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Let’s face it. All the major social platforms are investing in live video. Click To Tweet

On Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram (and even Snapchat!), live video is proving popular with users because it is authentic and personal.

In fact, internet users watched 80 per cent more live video in 2016 than 2015—a trend that is set to continue with CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicting video content will dominate Facebook by 2020.

With this in mind, how can the Australian farming community use live videos to stand out in an increasingly… Click To Tweet

This question was the topic of a recent live video workshop lead by Wright Social at Innovation Generation 2017 at Adelaide Convention Centre (live streaming replay available soon).

In this supplementary blog post I share with you what live video is, the opportunities for Australian agribusiness to harness this medium, and a basic plan to get you started today.

What is live video?

Of course, live video is just as the name suggests: a LIVE stream you can broadcast on social media in in real time. This means that the only equipment you need to speak directly to your audience is the smartphone in your pocket.

Far from being just another fad, live video continues to engage social media users because it is truer to the way we, as social beings, naturally converse. While we can COMMUNICATE online using just pictures and text, live video allows us to actually CONNECT with viewers, who get an immediate sense of our tone, personality and mannerisms.

Wright Social

Why use live video?

There’s a well-known principle in marketing: people need to first KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you before they will buy from you. Live video accelerates this process by introducing you (and your brand) to an audience of potential customers. It gives us the ability to create an intimate, authentic connection—humanizing our brand and business.

And because Australian businesses have been relatively slow to adopt this feature, NOW may be the ideal time to be streaming live content.

Why? Because live video is favoured by the complex algorithms that determine what is most visible on social media feeds, giving you an edge over those not yet on the bandwagon.

Convinced that live video could help you engage followers and build you brand? Read on for a basic guide to begin streaming!

Live Streaming

Social media platforms make live streaming so easy that anybody can do it! However, when using it as a commercial tool there are a few things you should think about before going LIVE.

Example of Industry Q&A: Live Interview with Jonathan Dyer (@jonathandyer), Brett Hosking, GrainGrowers Board Director and Vice President of the Victorian Farmers Federation, and Tristan Baldock, GrainGrowers’ NPG Member, farmer and agronomist at Innovation Generation Workshop, Adelaide Convention Centre, Monday 3 July 2017.

Equipment

I know what you’re thinking…didn’t Heidi just say that all you need to produce live video is a smartphone? The answer to this is still YES, it is possible to produce quality live video with just a hand-held smartphone.

But the truth is that this way of filming is more susceptible to a shaky camera, scratchy audio or poor lighting.

There are many tech solutions available that may be well worth the investment. Especially considering that 60 per cent of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of a brand that publishes poor-quality video!

Below I have outlined 3 levels of production to demonstrate that there is video equipment available to best suit your specific business and budget.

Basic

The ‘selfie’:

Camera—your smartphone

Tripod—your arm!

Sophisticated

You don’t have to break the bank to get sophisticated. Here are some simple solutions to getting the audio right, enhancing footage, and stabilizing the camera:

Starter Kits

Lightweight kits range from between $250-$400, and are a cost-effective way to get your hands on everything you need to get started. I can personally recommend the iOgrapher Starter KIT at $318.

Lenses

These days, interchangeable lenses are not just for professional photographers. There are a variety of lenses available to fit any device, such as:

iOgrapher  37mm Wide Angle Lens ($40)

Hitcase Macro Lens + Superwide Lens Kit ($90)

Moment ‘Widest Ever’ Superfish Lens ($105)

Audio

Most smartphones are capable of recording clear sound. But if you are thinking about Q&As or outside filming, a lightweight microphone is the way to go.

Rode VMGO Video Mic GO—lightweight microphone ($99)

(ensure this cable is included to hook the microphone into your phone ($15)

Tripod / Mount

Tripods are a simple and cheap solution to shaky hands and wobbly footage. Check these out:

Arkon IPhone or Ipad Tripod Mount ($19)

YunTeng Selfie Stick ($22)

Ravelli Pistol Grip Tripod ($50)

iOgrapher ($60)

Lighting

If there’s one thing your smartphone can’t control—it’s the weather! Brighten up your video on gloomy days with external lighting.

Lumimuse 6 LED light and accessories ($50-$70)

Selens 168 LED Dimmable Ultra High Power ($40)

Pro

A professional live stream would take place from a (home or office) studio via desktop computer, allowing for a more controlled filming environment. While you could use the mic and camera built into your computer, a more advanced option would be to plug in external, high quality devices.

At this point, you may wish to take advantage of desktop software that enables advanced editing and features such as captions, split-screens (for interviews) and logos. Livestream is one example of livestreaming software with all the bells and whistles—they also offer free  Apps for IPhone.

Other options include:

Wirecast

vMix

Adobe Flash Media Encoder

This kind of set up will allow you to produce TV-quality live streams, but requires a budget of around ($1000-$5000).

Get ready!

Now that you’ve got what you need to get rolling, here is some advice as to the content of your live video.

Before you go live

Before you start streaming, it is crucial to decide what you want to say to your followers and how you want them to react. For instance, do you want to increase brand recognition? Ask viewers to ‘share’ your live stream! Do you want people to view a new product or range? Refer them to your website!

In terms of what to show viewers, keep in mind a golden rule to social media success: EDUCATE, INSPIRE or ENTERTAIN in order to engage an audience.

In this regard you are already at an advantage with live video, because just the fact it is happening NOW is entertaining. In fact, research from Facebook suggests people will spend 3 times longer watching a live video than an ordinary one!

But, to borrow from the principles of TV, your live video must have a good story to keep viewers engaged.

For Australian agribusiness, this story could be a ‘behind the scenes’ peek into your everyday farming operation—showing viewers what life is like growing food for a healthy nation. Events are another great opportunity for live video, where followers are made to feel included in the industry and your business especially.

Alternatively, you could interview your company’s employees, clients, or important people in your niche. Brands are all about the people that are part of it, so let these people speak and your audience will listen.

Or perhaps you would prefer to share expertise on a topic, positioning yourself as a business leader with broad knowledge.

Wright Social

The most important thing to remember is that live video is about expressing who you are and what you do, and through this you can forge trust with potential customers. The exciting thing about this is you get to BE YOURSELF, and as Wayne Dyer said, ‘remind yourself that you cannot fail at being yourself’.

After you’ve gone live

The fun is not over the second you hit stop on a live stream. Rather, this is your opportunity to engage further with those who tuned in and reach out to those who didn’t. You can do this by acknowledging any comments or shares, and extending the reach of your video to other social media channels. Depending on the type of live stream, it may be appropriate to feature the video on your website, or post it in transcript form.

Don’t fret over minor mistakes in your speech or appearance. Remember, the appeal of live video is its authenticity!

The conversational and genuine nature of live video makes it popular with viewers. Based on the way social media companies are pushing this medium, it’s safe to predict it’s here to stay! One thing is for sure, Australian agribusiness cannot have its head in the sand when it comes to embracing new ways to showcase our thriving communities.

Over to you! Which features of your business could you showcase on live video?

Take a minute to leave a comment, it’ll make my day!

“Live video continues to engage social media users because it is truer to the way we, as social… Click To Tweet
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