Livestreaming for Business

Livestreaming is a popular social media tool for businesses. It is a dynamic and versatile way to connect with audiences by sharing and broadcasting content in real time. It offers a great way to showcase new products, to give audiences a chance to glimpse behind the scenes of your company, to make an announcement or to broadcast an event or activity.

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Last year, I had the privilege of working with a program that hosted and live broadcasted it’s first ever fishing derby. The live event featured a host of speakers as well as livestream video from three different on-the-water locations. Despite a few technical glitches along the way, we considered our first live event a great success with 2.4K views. We are looking forward to making it even better this year.

One thing that we did learn from this experience is the value of social media livestreaming. Although the results are not as polished and challenges from technology problems or other issues can arise (as we discovered), there is something very appealing about the unscripted nature of livestreaming.

What is Livestreaming?

According to Wkikipedia, livestreaming “refers to online streaming media simultaneously recorded and broadcast in real-time.”

What makes it different is that it occurs in real time. Similar to a live televised performance, livestreaming involves social media broadcasting of an event or activity as it happens. One of its greatest draws is the perception that it is authentic and offers the chance for hosts to interact with audiences and reply to comments or questions during the broadcast.

What Audiences Want

According to a survey conducted by Livestream and  New York Magazine, audiences are responding more to live video than other types of content:

  • 80% woud rather watch a live video than read a blog
  • 82% prefer live video to social posts
  • 87% would prefer to watch online if it meant more behind-the-scenes content

Evidence of this demand can also be seen in the way that social medial channels are continuing to move toward allowing more video content, as well as the 1 billion users that are active each month on TikTok. Livestreaming provides a way to deliver content in a format that audiences want to view.  

The Benefits of Livestreaming

In addition to meeting audience expectations and wants through social media content, livestreaming offers a range of other benefits for businesses that make it a valuable tool for any social media strategy:

  • Provides a wide audience reach and is not limited by space or venue constraints
  • Can include a variety of mediums such as video, audio, images, and live chats
  • Scalable to handle small events or activities to larger broadcasts
  • Can be done simply and effectively with just a smart phone or tablet for filming
  • Allows for real-time engagement and conversations with audience members
  • Helps establish trust and brand credibility

The Risks of Livestreaming

While livestreaming has many advantages, it also has its share of risks. Some of the risks of livestreaming include:

  • Technical issues that can impact the broadcast or quality of the stream
  • Unscripted bloopers, gaffs, blunders or other errors
  • Inappropriate comments or responses from audiences
  • Lack of engagement or comments from audiences
  • Timing of hosting live broadcasts that work for the majority of audiences

When to use Livestreaming

The great thing about livestreaming through social media is it allows for creativity and can be used for many different purposes such as:

  • Showcasing an existing product
  • Launching a new product
  • Highlighting new technology, equipment or a production processes
  • Capturing and sharing an event as it happens
  • Raising awareness for a cause or a charity
  • Interviewing a speaker or industry expert
  • Delivering a training program or providing a demonstration

Livestreaming Platforms

There are many social media platforms that offer livestreaming capability. Choosing a platform depends on your goals and what you hope to achieve with your broadcast. Here is a list of a few livestreaming platforms:

Livestreaming offers businesses a creative and unique way to interact with their audiences. However, as with any social media or digital technology, there are risks to consider before using it as part of your social media strategy.

Have you participated in a livestreaming event? Is it something that you think would work well for your company or organization?

Facebook: Discover advantages of livestreaming for businesses

Twitter: Can your business benefit from livestreaming?

The Debate: Commenting on Blogs

In the early days of blogging, commenting on someone else’s blogs was a popular strategy for establishing your own credibility within your industry and driving traffic to your own website or blog through backlinks. However, in recent years there has been a shift away from allowing comments on blogs to outright disabling the feature on websites.

For example, Seth Godin doesn’t provide an opportunity for readers to leave comments, citing that they not only take too much time but also that it impacts his writing.

Darren Rowse, founder of ProBlogger, allows commenting on blogs but also appears not to interact with comments on the website. Blogs on this site also seem to include spam comments.

One of the reasons Micheal Hyatt, leadership executive and coach, gives for turning off blog comments is that he feels engagement has moved away from blogs to other social media channels.

When it comes to whether or not you should allow comments on your blog, the answer may very well come down to personal choice. While there are some strong considerations for disabling this feature, there are some arguments that can be made that blog commenting adds value.

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Disabling Blog Comments

Janette Novak offers a good look at the pros and cons of blog commenting. There are several arguments in favour of disabling comments on blogs:

  • Proliferation of spam posts and content
  • Potential for negative, unwelcome or difficult comments
  • Time investment needed to monitor, review and respond to comments
  • Some consider social media a better platform for engaging in conversations

According to Hubspot, there does not even seem to be a link between blog comments and generating blog traffic. In addition, a Nielsen Norman Group study indicates that only a very small percentage of readers contribute by posting comments.

Enabling Blog Comments

Not all arguments are in favour for turning off commenting. Although he agrees there are reasons one might disable blog comments, Neil Patel chooses to leave commenting enabled on his blogs as he feels they add benefits to his website:

  • Adding a sense of credibility to a blog
  • Leading to discoveries of other topics, articles and influencers
  • Providing a means of networking with others
  • Breathing life into words and pages through conversation

Making the Decision

In my opinion, the decision to leave commenting on or not comes down to two key factors: 1) your audience and 2) your intent to respond.

Who is your audience?

Does your audience tend to participate in blog commenting? Or do they mostly play more of an observer role when it comes to your blogs? There doesn’t seem to be a point to leaving commenting enabled if no one is actually using that feature.

Is responding to comments part of your blog strategy?

If you don’t have the time or ability to monitor and respond to blog comments, it just leaves too much opportunity to collect spam that could impact the credibility of your blog. It could also lead to disappointment for those that do take the time to comment but are never acknowledged with a response.

How important do you think it is to allow commenting on blogs? What other factors do you think should be considered in choosing to enable or disable blog comments?

Facebook: Should you disable comments on your blog?

Twitter: Enable or disable blog comments? Join in on the debate.

How to Avoid Social Media Burnout

As a Gen Xer, the concept of a career in social media was non-existent at the time I was considering my choices. Today, a career is social media is a viable and rewarding option. However, it’s not all fun and scrolling and commenting and posting. A career in social media comes with its own challenges including social media burnout.

Occupational burnout can occur in any field or industry. For many social media positions, long hours staring at the computer, constant writing and scheduling, and ongoing monitoring and engagement can lead to mental and physical exhaustion and stress.

Social media fatigue is not just experienced by those who work in the industry. In many small businesses, business owners take on the role of keeping up with social media requirements. It can also happen in our personal lives. People spend an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes a day online, and this number is significantly increased for younger people, particularly teens.

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While taking a complete break from social media seems like an easy fix to avoid fatigue, those that work in the industry or are responsible for social media as part of their jobs don’t have that luxury. But there are some steps you can take to help mitigate the effects of social media.

10 tips to help avoid experiencing social media burnout.

  • Take frequent short breaks away from your desk and computer
  • Utilize ergonomic equipment and tools to help reduce body stress and strain
  • Limit the number of social platforms you use
  • Create an editorial calendar and plan content ahead of time
  • Batch work similar content in one sitting
  • Use scheduling tools to pre-schedule content posts
  • Share industry news or other relevant sourced content instead of writing new content each day
  • Re-post and share relevant content created by your audience
  • Create set times and schedules to engage with audiences instead constantly responding
  • Log out and disengage with social media on your time off from work

Experiencing social media burnout on the job is a real concern. It is important to watch for signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety that can indicate it’s time to step back. If you’re experiencing social media at work, it’s important to speak to your employer and let them know and work solutions to fix the problem.

Have you ever suffered from social media burnout? What steps did you take to deal with it?

Facebook – Follow these steps to avoid social media fatigue

Twitter – Find out how to avoid social media burnout

Recipe for Success: What Cooking can Teach us About Creating Social Media Content

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I’ll readily admit it – I’m not the chef in my household.

Thankfully, my spouse is a cooking enthusiast, and we often watch a variety of shows together on The Food Network for inspiration. Over time I’ve come to develop an appreciation of what goes into creating a great meal. One thing I have picked up along the way is that it takes solid planning, preparation, a great recipe and patience to learn how to cook.

The same thing could be said about learning how to develop social media content.

Plan for Success

Before you even begin to create your culinary masterpiece, you need to decide on what you are going to make, why you are going to make it, and who you are making it for so you can be sure you use the right ingredients and tools.

You don’t want to invest your time and effort into creating a dish that no one will like or serve a lovely roast dinner to a vegetarian. Conversely, the conventions you follow to create an appetizer will be different than those for an entrée or if you are hosting a casual meal as opposed to a formal dinner.

The same thing can be said of social media – you need to know your audience and define your goals before you even begin. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my audience?
  • What do they like, need or want to hear about?
  • Where can I find them?
  • What am I trying to achieve through social media?
  • What actions or steps do I want my audience to take?

It is important identify and characterize your audience to be able to create content that resonates with them. For a more detailed look into identifying your target audience for social media, check out this Hootsuite blog.

Prepare to Get Started

Once you’ve established a plan, the next step on your culinary journey is to gather and prepare your ingredients.

There is a French term that is frequently used in cooking, Mise en place, which roughly translates into “setting up” or putting things into place. This typically refers to gathering and preparing your ingredients prior to cooking. You will want to be sure you include fresh, well-sought-out ingredients for the best results and have them prepped to go for when you’re ready to begin.

This is true for your social media content as well. To set the stage for content development, you need to research your topic well. Look for relevant and trustworthy sources to help guide the writing process. Use fresh ideas or a unique take on the topic that will engage and interest readers.

Identify which social platforms and tools you will use to reach your audience and measure their engagement. There may be a vast number of kitchen gadgets on the market, but you only need a few core ones to get the job done. Having too many just costs resources and clutters up your kitchen.

Have a look at this Intellitonic blog for help on choosing your social media platforms.

Follow the Recipe

Following a recipe is a great place to get started in the right direction. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel when we know the basics work well. However, what makes a dish really stand out is using your knowledge to tweak, change and make unique additions to transform it into your own creation.

This applies to your social media content too. Following tried and true practices for creating and formatting social media content is a smart idea. Analytics show they work. However, you’ll want to be sure to season your content with your own voice, tone and approach to make it unique and appealing to your specific market.

Neil Patel’s blog 9 Must-Have Ingredients of Great Content has great tips for creating unique material for your social media.

Have Patience

Tasting as you go is a good practice for any cook to determine if your recipe is on the right track and to identify if it’s missing that extra something.

It’s a good practice to adopt as you develop your social media content as well. Using analytic tools to monitor and measure how well your content performs lets you continue to refine your process and approach based on tangible experience and insight.

Just like learning to cook, it takes practice and patience to create that winning combination that will have your audience coming back for a second helping.

Facebook: Cooking up killer social media content. Lessons learned from the kitchen.

Twitter – Can cooking teach you how to create social media content? Join in on this hot topic.