By Monica Pitts

Even though most “in person” trade shows didn’t happen this year, our jobs as marketers and salespeople haven’t changed – we still need to sell things. We still need to meet new people and make new connections.

But how do we connect with people when we aren’t in front of them and without those convenient trade shows to facilitate the connections? One solution is a livestream.

I know I just said “LIVESTREAM” but stay with me here.
A livestream is a video and audio stream published real time online as you deliver it. Sort of like the news or a radio show but you can do it on your own. You can go live on Facebook or YouTube, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Livestreams aren’t hard to do. I have my clients doing them for themselves. And if they can figure it out, you can too. But if you’re still skeptical let’s get some potential misconceptions out of the way.

  • It’s NOT hard to do
  • It’s NOT expensive
  • You don’t need fancy technology – you can just use your phone or webcam

Right now is a great opportunity to try it out.
When I review social media accounts, livestreams are some of the most engaging content. And engagement is the biggest measure of success in social media. When people interact with your content they’re more likely to see it again.

Why are livestreams more engaging? People love to see people. Social networks love content created on their platforms. It’s a love fest.

But social media engagement doesn’t close deals. You don’t just walk through the doors at a tradeshow and start closing deals. You have to meet the people, talk to them and then down the road close the deal when they need you. Livestreams work the same way. You’re going to use livestreams as a way to “shake hands” virtually with people you can do business with down the road.

There are about a million ways to spin a livestream.
You can do a livestream for two minutes and just show off a cool job site. Or you could do a 15 to 60 minute interview. But don’t worry so much about the length, just tell your story.

Focus on solving people’s problems.
Your livestreams are not meant to pitch and to sell stuff. That’s the long term results of good sales and marketing. This activity should focus on starting or deepening relationships, so focus on solving people’s problems. You don’t even have to be the one who gives the answer, you can invite other people in to be the experts.

Make sure the topics you cover align with your marketing goals.

GOAL #1: Using livestreams to get more business.
Guest livestreams (when you partner with another person and interview or converse with your guest) deepen your relationship with your customers and strategic alliances, as well as help you meet new people. All basically for free.

Do a livestream with one of your awesome clients and talk about what they’re up to. Maybe they just landed or completed a huge project, won an award or are doing an amazing charity project. Interview them about it. Ask them to share it on their social media, promote it on your social media and voila – it’s a win win for both of you.

Go live with a company that has a lot of synergies with you, a strategic alliance that sells to the same types of customers. Have them answer questions that you hear your customers ask about their service, but are not things that you deal with yourself.

Hit up your vendors. Do a livestream with your testing lab or the person you buy your emulsifiers from. You believe in their products and services enough to use them, talk about why. What problem do those products or services solve for your clients? Explain how they make the job run smoother or improve the final product.

You don’t always have to have a guest, you can go solo:

  • Answering frequently asked questions from new and existing customers.
  • Do a product demo showing how it solves a specific problem.
  • Head out to the job site and show off what’s going on, a project you just finished or even a project you did forever ago that is holding up super well. Talk about the problems you solved when doing this job.

Goal #2: Using livestreams to find new hires.
Visit the job site and talk to the people working for you. Showcase them as the expert, ask them what they’re up to and let them show off the cool stuff that they’re doing.

Highlight an employee of the month and have them share why they like working for the company. Invite a few other employees to talk about how awesome that person is.

Invite a good employee referral source to go live with you. If you find great hires from certain trade shows, the technical college or school organizations like FFA, do a guest livestream with them. Talk about the good things their organization is doing or promote an event or fundraiser they have coming up.

Ready to try it out?
In the short run the goal of these livestreams is to focus on the conversation and the problems that people have and how you can help solve them, that is where the awesomeness happens. Focus on starting the relationships in your livestreams so that way your sales staff can work those leads and close the deal.

Monica Pitts is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of MayeCreate Design. She spends her days constructing a marriage of form and function; creating art with her design team to grow businesses through websites and online marketing. Monica considers herself an artist, marketer and web dork with the ability to speak geek and English.