Real-time broadcasting of video content over the internet, particularly on social media platforms, has revolutionized how businesses connect with their audience, offering a raw and unedited glimpse into their world. Though this feature is available to all social media users, over the past years, more and more companies, schools included, have started using it as a part of their marketing strategy.
It is estimated that 52% of individuals who watch live videos do so via social media platforms, and about 53% of companies go live at least once a week. This significant trend underscores the importance of schools embracing live streaming as part of their marketing and communication strategies. With most of their audience engaged on these platforms, schools have a ready-made avenue to connect with students, parents, and the wider community. Keep reading to learn more about the basics of live-streaming marketing and how this tool can help your school thrive.
What is Live Streaming Marketing?
Live streaming refers to broadcasting video content in real-time with viewers who can watch and interact from anywhere in the world. Unlike pre-recorded videos, live streaming fosters immediacy and authenticity, creating a more personal and engaging experience for viewers. Though the history of live streaming goes back to the 90s, over the past few years, this form of content distribution has gained popularity thanks to social media.
In 2013, YouTube started allowing users to livestream; in 2016, Facebook and Instagram launched their live-streaming features. Since then, live streaming has become a standard marketing tool many businesses use to connect with their audiences worldwide. Schools, like the University of Saskatchewan, have also jumped into this trend, hosting live events on platforms like Instagram to connect with current and prospective students, as seen in the example below.
Source: University of Saskatchewan
Live stream marketing has emerged as a powerful storytelling and brand-building tool for educational institutions. Schools can leverage this video content to showcase their campus, state-of-the-art facilities, and curriculum authentically, making their offerings more genuine and relatable to prospective students and their families.
Over the years, the effectiveness of live streaming in building a sense of community has become increasingly evident. Thriving on real-time interaction it allows schools to connect directly with their audience, fostering a two-way communication stream. As viewers engage with a live stream, they can actively participate by asking questions, commenting, and receiving immediate responses. This interactive nature facilitates better information dissemination and significantly contributes to building a sense of belonging and community, which is crucial in attracting and retaining new students.
Did you know that almost 98% of students are active on social media today? Suppose you are looking to strengthen your school’s social media presence. In that case, HEM’s social media specialists can guide you through the latest trends and strategies to reach and engage this vast student audience effectively. Get in touch with us today!
What Are the Benefits of Live Streaming?
While live streaming gained a lot of popularity during the pandemic, allowing schools to connect with students and prospects while respecting the restrictions imposed, there are still many ways in which educational institutions can benefit from these tools today.
One of the main benefits of live streaming is that it offers a unique platform for schools to tell their stories and amplify their message engagingly and authentically. Hosting thematic regular live-streaming sessions can help schools create a consistent and engaging narrative. These sessions can be centered around various themes such as educational topics, student life, or special events, providing a varied yet coherent content stream. For example, Samuel Merritt University uses its YouTube channels to stream its multiple ceremonies, as seen in the example below.
Source: Samuel Merritt University
Scheduling these in advance and saving the live streams as videos allows the school to generate lasting content that their audience can access anytime. This approach expands the reach of their events beyond the immediate moment and creates a valuable archive of memorable moments and milestones. At the same time, the saved videos can serve as a resource for prospective students looking to get a sense of university life.
Another significant benefit of live streaming is that it allows schools to reach a wider audience, including those who cannot attend school events in person. This is important for those looking to promote their school in new ways and improve their international recruitment experience. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube offer free or low-cost streaming options, making this technology accessible to all educational institutions, no matter how big or small your team is.
If you haven’t started live streaming yet, you can consider live streams a low-cost and effective tool to showcase your student culture, highlight academic achievements, and help prospective students connect with current students. The most important thing to remember is to get creative and ensure that the content you cover appeals to your audience.
How to Leverage Social Media Live Streams for Marketing
If your school has been sharing videos, reels, or TikTok videos, live streaming won’t be too difficult for you, as the steps you need to take are quite similar. However, if you don’t know where to start, here are some essential points you should cover to ensure you have successful live-streaming sessions:
Integrate live streams into broader marketing campaigns
Live streaming can be a strategic component of more significant marketing initiatives. By incorporating live videos into a broader video marketing campaign, schools can create a cohesive narrative across various channels. This integration ensures that live streams are not standalone events but key moments that complement other video content and marketing efforts, such as social media posts, email newsletters, or blog articles. This approach helps maintain consistency in messaging and reinforces the campaign’s objectives, increasing overall impact and reach.
To begin with, set some clear objectives you want to achieve with your live-streaming sessions. This should help you define the content and structure of your live streams, ensuring they align with your overall marketing goals. Consider what you want to accomplish – increasing brand awareness, fostering community engagement, or showcasing your school’s unique programs and events. Also, consider the timing of your live streams to coincide with key moments in your marketing calendar, such as open days, special events, or important announcements.
Pro tip: The key to successfully integrating live streaming into your video marketing campaigns is consistency and alignment with your overall marketing strategy.
Use live streaming marketing for storytelling and brand-building
While live streaming advertising is sometimes done by big brands, schools should use this marketing tool to showcase their culture, values, and the everyday experiences of their students and staff. This approach can help them build a relatable and trustworthy brand image. For instance, McGill University effectively utilizes YouTube Live to broadcast various live events. These include engaging faculty lectures and insightful alumni talks, showcasing the university’s dynamic academic community and its extensive network of accomplished alumni.
Whether streaming school events, student achievements, or day-to-day activities, each live stream can contribute to a narrative that resonates with your audience, strengthening your school’s brand identity.
Collaborate with student ambassadors to bring a touch of authenticity to your live streams
It is well known that involving student ambassadors in social media activities like live streams can add a layer of authenticity and relatability. These students can share their genuine experiences, opinions, and insights, offering a peer perspective that is often more influential and credible to the target audience.
By featuring student ambassadors, schools can create content that is not only informative but also engaging and representative of the student body. This collaboration not only enriches the content of the live streams and helps schools connect with prospects but also empowers students by giving them a platform to voice their views and experiences.
What You Need to Get Started
Now that you’ve learned the basics of live streaming marketing, you might ask yourself, “How do I do a live stream?” To begin with, we would suggest that you establish streaming platforms you want to use. Though you may have multiple social media accounts, you don’t need to do your live streams on each. To select the right platforms, you can ask yourself where your audience is and where they are more likely to join the live stream from.
You should also consider the unique features each platform offers for live streaming. Keep in mind that Instagram Live is ideal for real-time engagement, YouTube Live offers high-quality streaming and is excellent for larger audiences, and Facebook Live can be effective for community-building and reaching a broad demographic.
Once you select your preferred platform, what is needed for live streaming? Though the equipment needed may vary depending on your budget, we recommend you get the basics: a good-quality camera, a tripod, an external microphone, and proper lighting. If your budget is not significant, you can follow basic video production tips, such as choosing a quiet place with favorable natural lighting and making your livestream feel more professional.
Next, to ensure that your live stream gets views and engagements, it is essential to promote it beforehand. You can use all your social media platforms, as well as your website, to share posts and stories with crucial information about the live event, such as time and platform, and also about the person hosting it to convince your audience to join, as the University of Saskatchewan did in the example below.
Source: University of Saskatchewan
Pro tip: You must establish a clear goal for each live stream to incorporate a CTA that helps you achieve it.
Finally, though live streams allow for spontaneity, creating a draft of the points you want to cover is advisable to avoid forgetting them. You don’t have to write a full script, but make sure you have a guiding document before starting.
Get Ready to Create Unforgettable Live Streams
To craft genuinely memorable live streams, your school will have to brainstorm about the content of your streamings. Consider diverse live streaming options, such as showcasing school events, hosting interactive Q&A sessions, conducting insightful interviews, offering virtual tours, and facilitating engaging discussions with current students. Additionally, consider alumni talks to highlight post-graduation successes, provide overviews of campus services, organize informative seminars, and schedule special talks on various topics. Each content type uniquely captivates your audience and showcases your school’s vibrant life and academic excellence.
Additionally, it’s crucial to encourage active participation and feedback from viewers to ensure that live streams are interactive and engaging. This involvement enriches the experience and fosters a sense of community and belonging. Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that maintaining a safe and respectful online environment is a crucial responsibility of your school during these live sessions. To effectively manage this, appointing a dedicated person or team to handle comments and interactions during live streams is essential. This role involves moderating discussions, addressing inappropriate behavior, and ensuring the digital space is conducive to healthy and constructive interaction.
If you have decided to share your live events across multiple platforms, you might wonder: How to live stream on all social media platforms… Though streaming on several platforms requires some technical experience, you should consider using a multi-streaming service like Restream, StreamYard, or Switchboard Live, allowing you to broadcast to several platforms simultaneously.
Finally, don’t forget to test your equipment beforehand to avoid technical problems and glitches. Ensure that your cameras, microphones, and internet connection are functioning optimally. Conduct a dry run, if possible, to check audio levels, video quality, and the stability of your streaming setup. This step is crucial to guarantee a smooth and professional streaming experience, as it allows you to identify and resolve any issues before going live. By being proactive in your technical preparations, you can provide your audience with a seamless and enjoyable live stream.
Q: What are the benefits of live streaming?
A: One of the main benefits of live streaming is that it offers a unique platform for schools to tell their stories and amplify their message engagingly and authentically.
Q: What is needed for live streaming?
A: Though the equipment needed may vary depending on your budget, we recommend you get the basics: a good-quality camera, a tripod, an external microphone, and proper lighting.
Q: How to live stream on all social media platforms
A: Though streaming on several platforms requires some technical experience, you should consider using a multi-streaming service like Restream, StreamYard, or Switchboard Live, allowing you to broadcast to several platforms simultaneously.