What do Chinese businesses know about interactive broadcasting that we don’t?
Nearly 46 percent of China’s Internet population now uses an interactive broadcasting app, also known as live streaming, and Credit Suisse has estimated that the personal live streaming market in China will reach $5 billion next year. That’s just $2 billion less than the market for movies in China and half the size of China’s lucrative mobile gaming market, for those who are counting.
Interactive broadcasting is taking off in China partially because of cultural trends specific to the country, but also because live streaming video is great business. It boosts engagement, caters to millennials and mobile usage trends (70 percent of all mobile traffic will be video by 2021), serves as cheap original content, and offers up a host of other benefits.
Let’s look at five ways that your business can profit from interactive broadcasting.
1. Boost adoption with real-time product training
Adoption is one of the biggest hurdles for many software-as-a-service businesses. Greater product and service use also helps more traditional firms increase sales. One good way that businesses can make sure customers are using and relying on their products or services is by giving product training a shot in the arm with interactive broadcasting.
Currently many businesses offer a combination of forums, written instructions, and instructional videos via YouTube for helping customers with product education. Interactive broadcasting takes this up a notch by allowing businesses to effectively give personal training and on-boarding to every customer by offering group live video chats where customers can get specific questions answered and interact directly with your company at something closer to scale.
“Interactive broadcasting allows your business to directly interact with new and current customers in a rich environment that better delivers customer service and builds brand loyalty at the same time,” says Tony Zhao, founder of interactive broadcasting firm Agora.io.
2. Create thought leadership (and sales) with live event streaming
There’s a lot of noise in business today, and standing out among the competition requires thought leadership and leading the conversation. One way that interactive broadcasting can help with thought leadership is by helping customers and prospective customers virtually attend popular industry events.
Using live video streaming, you can help customers get on the show floor or attend noteworthy events by broadcasting at the event. Through the interactive component of live video streaming, you can also take this access further by letting viewers guide you on what to cover and who to talk with at these events.
“Streaming video has been a mainstay for certain events, such as sports games and political debates,” notes Jayson DeMers on Forbes.com, “but thanks to the sharp increase in popularity for live streaming apps like Meerkat, Twitch, and Periscope this past year, live streaming is about to become even more ubiquitous.”
3. Highlight promotions with live demos
If your company offers weekly specials or promotions (and what business doesn’t?), you can drive traffic to these specials and increase awareness and sales by tying a live video product demonstration to the sale or promotion.
Highlighting your sale products with interactive broadcasting turns the sale into an “event,” and it also gives potential buyers an opportunity both to look over the product in greater detail and ask questions before the sale. Showing that others are interested in the product also drives a sense of demand for the product or service, too.
4. Build brand loyalty with behind-the-scenes access
Authenticity matters more than ever, thanks to the marketing arms race that has saturated our daily lives with pitches and product placement. Brand loyalty accrues to businesses that show their human side and not just a slick pitch. Interactive broadcasting can help you get there if you offer customers “backstage” access to your office and employees, showing that your brand is more than a brand—it is a collection of real people creating amazing products.
Chicago-based Avenue Beads has used live video streaming to good effect by taking customers behind the scenes to see how their glass jewelry and artwork is created. Viewers not only see the process, which drives product value in its own right, but they also can ask questions and interact with the employees to feel closer of the brand and its products.
5. Differentiate with exclusive interviews
Content marketing is (or should be) a part of every business. Creating meaningful content can be hard, however, but interactive broadcasting has the potential to both reduce content creation costs and deliver output that is more meaningful than most of what is produced in-house.
By offering real-time video interviews with staff or industry experts that viewers can take part in and direct, your business can easily create sticky content that sets you apart from your competition and creates a sense of community with your customers.
“People want to be involved, to create and to be a part of something interactive. That presents an opportunity for brands to originate and co-create video content with their communities,” notes Lee Odden at marketing and communications site, Ragan.com.
If you think that interactive broadcasting is a fad or just another teen trend, think again. Live video streaming is smart business.
For more strategies that boost the customer experience, see Map Your Content To The Customer Journey.
Peter Scott is a journalist and editor who has been covering business, technology and lifestyle trends for more than 20 years. You can contact him at PeterEditorial@gmail.com. JT Ripton is a freelance business and technology writer out of Tampa. He loves to write to inform, educate, and provoke minds. Follow him on Twitter: @JTRipton