There are people are currently making millions of dollars online from live streaming themselves playing hours of video games. Live streaming on the internet started most popularly with people streaming themselves playing video games. However, streaming has now extended to other activities such as cooking, chatting, music and even coding. Creators have been using live platforms such as Microsoft Mixxer, Amazon Twitch and Facebook Live to not just create live content but to grow their businesses while doing it.
My experience with the industry comes from starting a company called Blerp, where we integrated our app with the live streaming platform Twitch.tv. Using our app, a viewer can choose sounds to play from our user-generated database of audio clips to interact with his or her favorite live content creators. By integrating with Live Streaming, Blerp has been able to start generating revenue for the first time as well as quadruple the engagement on the website.
I’m not here to convince you to move your entire marketing strategy to Twitch, but I do want to share some tips on how you can grow your business through live streaming.
1. Do your research and figure out the landscape
Before writing your plan, you will have to do some research to understand what directions you can take when creating live streaming content. Twitch is the leading platform for streaming any gaming or e-sports-related content. Facebook Live is a great way to reach out to your friends or fan page audiences. Youtube live is a great way for showcasing huge live events. Each platform caters better to a certain type of person. The type of content and the demographic of audience you want to reach will help determine which platform you decide to focus marketing your business on.
2. Understand the streaming environment and tools
To start a live stream you may or may not need a lot of equipment or setup. Some people who just want to tell a simple story may just need a phone connected to the internet to begin live streaming. People who want to create highly professional looking content may need better equipment or hardware. If you fall in the latter category it may be good to look into any simple guide to starting a live stream to figure how to quickly create a successful live setup. Getting the right setup may require you to buy the right hardware, download the right software, and pay for the right internet plan.
Each platform may contain tools to make your stream more interactive and fun. These apps can be as simple as wearing cool face filters on your stream or be as cool as enabling your viewers to engage with your stream using sound. The platform you choose to stream your content to will change the type of tools you have access to. If you are streaming on Twitch, then you can look at Twitch’s extensions store for fun apps and overlays. If you are using the broadcasting software Streamlabs or StreamElements then you will have access to both businesses overlay stores.
Many people who choose to grow their audience off Twitch may also attempt to build a Discord community. Discord is a messaging platform geared toward communicating with people using voice chats. The platform is generally targeted toward gamers, but the platform could still be a powerful tool for anyone who is interested in building an internal community for their brand.
3. Discover the value you want to provide through creating live content
A great way to create valuable content is to start by writing down the value you want to provide your audience. For example, if you are an entrepreneur who sells homemade jam you may want to give viewers the opportunity to learn more recipes and become a better cook. Or if you are selling online workout videos it may be good to understand that the value you are trying to provide your audience is providing ways to live a healthy life. Knowing that value could help you come up with live content that gives users an insight on how you do your workouts or meal preparations. If you are an entrepreneur that sells your skills then you could live stream yourself learning and teaching your craft. The key to creating great content for your business will be creating content that adds value to the viewer while showcasing your skills or the product you are trying to sell.
4. Understand your strengths and learn how to be unique
The live streams that I get personally drawn to are the ones where the creator understands his or her voice and personality. People who know how to appear authentic on camera are generally people who have thought through planning and strategizing ideas for strengthening their online brand.
There are over 2 million broadcasters on Twitch. Just being another person who plays videogames may not help you create content that grows your business. While working with many streamers through my business, I have seen many cases of people trying different things to stand out. Some content creators grow because they develop strong and entertaining personalities. Other streamers grow because they find a niche or do something completely different than the norm. For example, I saw a streamer build a great following by simply wearing a pumpkin costume every single stream. You don’t always have to be funny and entertaining to build a great stream for your business. I have a friend who builds his engineering brand through simply showcasing live sessions explaining coding techniques as he works on his software projects.
5. Figure out unique ways to add value or provide a service to the whole industry
The largest and most valuable services are not just creators of content but they are also service providers. With my company blerp, we were able to provide a new way for content creators to engage with their audience. Our service provides value by enabling creators to find the audio clips that would otherwise be frustrating to quickly find and play. Companies are moving towards integrating into the streaming industry in order to further distribute their brand and products. Snapchat integrated their Snap Camera technology, where streamers can use Snapchat’s face detection and image filtering technology while live streaming. Adobe made it possible for viewers watching a Twitch stream to trigger live animated activity on the live stream. Giphy integrated their library of gifs into Twitch, thus empowering viewers to react to specific moments within the stream using gifs. If you are planning to integrate into live streams and provide a service, then be prepared to build really personable relationships with streamers. A strong personal relationship with the users of your app is very important for finding new ways to improve your product as well as helping your product grow faster through word of mouth.
6. Stick to your plan long enough to see it through.
After doing the research, writing the vision for your content and figuring out your unique edge, then you will need to follow through and actually create content consistently or integrate effectively. As you release content you should be attentive to listening to your audience and making sure your content is being received well by the people you want to target for your business. Understand the type of engagement you want to create. Some professional brands like to present a more distant feel to their viewers. Some more personal brands want to recognize each and every viewer that interacts with the stream. It is your choice to decide how you want to develop and build your community. Depending on the platform you can add special links to your stream page and track the business conversions that come from those links. It is hard to predict exactly what will first stick but if you are strategic about constantly learning from your trials then you will have a better chance of building a more powerful brand.
It is becoming more important for businesses to consistently maintain communication with their customers. Live streaming is not only a great way to build a connection with your customers, but it can also give your business new exposure in growing areas.
If you are looking for more tips on growing your business through Twitch, then feel free to check out my other articles on how Twitch may be the secret you need to growing your business or “Essential Questions You Should Ask While Building Your Live Streaming Brand.”