In 2020, working-life shifted for many people from either fully or partially office-based to employees working entirely remotely, meaning the age-old face-to-face stakeholder, customer or employee communication took on a new form: screen-to-screen.

Zoom’s success during this global pandemic is widely recognised, with countless national and international publications reporting its staggering record of 300 million daily participants in April, as well as its 30-fold membership increase since the pandemic hit. This shows an instant need to retain face-to-face communication on an internal level whether it be for upkeep of client-agency relationships or giving the agency world’s ‘Corona-Inn’ a go.

What is not widely recognised, is how the need to retain face-to-face communication translated for external marketing purposes, with more brands than ever making greater use of their social media channels through Live streaming options. eMarketer’s report ‘Q1 2020 Digital Video Trends’ revealed a 56% increase in social media live stream viewers in the first quarter, with its earlier prediction for the ‘pandemic surge’ being 48%, showing a significant pivot towards social media Live tools to continue face-to-face relations.

These Live tools are available on Instagram through a mobile-only set up, Facebook through desktop and mobile and currently in beta testing on LinkedIn. Often late to the party, even B2B is realising the importance of live streaming in a wider communications strategy with 61% of B2B companies turning to the software between 2019/2020 (GoToWebinar) on top of LinkedIn’s new beta function due live this year.

But why is face-to-face marketing through social media live streams so important for business success? We detail several key reasons here:

1. It helps tap into customer emotions:
Especially during a time when customer and stakeholder emotions are already high due to the effects of the pandemic, retaining a strong, positive emotional connection to them should be a vital part of your communications strategy.
Forbes (2019) found 86% of consumers would be willing to continue doing business if the company establishes an emotional connection. Pair this with Verint’s (2019) survey findings showing two-thirds of respondents said they are more likely to switch to the competitor that provides the best customer experience, it shows clearly that even before the pandemic, stakeholders require a deeper connection than a few emails and blog posts to stay loyal to the business or brand.

2. It can help increase ROI:
If you have the opportunity to communicate with a person in real life or an audience online using Live streaming tools, it allows you to shape the experience to ensure it is as positive or as informative for that customer/professional as possible. This positive experience may then lead to referrals which in turn, may increase lead generation for your business and increase ROI.
Research held by Livestream and New York Magazine (2017) confirmed this, as it reported 73% of businesses using live video in its marketing strategy also reported positive results on its return-on-investment.

3. It brings the audience to you:
Holding an event, whether it is an experiential one or held online using Live tools is a great way of guiding new audiences and leads straight to you. Even though this much more difficult to do organically, as social media promotions for businesses are very much a ‘pay-to-play’ landscape, it still brings more opportunity to secure qualitative leads in the form of sign-up data than a business would get if they hosted a blog covering the same event topic on its website.
Definition worked with management consultants Manifesto Growth Architects to devise a lead-generation strategy by delivering an exclusive C-suite breakfast event in London, covering its new whitepaper. Through selective LinkedIn targeting Definition attracted more than 100 senior business leaders to the event which generated over 30 new business leads.

4. It helps increase trust and credibility:
As with other elements of influencer marketing, customers trust the opinions of ‘real people’ over other forms of marketing coming directly from a faceless business or brand.
In relation to utilising Live tools, businesses are also giving the customer/professional the opportunity to engage in a two-way conversation, as comment/reply functions are available on Instagram and Facebook’s Live stream apps.

Businesses need to pivot towards face-to-face marketing both during this time of uncertainty and beyond, to establish long-term, trusted connections that benefit the stakeholder and in turn, convert tangible results for businesses.

By integrating digital tools such as social media live streaming functionality or third-party streaming services, businesses can stay front-of-mind and excel in emotional communications with its client base.

For more guidance on how you can utilise these tools to benefit your business, contact our ‘Digital at Definition’ team today.