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How do we connect with people when we aren't in front of them and don’t have those convenient trade shows to facilitate the connections? We’ve spent the last 9 months exploring this very thing at MayeCreate, experimenting in a number of different ways for ourselves and our clients. And over the next few weeks I'm going to share them with you and give you some ideas that you can take or you can leave - Plus some tips to pull them off.

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Hosted By
Monica Maye Pitts
Monica Maye Pitts Chief Creative Officer

Connecting Outside the Show Part 1 – Using Live Streams

This fancy blog isn’t the only fun thing I write…one of the other things that I write is a column in APE (Allied Paving Equipment Publication) magazine. And that is where this topic actually stems from. I’m just excited they continue to retain me in my volunteer role as the Marketing Matters author. So the editor over there, MacAdam is his full name, Mac is his nickname (isn’t that the coolest name?), emailed me and said, “hey we we need to focus on ways to connect outside the show.”

The construction industry (from a marketing and networking perspective) was pretty fortunate last year because since they are held early in the year, many of their trade shows actually happened. Now this year the construction industry is faced with the same thing that so many people have been faced with, which is – how do you continue to connect with people when you don’t have that awesome trade show to meet people and have conversations that get business started? 

Because even though the trade shows aren’t happening, 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 don’t have those convenient trade shows to facilitate the connections?

We’ve spent the last 9 months exploring this very thing at MayeCreate, experimenting in a number of different ways for ourselves and our clients. And over the next few weeks I’m going to share them with you and give you some ideas that you can take or you can leave – Plus some tips to pull them off.

Today is all about using live streaming as a way to stay connected outside the show (because that’s where Mac over at APE told me to start). And I’m excited to share because I’ve been doing them a lot these days, both for myself and for my clients. 

I know I just said “LIVE STREAM” but stay with me here.

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Don’t be scared of live streaming

A live stream is a video and audio stream that is 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. 

Now when I say “live stream” to people they usually say, “Whoa, Monica, that is going to be hard.” 

But it is not hard to do. It’s not. I have my clients doing them for themselves. And if they can figure it out, I know that you can figure it out too. So let me get some of your potential misconceptions out of the way before we go any further.

  • It’s NOT hard to do
  • It’s very inexpensive
  • It will get you in front of new and existing clients
  • It will show people you are REAL humans
  • You can do them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube
  • You don’t need fancy technology – you can just use your phone or webcam
  • Social networks love them because you’re creating original content on their platform so they will naturally show them to more people

Right now is a great opportunity to try it out.

People don’t really have an expectation of how you’ll do your live streams. They don’t think, “oh man, these guys are a bunch of bozos”, because they don’t even know what to expect. They’re just going to be impressed that you’re doing it at all. You’ll be among the first construction companies doing this. You can learn and get better as you go. 

So are you sold yet? 

These aren’t a waste of your time.  

Of all the social media accounts I review – live streams always show up as some of the most engaging content, and engagement is money. 

When people interact with your content, other people (even those not already in your audience) are more likely to see it.  Why are live streams more engaging? Two reasons: 1. People love to see people so you’re giving them what they love, and 2. Social networks favor content created on their platforms so you’re giving THEM what they love too. It’s like a love fest.

Disclaimer – as awesome as engagement is, it doesn’t close deals. 

Your live streams won’t have money pouring in the door. But they will get you in front of people so you can work your leads so you can have money pouring in the door later. 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. Live streams work the same way. You’re going to use live streams 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 live stream.  

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Think about ALL the different kinds of YouTube videos you watch. Believe it or not, many of them started as live streams.

There are two main types of livestreams and both have their pros and cons:

Solo Live Streams

These you’ll do by yourself. They’re great to answer frequently asked questions or demo products or equipment. It’s great because you don’t have to coordinate with another person and don’t need anything short of a phone to pull it off. It’s a great way to connect with current followers.

Cons are: You won’t get as much exposure to a new audience as when you have a guest and you have to come up with the content on your own.

Guest Live Streams

These you do with a partner or two.  You essentially interview your guest. Most of my ideas are centered around this type of live stream because I see good results from them. They’re great because they have the opportunity to get double the exposure – you’ll be in front of your followers and if your guest shares it, you’ll be in front of their followers as well. 

Cons are: On Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn you’ll need a separate program to do these with a virtual guest. There’s a good free one though – StreamYard – that I use all the time and it’s VERY easy to use. You’ll also need to find a guest, coordinate a time and decide on a topic (but it’s totally worth it).

So you’re probably thinking to yourself, yeah Monica but what am I going to do in this “live stream”. 

Regardless of whether you’re by yourself or with a guest you still have to know what you’re going to talk about right? In the marketing world we call these content ideas, and it is my all-time favorite thing to do. I love thinking of ideas. So I thought up some ideas for you because I want you to see how very workable this can be in your marketing mix and how it can benefit you.

You can do a live stream 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 focus on telling your story. If it takes you two minutes to tell the story, tell it in two minutes. If it takes you an hour, give it an hour. 

For longer live streams people won’t necessarily sit down and watch them all the way through. If your live streams are super short, you probably will have more people watch the whole video. But when they’re long, you’re gonna have more people popping in and out while you’re live. And you’ll float up to the top of the social newsfeed for longer, giving you more exposure. 

Focus on solving people’s problems. 

Your live streams are not meant to pitch and to sell stuff. That’s the long term results of good sales and marketing. People don’t want you to pitch stuff to them. The second that they feel like you’re selling them, they don’t want to talk to you anymore. 

Live streams are often the beginning of our relationship or the deepening of the relationship. To do that you have to understand who you’re talking to and what they need from you. 

So what are the problems that your audience is facing? 

And how can you help solve them? 

What are the problems that your new hires are facing? 

And how can you help solve them?

You don’t have to be the expert in solving these problems, you can invite other people in to be the experts. That’s what those guest live streams are all about – having other people be your experts.

Okay. So let’s get into these ideas.

What are you going to talk about?

There’s a number of different things you can do based on what your goals are right now. Most of my construction clients are focused on one of two goals:

  1. Get more business 
  2. Find more employees 

GOAL #1: Using live streams to get more business.

Guest live streams (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 live stream 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, then you 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 live stream 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?  How do they make the job run smoother? How do they improve the final product? 

GOAL #2: Using live streams to find new hires.

Okay, let’s say your goal is to find more people to hire:

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.  People love hearing positive stuff. It makes everyone feel good. Publically pump up your awesome employee and let others aspire to have that same experience working for you. Heck I’m excited just thinking about it.

This style of live stream can give you the same exposure as your other guest livestreams because it will allow you to get in front of your employees, friends and family. And if they’re a great employee, they might hang out with other great people who are looking for a new job. 

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 live stream with them. Talk about the good things their organization is doing, compliment them on how great their students are, promote an event or fundraiser they have coming up. 

Last idea:

Had 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. This will build up your expertise as a company, and to show people how incredibly cool you are. That can both help you get new clients, and recruit hires. 

Ready to try it out?

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So hopefully with those examples, you can maybe see trying this out, right? 

You can do it by yourself and do a job site review or a product demo, or even just answer frequently asked questions that you hear. Or you could do it with a guest, which lets you build that relationship with your guests and with the people that follow them on social media. 

Now, remember:

  • These don’t have to be super, super long. 
  • They don’t have to be super fancy. 
  • You don’t have to use lots of expensive equipment. 
  • Use the “givers gain” mentality when planning topics. 
  • It is about solving a problem for your audience, not about selling something. 

In the short run the goal of these live streams 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 live streams so that way your sales staff can work those leads and close the deal. 

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