that video file, you can repurpose your broadcasts. Fun options to try include:

  • Edit your live video with iMovie or Windows Photo, then upload it to YouTube
  • Create themed playlists for topics that are in high demand
  • Share your livestream video on other social platforms or in an email
  • Embed the video file into a blog post
  • Use bundles of live recordings as a lead magnet to build your email list
  • If you are an online teacher, offer your live recordings as bonus materials for your students
  • Extract the audio from your video using an audio extractor and turn your stream into a podcast
  • Have your audio files transcribed and turn the transcriptions into a blog post. (If the topic is really juicy, you could turn it into a blog series, or a guest post for linking.)
  • Pull out key quotes and turn them into graphics for your favorite social platform
  • Pare down the transcription and turn it into a Slideshare presentation

This is just the beginning! Start brainstorming ways to repurpose your new livestreams. Looking for more marketing ideas? Subscribe for free lessons from Selz.

Read: How to Promote Your Business on Social Media (Without Annoying Your Friends)

How to Livestream Lesson 6: The Future of Livestreaming

Livestreaming really took off in 2016. Brands started to leverage real-time conversation, and customers responded positively to this spontaneous, authentic content. Livestreaming remains an extremely popular and impactful way to share your message today.

Faster internet connections, the ubiquity of handheld devices and the improvement in the quality of smartphone cameras mean that as you learn how to livestream your streams will get better and more people will enjoy them.

Social Platforms will Focus on Video Content

We’ve already seen it to a certain extent with Facebook, video has newsfeed priority. The algorithm won’t be changing in the immediate future, and it’s anticipated that other platforms will adopt this love for all things video too. If this is the case, it would really be in your interest to start learning how to livestream and get going!

Read: How to Promote a Product in 10 Different Ways

Expiring Content on the Scene

With some platforms, ephemeral content is the thing. Although this can help build more of a buzz around your broadcasts (and help you feel less stressed about making mistakes), it also means you could lose some of that valuable content. Make sure you always save a copy so that you can refer back to it if necessary.

A woman playing guitar is what most people think of when they consider how to livestream, but it can be so much more. Read the full article from Selz, the Ecommerce platform for growing businesses

Earn While you Stream

Technology will continue to develop and open up new ways to monetize your content.  Make your video content clickable whenever you can to blow up your product sales. Keep mastering how to livestream and keep your eyes peeled for the updates.

Personalization is a Priority

Personalize your video content. This is becoming more important on every platform, every day, and it’s fairly easy to accomplish with live streams. Acknowledge your live viewers while they watch, and interact with them in real-time to make a powerful impact.

No matter how technology changes, your message is what’s important. Use this new channel to share your voice, and let us know if there are any ideas we missed in the comments below!

This post was originally published in March 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

About the author

Jo Gifford

A widely read contributor to Huffington Post, Selz, Regus, Prowess, YFS Magazine and many more interwebz rabbit holes, Jo is a respected UK voice on life as a pocket-sized enterprise owner.

Jo’s background – a seasoned blogger, copywriter, podcaster, and graphic designer with an MA and research interest in creative thinking for small business – makes for an eclectic and colourful killer content approach.

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