Livestreaming for Business: Why Live Video Is A Powerful Communications Tool

If 2016 was the year of livestreaming, then 2017 is the year it cemented its position as a formidable marketing and business communications tool. Brands across all industries are demonstrating that livestreaming for business is a great way to engage your audience.

Companies like WeWork and Blinds.com have demonstrated the power of live video to communicate with customers and employees alike. It’s time to think about your brand’s streaming strategy for 2018.

According to our research with New York Magazine, 80% of audiences would rather watch live videos from a brand than read a blog post. Audience engagement with live video is also impactful in the B2B space with 73% of B2B businesses using live video reporting positive results to their return-on-investment. In this blog, we will cover why you should be thinking about livestreaming for business, and the various ways you can apply live video to a business communications strategy.

Livestreaming for Business: How Live Video Stacks Up

Live Video Builds Trust

Consumers are often cynical of advertising and brands. According to a 2017 survey by McCann Truth Central — the global thought leadership unit of advertising firm McCann — 42% of Americans find brands and companies “less truthful” today than two decades ago.

Therein lies the challenge: Customers buy from brands they like and trust, but trust cannot be achieved overnight. Live video gives you an opportunity to build and reinforce trust throughout all stages of the consumer life cycle.

During a spate of bad weather that was delaying flights, Southwest Airlines decided to livestream from its operation control center to social media platforms to reassure customers.

“We’re trying to keep y’all accommodated, safe and informed,” Brooks Thomas from Southwest’s social media team told passengers. According to the Financial Times, over 100,000 people watched the stream on Facebook Live.

With live video, you can showcase your company’s processes and portray transparency and accountability to customers — and in turn, find new fans.

Engaging Your Audience With Live Video

Live video should be interactive and fun. Whether it’s embedded on your website or streamed simultaneously to Facebook Live or YouTube Live, it is important to engage your customers and followers in real-time. Viewers comment 10 times more on live videos than on regular videos, according to Facebook.

Social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Periscope have made the possibility of significantly growing your audience a reality. These customers are likely to have a history of engaging with your page and will receive notifications about your event the moment you go live.

Portland-based music festival Pickathon was able to grow its audience through an aggressive social media campaign. During a four-day event, their marketing team consistently shared livestreams of performances on YouTube and Twitter. “All through the weekend, we actively promoted the livestream during the event. Every different band, we’d put up a new post. Livestream was right there with us sharing those posts and helping grow our reach,” said Ryan Stiles, co-organizer of Pickathon.

The results are a testament to these efforts: Pickathon saw its online viewership skyrocket from 11,000 in 2015 to 200,000 in 2016. “People said: ‘Hey, I started streaming and then I bought a ticket.’ Now that we’re doing more media through social, that’s a huge help to get that audience,” he added.

Singer John Mayer knew exactly where to find that captive audience with a one night livestream of his Bud Light Dive Bar Tour from Los Angeles to Facebook. The live broadcast reached 1.5 million views and 27,000 comments in its first seven days.

Budgeting for Live Video

To go live, all you really need is a high-definition camera, reliable internet, and an online presence. Social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube allow users to stream live for free, with certain limits. If you’re looking for a more professional end-to-end solution, Livestream is not only a great place to start; it also provides a holistic solution for taking your livestreaming to the next level.

Your camera purchase decision will depend on your budget and what you want your stream to look like. Some of our favorites include: Sony PXWX70, Sony PMW- 300K1, and Canon XA10. Mevo, Livestream’s Live Event Camera or our All-In-One Studio Kit, is another consideration if you desire the effects of a multi-camera production studio, at a fraction of the cost or man power of traditional setups.

A dedicated and reliable internet connection is also essential to a successful livestream. Make sure you have twice the upload speed as the bitrate you want to stream at. “The most reliable internet connection when streaming is connecting directly via Ethernet to a dedicated network,” said Bandelli. [Find out more about how to get started with live video]


Building a Live Video Strategy For Your Business

Behind the Scenes and Demos

Livestreaming “behind the scenes” is a great way to humanize your brand. The Philadelphia Eagles use Livestream to broadcast analysis pieces and “Press Pass” interviews with players.

“People are coming to us for access. So we’re going to go behind-the-scenes as much as we can and we’re doing it from somewhere no other camera crew can get to,” said Mark Leblang, Studio/Live Production Manager of the Eagles. “Showing aspects of the team throughout the week has provided fans with a different experience and allowed Eagles fans to feel like they’re really there,” he said.

Live video also provides a more dynamic and engaging way to provide your fans with a first-look demonstration of your product. It serves as a platform to highlight all the bells and whistles of what your company does and demonstrate how you’re different from your competitors.

The 2018 Toyota Camry made its debut from Detroit auto show as Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor, unveiled distinctive features of the four-cylinder car. The carmaker also took the opportunity to showcase its new Nascar racer, inspired by the 2018 Camry, and welcomed its Nascar driver Kyle Busch onstage. The video has since generated over 10o,ooo views on Livestream.

Company-Wide Meetings and Announcements

If you’re a business looking to announce breaking news, introduce a new product, or just simply communicate with your employees regularly, livestreaming can be an efficient and cost-effective way of reaching your employees and customers globally.

Spotify executed that seamlessly when it livestreamed the announcement of its global parental leave policy to its employees worldwide, via a town hall-style video presentation in New York City. The result was an inspiring and high-quality video experience for every Spotify employee worldwide.

Livestreaming also lets you connect with employees, and extends the message beyond the room. Custom blinds and drapery store Blinds.com livestreams its weekly meetings with CEO Jay Steinfeld to reach its remote workers. The company’s weekly “Say Jay” meetings are an opportunity for Steinfeld to emphasize the company’s culture of openness as well as receive honest feedback from his employees. Here at Livestream, we stream our bi-weekly all-hands meetings to our offices around the world, collecting feedback and taking questions live with Slido.

WeWork, one of the fastest growing companies of 2017, has employees in every global time zone. They use Livestream to connect on important issues internally, but also to stream their Creator Awards with their larger community.

Live Events

Publishers like the Texas Tribune have built new revenue by streaming live events. Its decision to livestream state senator Wendy Davis’ 13-hour filibuster in 2013 saw over 250,000 views across 180 countries, generating over 400 membership sign-ups after the stream concluded.

Another example is the American Association of Advertising Agencies which, through livestreaming its annual state of the ad industry conference “Transformation,” saw over 16,000 viewers join their event live, with over 25,000 additional viewers tuning in for on-demand content.

Even remote locations and limited access to power and internet couldn’t keep endurance events company Tough Mudder away from livestreaming its “World’s Toughest Mudder” 24-hour obstacle course challenge from Los Angeles.

Livestream worked with Tough Mudder to build a custom player that allowed viewers to switch between camera feeds and direct their own show. The strategy served as an essential recruiting tool for new audiences curious about getting involved, especially “for people on the fence who aren’t sure if they can do that,” said Jesse Bull, SVP Brand and Creative at Tough Mudder.

“This gives them a more visceral experience that’s unique and real-time,” he added. An event with around 70,000 unique livestream views converts into around 20,000 Tough Mudder website visits. Bull is confident that traffic and engagement translate into more sales for its events.

Livestreaming for your business offers near unparalleled immediacy, authenticity, and more importantly results. So the next time you want to reach your audience, don’t forget to include live video in your business communications strategy.


Ready to launch your livestreaming business strategy? Check out Livestream’s business communications solutions.

[Case Study] How Nikon Inc is Live Streaming Their Events & Trainings

With a large remote workforce, photography industry leader Nikon Inc was looking for a way to conduct staff trainings using live video. Originally, internal trainings were their only intended use case: it was cost effective and engaging. “There’s nothing quite as engaging as a live broadcast,” said Mark Soares, Senior Marketing Manager at Nikon Inc. Since then, their strategy has evolved into live streaming events and trainings. “We realized we needed to use live streaming to reach and engage our customers,” he said.

Since starting their journey with Livestream in 2017 (now Vimeo Livestream), Nikon Inc’s reach has exploded through live streaming their events and trainings. “It’s not just an add-on to our events strategy, it’s a key part of the strategy.”


Determining a Live Stream Strategy & Metrics for Events

In terms of developing a strategy, Soares and his team eased into broadcasting live from their events. “Our initial goal was to just get the ball rolling,” he said. “It’s intimidating when you first start; many things can go wrong with a live broadcast.” As such, ease of use and setup were critical to ensure they could get their live event running smoothly.

Their first time live streaming at a trade show was during the WPPI Conference in Vegas. To determine a metrics and ROI of their live streams, the Nikon Inc team divided the number of in-person attendees at the event in half, and used that number as a benchmark goal for total live viewers. “That was our guess,” Soares said. “We really had no metric to base it on because it was our first time [doing it].”

So, how did Nikon Inc fare with their first experiment? “We exceeded it significantly. We had almost 300% more viewers than what we had initially planned.”

“With a fairly modest increase in budget, you can reach a considerably higher audience [with live streaming].”

Since then, Nikon Inc has been on a live streaming rocket ship, launching a marketing strategy built around live. This includes major product announcements and trade show events, and has become a cost-effective way to reach a larger audience than even the biggest trade shows. “People go to trade shows for education, and a lot of brands bring education to the trade show floor,” Soares said. “If you’re already bringing that talent in, then it’s really not that much of a stretch to put a camera in front of them and broadcast it.”


Image courtesy of Nikon LIVE from NAB 2018 Day 2 – Corey Rich – Paralleling Still and Motion


Selecting Content for Live Streamed Events

One key driving factor to a successful live stream is the quality of the content. Soares’s advice is common (and always applicable): listen to your customers, and you’ll better understand what they want. Then, turn that feedback into content.

“Your end users are your best ambassadors. Take the content that they create [to inform your strategy], because they will inspire others to go out and do the same thing,” he said. Soares also suggests tailoring the content to specific demographics or niche audiences. For example, at WPPI, which focuses on wedding and portraiture, Nikon Inc brought in wedding photographers to share their expertise with attendees and live viewers.

“Take great content, great talent, and schedule it on a regular basis, and users will keep tuning in,” he said. “That’s why the audience keeps growing every single time we do this. You will add viewers to your event every single time. Incrementally, we keep expanding the viewership.”

Tips to Promote & Prepare for a Live Stream

Leading up to every major live stream, Soares and his team rolls out a turnkey marketing strategy to attract new and existing customers. First and foremost, Soares suggests building in paid marketing to your promotional planning. In addition to a paid social media campaign, Nikon Inc also:

  • Updates a landing page whenever a new event approaches
  • Sends email campaigns to current customers promoting their upcoming live programming
  • Features banners on their website with information about the live stream

Nikon Inc has found great value in simulcasting to Facebook Live, as well. “The viewership lives on social media,” he said. “While we get great numbers from streaming to our own site, we supplement that with our social channels, too.”

Don’t forget about the experience for your live viewers, too. “You’ve got to get great talent on camera that can speak eloquently to inspire your user base,” Soares said. “Look to give a great experience through the actual broadcast. We started with a single, fixed camera, and now we have many cameras where we can change the angle, etc — it’s very cinematic.”

However you plan to promote your live event, iteration and consistency is essential. “Start with something you can manage and build on it. There’s this exponential growth when you do these events on a regular basis and with great content. People will keep coming back.”


Nikon’s Technical Setup for Live Streaming

Wondering how Nikon Inc sets themselves up for success with their live streams? Here’s the equipment they use for their live broadcasts:

  • 2 Nikon cameras/lenses (of course), sometimes with a roving camera
  • Cameras are hardwired into a 4K Livestream HD550 (💡Tip: Nikon uses 4K cropping, which increases production level so two cameras look like six)
  • Livestream Studio
  • One back up Livestream Studio HD550

“Nikon makes cameras, but we are not in the business of broadcasting live events,” he said. “We needed a system that would be portable and easy to use, so that almost anyone could use it.”


Why Vimeo Livestream?

As a leading brand in the photography space worldwide, Nikon Inc needed an all-in-one solution that would make live streaming smooth for their large remote workforce and even bigger global audience. Whether internal or external, Nikon Inc’s live streams require a sophisticated workflow with a robust cloud solution, that was also portable and all inclusive. Vimeo Livestream fit the bill: a platform that makes live streaming simple and accessible, along with powerful and portable hardware — the Studio HD550 is Nikon Inc’s encoder of choice.

Livestream is the only end-to-end solution that empowers you to distribute compelling live content, engage your employees, and grow your business. To find out how to get started with live streaming, check out our “Ultimate Guide to Live Streaming Events” guide.