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  • Writer's pictureChris Bryant

Live-Streaming for Virtual Trade Shows

So you’re interested in learning more about live-streaming for an upcoming trade show. Excellent. It’s a relatively new technology that’s only become widely available to the masses over the last few years, but with an increasingly all-digital landscape, it’s only gaining steam. Thankfully, it’s not difficult to produce a straightforward live stream with the tools that are out there today. In this article, we’ll be introducing you to three tiers of live-streaming, or three levels of difficulty and cost, for your manufacturing company. We’re also looking at several applications for this exciting medium as it relates to virtual trade shows. First, what are the benefits — to your organization and to your viewers — of live streaming?


 
Live steaming (especially when coupled with live chats) goes a long way to help build trust with current and potential customers.

 

Viewers really enjoy live streams for several reasons: It opens the doors to have live interactions with you and your team through chat features. Have you ever been on a live stream, you wrote a comment and the host reads your comment and acknowledges you? A pretty cool feeling, right? If you haven’t had that happen, and/or you haven’t been on many live streams, I encourage you to do it. Think of it as some fun research – it doesn’t even need to be in your particular field or profession.


Of course the larger the figure, the less likely you’ll be to be able to have your comment noted on the stream. But you’ll get an idea what it’s like for an audience member, and take note of things that you felt were done well, and what wasn’t. It’s also unpolished (which can be interesting to watch), and is a raw look at you and your brand. Live steaming (especially when coupled with live chats) goes a long way to help build trust with current and potential customers.


Next, let’s look at some practical applications for live-streaming. Let’s go from the simplest to execute, and work our way up from there.


A live look at your production floor

Why would you want to do that? By giving your audience (meaning prospective and current customers) a live glimpse of the heart of your operations, this gives them a fantastic idea of just how capable you are and how you operate. It helps to build trust by affording an unfiltered look at what you do and how you do it. Naturally, there are times where things are busier. You’ll want to arrange scheduling to ensure your production floor live stream will happen when there’s plenty of action happening. And like all live-streams or other video content, make sure your entire team is wearing appropriate – ideally company-branded – attire. Of course also let them know you’re live-streaming, to avoid any potential colorful language from being caught by the microphone.


Let people know you’re going live at a certain time, and tell them about how long you’ll be on the air for (for something like this, 30-60 minutes gives them enough time to log on when they’re able to, so they can watch a bit. It’s very doubtful anyone will watch the entire thing, but the longer duration affords them the opportunity to catch it as it’s happening and maybe even ask questions in the chat. 


Speaking of which, we recommend you can have some members of your team manning the live chat, answering questions viewers have in real time. This goes for ANY live stream that you do. It’s a powerful medium to immediately connect with your viewers and understand their concerns and excitement.


Q&A with your team

This could be as simple as a knowledgeable team member sitting in front of a webcam. If you only want to do this style once, you can leave it as a general Q&A, so viewers can ask literally anything about your products, services and brand. If you’d be up for doing a handful of them, then each stream could be dedicated to a specific aspect. For example you can have one that focuses on maintenance, and have a tech or two there to answer. For another, it can be about product design and tooling, so you can have a designer or engineer on camera for that. Come up with a few key areas you find customers have the most questions on, and focus your streams around those general topics. Make sure the stream is clearly advertised as being about that one area, so viewers know what to expect. 


And a word on these types of streams – if you don’t have a huge following, you may not necessarily get a ton of questions, at least not at first. We recommend having a list of backup questions ready to go, perhaps common things your team is asked that could be beneficial to others. This way there’s no worry about not getting any questions (or good questions) in.


A live stream panel event with your team & experts

This takes a little more planning and work to pull off, but can be very valuable to your audience. Just like a panel at a regular live event, this would be a collection of 3-6 experts (or so), discussing a specific topic in an engaging way. 


This can be handled one of two ways.


The easy way: A Zoom (or similar) chat, with each speaker calling in from their location. Each person should have their video on, which is part of the point of this style of content – to be able to see and make a connection with these experts. One person (likely from your company) would be the moderator, and would be running the panel, asking relevant questions and working to pull out the best information from the speakers.


The harder way: An in-person panel event, where the speakers are all present at one location where the talk is being live-streamed from. This method certainly looks nicer and higher end, and is a welcome departure from the video calls everyone is starting to tire of. With social distancing requirements, speakers should be spaced at least 6 feet apart. This being the case, having a multi-camera setup would be very advantageous, and usually requires an outside production company to help. This is just as well, since it’s the style of live streaming that has a lot of elements to it, and things that can go wrong, making it more difficult to pull off successfully using only in-house resources. One of the biggest considerations is audio – does each speaker have a microphone so we can clearly hear them? An experienced video company can handle that.


Live product announcement/unveiling 

This one is exciting. However to do it right, you need to go big. Unveiling a major new product (that was likely millions of dollars and years in the making) shouldn’t be done with a handheld smartphone video. We recommend a professional multi-camera production, which will result in a very polished experience for your viewers. This should also include on-screen graphics, and even a pre-recorded video teaser of the product that can also be shown on the stream. 


Giving your viewers a top shelf experience for the unveiling will help start things off on the right foot for your big, new product. While there are a handful of live streaming services that don’t save your stream, we strongly recommend having this live on a platform that allows for viewers to catch the unveiling even if they weren’t able to tune in live. This type of a production requires an investment to pull it off, and you certainly want to have as many eyeballs on it as possible (both live as well as for repeat/after-the-fact viewings). 

We’ll go over the nuts & bolts of how to pull off live streaming (both in-house as well as with a production team) in later articles.


Until then, if you want more information on video content for the show (live or otherwise), Empire Studios is a full service video production company that’s been helping manufacturers big and small for well over a decade. We’ve got the experience to help you hit and exceed your goals using strategic video marketing. Any questions on how we can help, just drop us a line.

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